Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Golden State Super Bowl

By Justin Taylor

This is it.  The moment we’ve all been waiting for.  The day we worked our tails off for all season long.  It wasn’t easy but now it’s time to see if our hard work and dedication to losing will pay off in the end.  This where the mediocre get separated from the terrible and the terrible separate from the atrocious.  Tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen, is the annual big game in Bay Area basketball that I refer to as the Golden State Superbowl.  It’s not as if anyone reading is wondering what I’m talking about but for anyone outside the Bay, this is (in my best Marv Albert voice) the NBA Draft Lottery!

At this time every year I’m overcome with excitement and embarrassment all in one breath.  On one hand it gives you a sense of optimism that this could be our year.  On the other hand it’s just another example of how pathetic our team is every single season.  If the ping pong balls bounce our way it’ll give Jerry West, Bob Myers and Joe Lacob a real asset to work with whether it be through the draft or through trade.  If we get another bad bounce those three will have their work cut out for them as they fill the roster, sell tickets and do it all without getting booed out of their own building.

The last time we struck it rich it turned out to be fools gold

This is the time where all of the tanking pays off, at least in theory.  First off, not all NBA Drafts are created equal.  For every Akeem (as Hakeem was known on draft day), Shaquille, C-Webb and LeBron there is a Pervis Ellison, Michael Olowokandi or Joe Smith (aka Soft Serve).  This draft falls somewhere in the middle of those examples and for 12 of the 14 lottery teams it probably wasn’t worth tanking games for.  This is not the LeBron draft where three of the top five picks were superstars  (Chris Bosh was never a superstar) nor is it a remake of 1984 where three of the 20 greatest players of all time came off the board in the first five picks (Olajuwon, Jordan and Barkley).  In my mind there is one grand prize in this draft and a bunch of blue ribbons.

If you’ve got a shot at the Unibrow (Anthony Davis) and your team sucks, you tank.  The Charlotte Bobcats went above and beyond to give themselves every opportunity to land the one “guaranteed” star in this draft.  The Unibrow isn’t Tim Duncan, Patrick Ewing or Hakeem Olajuwon but it’s safe to say he’s no Joe Smith, Kwame Brown or Andrea Bargnani.  Since there is only one guy I expect to be a star coming out this year I am calling this the UniWow Draft, which would make tomorrow’s lottery the UniWow Sweepstakes for everyone but the Warriors (because I’ve already established it’s our Superbowl).

Outside of Davis you’ve got Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (a potential all star with a high ceiling but a long way to go to get there), Thomas Robinson (probably the most physically ready prospect of the three) and a substantial drop thereafter.  Andre Drummond is a huge man and athletic freak who has yet to pair skills with those physical gifts.  He offers the biggest boom or bust potential since he could be a David Robinson type or a DJ Mbenga.  Perry Jones invokes names like Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph on a regular basis and I don’t see Warrior fans clamoring for another dose of that medicine.  Those last two round out the guys where the reward could potentially outweigh the risk.  Based on this assessment of the 2012 NBA draft (one star and four potential all stars) I’ll repeat my original statement that this draft wasn’t worth the tank job for most of the teams involved.  I see a lot of really good rotation guys with ten-year careers helping good teams but you don’t tank for solid role players.

The Warriors situation was obviously different.  Our choice was to add a top seven pick to next year’s squad by tanking or give away the number eight pick.  No grey area there, just facts.  Unless we jump to the top three tomorrow I’m not overly impressed with any of the options available at our slot.  That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t rooting for losses and am not clutching my lucky Chris Mullin (the seventh pick in 1985) bobblehead as I hope for lightning to strike or for the order to stay as is.  If I rooted for a less cursed franchise I’d probably be really confident about keeping our pick right now but I don’t and I’m not.  Saying we have a 12% chance of moving up and a 75% chance of staying put feels more like a 0% chance of improving and a 50/50 coin flip away from giving our pick to the Jazz.

Last time we really tanked we ended up with this guy instead of Yao Ming

If we do keep our pick I don’t think that it will yield an elite player who will come in and make an immediate impact but that’s not exactly what I’m crossing my fingers for.  That would require a lot of dominoes to fall in exactly the right spot and at this point the basketball gods have given no indication that’s on the horizon.  Below I’m outlining what I’d like to see happen on draft day in all possible scenarios.

Jump to number 1:  Sign the Unibrow as soon as you win the lottery and don’t look back.  As an added precaution I’d also wrap him in bubble wrap and lock him in a padded room until training camp starts.  Leave nothing to chance.  Speaking of leaving nothing to chance, I wouldn’t make any other major moves until the season starts, our current core is healthy and you have a solid idea of how Uni stacks up against NBA competition right now.  At that point the Rush and McGuire re-signings fill out the roster and we are starting to look like contenders.  If he pans out as expected I’d actually look to move Curry in a package for Rajon Rondo to make Uni, Lee and Bogut more effective on offense while making us one of the best defensive teams in the league.  That’s getting way too far ahead of myself so lets look at the other scenarios.

Jump to number 2:  Draft Kidd-Gilchrist and follow that up by trading Dick Jefferson and Dorrell Wright to anyone with some magic beans to spare.  You’d still want to resign Rush and McGuire for depth, shooting and versatility but you would have your small forward of the future if not the present.

Jump to number 3:  I think I’d be torn between Robinson and Drummond because you get into the classic argument of ceiling vs. NBA ready.  Robinson will contribute in the defense and rebounding departments immediately while Drummond could end up the best player in the draft or good for nothing but six fouls in a worst-case scenario.  This is where Jerry West’s scouting and intuition will be put to its biggest test in Golden State.  Before we go on the clock I would expect the selection to be shopped heavily.  I think the team would be better if you moved Biedrins, Wright and the pick to Philly for Andre Iguodala but I’d listen to arguments against it. 

Stay at number 7:  Shop till you drop young Bob Myers.  Unless the Logo says he really likes someone who will be on the board at that point I’m looking at every single option available.   The trades won’t be nearly as sweet and would require more risk then they would with the second or third picks but believe it or not I’ve got a few thoughts on that…

Trade #1: Biedrins, Wright, the Udoh trade exception, the #7, #35 and #52 picks to Atlanta for Joe Johnson and Zaza Pachulia.  Sounds crazy but it saves the Hawks almost $40 million dollars.  I’d be vary weary of those last two years on Johnson’s contract but it makes us the best shooting, most balanced offense in the entire league if they go for it.

Trade #2: Richard Jefferson and Dorell Wright or the Udoh trade exception (whichever they prefer) plus the #7 pick and the second rounders for Rudy Gay.  Again, it might sound crazy but it saves another small market team $20 million after signing the pick.

