Friday, April 27, 2012

Season "Finale" Running Diary


Welcome to the "FINALE!" Lets get ready to bumble!

Pregame:

Waiting for the Knicks game to wrap up.  Congratulations to the Charlotte Bobcats for clinching the honor of Worst Basketball Team in NBA History Award!  I didn’t think they had it in them but boy was I wrong.  They could teach the Warriors a thing or two about bottoming out!  They officially have the best odds in the Unibrow Sweepstakes.

I have a feeling the TNT studio crew is going to do all they can to not talk about this upcoming game.
Charles says, “This is going to be very interesting” as Ernie announces, “the Warriors will start 5 rookies!” Five Rookies? Has this been done before?  I like these guys but they’re not exactly the Fab Five.  We’re making history tonight!  Amazing.

 Let's be honest, these guys wish they didn't have to watch this game let alone talk about it.

Maybe it’s a good thing that this crappy game is national.  We don’t have to see Gary St. Jean again this season now.  Is there a bigger symbol of our tortured past left around here?  I seriously hope he’s replaced by next season.

All Kevin Harlan and Greg Anthony can do is laugh at the starting line ups.

“If it looks like a preseason game folks it feels like a preseason game.” Says Kevin Harlan.  I couldn’t agree more…

Here we go!  Game #66

Chris Wright is making Mark Jackson look bad for not giving him more run early on during the tank right off the bat.  He’s definitely got a flair for the spectacular.

It took a shit game like this for Patty Mills to remind everyone that he is in fact back in the NBA.  I don’t think anyone outside of the Bay Area knew that.
As was expected, this is shaping up to be a terrible game, just turrible.  They might as well be playing at Mosswood Park in Oakland right now, but that would be an insult to the history of the park though.

I’m glad the guys on the bench are having such a good time.  Mark Jackson just left Nate, Dorrell and Andris ROLLING.  That has got to count for something on his resume right?

Chris Wright with another three point play opportunity.  I hope Dorrell doesn’t see the floor tonight or at any point moving forward for the Warriors.  From now on he doesn’t exist to me, if I say Wright I’m referring to Chris unless pointed out otherwise.

On that note another great defensive play from Wright setting Thompson up for an easy layup.  See, you could probably tell I’m not talking about Dorrell when Wright is followed by the words “great defensive play” or “he really hustled for that loose ball.”

Klay Thompson with some beautiful drives early, he has been very aggressive tonight.  I just hope he works on a facial expression or two this offseason.

The announcers are highlighting that Mark Jackson was adamant we are not tanking before the game.  I wonder if they knew he was starting five rookies as he was selling that line.

Patty Mills with 14 of San Antonio’s first 27 points. 

Can we go an entire game with nothing but rookies getting minutes.  That would have to be some sort of record.  Even with nothing but rookies we’re better than the Bobcats.  Maybe the claims that Kentucky would have beaten them this year weren’t as ridiculous as some made them out to be.

First quarter ends 29-27 Warriors and the token female sideline reporter is tasked with asking ridiculous questions to the Spurs Assistant Coach between quarters.  Shouldn’t the question be “How do you feel about Pop literally mailing this game in tonight?”

Dom McGuire and Mikki Moore start the second quarter completely ruining our shot at the first ever Rookies Only game.

You’ve got to really respect the way the TNT broadcast team is trying to make this game seem interesting.
I hope the Spurs get a fine for trying to forfeit this game.  How can a team actually look like they are trying to tank harder than the Warriors?

TNT just showed downtown Oakland and Harlan asked, “Is that Jack London Square?” How would he know, he’d never go downtown and that’s the first time TNT has ever shown that shot.

 Make note TNT, this is downtown Oakland, not Jack London Square.

Another highlight alley oop to Wright, this time from McGuire.  Two minutes later we get another one.  Is that four spectacular Chris Wright alley oops this half?

Another air balled three pointer from San Antonio followed by McGuire throwing an alley oop to nobody in particular, maybe someone sitting court side?

Tyler just had a pass bounce right through his hands.  I think that is going to be his NBA downfall, butterfingers doesn’t explain it, he’s got Pennzoil hands. 

That’s it for the unwatchable first half minus the Wright dunks and a couple nice Thompson drives.  So really, only 23 minutes and 25 seconds of the game so far has sucked.  54-53 Warriors at the half.

Props to Charles Barkley for this nugget from halftime, “The Warrias cannot win this game, thas jus stupid.  Mark Jackson, if you win this game Im’ma have ta fly out to Goden State and slap da hell outta you.”  Sorry, but it’s extremely hard to quote Charles, that was my best attempt.

It was nice the way they reiterated the point about twenty times during the half “Mark Jackson has to lose this game! Mark Jackson HAS to lose THIS GAME!”  And people give us shit for rooting for losses?  Screw those people.

Warriors rookies and Spurs third stringers, ready for the second half.

Boris Diaw must be on a strict cheeseburger/cheesecake diet.  The only reason he’s in this game is the Spurs want him to play his way into shape for the playoffs, 66 games into the season.  He had no reason to be fit playing for the Bobcats for most of this season though.

If the Warriors go down double digits I’m going to yell Bob Fitzgerald’s favorite line when they make a run…“THE WARRIORS CUT IT TO SINGLE DIGITS! They just WON’T go away!”
 
This game gets harder and harder to watch, might need to view the rest in fast-forward.  That has been my go to move when watching these shitty games.  Start them an hour late and skim through all the unwatchable free throws, turnovers and ridiculous Fitz statements.

That was a quick third quarter.  Thank god.  84-82 Spurs.

Queue up the token female sideline reporter with Bob Myers.  I can’t help but like the guy, he started going to Warrior games around the same time as me.  I’m actually very jealous of the different paths our lives have taken.

I would argue that this is the only guy that should be asking stupid questions between quarters.

Just got a shot of Biedrins on the bench, I think the problem is that he went away from the spike look.  Management should address that in the offseason.

Wright miss-handled his 20th highlight alley oop of the night and next time down the floor Tyler gets his best throw down of the season.  I think he’s been saving that one.

The refs are trying hard to swallow their whistles.  No one wants to be responsible for prolonging this game.
It’s a curious move to hold out Dorrell Wright because he helps the tanking cause.

Just heard this is the first five rookie start game since the stat was tracked in 1971.  I doubt it happened anytime before that though.

Token girl is interviewing Jackson and she asks him how proud he is that the team isn’t tanking?  Who feeds her these questions?  I’m sure this has been a great career move for her, whatever her name is.

I wonder if anyone tracks the stat for air balls in a game.  This one has got to be in contention for that record too. 

Wright just threw down a nasty dunk for the umpteenth time tonight.  Why haven’t we seen more of him while we were forced to stomach these last 30 games and why wasn’t he in the dunk contest?  He couldn’t compete with Jeremi Evans?

I think it’s time for me to stop talking about this game.  The announcers have.  They are treating it like a preseason or D League game at this point.  It’s kind of hard to blame them. 

