By: Jesse Taylor
Right around the year 2000, the Golden State Warriors marketing department created a campaign featuring Antawn Jamison and Larry Hughes with the tagline, “We might be onto something.”
That really happened.
Of course, they weren’t really on anything. It was the marketing department that was “on something.” The team was in the midst of a 5-year stretch where it won 19, 21, 19, 17 and 21 games, respectively.
But now? This current Warriors team might really be onto something.
I was beginning to think I’d never live to see a winning Warriors team again. But one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is, if you live long enough, you’re going to experience things you never thought possible. For example, I still can’t get over this past weekend when I crossed paths with a black family speaking Japanese in very heavy Japanese accents. Think of the most stereotypical Asian accent possible, and imagine Bill Cosby and the Huxtable family talking this way. I was somewhat shocked to see/hear it, but I thought it was great. The more cultural diversity in our world the better I always say.
Considering this, should we really be surprised with this Warriors team? After 15 years of hell with the Chris Cohan era and a bumpy start to the Joe Lacob era, we are now looking at a Warriors team that may be the foundation for a prolonged stretch of success.
The team’s cornerstone, Stephen Curry, is locked in through 2017 – as are rookie first-round draft picks Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli. The contracts for Klay Thompson and David Lee run through 2016. Both are considered controversial players by some based on either their defense (Lee) or shot selection/layup skills (Klay), but both produce while also acting as potential trade chips – Thompson more so than Lee based on their salaries.
The Warriors get another year to test the health of both Andrew Bogut and Brandon Rush. If Bogut does not pan out, you have his expiring deal plus the expiring contracts of Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins to play with leading up to the February 2014 trade deadline. And at the end of the 2013-14 season the Warriors will have options and room to go after a free agent. I’m pretty sure people may have heard that LeBron James has a player option around that time.
Lacob’s biggest issue has been his ego. But this season, he appears to have learned from his mistakes and has stepped away from the spotlight quite a bit. While somewhat moving into the shadows, he has assembled a quality basketball operations team led by Bob Myers. Not only is Myers extremely hard working and likable, he has so far proven to possess basketball smarts and common sense. Similar to the feeling San Francisco 49ers fans have with Trent Baalke, I’m starting to have faith in the decisions Myers is making. From trading Monta Ellis and also getting a draft pick for Stephen Jackson (Ezeli), to having a solid 2012 draft (Barnes, Ezeli and Draymond Green) and free agency period (Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry and even Kent Bazemore), Myers is an extremely competent GM. And it doesn’t hurt that he has Jerry West to lean on.
The last time the Warriors had a competent team, it was like a Roots album and things began to fall apart in the blink of an eye. The 2007-08 team went from 48 wins to just 29 in 2008-09. Some may argue the free fall was due to losing Austin Croshere, but I’m sticking with Baron Davis.
The Warriors will have no such concerns with losing Curry, but I don’t know anyone who feels the team’s out of the woods just yet with their star player’s ankle injuries. Because of Davis’ injury issues, the Warriors actually benefitted by not re-signing him. The Warriors signed Curry to a long-term deal and have received a star-making season from him. Let’s hope it only gets better from here.
If it does, and Myers continues his successful chess playing, this should be the beginning of long series of playoffs runs for the Warriors.
Yes, the Golden State Warriors finally might be onto something. And I’m not dead yet.