You can see the common theme of any trade involving the seventh pick involves a lot of risk in terms of dollars but one thing that Lacober hasn’t been since arriving is cheap.  They may be ridiculously big talkers but they are also big spenders looking to make a splash while trying to give half of the fan base a reason to stay on board as they threaten to leave Oakland.  I’ll have more on that soon but until then, come on lucky number 7!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Golden State Warriors of San Francisco

Today the Golden State Warriors officially announced that they have every intention of becoming the San Francisco Warriors for 2017-18 season; everything is official but the name, which will come right before the moving trucks show up.  The polarizing cheers and jeers started immediately and I don’t see them stopping anytime soon.  Fans in the East Bay are pissed (and in some cases devastated) while supporters in the city, the North Bay and on the Peninsula are toasting (champagne or white wine I’d imagine) the move.  Who would’ve thought that the extra 15 minutes of travel time and a new/old logo would make such a huge impact?  Some say they are taking the world away, some say they are just bringing it back and I say they’re just moving it 15 miles down the road and making it better.  The fact is that this is the Bay Area's team not Oakland's team.  The Raiders and A's are Oakland teams, the Giants and Niners are San Francisco teams but the thing that is so great about the Warriors is that anyone in the Bay can love them, there are no boundaries to being a Warriors fan.

I’ll be in the arena pumped up and rocking my “City” jersey from day one but will the rest of the faithful be there ready to intimidate opponents (circa 1992 or 2007) with me?  The people crying out against the move tell me I’ll be sitting with a bunch of Facebooking, wine sipping, cheese nibbling yuppies while the ones in favor tell me those are the ones who buy most of the season tickets already.  I figure on most days I’ll be sitting with the same hardcore fanatics I’ve spent most of my life with.  Some days when I’m lucky enough to get great seats I’ll be sitting with tourists, bankers and venture capitalists but that happens at Oracle Arena too.  The divide starts clearing up after eight to ten rows in Oakland but at Lacober Arena; my name for the place until someone comes up with a better one for me; I’m thinking that divide won’t happen until you get to the way upper half of the lower bowl.  So far the debate seems a little bit like the class warfare of American politics but we’re not talking about the 99 against the one.

No one can question that the game day experience will improve immensely because fans will no longer be showing up 10 minutes before tip off and clearing the parking lot ten minutes after it ends.  From now on we’re going to be filling bars and restaurants before games and hitting the night scene after; hopefully celebrating victories well into the playoffs.  Now that’s what I call a “Great time out!”  I never did that once at Oracle.  Going straight home after we beat the Mavericks in 2007 was a huge disappointment but in 2017 we’ll be hitting the town 20,000 deep painting the town blue and yellow.

Will the fair weather fans get caught up in the views during games?

Make no mistake that our “Great time out” is going to cost us.  For season ticket holders, holy shit, get ready for the biggest round of sticker shock ever.  I don’t see how seat licenses start at less then $20k and that’s before you buy the damn tickets.  Real quick I’m just going to sum up what my trip from the East Bay is going to cost on top of my normal Oracle expenses.  Most amounts are approximate: $30 extra for each ticket, $6 for extra gas unless we’re paying that much per gallon in 2017, $5 for bridge toll (which will probably be more like $10 in 2017), $20 for parking plus a decent dinner (which wasn’t an option before) and whatever the increases for beer, food and merchandise are.  That’s basically a minimum of $100 if I bring my wife.  It’ll be more fun and a better experience but I’ll be paying extra for every ounce of beer and overall enjoyment; but at least I can go home smelling like garlic fries.

Transportation will probably be a bitch too with only 1,000 spots included so far and where the hell is my $40 parking spot going to be because you know we can kiss $18 parking goodbye?  I'd hate to pay that much to walk a mile to the front door!  In the next five years we’ll be hearing about all the virtues of BART, MUNI and CalTrain but I want to come and go as I please without consulting the schedule of some transportation service that’s always running late.  For those that do take BART it will probably be about the same number of stops (if not less) and about the same number of steps to the arena when you get off the train so don’t let anyone make that the excuse.  There's also going to be the new Transbay Terminal that will be fully operational by that time in theory so public transportation should actually be very good as a whole.

Once you get through the traffic going from a Giants game to a Warriors game is going to be great

Pac Bell Park completely transformed China Basin from a shit hole to a part of town where you wanted to enjoy an afternoon in the city.  Lacober Arena is going to turn a good piece of waterfront closer to downtown into the hottest spot in the entire city.  The Giants ballpark also gave us a World Series, Barry Bonds home run chase, an All Star game, a couple concerts, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and the XFL.  Someday Lacober Arena will give us an NBA All Star Weekend, every big concert imaginable, some NCAA tournament games and (Lord willing) an NBA championship.  I’ll take option number two if I had to choose but that’s not the case, these venues are a half-mile waterfront walk away from each other!  On days when the Giants and Warriors are playing traffic is going to be a nightmare but once you’re in there will be no better place to be on the entire west coast; in fact I cant wait for a nice day sometime between April in June when I can hit an afternoon Giants game, grab some dinner after and be just in time for a 7:30pm tip off at Lacober.

You won't believe this but Joe Lacob was making bold statements and talking a big game today

It’s going to be interesting next season when the debate for and against the move is taking place during games at Oracle.  When the Lakers are in town we might hear dueling chants of OAK and SFO between BEAT LAs.  I’m not ruling anything out yet.  You think Joe Lacob got booed on Mully Night?  If he so much as looks at a microphone between 2013 and 2017 it could get ugly.  For the Giants fans in the crowd we can’t let the Dodger loving Goober off the hook either.  Chris Cohan didn’t show his face until the 2007 playoffs after getting showered with hate at the 2000 All Star game and I half expect Lacob and McBoober (is it not clear yet that I’m a Giants fan too?) to follow Cohan on this one.

Outside of an NBA championship this will be the Lacober crowning achievement and since you can never guarantee one of those (although I won’t rule it out with these guys) it’s no wonder they are going full steam ahead.  It’s unreal the way they act like the things they say leave little room for doubt; I wonder whether they’ll have another Sorry We Suck Day if this plan falls through they way they did when the playoff proclamation fell flat.  They must be at least a little upset that big announcements like this one barely show up on ESPN.com let alone SportsCenter.

Like I’ve said from the start I could really care less when push comes to shove, I just want a fucking winner!  I’m so tired of being looked down on by Laker fans it drives me nuts and a new arena won’t change that.  Contrary to popular belief a new home isn’t going to draw top tier talent either.  Is any body tripping over themselves to play with Jay-Z in Brooklyn?  Deron Williams is considering leaving millions of dollars on the table to walk in a couple months and Dwight Howard wants a trade there because he’s unwilling to forfeit a red cent to play for Jigga.  You think that players will come because they can live in San Francisco?  They can do that now and still have a 15-minute reverse commute to the arena and the practice facility.  Does sporting cool “The City” jerseys appeal to superstars and do they care whether the team is called San Francisco or Golden State?  The only things that matter are deep playoff runs and money; and every team has money.  With all things being equal you better be sporting a winner and it’s got to start now, not 2017.