Patty Mills just woke me up with his 30th point of the night.  I hope that scores him a contract next season.
Five rookies and Mikki Moore vs. five third stringers.  This game is in serious competition for worst game I’ve ever seen.  There have been too many Warrior games in contention for that title this season.  This is like a bad imitation of a high school all star game with all the botched lob passes and air balls.

What’s with the Lets Go Warriors chant?  Pack it in till next season folks; we need to lose this game! 103-97 Spurs, 3 to play. 

I’ve pined to re-sign McGuire all season but if he wills them to victory I reserve the right to completely reverse course on that.

Thank god the Warriors still can’t rebound to save their lives.  That seals it.  105-101, make it 107 Spurs and that’s a season folks!

Charles was taking a dump backstage instead of watching that pointless second half.
We can all start holding our breathe for a coin toss and to hope no one behind us in the lottery jumps ahead to keep our pick.  Sounds like a lot to me to.

That’s all folks!  Thanks for watching with me.  See you at the lottery!  Now instead of rooting for losses we can root for ping pong balls…and That is Warriors basketball!

If you’ve enjoyed any of the columns posted please give the Trapped in Golden State Facebook page a “Like” to get all the offseason articles that will continue to be posted. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Introduction to the Season Finale Running Diary


By Justin Taylor

Almost time to exhale, just no talking while you do it coach!

Tonight is the night that the category 5 catastrophe known as 2011-12 ends.  Hopefully the Curse of the Warriors ends with it.  I’m not getting too excited considering every one of our best players just had surgery this week but it can’t get any worse right? RIGHT?  We’ve put so much pressure on the new management and ownership in the last two seasons that I'm afraid one of them might spontaneously combust soon.  We’ve tasked each one of them with steering our personal Titanic away from the iceberg we hit years ago but we have to always remember that Rome wasn’t built over night.  Our utopia may be on the horizon but remember that half of the reward is the journey itself.

If you’re reading this you're already a winner because you’re a contributor to the best fan base in the league, maybe in sports, period.  Fair-weather fans don’t read this site and why would they?  If you are one of those bandwagon jumpers I’m sure there are a ton of people saving a seat for you on a Lakers site somewhere.  If you’ve made it this far into this abysmal season congratulations are in order and I tip my hat to you.  You are part of the reason I haven’t committed sports suicide yet because I take pride in our team of almost 20,000 41 times a year.  The five 49er rings and one San Francisco Giants ring in my lifetime is the other part, now I just need my crown jewel.  

Misery loves company and there is no question that the true Warrior faithful are the best company you could keep in good times and bad.  When the sun eventually shines on us we will know that we paid our dues and deserve every bit of the glory that comes with it.  With or without the lottery pick that has had us rooting for loss after embarrassing loss I think that the ice is finally about to thaw on the Bay Area basketball dark ages.  It could just be global warming or the 2012 Mayan apocalypse but I don’t care, I’ve always said that I will ride this ship into the ground and I’ve been doing it for three decades and counting.

To commemorate this monumental day I will be ripping off the Bill Simmons’ running diary idea the same way Boston stole Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale from us so many years ago.  This should be great considering I expect it to be a exceptionally terrible game.  The Warriors are trotting out their rookies and D Leaguers while the Spurs will be sitting anyone who might help them in the playoffs including the coach!  The most exciting part of the actual game should be the $25k season ticket holder half court shot and the $100k ¾ court shot at halftime.  Either way I am ecstatic that this moment is finally here, I’ve been looking forward to this day for months…

Check back here at TrappedInGoldenState.com or get the update on Facebook as soon as it’s available by “Liking” the Trapped in Golden State page there.  As always, thank you for reading and thank you for taking this journey with the rest of the faithful.  8,000 hits on this site in its first month is just insane!  Warrior fans are the best anywhere and no one can tell me otherwise!



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stephen Curry: Not the Golden State or San Francisco Warriors future point guard

By Justin Taylor

When I say that Stephen Curry is not the point guard of the future in Golden State (or San Francisco) most would probably expect me to cite his glass ankle or his leafy body.  It’s hard to fault him much as a basketball player so I won’t be doing that either.  You might start scanning down the column for trade proposals or some alternative master plan (although as it turns out I’ve got a couple, crazy I know.)  I just don’t think Steph is a point guard.  Being a great passer, having superior basketball IQ and an inability to match up against any other position size wise does not make you a point man by default in the NBA.  At least it shouldn’t.

When you think of the point guard position in the NBA you’ve been thinking about guys like Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Tony Parker and Rajon Rondo for years now.  In recent years we’ve seen Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and John Wall coming in and changing the make up of the position for better or worse. I miss the era of the floor general or in Avery Johnson’s case the days of the Lil General.  Just because Curry doesn’t fit the new, old or Avery mold as a point I don’t think that’s my answer either.  Curry doesn’t create passing lanes like the first group nor does he shred the defense like the youngsters. 
This is a guy who tends to take what opportunities the defense provides but doesn’t break them down and make them pay when they react.  There’s nothing wrong with that but not really attributes of a game changing point guard.  Since the day we drafted him and decided he was the new point guard I’ve had him pegged as a slightly better Mike Bibby but as a pure point.  I think Bibby has a leg or at least an ankle up on him as a point guard right now though.

My main argument is framed by the fact that Stephen Curry could be one of the best shooters this league has ever seen.  This baby-faced assassin was born to play shooting guard whether it is in a Rec League or the NBA.  This guy was outshining professional shooters as a twelve year old.  He was the best shooter on any team he’s ever played but all of the sudden the term SHOOTING guard is open to interpretation.  The problem is that the NBA is an amusement park ride that has a sign out front that reads, "Must be 6’6 to play anything but point guard."


Saying Reggie Miller was an average defender would be a major compliment, maybe too generous.  He thrived because he had a playoff contending offense based entirely on him during his Hall of Fame career.  Rip Hamilton was never praised for his defense but he was prominently featured on a team-oriented offense that won an NBA championship and came within a game of a second!  Stephen Curry is better than both of those guys at what they did best but we’ll never see that because he’s busy making sure everyone else gets their touches.  Give him the let Reggie Rip treatment, run the offense through him and watch defenses suffer the consequences.  Having this kid bring the ball up the floor neutralizes one huge asset he could share with Reggie Ripper; they ran defenders ragged trying to keep up with them around 10 screens a possession.

We are still in the same position we stood with Monta Ellis just a couple years ago.  The only difference now is that we actually have the option an ideal sized two guard.  Isn’t Steph a better shooting guard than Klay Thompson?  It’s a rhetorical question because I know that he is a superior player to Klay and he is a natural two guard.  Wouldn’t it be attractive if we had a bigger point that could run the team, get everyone their shots and defend some of the bigger guards when we’re not playing zone? Let’s be honest, whether Steph is playing the one or the two we’ll be playing a lot of zone.  We’ve been asking that question since Baron Davis left us for the opportunity to produce movies and dunk Krispy Kremes instead of basketballs.  At that point Thompson is anchoring the offense on the second unit with Rush and McGuire hopefully manning the three.

