I talk a lot of shit. I know. And ever since I became a hardcore NHL fan (within the last 3 years or so), I’ve noticed a direct correlation in my decrease in love for the NBA. It’s certainly possible to love both equally, and I think I can grow to love the NBA again, especially with Ricky Rubio in the league now*. But there are too many reasons why I’m just not as passionate as I once was. Being a fan of the Golden State Warriors is one of the reasons.
*I will fully explain why I’m so bizarrely obsessed with Rubio in a post later this week. There is a reason, I swear. Oh and I hate Kobe Bryant.
In full disclosure, I have not been a Warrior fan my entire life. I grew up in the 90’s, and my favorite team, naturally, was the Chicago Bulls. As was everyone else’s. And my favorite player was Michael Jordan. As was everyone else’s. I was 12-13 years old during their glory years, and I even remember asking my mom to get me an authentic MJ Jersey when she went to Chicago for a business trip (of which I still have, by the way).
So I’m not going to sit here and lie and say I’ve been there since the beginning because I haven’t been. But I was a fan prior to the “We Believe” years, the years with Garry St. Jean ::shudder::. I remember Latrell Sprewell choking P.J. Carlesimo…oh dear lord what shit years. I remember J-Rich’s between the legs dunk, and it remains the best one I’ve ever seen at the dunk contest, which has become completely lame now. I remember the talking heads at the draft called Mickael Pietrus “The Michael Jordan of the French League!” (HA!) I remember Gilbert Arenas’ free agent year, and going to a game with signs that said “THIS IS GILBERT’S ARENA”, in a hapless attempt by the Warriors organization to get Gilbert to stay by showing that the fans care deeply about him. I remember when they drafted Adonal Foyle, and I was like, “I know we need a big man, but who the hell is that?” Great guy, though. I know he does lots of charity work and stuff, but he sucked at basketball.
Ahh yes, the elusive big fan that the Warriors have ALWAYS needed. Always.
The “We Believe” era was fun. I was in college, and I had this sociology class where we talked about Sports and Society. Loved the class for its awesome content, but I also loved it cause I would talk with my professor and classmates before a class about the Warrior game the night before — all the time. It seemed everyone was a Warrior fan during this time, and I could have cared less if anyone jumped the bandwagon. It was just nice that the Bay Area was buzzing with excitement over our basketball team. Yes, OUR basketball team. The one team both San Francisco and the East Bay can agree on*.
*Technically, both sides could also agree on the Sharks, but I don’t think anyone outside of my brother and I know they exist. It’s okay. I like being a hockey hipster.
The rest of the Chris Cohen years were brutal. As noted earlier, it’s no secret the Warriors have always needed a big. For some reason, Cohen and his scouting department seemed to think drafting tall but scrawny little runts like Brandon Wright and Anthony Randolph were the bigs the team was looking for. Nothing against those two. I’m sure they’re great role players wherever the eff they are now, but really, those aren’t the types of players you build your team around. Neither is Andris Biedrins. (Seriously, WTF? I still believe the Amnesty should have been used on him, but I digress.)
Monta Ellis was an interesting player to me, though, if not, completely enigmatic. I would bounce back and forth as to whether he was capable of being a centerpiece to a championship caliber team for a couple of reasons. For one, the old cliche in basketball is this: It’s a big man’s game. This will always be true. Very few championship teams have been built around just a guard and role players in other positions. If that guard is going to be the initial building block of the franchise, he must be a game breaker. Someone like, say, oh I don’t know, Michael Jordan. Even Kobe needed Shaq and Gasol. Suffice it to say, Monta is no where near any of those two.
I also wasn’t very confident in Monta’s abilities as a leader, and I also thought he was a ball hog, especially earlier in his career. Granted, his game has evolved, and his passing game has drastically improved. But what’s the Warriors’ record right now?
At the beginning of the season, I mentioned how one of either Monta or Steph Curry would have to be traded this year, preferably for a big, and I advocated for Monta, without knowing his value or how big of a problem Steph’s ankle would be. Clearly, Monta has a higher value than Steph by virtue of the fact that he’s not sidelined by injury. And it looks like the new ownership Lacob/Gruber agree.
Andrew Bogut is not a bad player. Plus he’s 7ft tall. He takes up space, and he has offensive flair. Not really sure what his ceiling is, but he’s 27 years old. Did I mention he was 7ft tall? He’s also 260 lbs.
I know why Warrior fans are pissed, and it’s not because Monta got traded. It’s because Warrior fans were delusional and bought into the bullcrap that the team actually had a chance at Dwight Howard. They were hoping the trade would be Monta for Howard. This is exactly the reason why I’m not really that mad at the trade. (If I’m mad about anything, it’s that the rest of the package that included Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh didn’t garner a pick in return. Because it didn’t, it felt like overpayment to me, but whatever.)
I never once bought into the idea that Dwight Howard was coming to the team, and I already wanted Monta traded anyways. I think I already came to terms with the fact a long time ago that he wasn’t going to be a Warrior for that much longer. I also didn’t have high expectations for the return — I just wanted someone big, like, legitimately big. They got it.
For what it’s worth, I think Dwight is overrated anyways — big man with only a power game, no finesse. Personally, I’d like a big man with a more diverse set of skills, someone like Kevin Love*.
*Rubio and Love? Yes, I have become a Minnesota Timberwolves fan. Oh hi, Anthony Randolph.
So how exactly have I learned to become a Warrior fan? I’ve stopped being attached to players on the team. Why? Because none of the players the team has drafted over the years were players I felt were untouchable. Why not? Because none of them were centerpieces to build a team around.
But here’s where it’s tricky. Because I feel no attachment to any player, because I feel there are no untouchables on the team, I don’t feel any passion for this team right now. There’s no one on this team they could trade that would make me upset (except for maybe Steph, but even I’m starting not to care about him either). Why has this happened? Because the Warriors for the past 10+ years have insisted on the same philosophy when drafting and building their team: being content with having decent-to-above average guards, with role playing, non-impactful bigs.
I’ve said this for the past few years, and I continue to stand by it: if and when the organization decides to drift away from this archaic and ineffective ideology, then maybe, just maybe, I can become passionate about this team again. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If that’s the case, then the Warriors are certifiably bat-shit crazy.
I’m not sure if Bogut is the right player build around, but he’s a certainly a step in the right direction.
Oh wait, let’s not forget the return of Stephen Jackson, Mr. “Shoot the 3 from 5 ft beyond the 3 pt line and put your hands in the air and pray that it goes in.” Last time he was on the team, they went to the playoffs. I’m going to be blindly optimistic and say that only bodes well for the team’s future. And yes that was 100% sarcastic, but sometimes people can’t tell through the Internetz, I know.
Unless, they’re cursed, which is probably the most logical reason why this team has sucked for so many years. I believe it. You should, too. It makes the pain of being a Warrior fan less intense. That’s part’s not sarcastic. I really mean that.
Yeah, it kinda blows being a Warrior fan. But try being a Warrior fan, Raider fan, A’s fan, and Sharks fan…absolutely brutal. It probably doesn’t get much worse than that. Unless you’re a Cleveland fan.