For the city and everyone else involved this thing will be a real cash cow.  Britney Spears and every other over priced disposable lip syncing teeny bopping act will be crawling over each other to get a date at this place.  They’ll have to get in line behind people like U2, Van Halen (not Van Hagar; shot out to my man Joe Dirt), Madonna, the Stones, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Metallica, MotoX, the circus (as long as people in SF and PETA promise not to protest) and you get the freakin point.  When you add up the games, shows and events we’re talking over a hundred dates on the calendar and that’s before the San Jose Sharks get tired of losing money start renting from Lacober.

Like a faberge egg sitting out on the bay 

As much as the Forty Niners mean to the city they wanted a billion dollar stadium for 12 days a year max.  This is the cities second chance in as many years to step up, get a deal done and claim a victory after admitting defeat at Candlestick Point.  Even with the rubber stamp by a lame duck mayor this project has a ton of hoops to jump through before a shovel (or a pile on in this case) ever hits pay dirt.  We all know what a pain in the ass SF politicians are but I can’t blame them for hesitating to pony up the funds for the Niners.  But this has to happen right?  We’re talking the premier venue on the west coast here.  This isn’t Candlestick; for every single event held there hundreds of existing businesses in the area are going to see massive increases in happy paying customers.  Think about Red’s Java Hut for a second….yeah…he’s about to be RICH BITCH! (trademark: Dave Chappelle)

They say it’s going to be a $500 million project; with $100 million going straight into the crumbling foundation; and they say money is no issue.  Are we to believe that they can build a world class, state of the art venue in the middle of a city where everything is overpriced for $400 million?  I’m going to take them at their word when they maintain it can be done even if their words aren’t worth a damn thing.  I’m also wondering if that number buys them territorial rights to combat Larry Ellison when he buys a team and tries to shoehorn them into the Bay or if that costs extra.

If the money isn’t a problem and the politicians don’t shoot themselves in the foot we’re still not out of the woods.  They are either going have to appease or grease the palms of environmentalists, neighborhood associations, politicians and (as Tom Tolbert put it to Lacober on KNBR) those people who are looking out for the safe migration of the Columbian salamander.  The special interests in San Francisco are probably as prominent as anywhere else in the country.  Don’t mess with their views, don’t mess with their air quality, don’t touch their native insects and don’t even think about messing with their money.  All I’m saying is that they should still secretly scout other sites as if they were trying to buy a short sale with anything less then all cash.

It’s hard not to feel for the people of Oakland knowing that this might just be the first domino to fall in the overall professional sports exodus.  At the same time it’s equally of hard to feel bad for Jean Quan and the rest of the local government who saw this coming for years.  After all that time they couldn’t come up with anything better than Coliseum City when it was obvious the location was one of the biggest reason the Warriors wanted out.  What did they expect the team to do while they spent all their time trying to appease the Oakland A’s greedy ass billionaire cheap skate owners?  When I first discussed the topic last month I proposed one of two Jack London locations that would have been infinitely better for the team and Oakland then Coliseum Shitty.  It’s also hard to see any other fate for Oracle Arena then The Bay Area Sports Guy’s assertion that it will become a nicer version of the Cow Palace with it’s Tattoo and Gun Expos.  If the Warriors feel compelled to do the city one small solid on their way out they could negotiate a deal to let the their D league team (currently known as the Dakota Wizards) play their games at Oracle and rename them the Oakland Oaks.

This should be the new home of the Oakland Oaks come 2017

The Warriors could ultimately end up back in Oakland but the damage has been done.  Coliseum City is officially on life support and the stadium is not the reason Raider games are getting blacked out each year.  I could be proved wrong if they build a stadium with 15,000 less seats and start selling out.  Even if the arena doesn’t get built as it was laid out today it won’t remove the layers added to the stigma of Oakland being a second class city.  The culture and history of “The Town” is second to none but at the end of the day it is still “The Town” when “The City” is a 10 minute trip away.

Lacober’s statements remain as bold as ever and their confidence in getting this project completed by 2017 is borderline ridiculous.  Getting this thing done on time is going to be a more difficult promise to fulfill then his disastrous playoff guarantee.  The Niners spent decades trying to get a new stadium and failed.  The Giants took over two decades to stick a shovel in China Basin but the difference is they say this one will be privately financed start to finish.  The Giants finally broke ground when they finally made that commitment and the Niners never did which is why they are excavating next to Great America as we speak.     
It is going to be an interesting five year period to say the least.  We’ve got love, hate and apathy sitting side by side; all rooting for their camp as well as the team on the floor.  I thought it was weird cheering for fourth quarter collapses this season but that’s got nothing on this.  I’m actually looking forward to this season more then I thought I was going to.  I hope all the fans continue to show because the rest of us appreciate them even if ownership doesn’t.  At the end of the decade the only thing that truly matters is that they put a winner on the floor wherever that may be.  If they were to do that in Oakland they would still raise prices for tickets, parking, food, beer and air if they could.  The only difference between the money grubbing elitists they are being made out to be and the money grubbing elitists that they are is that they will be responsible for building the greatest venue the city of San Francisco has ever seen and that is saying something!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Grades: The Fans

By Justin Taylor

Our time is coming again!

Let me start by telling the story of one crazy lunatic fan that started the season brainwashed after hearing “Things be changin’ in the Bay Area” on KNBR like 5,000 times before opening night.  He thought our young legs and improved bench were going to give us an advantage against the aging Lakers, Spurs and Mavericks during a condensed season.  Starting out two for our first three with one of those wins came against the Bulls had him really riding high and talking trash to all the Laker fans at work.  He even put together a “New Year” play list on the Ipod to get pumped for the upcoming schedule.
The list after beating the Bulls and Knicks on consecutive nights:

Jimi Hendrix: Changes
David Bowie: Changes
Sam Cooke: A change is gonna come
U2: New Year’s Day

I’m not going to lie; I was that crazy lunatic fan.  Twelve days into the season we were already riding a five game losing streak capped by a pathetic effort against the Jazz and heading into an expected blowout against Miami.  We played so bad that their Harry Potter looking small forward Gordon Hayward look like Larry Bird that night.  That was enough to make me snap and my wife (Mrs. Trapped) could see it.  We had the following exchange on the ride home:

Me: That’s it!  The only way for this team to improve is to start tanking.  This mediocre middle of the pack bullshit is just ridiculous; it’s time to bottom out!

Her: I don’t get it, why would you hope for them to lose and how does that lead to improvement?

Me: In the NBA there is no worse place to be then middle.  Every year you either go to the playoffs or the draft lottery.  If you’re at the end of the lottery the chances of making a significant improvement the following year are slim to none.  You’re pretty much doomed to repeat the process; kind of like what we’re doing right now.

Her: What is the point if you’re rooting for them to lose?  I don’t know why you even follow this crap so closely, it sounds fixed to me.

Maybe not an exact match but being on the losing end to either of these guys would bother me

The play list had some updates the next morning.