If Monta Ellis is a top 5 shooting guard in the league (and I believe he is) then Stephen Curry can be too.  If a trade comes along that will allow you to package him (future 1st rounder +Dorrell Wright) for a Deron Williams, a Chris Paul or a Rajon Rondo I’m all in.  Adding a natural floor leader to the balanced roster we have right now could take this team to heights we haven’t even thought of yet.  I can’t blame Williams or CP3 for not making any commitments to this cursed franchise, which makes it nearly impossible for the team to consider such a move.  I was disappointed however to read about the rumored Rondo deal that didn’t go through in the preseason.  Even if it was a rumor perpetrated by some blogger with about as much inside info as myself.  I may be on an island with that one but I liked the dynamic that would have added to the team.

This isn't Steph Curry at his best.

The realistic conclusion is to draft North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall.  The guy can’t throw a rock in the ocean from more than 10 feet but from day one on the job he is the best natural point guard and tempo controller on this team.  This would make Curry to be the smartest most efficient shooting guard in the league instead of a good point guard in a league full of them.  You now have five guys playing ball the way they were born to play it and none of them worrying about how every move effects the other four.  The rookie would make Steph, Klay, D. Lee, Jenkins and Bogut more efficient and effective even if it were only for 15 minutes a game.  In crunch time he allows you to space the floor and set up the best crop of shooters in the game without taking the big men out of it.

Marshall might even come in as less of a liability on defense but I think we can all agree he can’t be any worse.  Considering the depth of point guards and shooting guards across the league, where is Steph less of a burden on that end of the floor?  The inability to contain opposing point guards is more detrimental to the team than any size advantage the shallow pool of shooting guards would have.  If we are going to be playing from behind on defense either way I think playing from ahead on offense is the best course of action.  By my count we’ve got three above average defenders on the roster in Rush, McGuire and Bogut.  Mark Jackson preaching defense to the squad or the fan base doesn’t equal a solid defensive unit.

The biggest lesson to take from Don Nelson’s NBA Anarchy Cookbook (I couldn’t find any copies in print but I swear I’ve read it) is to highlight the strengths and mask the weaknesses of his shooters. He did this while setting fire to the talents and confidence of his big men but that’s another column.  The point is Chris Mullin couldn’t guard a stop sign but he managed to do ok for himself, no?  In years past it was called small ball or Nellie ball but that was because we never had a center.  That is going to change this season.  Goodbye to the ghosts of Alton Lister, Erick Dampier, Adonal Foyle, Andris Biedrins and Mikki Moore.  Holy shit! The last two are on the current roster?  Do they know that?  Anyways…welcome Andrew Bogut, I hope you’re ready for early foul trouble cause the perimeter floodgates are open when Steph is on the floor.

This is the guy we drafted.  Was this guy worried about everyone else's shots?

I hate the way he’s been pigeon holed into being a less effective version of himself.  I hate his ankles.  I hate that we might overpay him at the end of next season but does that make me a Curry hater?  I’d like to see the Warriors draft or trade for a true point guard to maximize his and Thompson’s talents at the same time.  I’m driving that bandwagon and there’s room if anyone wants a ride.  He needs a screen here and there, a balanced floor, a healthy ankle and someone to get him the ball where he can hurt the defense, basically anywhere on the right side of half court.

If management can show a little balls and/or creativity in providing some of these things it just may allow him to be the prodigy he was born to be. Stepping up and doing what’s right make for a long happy career for him and us fans on his way to the rafters.  If they prove to be one of those that think he is too small and feathery to be anything but a one in this league we’re going to need a new point guard before we get to San Francisco.  I’d rather have the next Reggie Miller than the next Mike Bibby but the guys in the front office are the ones who can make him better than both.




Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Moving day coming for Golden State Warriors?


By Justin Taylor

Is the end of Oracle Arena near?

Let me just start by saying that I’ll be going to games whether they are played in Oakland, San Jose or San Francisco.  The first and most important question is whether or not I will have as much fun when I go.  Maybe things will change as the new ownership group continues to make honest efforts to produce a winner but for the last 30 years the most entertaining part of going to Warrior games has been the crowd itself.  Does the owner getting booed at Oracle act as additional motivation to cross the bay?  Pricing out the most hardcore and loyal fans would probably take care of that problem. 

I don’t think there is any bigger motivation for making such a move other than the cash that would pour in from new sponsors.  The prospect of building their own stadium with as many luxury suites as possible and having the clientele to fill them probably comes in a close second.  Outside of money what are the motivating factors? I guess that’s a stupid question because what other reasons do you need?  My answer to every tough question in sports or in life is usually to say, “Follow the money.”

The other money angle in play is that San Francisco offers superior non-basketball related revenue streams.  If he has his choice, where does Jay-Z play his next Bay Area show? San Francisco, Oakland or San Jose? How about U2, Madonna, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, (insert your own crappy teeny bopping name here) Chris Rock, Disney on Ice, the circus, WWE etc…The list goes on and on.  San Francisco has lacked a big time arena venue for years and don’t think for a second that gets lost on Joe Lacob and his little Dodger buddy McGuber.   If these guys can make this deal they will be making money hand over fist for more than just 41 shitty basketball games a year.  It could be the premier venue on the west coast with its Embarcadero waterfront location.

Of all the proposed locations the SF logistics are the lousiest.  BART doesn’t exactly drop you at Pier 30-32.  It’s almost a cold ass winter mile long walk to that site and the Caltrain station is even further.  On top of those two options being a royal pain, where do you park?  There’s no question that if you can make a day in the city out of it, San Francisco cannot be beat.  Outside of watching a Warrior game on a beach in Hawaii I can’t think of a better game day experience anywhere.  Don’t let those visions make you forget about those days when you get off work, rush home, grab your hat and jersey, rush out to grab a bite to eat just in time to watch the Warriors get their teeth kicked in.  I’m sure we’ll be better by then but did anyone see that Spurs game?  The best part of that tragic excuse for a game was the fact that I was on 880 doing 80 in a matter of seconds.  After the Spurs basically brought their starters out from halftime in street clothes I realized I might as well go home and find a D league game on TV.

Proposed site pulled from the Chronicle

My biggest concern about a move to The City is the in game atmosphere.  I hate it when teams jack up prices and kick the most hardcore and loyal fans to the curb (or in the nuts, then to the curb) in favor of more suits and suites.  I despise that move more then the Lakers and the Dodgers combined.  That isn’t “sports hate” though, it’s “those greedy money grubbing bastards!” hate.  I love it when I’m lucky enough to get hooked up with great seats to a game, even if it does only happen when we blow and people can’t get fair value for their seats.  You think I’m getting good seats to the Laker game next year?  How about when we move to the city?  Anyways, the point is, I can’t stand getting stuck between some stuffy executive and another asshole banker when I do strike ticket gold.  These guys care more about who is at the game than who is in the game.  It’s a problem in the lower rows in Oakland and you can bet it will only get worse in San Francisco.  Corporate crowds are the worst, give me a seat 20 rows back to sit with the real fans any day (unless you’ve got courtside or row 1 in which case everyone else can go to hell and I can be reached at trappedingoldenstate@gmail.com).  I’m thought of a clammed up crowd has me worried to say the least (I see some of my fellow Niner fans nodding along).

