Manic Monday in Golden State
By: Sherwood Strauss
Bring on Lebron
There are some big ifs on the horizon. Huge ifs. Godzilla-sized ifs. But allow me to posit a supposedly speculative pipe dream of a wishful rumor.
If Ellison buys the Warriors—and if the sale is certain before free agency—the Warriors are Lebron’s best choice.
For all the ink spilled over the hopeless Clippers scenario, everybody ignored this possibility. And who could blame them? Lately, the Warriors have only been good for burning D-Leaguer calories. Management waddles in search of Don Nelson’s wins record—as though anyone gives a flying damn—while the league laughs itself into contortions.
My friends often joke, “Who would want to buy the WARRIORS?” Well, plenty of people would, or at least they should. The Warriors as dramedy is not some law of physics. The nearly two-decade rot has tangible, flesh and blood culprits. If they leave, the stink should follow out the door, the way a man’s fart trails him down the street (awful analogy, still recovering for this shocking news).
So our hat could be tossed into the Lebron sweepstakes. It’s no longer a deviant thought. That which was unthinkable is now possible, and that it became possible so quickly is, well, pretty unthinkable. IF Ellison makes the purchase, I’d put the Warriors at the front of the pack for these reasons:
- Purchasing power: Larry Ellison would be the richest owner, and not by a little. Forbes shows that LE has more than twice the net worth of Paul Allen—the NBA’s second richest owner. Money ain’t a thing, same goes for luxury tax. The Cavs would have to scramble, pinching pennies for the future. Larry’s capable of pinching the whole damned league (using only his pinky).
- Media factor: The obsession with the New York and LA markets is warranted. These cities are hubs of information and prestige. But let’s not dismiss web media. It’s the future, the present, the medium, and the message. Okay, I’ll reel in the lame pitchman lingo. Just know Apple and Google generate buzz from the Bay. I’m sure LBJ wouldn’t mind rubbing shoulders with those types. If James does feel compelled to get on Leno’s couch, that’s a short flight, too.
- From scratch: The Clippers want to offer Lebron a Mr. Potatoteam option. If Ellison buys the Warriors, such an option exists, only with no Donald Sterling fouling it up. With new management comes a probable Nellie departure. The Warriors are replete with young talent.
- All to himself: Chicago competes in this category, but it’s worth noting that Lebron would have his own region. New York and LA are divided. The Bay is united. Did I mention the large Chinese population? That could be its own bullet point.
- The fans: Remember the 2007 playoff run? Imagine that atmosphere every spring.
- Stephen Curry: Who wants to watch Steph Curry and Lebron play together (Me, spastically waiving my hand)? Good, glad that’s settled. Hey, remember this? Lebron’s not opposed to that fantasy, either. Related, who wants to see Anthony Randolph catch alley oops from Lebron? Everyone save for Cleveland fans should be nodding.
- High draft choice: If the Warriors manage to nab, say Evan Turner, you’re looking at an incredible core: PG: Curry, SG: Turner, SF: Lebron, PF: Randolph, C: Biedrins. I’m not sure where Monta or Maggette would fit in, that’s too far down the hypothetical rabbit hole at the moment. By the way, I’d feel better about our chances if the Knicks weren’t also in position to get a high pick. Oh wait, they’re not keeping that selection? It’s going to Utah? Ouch. I don’t even want to poke that wound.
This is premature, but so is all 2010 Lebron hype. If Cohan splits, I’d settle for Lebron filling the void (snicker).
PHX vs. GSW: The Amare Dunk
It was a decent time out. I’m fast-forwarding to what Geoff Lepper called the “Best dunk in Oracle since Baron Davis vs. Andrei Kirilenko.” That’s not hyperbole. I’ve never seen a home crowd respond to an opposition dunk quite like this.
Here’s why: For a crowd to react with that level of joyous fervor (for an opposing player’s cram), a confluence of factors are needed:
- The fans must be knowledgeable and passionate.
- The fans must be bitter and half-apathetic.
- The fans must have pined for the dunker—imagined the dunker wearing their colors.
So this reaction can only happen at a Warriors game, or when Lebron comes to MSG. I saw it all in slow motion, it was like watching a doomed horror movie character run upstairs (No, Tolliver! Get down! Get away!). For a play like this, I can’t honor it with mere words. It’s power, grace, and aggression, funneled into an instant. Watch the youtube. It’s sick.
The crowd was “Ooooo-ing” for what seemed like at least a minute. From what I could spot, many fans were laughing and pointing at Tolliver like it was Rucker Park. Maybe I’m wrong in cheering this, but I love the involuntary, shocked noise that follows an amazing opposition jam. It says: “What you did was so incredible, that I can’t veil my enthusiasm. Screw it, I’m not even trying to hide it.”
This dunk shifted momentum in the Phoenix’s favor, till they tried to give us the game. I took notes on the last sequences, but they look like the crib notes of a schizophrenic con artist. Missed free throws, botched inbounds plays, inexplicable late-action fouls. There’s a lot to say about both teams in the time that is crunchy, and not much of it is good.
- Monta tried to intentionally miss a free throw, only to bank it in. I recently listened to a Simmons podcast where he suggested that an intentional misser should lineup to the far right or left of the hoop. Sounds like a good idea.
- Curry didn’t do much right in crunchy time, but I’m not concerned. He’s a rook, he’s learning.
- Reggie Williams? I must say, when Reggie started jacking deep Js early in the shot clock, my thought was, “This ain’t good.” Well it was, and he might be, and who cares (other than the NBA, as Stern keeps reminding us)? We’re in a tank zone—let’s see what the kid’s got. Shades of Jamal Crawford and I mean it in a good way.
Every now and again, I like to watch one player exclusively for a few sequences. I fixed on Tolliver in at the 8:23 mark in the third quarter:
- Slow to rotate on defense, easy Lopez layup.
- Floats to three point corner bangs it home
- Loses position, easy entry pass to Amare. Amare misses layup,
- Floats near corner, receives pass, bricks a three.
- Floats to Hill, nothing happens, Suns lose ball.
- Tolliver floats to left corner again, doesn’t come in for rebound.
I’m not drawing massive conclusions from these, but this backs up what I think regarding Tolly: He’s a “stretch” PF who’s hopelessly lost when guarding real post players.
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