Tupac: Changes
E40: Things’ll Never Change
U2: Sunday Bloody Sunday
Sublime: 40oz. to Freedom

You get the idea…

From that point forward I was watching every game alone except when I had tickets; in that case she’s ready to go.  You should have heard her making fun of me the next night while I was going crazy watching that Heat game (“Thought you wanted them to lose?”) while standing next to my La Z Boy like I was at the arena.  That win was great but the loss to the Bobcats a few nights later; who turned out to be the worst team in the history of the league and won seven games all year; only made things worse.
I should probably get an F for allowing my frustration to get the best of me but I’m giving myself a C+ because I didn’t miss a minute and found an outlet to vent and connect other fans that were Trapped in Golden State.  I walked a fine line rooting for 4th quarter collapses until after the trade when I wasn’t the only one embracing the tank.

Mullin Night

Nobody, including Joe Lacob, was more upset on Mullin night than this guy

It’s a shame the only national attention the fan base (or the team for that matter) received this season is when Joe Lacob got booed on Chris Mullin night.  It was way overblown since it was maybe 500 people in a silent arena; not the five or ten thousand it was made out to be.  Those people paid for the right to let management know what they thought of their talk while their actions (the trade) guaranteed a losing season.  Had those fans let that moment slide they’d still be sending nasty emails, littering message boards, complaining on KNBR while finding nothing but one big deaf ear.

The media grilled the entire fan base for the few that spoke their minds but made no mention what angered them in the first place.  Bill Simmons went above and beyond to detail our misery a couple days later so at least one national guy got it.  The last two paragraphs are below because I only wish I could say it better; and because most Warrior fans were throwing up before they got through his 5,000 words of torture.

Now …
Imagine you're a Warriors fan. Imagine you just endured everything just laid out these past 35 years. Imagine you didn't trust your owners, your front office, anybody. Imagine they just traded your most entertaining player for an injury-prone center who can't play, and imagine knowing that you can't sign anyone else for two more summers because Biedrins and Jefferson have clogged your cap like a freshman dorm toilet. Imagine you have some of the best fellow fans in the league, only you rarely if ever have a chance to cheer anything. Imagine hearing that, after months and months of Chris Paul rumors and Dwight Howard rumors and "PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS!" rhetoric, your team just abruptly told you, "Oh, by the way, we're going to tank the rest of this season because we don't want to be haunted by a stupid trade from four years ago, but seriously, thanks for paying for season tickets this year."
Imagine you were a paying customer and Chris Mullin Night doubled as the last bankably fun night of the season. Imagine the emotion inside the building with those Warriors legends on hand. Imagine everything cresting with Mully's humble speech. Imagine the arrogance of Lacob grabbing that microphone — somehow deciding that he should be the last speaker of the ceremony, not Chris Mullin — and imagine your resentment over the past 35 years suddenly swelling as you realized, "Here's my one chance to be heard."
I ask you … would you boo?

Season highlights and lowlights
This would have been just another frustrating season of Warriors basketball if Mark Jackson and Joe Lacob hadn’t continued heaping the bullshit on us. Many knowledgeable fans were driven from optimistic about the new ownership group to thinking we were right back in the middle of a perpetual marketing campaign.  Once the trade happened and management shut their mouths my perception of them took a drastic turn for the better.

My only concern once everyone realized we needed losses more then wins was the home crowd.  We’ve all seen it numerous times before.  Does that Miami victory happen if there aren’t 20,000 people losing their minds in the second half?  My theory is that this team tends to play down to the level of the competition and up to the passion of the fans.  The Oracle faithful will the Warriors to a couple extra victories every year and we needed this one to be different.

I think we'll be back to intimidating opponents in the playoffs real soon

As is the case most years the only ones that were present and accounted for every game were in the stands.  Only the Los Angeles Faker game April 18th gets an asterisk because there was way too much purple and gold in the.  Still, I was happy for the season ticket holders that got a little of their money back in the midst of our 5-22 close to the season.  I brought a Laker fan to that game for the first time ever because I figured one of us might as well enjoy the whole game. 

The worst part of the season was buying tickets early in the year to see the Lakers once and Spurs twice down the stretch and ended up seeing the best players on both sides sitting.  Kobe didn’t suit up and in the first Spurs game Duncan, Parker and Ginobili might as well have worn street clothes after the half since none of them played.  For their final trip those three didn’t even make the flight and Gregg Popovich decided he needed to rest his legs (he sent Mike Budenholzer to perform the coaching duties for the meaningless game) for the postseason too.

Each year when people talk about the home court in the league Oracle Arena falls somewhere in the conversation.  The team came in tied for 23rd out of 30 teams and the fans came in 11th place overall in terms of attendance.  It seems ridiculous to me that we out drew five playoff teams.  As far as losing teams go only Portland finished ahead of us.  They were 9th overall in attendance and only had five more wins then us.  Once we put a healthy team on the floor we’re going to blow past them but they might be thinking the same thing.  Even the best fans in the league need a rival to stay sharp.

As always the fans came out in staggering numbers as the local media could only wonder why.  It’s almost like we do it ourselves because we vote with our money and no matter what the organization does they get our votes.  The team knows we’re out here but they should also know that they aren’t getting our hard earned money until they make it a good investment.  I talk a big game but I’ll be there opening night so who am I to talk?

Per usual the crowd at Oracle Arena grades out much higher then the team: A+

As I'm getting ready to post this Adam Lauridsen broke the news that the team has a deal in place to make the SF move in 2017!  Rick Bucher is now reporting the same on ESPN.com and Marcus Thompson as well!  Who’s ready to light up a new arena?  Looks like we won't be Trapped in Golden State forever...Already getting my new site name ready!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

9,990 hits and counting!

If you are the 10,000th hit take a screen shot of the counter and email it to me at trappedingoldenstate@gmail.com with your shirt and I'll send you a free one when they come through!

Thank you to everyone who has visited in the last month and a half...

Be on the look out for the season review posts coming soon starting with the best part of the team, THE FANS!  Also, after the ping pong balls land I'll do a pre draft break down with a Trapped in Golden State Mock Draft.  I'll probably just make a mockery of mock drafts but as always I will take the Warriors options very serious and hopefully throw out some decent ideas.

If you're number 10,000-10,005 I suggest you email me the screen shot if you want a shirt cause if 10,000 doesn't cash the ticket I still want to reward someone who has helped make this site a success in its first month...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Are Lacob hires elements of style or ill advisory?

By Justin Taylor

The last couple years have brought on some of the oddest hiring’s in recent memory for any team in any sport.  Not to say that any of them are bad but sometimes things just catch you off guard.  The trend started this time last year when Joe Lacob tabbed Mark Jackson right off the set of an ESPN telecast even though he had no experience coaching at any level.  Next he brought in Bob Myers; a former agent with no experience running a high school team let alone an NBA franchise; as the heir apparent to General Manager Larry Riley.