I see San Jose as nothing more then a play to keep Larry Ellison out.  Just the prospect of moving to the South Bay means that the software tycoon can’t get approval to install his own hardware until they break ground somewhere else.  These owners don’t want to purchase a timeshare at HP Pavilion and the city couldn’t be dumb enough to build a second arena, could they?  It may just be the miserable experience from the late nineties but I don’t ever want to see the Warriors play there ever again.  Our existence for the one season at the San Jose Arena was depressing.   Even with a better roster (cause we can all agree it couldn’t be any worse than that one) it would just be a harsh reminder of our pathetic past.   I realize that might be an idiotic statement considering our history in Oakland but even when the team craps it’s pants the crowds are world class.

I know it’s a different thought process for ownership but as a fan I have more questions than answers.   Where are the advantages for fans in moving into a wealthier zip code?  I’m a believer that the fans could care less where the stadium is as long as there is a decent entertaining team on the court.  We haven’t even required that much to show up 20 of the last 30 years.   Part of me thinks that all Lacob is doing with these other options (as much as we all know he’d love to be in SF) is to put as much pressure and leverage as possible on the city of Oakland.  Joe and McGuber know full well that the prospect of losing the A’s, Warriors and probably the Raiders again will lead the city to cry uncle and comply with any and all demands in planning and building a new arena.

It seems Oakland’s biggest disadvantage revenue wise is the sponsorship issue.  Have no fear though; I’ve got a solution for that one.  Something nobody has tried in years.  Put a freakin winner on the floor!  Sponsors are worse than fair weather and bandwagon fans, they just want to be associated with a hero.   Funny how I’m looking at a Lakers crowd at the Staples Center on TNT as I say that.  Does anybody remember how hard it was to get tickets in 2007 or how much those seats cost?  It didn’t matter; the pool of fans starving to watch a winner was so large they came in droves.  Five minutes later Comcast was out in front handing out T-shirts and signs with a phrase that was jacked from a fan.  “We Believe Playoff!”  All they did was correct the English.  I don’t think anyone believes that once the Warriors are contending for a title and setting the Bay Area on fire that companies in the Silicon Valley are going to say, “We only advertise within 40 miles of our headquarters and we hear bad things about Oakland.”  The truth is they don’t give a shit as long as they know people with money are in the building and watching on TV. 

East Oakland is what it is and a new arena won’t change it but that part of town doesn’t even come into play when you hop off 880 and into your seat within minutes.  I do have another Oakland site that should be considered though.  There is land the A’s considered for a stadium at the edge of the Jack London Square and the Port of Oakland they dubbed Victory Square that would breathe major life into the area.  There is a spot on either side of Jack London, the A’s proposed site and one just on port property just on the north side of the area.  They have a ton of brand new empty retail space that I’m sure 20,000 people coming through 60+ nights a year could fix.  It’s also the most inviting part of Oakland (outside of the hills of course) and is the only potential destination spot in the city.

Remember what China Basin looked like before Pac Bell popped up?  This place is on the water too.  There are already transportation options with Amtrak, BART and space for parking not to mention dining and entertainment options in the neighborhood.  You are probably halfway to making it a great downtown hotspot.  It’s not LA Live but screw that whole scene down there.  Give me some Everett and Jones Barbeque or some jazz and sushi at Yoshi’s over that wannabe Hollywood crap any day of the week.

TNT and ESPN's stock photo pulled from somewhere else.

What do ESPN and TNT do every time they televise a game from Oakland?  They send lone camera (probably some intern or the guy no one likes) down to Jack London to show the country BEAUTIFUL Oakland, California while half of the audience says, “uh huh? Sure.”  Put an arena down there and make it a destination for people outside of Oakland.  Give the local and national news something to look at other than Occupy protests and murder rate statistics.  If you’re from the area and think that the city is too stupid and/or corrupt to make that happen, well, I don’t have a comeback for that.

So if the stadium does end up in San Francisco what would the fan base look like at that point?  Will I be sitting next to an out of town venture capitalist, a tourist or a real Warrior fan?  Is there enough foot traffic in the city to fill the place night in night out since transportation and parking will suck?  (Don’t think for a second that you won’t be paying $50 to park you’re car for a couple of hours.)  Is Joe Lacob ready to get booed mercilessly on a nightly basis from the time they break ground across the bay until moving day?  There are a lot of questions that need answers but I guess we’ve got about five years to figure it all out while the Golden State Warriors are Trapped in Oracle Arena.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Warriors Sorry We Suck Day

I'm getting ready to head out to GSWSWMATSSSBWHYSRYTNYSE Day! (Short for Golden State Warriors Sorry We Made All Those Statements and Still Suck But We Hope You'll Still Renew Your Tickets for Next Year Signing Event Day!) On second thought, I'll stick with WSWS Day (Warriors Sorry We Suck Day pronounced wus-wus day).

It'll be the first day all season that the ENTIRE roster shows up ready to contribute.  I'll report back if there is any tanking going on at this event later.  They'll also be showing off the new locker room which I'm sure will be a deciding factor for any free agents to be looking to relocate here in the offseason.  Like every other Warriors game this season I'm going in with very low expectations so maybe they'll surprise me.  If nothing else I hear there's free food so I'm showing up with an empty stomach so I can start making up for all the money I've wasted this year any way I can.

Drop a line and report back if you're going.  Hopefully I'll get a few pics to go into my next column. Happy WSWS Day Everyone!

You can see the lines coming down from each corner.  They got LONG in a HURRY.


RECAP:


Today wasn't half bad, I actually had a great time out (get it?) I'm just glad I was in line well before the doors opened.  The lines got ridiculous in a hurry.  Since I was first in line waiting at the first table I got interviewed for Warriors.com but I don't think I'm going to make the final cut, just like here I refuse to tell these guys what they want to hear!

Question 1: What is you favorite thing about being a Warriors fan?
Answer 1: Ummm, the torture?  I mean the team kind of drives us all crazy right? (They could edit deep for the next snippet) I really think its the fan base. I'm proud to be a part of this group that is loyal through thick and thin.

Question 2: What was your favorite moment this season?
Answer 2:  This season? You're kidding right? That is a super tough question! (Looking at the people in line behind me) Does anyone remember a good moment this season?  I'm sure it involved Monta Ellis and some amazing play I just can't think of the specific one.

Question 3: What was your favorite game this year?
Answer 3: Another tough one but it have to go with the Thunder game.  Monta and Kevin Durant both went off in spectacular fashion and at the end...WE LOST!  Mission accomplished.

Question 4: Why did you come to the legends table first?
Answer 4:  5 Hall of Famers at one table? There was no question where I was headed first.  Plus, they can't trade these guys.

I know I probably sounded like a jerk but it doesn't matter since it's all hitting the cutting room floor anyway.  Maybe I shouldn't have posted the transcript after all.  I hope some of you will call me on it and give me some ideas of things you know I wish I would have said, to the players or the cameras.  Maybe my favorite moment should have been Chris Mullin night?  I was on the spot, had I thought about it I'm sure I would have mentioned Lacob getting booed and that would have been cut anyways.  Again, telling people who have been jerking me around for years what they want to hear is just not going to happen.  I guess I'm kind of a prick like that but I've got to see it on the floor before I thaw to this management team.  I see progress but I tend to wear rose colored glasses when it comes to this team and I'm staying on my toes this time.