This offseason the hits just keep coming.  This week had already given us the news that Lacob’s 25 year-old son, Kirk, will take over the Assistant General Manager position previously held by Myers.  Today there was a much lower profile move with its own twist that has become the norm with anyone hired by the Joe Lacob.  Our new General Counsel for the team is none other than David Kelly.  If you Google the name you’re surely going to get the picture of the old guy from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the old guy from a Pixar animated short story but that isn’t our David Kelly.  Our new chief lawyer is more commonly known as Capital D of Capital D and the Molemen fame.  No?  How about Capital D of All Natural fame?  Still nothing?  Take my word for it this guy is an awesome hip hop artist but I couldn’t tell you the slightest thing about his legal resume. (In case you were wondering Elements of Style and Ill Advisory are Capital D/All Natural songs but I thought they applied.  You can give them a listen below.)

Let’s take a look at the hiring trend over the last couple of seasons.

This is not the team's new General Counsel in case you Googled David Kelly

Mark Jackson, Head Coach: 

Jackson was the floor general for Hall of Fame coaches Lou Carnesecca, Pat Riley, Larry Brown, Larry Bird, Lenny Wilkens and Jerry Sloan; I’m too lazy to see if all of them are currently in the Hall but the ones who aren’t will be soon enough.  There were also a couple of no names on the list too in Jeff Van Gundy and Rick Pitino.  Finally he learned what not to do from legendary screw up at every possible level of NBA basketball Stu Jackson.  The jury is still deliberating as to whether that basketball tutelage as a player will equal success as an NBA coach.  What he may lack in X’s and O’s he makes up for with some of the sharpest, well polished post game interviews in the business.

Mike Malone, Assistant Coach:

Malone was a great hire by all accounts and is seen as a more qualified coach than Jackson but he’ll most likely be gone in a couple of weeks.  For that reason and the fact that I already covered him in detail I’ll just move on.

Jerry West, Executive Board Member:

I don’t know anyone who can complain about the hiring of the Logo to advise on personnel and management decisions.  He is undeniably one of the best players and executives ever.  For me the only scar on his resume is that he accumulated 95% of his resume working for the Lakers.  Have I mentioned I hate the damn Lakers?

Bob Myers, General Manager:

It’s been known from the minute Myers was brought in that he was hired to replace Larry Riley.  For most Warrior fans that day couldn’t come fast enough and we were all pleasantly surprised two days before the end of the season when the timeline was accelerated.  I don’t know what’s better, Myers coming or Riley going.  Either way it was a double dose of good news.

The first of many pluses on Myers resume is that he grew up a Warrior fan.  He didn’t quite come out and say he was a fan per se but he did say his first experiences at NBA games were Warrior games.  I think it’s the first time I could ever relate to an NBA player or executive on that level since we truly have something in common.  We may have even been at some of the same games as kids. 

As an agent at the Wasserman Media Group (where he studied under NBA super agent Arn Tellum) his main duties were player evaluations and negotiations.  I’ve always wondered why more agents don’t get hired to run teams.  These guys are professional talent evaluators and relationship builders.  If he can be effective in those roles here Mark Jackson’s technical ability as a coach become less of a liability because he is very good with people and their egos.  Vinny Del Negro went from being a terrible coach to a halfway decent coach the day the Chris Paul showed up; the reality is that he is still a terrible coach because players just don’t like him.

How often do NBA teams hire former players and live to regret it?  I love Chris Mullin and he did do some great things when he ran the Warriors.  He stole Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington for a bunch of guys we didn’t want but he was also the guy who inked Derek Fisher, Adonal Foyle, Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy to roughly $170 million worth of contracts.  Now that he is in the Jerry West Apprenticeship Program (as opposed to the Larry Riley Good Ole Boy Academy) I don’t think we need to worry about a repeat performance from Bob Myers.

Kirk Lacob, Assistant General Manager:

The refurbished Warriors brain trust

All I really know about Kirk Lacob I learned from his LinkedIn page.  It shows that while he’s been in charge of the Warriors D league team he has been operating under the title Director of Basketball Operations.  I’m not sure what that means when you’ve got Joe Lacob, Jerry West, Larry Riley and Bob Myers involved in basketball operations but I’m sure his voice was heard equally among that group. 
He also has a degree from Stanford, was an intern with the Celtics (not sure how he landed that gig...oh yeah, Papa Joe owned 10% of that team too) and started a youth basketball camp in Woodside in 2003, which by my calculation made him about 16 at the time.  He was also a coach at Matt Lottich Life Skills, LLC in 2005-06 because who wouldn’t want to learn life lessons from an 18 year old kid.  At the end of the day do I really need to know anything more than who his father is?

If it sounds like I am criticizing this hire it’s only because I’m insanely jealous and I have no problem admitting as much.  I can promise that if my dad owned an NBA franchise I would have one hell of a title whether I deserved it or not.  More than anything it seems to me that Joe Lacob is working to build and secure his legacy with each addition to the payroll.  With this selection he insures, at the very least, that he has a mole in the organization when West retires and he decides to step away to spend his time finding other ways to spend his billions.  All I can do is wish Kirk luck crunching numbers and carrying Bob Myers jock strap for the next ten years.

Capital D, General Counsel:

Capital D/All Natural: Ill Advisory

Capital D/All Natural: Elements of Style

So we’re clear, I will never reference David Kelly as anything but Capital D.  You have no idea what it’s like to wake up one day to read that one of your favorite hip hop artists is now the chief lawyer for your favorite sports team.  You know how I know that?  Because I’m pretty sure he’s the first rapper turned big time lawyer.  I always knew that he was highly educated (Morehouse College and the University of Illinois Law School) and the most intelligent guy on the rap scene but what does that really mean?  I’m sure Kanye West and Common; a couple of other slightly more known Chicago area hip hop stars; are super smart but I don’t see either one arguing before the Supreme Court any time soon.

Based on what Matt Steinmetz reported about the Capital D hiring he’s actually been putting together sponsorship deals together for the Bulls and White Sox in recent years.  Apparently he was a doing that work as a partner at the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.  I wonder what it’s like to rock a club at night and settle a sexual harassment suit in the morning.  Cap D is probably going to find out soon enough (since the Warriors seem to have no shortage of harassment suits the last couple years) and it won’t be because he is accused of touching some girl like most rock stars.

Calling Capital D a rock star is pretty off base but I would stack his music and message up against any artist currently auto tuning up the charts.  His alias and involvement with the team will have him regarded as an out of the box hire but isn’t he more qualified to do his job then the coach, the GM or the assistant GM?  I hope to see him collaborating with new sponsors during the day and with local hip hop legends; like Heiroglyphics, Zion I or Blackalicious; at a local venue some night soon!