Dude in the picture isn't me, the Warrior Girls are the only ones without people around
 them asking you not to take pictures.


The set up was four tables, one at each corner of the floor and the line up looked like this:

Guards: Nate Robinson, Steph Curry, Charles Jenkins, Richard Jefferson
Forwards: Klay Thompson, Dominic McGuire, Brandon Rush, Dorrell Wright
Centers: Mikell Gladness, David Lee, Andrew Bogut and Jeremy Tyler
Legends: Tom Meschery, Nate Thurmond, Jerry West, Rick Barry, Al Attles

If you were could be first in line at any of those tables which would it be?  Of course I was at the Legends table waiting on 5 HOFers ahead 4 guys at any other table that may not even be here next week the way this franchise works.  That pretty much made my day, I wouldn't even call everything else icing on the cake, more like the lettering on top of the icing, barely even noticed.  The free hot dog ranked right up there with Dorrell Wright's signature.  Something funny that JUST struck me? Andris Biedrins wasn't even there!  Maybe we were all better off for it.

I hit the forwards next because I wanted to let Rush and McGuire know how much we appreciate what they've brought to the team. Then the big men and after that I skipped the guards because the line was wrapping around the arena.  Instead I hit the Warriors girls in the courts club and one last free burger on the way out.  Below are the comments I made (No BS) and the comments I didn't make because I'm not a total jerk.  Call me out if you think I should have stepped up and spoke for the hardcore fans on these.


Well worth the trip.  I would rather be in the playoffs (in which case there would be no signing day) but I'm happy to have 5 HOF + some really nice pieces of the franchise moving forward signatures.

Comments Made and not made:

McGuire and Rush (sitting next to each other): "Hey guys, what do you say we trade the 10,000 signatures you're going to sign today for the only two that matter?  The one from each of you that will keep you here at least through next season, right on the dotted line."

McGuire: "When you come back next year we're going to get a whole section of fans wearing hard hats with your number on them because we love all the dirty work you do.  Keep up the good work."

David Lee: We appreciate all the hard work you put in this year.  No one can say you didn't do your part. Now rest that 'INJURY' and don't worry about suiting up again this season.  Just get healed up and get ready for a big year next year." He responded, "I'll be ready, don't worry about that."

Andrew Bogut: "Welcome to Oakland.  You're going to love it here, we will be going crazy from day 1.  One thing, NO OLYMPICS! Please take the summer off and be 100% to start the season.  We're begging you."  Not much reaction there...had me thinking he wants to play this summer, everyone start holding breath right abooouuut...now.

Mikell Gladness: "This is your time, good luck getting that money for next year."

Klay Thompson: "Great year so far, keep shooting." What I didn't say, "You better start attacking more and keep working on your D unless your goal in the league is 6th man of the year consideration."

Dorrell Wright: Comments made...None.  Got nothing kind to say.  I could've said to start finishing at the basket and stop being such a passive little pansy! But I didn't, guess I'm the real pansy on that one huh?

Let me know what other comments I passed on.  Anyone out there got the balls to say what everyone is really thinking?  I had no problem singing praises but definitely choked on calling people out on the things that burns me every time I watch them play and have no problem writing here.  I say it was the wrong venue but what's the difference between today and Mullin night other than the fact there were more kids there today?  I had the chance and I blew it.  Then again, I didn't boo Lacob when I had the chance, I just laughed and defended the fans who did afterwards.  I think that is more my niche.  I think I'll stick with that.

When it's all said and done it was a good gesture from management and it was obvious the kids had a blast.  In the end that's what matters, making sure the kids enjoy themselves so they have a better experience with the team then we have.  I wish I could've grown up with the current ownership group because I might not be so cynical but I think I'm warming up and I think good things are ahead.  Just playoffs, no more WSWS Days...




Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Golden State Warriors 2013 Look Ahead


By Justin Taylor

How does the saying go again?  Fool me once shame on you, fool me 26 times shame on me?  Number 27 was getting so close heading towards the close of the 2012 season.  But NO!  Not this time.  Every year, like a lot of people, I become my own personal Steve Jobs selling a plan that is so easy it just works.  In the end all I’m doing is selling myself back up shit creek.  Anyone who’s thinking we’re “THIS CLOSE” needs to put the kool aid down and step away from the bottle.  For some reason I was letting optimism start rearing its ugly head back into my naïve and ignorant fanatic brain.  Isn’t hope the worst thing you can have as a Warrior fan after everything we’ve been through?  It’s like a cancer that only guarantees more heartbreak. 

Is this real reason for hope?

Curry and Bogut are getting healthy.  The rookies are getting invaluable minutes and developing nicely.  David Lee is finally going to be a power forward.  Tanking our way into the lottery will get us a piece that can actually contribute.  We’re going to get a full offseason to start gelling for real under Mark Jackson this time.  All of our losing is finally going to lead to some wins.  All of this was sound logic until you take one giant step back and remind yourself of the one most basic fundamental thing, these are the freaking Golden State Warriors we’re talking about.

The reality is our entire season will hinge on two creaky ankles.  No draft pick is going to make Curry, Thompson or Lee NBA caliber defenders. They could tank the rest of this season harder then an anvil landing on Wiley Coyote’s head and they’re still not getting an impact player out of the draft at #7.  By the grace of god Coach Jackson is getting a second chance to make a first impression.  Coach Malone (the guy who should be in charge) will be most likely getting his own gig somewhere else next year and Larry Riley will still be first mate to Joe Lacob on the Titanic.

 
Mark Jackson will have a lot to prove in his second year as coach

and David Lee will need to prove himself to be a leader.

Heading into the offseason we’re going with the patented “wait till next” year sales pitch whose copyrights came with the team in the sale to Joe Lacob. I’m getting more and more skeptical the closer we get to the 2013 season.  All I can see is the makings of yet another mediocre roster that is just ONE more piece from really competing for something.  Sure, we’re going to add a top 10 center and a top 10 point guard to the mix but do we have a top 10 leader or top 10 competitor on this team?  From what I can see, David Lee will be the voice and leader of this team.  I don’t see Curry taking on that role and didn’t see Bogut doing it during his time in Milwaukee.  If our new center comes in just trying to shake the rust off and fit in we’re doomed.  I know the guy cares but I hope I'm not the only one who got spooked when looking him up on Basketball-reference.com and saw his closest career comparison was Joe Barely Cares.

In 2011-12 we finally added an NBA caliber bench but the return of the most valuable and versatile members of that group (Rush and McGuire) are up in the air until further notice.  Charles Jenkins has shown he will be a player in this league, Jeremy Tyler has shown enough passion to overtake Andris Biedrins’ rotting corpse and Richard Jefferson isn’t road kill just yet.  You would figure this should be the easiest part of assembling an NBA team but for some reason it took us over a decade to do.

We are a couple of re-signings, a lottery pick and one major acquisition away from making waves in the west.  The first two shouldn’t be too difficult and aren’t as critical to our future success.  The third part shouldn’t be that big of deal either.  All we need is a small forward who can handle the ball and play point forward some, create shots for himself, create shots for others, rebound well and defend multiple positions. It’ll be a done deal if we get the 7th pick in the draft no?  There’s got to be one of those laying around somewhere right?  (I’ll get to Lamar Kardashian in the trade section below.)

Draft: Obviously a lottery pick that doesn’t belong to you doesn’t yield much.  Three second round picks (the San Antonio pick is like a high second rounder with guaranteed money attached) do not equal one top 10 pick.  Even though I’ve said that this year’s potential top 10 pick won’t be a difference maker at the seventh slot, the pick should be a lot better than what we’ll get next year if we’re healthy.  

Here are a few scenarios that could happen if the Warriors didn’t have about the same luck in the lottery that Kenny has on South Park: 

1. Move up to the top of the lottery to transform the franchise with Anthony Davis or really help the current core with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at #2. 

2. Land at number seven and hope Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond or Perry Jones slip a little to provide some depth but not much else.

3. Trade the number 27ish pick we actually own and two second rounder’s to get up as high as 14 and take a real PG (Kendall Marshall), a real rebounder (Jared Sullinger) a solid if unspectacular small forward (Terrance Jones) or a guy who can do a little of everything but is too afraid to fly to make it to out of state road games (Royce White).

Free Agency:  Impact free agents don’t want to come here even when we have cap room and WANT to over pay.  Next year Biedrins and Jefferson will be sinking on our cap like a pair of cement shoes but will be easier to move after the season.  Curry will also be eligible for an extension at the end of 2012-13 so the money we shed off the cap will mostly land in his pocket.  I do expect him to be healthy and play his ass off in order to force the Warriors to overpay for him over the next five years.  We can’t afford anyone worth mentioning but let’s check the list of the restricted and unrestricted free agent forwards who can do more than walk and chew gum.  There are no names that will fill our Scottie Pippen size needs even if we could afford one.

Dominic McGuire, Brandon Rush(R), Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Antawn Jamison (as if), Michael Beasley(R),  Anthony Randolph(R) (if you forget about the chewing gum part), Reggie Evans, Darrell Arthur(R), DeShawn Stevenson, Landry Fields(R), Ryan Anderson, Nicolas Batum (R), Jason Thompson, Tim Duncan, Josh Howard, CJ Miles, JJ Hickson, Courtney Lee. (R)=restricted

We still need someone on this roster whose main goal is to help everyone else play to their potential so I’m going to float out Jason Kidd’s name one more time.  Neither Steph nor Jenkins are natural point guards and this guy is the best teacher/mentor candidate they could possibly get on the cheap.  He’s ready to retire and it’s time he comes back to Oakland to get his just due and appreciation from the hometown fans.

Trades: Now that Monta is gone, we have our center and Lee remains untradeable guess who’s next…It’s time to play the “what can we get for Steph” game.  With so few options above you should start hearing a name like Rajon Rondo again.  Hopefully he plays well enough so guys like Deron Williams and Chris Paul aren’t mentioned as jokes.  I wont be surprised if we started doing the Dwight Howard pipe dream dance again and I will be shocked if we don’t hear the names Curry, Bogut and Howard in the same sentence in March. 

Mr. Kardashian mailed in this season in epic fashion.

In the past couple of days Lamar Odom’s name and cremated remains have been floating about. What are the chances that a guy who laid down for the defending champs is going to come to Oakland and play hard?  I’d consider it in a straight swap for Dorrell Wright’s passive play and reasonable contract but not much else.  For a guy who went from being known as “The Goods” to “The Candy Man” we might just be better off with Wright.  At least he doesn’t come saddled with a reality TV show and a Kardashian. 

Going into the offseason I see us as having a nice roster that will compete but is still a perimeter oriented team.  We’ll shoot our way past some good teams and out of games against some bad ones.  We have some presence on the inside for the first time ever it seems but we’ll still bog down when the game is on the line. They will be strapped for cash and the roster is pretty much set outside of marginal signings and a couple of crappy draft picks.  It is looking more and more like we’re going into 2013 with the rally cry of “that 8 seed is totally up for grabs in the West!” and later in the year, “we’re only one game out in the fight for the 8th seed!” It’s shaping up to be another year of killing the messengers Jim Barnett and Bob Fitzgerald.

If I’m off base let me know.  Are we happy with an 8 seed next year or should we expect more?  Do we have a shot at any free agents? Are the draft picks going to amount to anything?  Is it going to be another year of rumor mongering and wondering what types of names should be put into the trade machine?  These questions are the reasons I’m not falling for the banana in the tail pipe and why I expect to be Trapped in Golden State for yet another year whether I want to admit it or not.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob open letter


Open Letter to Joe Lacob



Dear Mr. Lacob,

I think you are well aware that these are trying times for Warrior fans.  It’s not that we’re losing; the vast majority of us want that right now.  The problem has been the statements! All the talk.  No excuses, defense and playoffs?  I know you had good intentions and fully planned on making good but even the fair weather fans knew it was a pipe dream with this roster.  So it really just made us hardcore fans want to rip our eyes out.  Then we wanted to blow our ears out because we could still hear Fitz and Barnett telling us how close we are.  We could all see that the team would have to over achieve in a major way to do it and a brutal beating in the first round of the postseason wouldn’t have validated much anyways.  I know you can’t come out and say we’re tanking and I know you want to win but the fans are definitely right on this one.  We do appreciate that there is more to your strategy then a good marketing slogan but there is a middle ground between sugar coating and making delusional statements, it’s called reality.  As some of the most passionate fans in the league that’s all we want.  We’d rather hear silence than bullshit.

The biggest issue for a long time now has been our middle of the pack status that doesn’t allow for the acquisition of top free agents or quality draft picks.  I’ve been begging for this team to bottom out since we missed the playoffs in 2008 because it was obvious we had maxed out the potential of the pieces in place.  Your team in Boston was only able to swing the Kevin Garnett deal because they had hit rock bottom and had the type of young cheap assets and draft picks necessary to complete a deal like that.  You’ve done a GREAT job buying picks and acquiring some nice talent but those are moves made to fill out a roster, not getting the guy who makes us a contender.  

Outside of the talk you got off to a good start. We may have been rooting hard Larry Ellison to take control of the team because we wanted the deepest pockets in the league but I’m not complaining that a guy who proclaimed to be a true Dub fan won the bidding war.  I respect the fact that it seems as though we’ve got someone that understands the plight of the fans and is a savvy businessman who realizes the way to truly grow this brand is to put a winner on the floor.  By getting rid of Don Nelson and Robert Rowell while bringing in a new front office a lot of the top down toxicity was eliminated.  I like Mark Jackson’s signing but I think Keith Smart was doing more with less (pre trade of course).  After a full training camp and a more balanced roster he should be on a short leash next season, especially with the predications.  Acquiring the D league team and preparing to move them to the Bay is also a nice touch.  It seems the only question in the front office that remains is Larry Riley and when Bob Myers can take the assistant tag off of his title.