Cap D: All I Want off his newest solo album

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Warriors fans post season hopes

By Justin Taylor

Until late this week there wasn’t much in the way of surprises in these playoffs.  It was hard not to look ahead to the potentially great matchups rounding into shape in the Western Conference and the unwatchable ones in the east.  That’s when Pau Gasol went back to sleep, Kobe got sick and Andrew Bynum got his “zen on!”  Bay Area fans that can only root for the Lakers to lose this time of year got a chance for a great weekend.  Not only have the Nuggets shown a pulse and pushed the Lakers to the brink but the Clippers (our perennial bottom feeding competition with their bandwagon fans) are about to fly to Memphis for a game 7 of their own.

Personally I was looking forward to seeing the Spurs take out the Clippers and to the Thunder shitting on the Lakers.  I admit that the conference semifinals might not be as interesting with the Grizzlies and Nuggets (even though Spurs-Grizz could be a great series.)  That being said it is impossible for me not to root for both SoCal teams to get taken out in bone crushing fashion on consecutive days.  The thought of all those Laker flags on cars flying at half mast in bumper to bumper traffic (not to mention all of those brand new Clipper hats and jerseys getting buried deep in closets) all over LA has me genuinely excited.

That is a lot of weight to put on Kobe's aching knees

On Saturday Denver has a chance to send Laker fans into a state of panic that will last several months and Kobe on another trip to Germany.  On Sunday the Grizzlies can devastate Clipper Darrell, Billy Crystal and Penny Marshall while raining on thousands of fair-weather fans.  Losing this weekend will almost guarantee an entire offseason of “will Chris Paul stay in Lob City after next season; Will Kobe’s knees be able to carry the weight of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and RonMetta World Peace for one last run at a ring; and who will coach them when Mike Brown is fired?”  I almost didn’t write about it because I don’t want to jinx it.

The Warriors season has been over for a loooong time and normally I’d probably be half-heartedly be rooting against the Lakers right about now.  This season is different though.  Chris Paul has carried the Clippers on his creaky knees (without booking any flights to Germany as far as I know) into the mix so now I’ve got to pour an extra glass of Haterade.  It’s time for Bay Area die hards to join up with the fans in Denver and Memphis and show them how you really chant BEAT LA!  Even if one or both of the Staples Center tenants advance we can still be confident that they will get mopped up against one of the squads already resting until someone limps in to play them.

If I had to choose between the L.A. teams Chris Paul would make it easier to choose the Clippers but I’m praying that the basketball gods will just handle business for me in the next two days.  If the worst case scenario happens and the Lakers make it all the way to the finals I hope Boston is the team to meet them there.  For the 2010 finals match up I went down to Staples Center to witness the most historical rivalry in basketball history.  Since the Lake Show was clearly taking that game I had to high tail it out of there straight to the airport so I could catch a flight out of there before being swept up in a sea of purple and gold.  I will try to do the same this year but until then I’ll be hoping I don’t see LAX or the 110 freeway for a long time.

No one will be smiling if Westbrook takes more shots then Durant

Picking another team to throw my playoff support behind is another time honored Trapped in Golden State tradition.  This year I’m having a hard time picking between Oklahoma City and San Antonio out west while the only choice available in the east is Boston.  KG, Pierce, Allen and Rondo deserve one more run at it before it’s curtains on their chances at a ring.  I can’t get behind the Heat because it is more fun to see them implode then it is to see them win.

In the west I’m going with the Spurs but it wasn’t an easy choice.  Supporting the most unselfish superstar in the league as he rides toward the sunset just seems like the right thing to do.  There’s nothing more enjoyable than watching a team play the right way and Tim Duncan will make damn sure that’s what the Spurs do.  I love Kevin Durant for the same reasons but he has a little less control with Russell Westbrook jacking up twenty shots a game.  If I’m a point guard in Oklahoma City, no matter how confident I am in my own game, I’m setting up the scoring champion and most versatile shooter in the league every chance I get.  If Duncan is The Big Fundamental, Durant is the heir apparent.  Manu Ginobili is the deciding factor here because he makes me feel good about my own male pattern baldness issues.

Manu gets the Spurs my vote by a hair!

Right now we are in our usual spot, watching other teams in the playoffs while we wait for the ping pong balls to stop bouncing.  The difference this time around is that I truly believe that our new management group has made strides and taken the chances necessary to make real changes.  It won’t be nearly as infuriating when Joe Lacob and Mark Jackson come out talking playoffs during training camp like it was this year but I think they learned a valuable lesson about actions speaking louder than words.  Eight games and six losses into the season I had officially gone from disheartened to being enraged.  Next year it should be a legitimate expectation that this roster make a real playoff push so long as we don’t have ankle issues.

For the first time in years there is reason for true optimism outside of a late lottery pick because this time some other things are going to start going our way for once.  2013 will be the season that the Chris Paul and Blake Griffin contract situations drag the Clippers back into obscurity. Kobe’s knees will stop carrying the Lakers.  Dirk may go back to Germany in the offseason but he’ll come back to the Mavs without new knees, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard.  The Jazz will still be coughing teeth from their first round ass kicking and the Spurs best players will be filing for social security and AARP cards.  Denver will lose a lot of the depth that got them this far while Portland remains cursed and Houston continues to have their trades vetoed.

By my calculations we need to stay healthy and have roughly half of my predictions come true to leap well into the playoffs.  We’re not talking 8th seed this time around, our sights need to be set on the 4th or 5th spots approximately 350 days from now.  Before we get into any of that we need to focus on the present.  Go Grizz!  Go Nuggets!  Go Spurs! Go Thunder! Go Celtics and go anyone else that has what it takes to bring on the demise of the Staples Center!

I wouldn't mind the old guys getting one last shot at a second ring

If you've enjoyed any of the past columns on Trapped in Golden State please give the Facebook page a "like."  It is the easiest way to find out when new articles are posted.  As always, thank you for reading and feel free to rip it or just weigh in below or on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Best and worst of the Warriors for the last five years

I already covered Mike Malone so the news cycle is looking pretty slow until he gets his head coaching job and the ping pong balls drop.  I decided to take a quick look a back before we can start looking forward again in the coming weeks.  The following are my best and worst awards for the last five seasons.  Going back any further would have been a 10,000 word column so here are my picks.  Don’t hesitate to put your own below.

Draft picks:

Best: Stephen Curry (2009)

This one is a no brainer right?  It might have been Greg Monroe had he done for us what he’s done in Detroit.   At that point we’d still have Monta and a big man but we could play the “what if” game for most Warrior drafts.

Worst: Anthony Randolph (2008)

This was an all too common expression during his time here

Our worst pick in the last five years came on a high upside guy at number 14.  That tells me that we’ve done ok for ourselves in this department.  We just never knew how to really bottom out and now we’ve got the 7th pick in a two star draft.  Randolph gets the nod here for his low basketball IQ and high tears shed rate.  It’s pretty surprising to look back and be reminded that there were some pretty serviceable big men taken in the bottom half of the 1st round that year. (Robin Lopez, Marreese Speights, Roy Hibbert, JaVale McGee, JJ Hickson, Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee, Serge Ibaka, Nicholas Batum, George Hill, Darrell Aurthur, DeAndre Jordan and Luc MBah a Moute)

At the time I gave Mullin props for getting the right guy but four years later Randolph still seems to have his head in the clouds while 14 guys selected after him are regular contributors.   It was just more karma coming back on us for taking the “safe” guys  (Joe Smith, Todd Fuller, Adonal Foyle, Antawn Jamison) instead of the “upside guys (Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter.)  Ok, sorry, no more of the stupid “what ifs!”

Honorable Mention:

Klay Thompson (2011)

Thompson could be seen as a steal at number 11 real soon even though only a few guys ahead of him look like busts to this point.  If nothing else he’ll have a long career based solely on his shooting stroke.  Last time I checked guys like Kyle Korver, Mike Miller, Jason Kapono and Matt Bonner routinely end up on contenders.  I think we can safely say that those names serve as a baseline for his potential while Ray Allen provides a good looking ceiling.


Best: Monta Ellis (2008) 5/$66 million

Even when we call it what it was, a 4 year $55 million dollar contract, (when you pretend the moped season never happened) the Monta Ellis contract was always a good deal.  Even as a low percentage volume shooter who was below average defensively he was never overpaid.  Across the NBA landscape you will not find another 20 point per game scorer for under $15 million per year regardless of how those points come.  You will also not find a guy who sold as many tickets as Monta did over the last few years at that price point.

It’s just too bad we could never get equal value in a trade or get him the help he deserved.  Had Tyson Chandler signed here in the offseason, won the DPOY award and had Ekpe Udoh backing him up I’m positive that we’d be watching the Warriors compete with the Spurs instead of seeing the Jazz get swept. The 8th seed would have been a low water mark.

Worst: Corey Maggette (2008) 5/$50 million

Maggette looks like a better player then he is

Is there any competition on this one?  The dollar amount was bad, the timing was bad and the player wasn’t terrible but Corey Maggette was born to play on bad teams.  Few positives are born out of panic and that describes the motivation behind this deal to a T.  Maggette is a one dimensional player who parlayed a high free throw rate and some Warriors desperation into a $50 million contract when no one else was prepared to pay him $40 million.

Honorable Mention:

Kelenna Azubuike (2007)

For a guy making the league minimum he was invaluable in our one shining moment during that decade.  His and Stephen Jackson’s defense against Dirk Nowitzki were probably the biggest reasons the We Believe run happened.  Injuries have derailed his career but he’ll always have a place in the hearts of Warrior fans his role in that 2007 run.

Dominic McGuire (2011)

His 2011-12 contract was a bargain without a doubt and it may lead someone in the league (maybe us) to significantly overpay him this offseason.  The guy is a top notch defender and can rebound his position as well as any small forward in the league.  Since you’re pretty much playing four on five on the other end of the floor his value has it’s limits.  I am crossing my fingers we lock him up for a reasonable number for the next few years because he is a solid piece of a winning team.

Andris Biedrins (2008)

This one barely gets beat out by Maggette  because it wasn't out of panic and it wasn't a bad deal when he signed it.  At the time we laughed because Chris Kaman was making more.  After shooting 55% and averaging a solid 11/11 in year one he got injured sometime thereafter and has never been the same.  Like Monta, we watched this guy grow up and have been extremely patient with him.  Now our patience has run out and we can't wait for his contract to run out too.

Chris Webber (2008)

His first contract sunk the franchise in 1994 and his second one here sunk our playoff hopes in 2008.  I firmly believe that if Don Nelson wasn’t infatuated with the idea of a reunion with Webber we would have won that one extra game we needed to send us to the playoffs.


Best:  Louis Amundson for Brandon Rush

This was a no brainer the day it happened and only looked better with each passing game.  I’m not sure if Amundson even played a game for Indiana this season but I’m sure he hasn’t contributed anything to their playoff run.  Like McGuire, his value has its limits and selfishly I hope no one matches the qualifying offer he gets from us this offseason.  You have to love a guy who plays within himself at all times and contributes on both ends of the floor.

Worst: Jason Richardson and Jamareo Davidson for Brandan Wright (and a $9.9 million trade exception)

This trade came on the heels of our high water mark for the 15 previous years.  It felt like the Billy Owens-Mitch Richmond trade at the time and looks even more like it in hindsight.  The only glimmers of hope in this trade were Wright’s down the road potential and the trade exception that never got used.  I must have refreshed ESPN.com a million times that season hoping one time a trade would pop up.  There were plenty of guys in league playing for shitty teams looking to dump salary that would have helped us get over the 48 win mark that season.  Management stood pat, signed Chris Webber, let the exception expire and the rest is Golden State Warriors history.

Honorable Mention:

Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh for Andrew Bogut and Richard Jefferson and a First round pick (#30)

I know it was Stephen Jackson with Bogut but the end result after 48 hours was Jefferson and a late first rounder.  Right now this trade is honorable mention only because it isn't clear if it is the best or worst trade on this list until Bogut suits up and plays.  If he plays 70-80 games next season it is hands down the best trade.  If he spends half the season on the Injured List it isn't quite as clear.  We may not be able to proper nail it down till the following year.

One other bonus of this trade (if the ping pong balls fall the way we hope they will) is that the trade allowed us to tank just hard enough to secure our 7th spot in the lottery.  With Monta we probably would have ended up between 10-14 somewhere.  We will definitely be revisiting this topic in depth next season when we actually know what we got in return.  It could be the best trade the team has ever made or just a pretty bad one.  We all know the team has done much worse for themselves in the past.  (Thank you commenter A'sRaidersWarriors for pointing this obvious omission out.)

Al Harrington for Jamal Crawford (2009)

We got rid of a malcontent power forward who didn’t want to come inside the three point line for a guy who was fun to watch at least.  As you can see there really wasn't much competition for best trade of the last five seasons.

Protected 1st round pick and a 2011 2nd round pick for Marcus Williams (2008)

Considering all the fanfare surrounding this trade all season it’s hard to imagine there were worse trades than this.  If we scrape by and keep the pick this season it looks like we’ll finally pay up on that first rounder next season, there’s no way we tank into the bottom three next year.  Right?

Marco Belinelli for Devan George and cash (2009)

I hated this trade.  It was a pure salary dump of a guy that didn’t make much and could actually contribute a little for a washed up vet.  Dumping that contract made about as much sense as using the amnesty clause on Charlie Bell this season.

Most Loved Former Warrior:

Monta Ellis

The guy has our logo on his back! The love appears to be mutual...

It’s a little early to give him the nod over J-Rich but I see Monta getting nothing but love in Oakland for the rest of his career.  We literally watched him grow up and no matter how much he wanted out I’d say he made a pretty graceful exit.

Honorable Mention: Jason Richardson

I love being there to give Richardson a standing O pregame whenever he returns to Oracle. 

Most Hater Former Warrior:

Al Harrington

My distaste for this guy grows every time he comes back to town.  He has no self -awareness whatsoever.  Does he not realize that he whined his way out of town and forced us to trade him for a rental because he didn’t want to rebound?