Can't say I haven't seen my share of bad basketball this season.

There is no question that a lot of work remains to be done before next season so I’ve outlined our needs from this fan's perspective.

Dump Biedrins and Wright: If you can package Dorrell Wright’s expiring contract this offseason to get rid of Andris Biedrins, even if it’s for a sack of rocks, you will have unilateral support around the bay.  I’m not sure you could even get a sack of rocks for that package at this point.  The flexibility is more important than anything those two have contributed this year.  Just getting rid of the indecisive play on the court and indifferent attitude off of it will be addition by subtraction. 

Retain Rush and McGuire: We ALL like Brandon Rush and Dominic McGuire more than those two at this point anyways and it’s not even close. These are the type of low-key hard-nosed guys that achieve cult status in the Bay Area.  Guys have value up to a certain price but we better not see them sign reasonable deals anywhere else this offseason. It would be a bitter pill to swallow to lose these two while Wright and Biedrins appear on our opening day roster.

Acquire a playmaking Point Guard and/or Small Forward: Since the roster is pretty much set I’d hope that your short list is focused on getting a solid starting caliber 3.  Someone that can make plays for himself and others along with a true back up point.  I’m not sure who is coming up on free agency or if we’ll get a pick high enough for a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Terrance Jones but I’ve got a name that can do wonders for this team in a minimal role.  Jason Kidd.  Convince this guy to spend a year back in Oakland where everyone loves him so he can be a mentor to Steph and Jenkins while putting them through a one year (or two) clinic on how to run a team and play better defense. You need to find playmakers whether they are on the roster or elsewhere and that is the true test this off-season.

Even though I’m probably the biggest Monta Ellis fan you know I do agree with the trade and have talked many fans off the ledge already.  Stephen Jackson’s involvement almost gave me a heart attack but you did a good job of mitigating that problem. I couldn’t stand to watch him put on the uniform he completely disrespected just a couple years ago. Richard Jefferson will tie up more cap space for longer but you did acquire an extra asset out of it. If nothing else he’s better than Dorrell Wright.  If we miss out on our lottery pick and you are able to buy it back I promise you will win over a lot of disgruntled fans in the process.  For now the best policy is still to win by losing. If we have to give up anything other than your money to continue prolonging the inevitable then the price is too steep.

Now that some time has passed I'm interested to know what you took away from that Chris Mullin night experience?  I don’t fault anyone who chose that moment to be heard because you never know when you would get another chance.  Ralph Barbieri said it pretty well the next day when he called Murph & Mac and compared it to a political Oscar speech.  You do it when everyone is watching or you never get an audience.  Your appearance on KNBR the next morning was also a classy and ballsy move. Lord knows we’re going to need plenty more of that to turn this thing around for more than one or two seasons this time.  I thought you owned up to the moment beautifully and it was the best hour of radio I’ve heard in a while.  I especially liked your take on the situation saying, “I probably would have booed me a little.” Classic.

We all wish Chris Cohan’s kid wasn’t out there with him in 2000 and we all wish Chris Mullin wasn’t out there this time around.  I wasn’t booing but I did get a huge laugh out of it.  I was actually one of many in section 115 who stood and clapped for you as you returned to your seat sans fiancée.  The people who were most critical were people outside of the area who don’t follow Golden State basketball and I guess you could add Rick Barry to that list too.  Damn the national media for judging the fan base when they have no idea of our plight unless of course they are from Cleveland. 

Keep working hard, keep away from the bold statements and keep using that credit card the way you have.  If you can manage that we’ll continue going to games and maybe even maintain some sort of sanity when it comes to the subject of Warriors basketball.  Like many fans I’m cursed to watch either way but I hope for everyone’s sake we are truly trending up.  Otherwise it is going to get ugly around here and Mullin night will be an example of the good times.  Your Dodger loving business partner is dead to me but I wish the rest of your team from top to bottom nothing but the best of luck until our extended honeymoon is over in November.

Sincerely,

Justin Taylor
Trapped in Golden State

PS: I encourage all fans who are Trapped in Golden State to take a moment to add to the list I've started.  I know a lot of you have a lot to say and I'd love to hear it even if Mr. Lacob doesn't.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Trapped Golden State Warrior fan's life

By Justin Taylor


I’ve been a Warriors fan for as long as I can remember, literally.  Some of my first clear memories are of going to games starring Joe Barely Cares and Sleepy Floyd at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena with my Dad and brother.  I was there when Mitch Richmond held Michael Jordan to 14 points. Present when Chris Webber threw down behind the back on Charles Barkley and also an hour and a half before tip off chanting Dallas sucks before we closed them out game 6 of the 2007 playoffs.  I supported Chris Mullin all the way from an alcoholic bust to hall of famer sitting in the rafters of Oracle Arena. 

Two of the best years of my life came watching RUN TMC run Don Nelson’s offense like a perfectly tuned Ferrari.  Then witnessed that beautiful machine turn into a Honda or a Billy Owens in the blink of Nellie’s eye.  I loved screaming MANUTE as our personal 7’7 freak show launched threes with the fans, coach’s and marketing department’s blessings.  I was cheering on draft day when Nellie swung the trade of Anfernee Hardaway for Chris Webber to rebuild his Ferrari and then watched in horror as management allowed him to ghost ride it out of town after one year.  Even though it had nine years left on a 10 year lease.  All that was left behind was a Datsun named Tom Gugliotta which magically became a Yugo known as Donyell Marshall after Nellie had already left on foot.  I can’t remember a franchise choosing a coach over a budding superstar like that since.  We bottomed out again only to get the number one pick in a year when Joe Smith was the consensus number one guy.  Anyone who says they advocated Kevin Garnett is a revisionist historian. 

Bay Area royalty

I was there to see hundreds, if not thousands, of UTEP two steps and killer crossovers and paid dearly for those days via my experiences with Bimbo Coles, Mookie Blaylock , BJ Armstrong, Mugsy Bogues, and Vonteego Cummings.  I followed the team down to San Jose yelling SPREEE for THREEE the whole way because the team was absolutely terrible and there was nothing else to root for.  I followed them back to the Arena in Oakland the following year and even though I may have secretly wanted to strangle PJ Carlesimo and kick him back to Seton Hall I would never have advised Latrell Sprewell to act on the notion.  That was all part of a magic trick that   turned our best player into Chris Mills, John Starks, Terry Cummings, two more years of PJ plus Adonal Foyle and Todd Fuller instead of Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady

I Choose to remember this guy instead of the version that choked his coach or
 turned down $21 million because he "had to feed his family"

I was beyond pissed when we got screwed in the lottery again after winning 17 games and paid cash for the right to swap Vince Carter for Antawn Jamison.  After all that misery and another dismal 20 win season I was actually happy to trade the 7th pick in a crappy draft for the rights to Larry Hughes and some of the most spectacular bricks the league has ever seen.  That combination led us all the way back to another 17 win season and yet another screw job in the lottery.  Maybe we were better off for it since we probably would have just ended up with Kwame Brown or Eddy Curry had we landed the number one pick instead of Jason Richardson at number five.  I was over the moon about getting Gilbert Arenas in the second round but came crashing right back to earth when NBA rules prevented us from keeping him after two lousy yet promising seasons.  Is this bio starting to sound like a suicide note or is it just me?  Anyways, after all that the only thing I had to look forward to was J-Rich in the dunk contest, Troy Murphy getting his nose broken repeatedly and booing Mike Dunleavy as he would hide from the action 30 feet from the hoop.