Honorable Mention: Stephen Jackson

I’m glad the trade happened to move him after the Bogut deal.  It messed with our cap for an extra year but Stack Jack would have messed with my head.  Harrington got the nod because at least Jackson acts professional when he comes back to town.  It’s not his fault Robert Rowell fell for the okie doke.

Friday, May 4, 2012

First round of T shirts arrive

They were spoken for before I even got them!  I'm already working on a larger run since these were basically a test.  If you see one on the street you know that is a serious Warrior die hard who isn't a fair weather fan.  I want to help fans that are here for the long haul represent.  Hoping to get enough out there that we'll see them popping up all over at games next season, especially if Curry and Bogut don't get back on time.  Either way it's going to be a great day when we're all happy to be Trapped in Golden State.

Let me know if anyone is interested and I'll keep you posted when I've got it all figured out.  I need to get the guy's shirts dialed in but I know the girls will like those tanks...It's gonna be a busy offseason!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Who will coach the Warriors when Mike Malone leaves?

By Justin Taylor

Mike Malone leaving for his own head coaching gig would leave a huge gap for the Warriors

The biggest decision the Warriors will make this offseason will not come during the draft or in free agency.  It isn’t going to be who will start at small forward or who will back up David Lee and Andrew Bogut next year.  The question is who will coach the team when Mike Malone leaves?  A better question might be why isn’t he the head coach here already?  I don’t know anyone who thinks that Jackson is the better coach of the two right now.  The front office better be combing through potential replacements because it’s a very real possibility that we’ll need one before the playoffs are even over.

Malone was one of the most sought after names last offseason and is once again this year.  Who exactly were we bidding against for Mark Jackson’s services anyway?  The team would probably be better off moving forward with Malone the same way we would have been better off moving forward with Gregg Popovich instead of Don Nelson in 1992?  At least Nelson was a proven commodity at the time.  People have no problem recalling when Nellie mailed in seasons in Dallas and Oakland, letting Avery Johnson and Keith Smart do the coaching, but will anyone remember Malone doing most of the coaching this year?
Some said Mike Brown should have been the guy but look how well liked he is in LA already.  Plus you can’t forget that he was only the first guy that Mike Malone outcoached from the assistant’s chair.  Kobe was happy to have him because he saw the “Hey, you four give Lebron the ball and try to make yourself invisible” offense Brown ran in Cleveland.  I always blamed those Cavs games on Mike Brown for being absolutely terrible.  After watching Mike Malone run that same play for Monta I’m thinking that I might owe Brown an apology.  Since he’s a Laker now I’m more inclined to say he can kiss my ass but I digress. 

Showing Varejo where to hide after he gives Lebron the ball
If we had just gone after Rick Adelman during the offseason this wouldn’t have been a topic of discussion right now.  It’s pathetic to think he might have actually said, “Thanks, but I think I’ll take my chances with Glen Taylor and David Kahn in Minnesota.”  Give Kahn at least a little credit for not falling for the Don Nelson okie doke though.  You know the one where he works his ass off to get you to send him and his guaranteed contract back to Maui as opposed to developing your young talent.  It would have been comical watching Nellie drive Anthony Randolph to tears again but other than that it was a good move by the Wolves to bring in Adelman.

None of the other available options fit the big talking, big splash M.O. of Joe Lacob.  Looking at the other names that were out there you realize there was no splash to be had.  So in comes ESPN superstar Mark Jackson followed by Mike Malone and more questions.  Like whether installing Jackson as coach was a PR or a basketball move?  It was actually a great pairing when you think about it.  Malone could teach Jackson how to run an NBA team and Mark could help Mike master the postgame interview.  Mark Jackson’s coaching style resembles that of Mike Singletary minus the fire, brimstone, pants dropping and Coors Light commercial quality quotes.  He’s a good leader of men and big on catch phrases but “hand down man down” does not equal a coaching philosophy.

At this point we need to figure out who should take his place on the bench.  There will be guys available and their names are not Pete Myers or Wes Unseld Jr.  We need another “potential top dog willing to come here to play second fiddle for top dog money.”  On top of my ballot would be San Antonio’s Mike Budenholzer who has been Popovich’s lead assistant since 2007-08 and was supposedly a candidate here last year.  He is yet another guy who would come in and immediately make you question whether or not he is a better coach than Mark Jackson.

A guy I like even more than Pop’s assistant is the hometown guy who might actually want to come back to Oakland, Brian Shaw. He’d be a tough get (because he just signed with the Pacers last season) but he’s worth the premium price in our situation.  I didn’t advocate for him last year but one season and a dramatically different roster later he could bring a very unique dynamic.  The hidden value is that he could go a long way toward convincing Jason Kidd to come home as well to be our player/mentor as well.  If all those dominoes fell in line it might look like one of the most successful off seasons in years before we even get to the draft.

I think Brian Shaw is actually the best fit for the town, the franchise and the roster

The other plus for Shaw is his triangle offense pedigree and that the triangle values highly intelligent, great passing big men as bigger assets than speedy ball dominating point guards.  We just happen to have a couple of those.  I’ve said in past columns that Stephen Curry is not a true point guard and the triangle removes the need for a penetrating point.  Curry would be Derek Fisher on steroids in that system even if it actually looks like Fisher is Stephen Curry on steroids.  The only advantage Fisher has over Steph is his ankles.

If Brian Shaw doesn’t float your boat lets look at the rest of the short list.  Patrick Ewing and P.J. Carlesimo will be available and would give me an infinite amount of writing material.  That’s if I didn’t get a lifetime ban for storming the court and choking P.J. before the all star break.  If we’re trying to add a little ugliness we could go after Sam Cassell, Popeye Jones or my favorite unsightly NBA philosopher Adonal Foyle. 

There is also the USF Dons all time leading scorer Bill Cartwright and that actually isn’t a joke.  His shooting method may have been one of the most awkward sights in league history (right behind Sam Cassell, Popeye Jones and Adonal Foyle of course) but he is an incredibly gifted basketball mind.  I think I’m biased on that one (since I grew up learning the game at his basketball camps at Sonoma State) but I do see him as a perfect big man compliment to the point/media man Jackson. 
It is ridiculous how important the assistant coach is to this team.  No one else in the league is having this conversation right now.  Make no mistake about it though it is extremely important.  If the team is healthy and doesn’t show dramatic improvement by the all star break Mark Jackson might be back on ESPN before the playoffs.  If that day comes we do not want to be looking to a Pete Myers or Wes Unseld Jr. to right the ship.  It’s also just one more thing for people outside Northern California to laugh at and wonder why we continue to show up.  We will be there but next year we’ll truly expect a no excuses basketball team with or without Mark Jackson and Mike Malone.
If you've enjoyed any of the past columns on Trapped in Golden State please give our Facebook page a "like."  It is the easiest way to find out when new articles are posted.  As always, thank you for reading and feel free to rip it or just weigh in below or on Facebook.