Being the sentimental guy that I am I have to say that I was pretty excited to see Chris Mullin come back as general manager in training then GM of the team if only because he made the fan base feel like we deserved to be winners again.  It was either that or maybe just because Gary St. Jean was gone for good.  All those good feelings went away pretty quickly when his first moves as executive were overpaying Foyle, Murphy, Dunleavy, DEREK FISHER and hiring Mike Montgomery to coach them.  Personally I kind of liked Eric Musselman during the RUN GilRichLeavy era (Did that sound forced?) but apparently having a coach with expectations kind of wore on the players. 

Even though he wasn’t the best executive in the league by any stretch, Mully wasn’t afraid to take risks or admit his mistakes. Those are qualities that most GM’s don’t possess because they are always on the hot seat.  He took one low risk high reward swing for the fences at the trade deadline that year when he traded Speedy Claxton’s bad back and Dale Davis’s carcass for a mercurial, overweight, oft injured malcontent point guard named Baron Davis.  Even though you could feel a culture shift coming, Mullin dispatched Montgomery back to the college ranks after one underwhelming season and brought back the guy who kicked off the trip down the rabbit hole 15 years earlier, Don Nelson. 

It was a nervous time that gave me a queasy feeling deep down but it couldn’t get any worse and at least we had a legitimate NBA coach.  In a way, it kind of felt like we were getting the band back together.  Mullin even brought Mitch Richmond back to assist around the front office and help the fan base forget that Chris Cohan still owned the team.  Around the next trade deadline Mullin took his biggest risk yet by swinging a trade for Stephen Jackson of Malice at the Palace fame along with other hits such as firing a hand gun outside an Indiana strip club and tattooing praying hands holding a gun because “he prayed he’d never have to use a gun again.”  That trade also netted them Al Harrington and successfully cleared out all of his previous mistakes not named Adonal Foyle’s 5 year $41.6 million contract. (Derek Fisher was traded to Utah for the type of pupu platter you could expect in return for Derek Fisher)



That was an amazing time for Warrior fans across the Bay Area and a period of validation to me for all the time invested in previous years.  People everywhere remember the Warriors We Believe team for taking down the one seed Mavericks but the way we got the opportunity to challenge them often gets overlooked.  The team was 26-35 at the time of the trade and the playoffs were not in the cards even with significant improvement.  The rest is history.  The newly formed squad went on a tear, a local restaurant owner brought a sign that read “We Believe Playoff” and we closed out the season on a 16-5 run including nine of their last ten in the loaded western conference.  The stars aligned perfectly but we still needed a win and a halfway decent Clippers team to lose to a terrible hurricane refugee New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets team on the last day of the season or it was all for nothing.  With that we punched our ticket to face MVP Dirk Nowitzki and his league leading 67 win Mavericks squad that we just happened to own over the last two seasons in what equaled a couple of the most enjoyable weeks of my life.

Everyone knows what happened next.  Nellie used his intimate knowledge of a Dallas team he built and the coach he trained to completely dismantle the best team in their franchise’s history up until that point.  It took the psyche of that team and it’s star years to recover from that.  Being at game 6 of that series was no doubt a high point in my life.  I was so geeked up my brother and I had to leave work at 3pm just to be at the gates of the parking lot when it opened.   Starting Let’s Go Warriors chants before the team’s even came out for shoot-around and joining in on the Dallas Sucks and Nowitzki Sucks chants before they even hit the layup line is something that only happens in rabid college towns, not corporate hijacked NBA arenas.  We stood as a crowd going ballistic for the final three quarters of that game and no one will ever be able to convince me that we as a fan base did not dramatically affect that game and the series as a whole.

Still gives me chills...


I spent the following series against Utah huddled with my entire family around a 27” tv in my grandma’s basement in beautiful Hastings, Nebraska.  Who knew when the trip was planned month’s earlier that we’d be forfeiting a chance to be there to see our team fight for a chance to play in the Western Conference Finals?  We were going absolutely berserk as Baron Davis posterized Andrei Kirilenko (I swear I could hear Oracle exploding from 1500 miles away) but a couple of bad breaks left that as the sole highlight of a series that we could have and probably should have won.

Nellie followed the triumphant return of the Warriors and the best fans in the league by convincing Mullin to recreate the Mitch Richmond for Billy Owens trade by sending J-Rich to the Bobcats for a 19 year old toothpick named Brandan Wright.  It might have been a decent trade if ownership had allowed Mullin to use the $10 million dollar trade exception for another contributor, but they showed that their favorite part of the swap was dumping J-Rich’s perfectly tolerable salary.  We won 48 games in a fun afterglow of a year in 2008 to earn the honor of greatest team ever to not make the playoffs.  By the time a free agent Baron walked to the Clippers because they offered about 25 million more hot fudge sundaes than us plus an opportunity to focus on producing movies instead of basketball our return to relevance was over. 
The team’s deconstruction continued with the panic signing of Corey Maggette (A guy who was a ball stopper the minute he came out of the womb.) because Elton Brand and his surgically repaired knee wanted no part of this team.  Monta Ellis celebrated his newly signed $66 million contract by wrapping his moped around a tree, mangling his ankle and getting suspended without pay for it while he recovered for something like 70 games of the season.  Between Mullin advocating the resigning of Davis, protesting the signing of Maggette, sticking up for Ellis after he destroyed his ankle as well as our season and Nelson’s back room back stabbing that was the end of his short return as the king in Golden State.  The only enjoyable thing worth watching since was Monta’s highlights and growth and, and, yeah, Monta growing up…that’s it.

I was booing Cohan in 2000 and was starting chants begging him to sell the team from 2009 until my wish finally came true in late 2010.  I was there to witness Joe Lacob getting booed in 2012 for the sins of his predecessors, the trade of Ellis, the toothless stripped down team on the floor and the awkward pause that begged for an ass kicking.  That wasn’t me though.  I’ve got thick skin and an eye on the future.  He sent Nellie out to pasture, brought in a management team that finally knows more about basketball than me or even the average fan and showed the balls necessary to be something more than mediocre.  As for me, I think it’s obvious at this point I’m not going anywhere.  My lifetime of torture has driven my Dad to care more about the Lakers of all teams and my brother to indifference but I’m here watching every word and move of our new owner and regime.  Gary St. Jean telling me how great things are on the pre and post game is a tough pill to swallow but I’m granting them the opportunity to SHOW me.  I have been through more than enough to just laugh it off when they TELL me we are a playoff team.  I’d only be lying to myself and anyone who reads my life story if I pretended I wasn’t going to be right there going crazy next time we are a contender whether it’s next season or 30 years from now.