Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crowded at the Bottom

Andy Roddick is a phenomenal tennis player. He has a skill set that compares to that of Pete Sampras. He has athleticism that rivals that of Bjorn Borg. The problem is simply the era in which he plays. His prime has conflicted with that of two of the greatest of all time, Roger Federer and Raffa Nadal. As a result, Federer is often left out of grand slam finals, and hasn’t had the results that you might expect with his skill set. Instead he has been relegated to a rung below the elite tennis players, with the likes of other players who are as good as Roddick, but who’s names I don’t know because they aren’t as charismatic, as American or as married to Brooklyn Decker, and I don’t know anything about tennis.

This is kind of like the 2010 Warriors, and it could cost us my goal of being terrible, getting our uninterested coach fired and picking up John Wall. We should be a great bad team.

Monte Ellis quit on the year before he was even back from his injury. We ditched Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes, Baron Davis, Al Harrington and Jason Richardson from the only playoff team in the last sixteen years, and that was an 8 seed. Our most effective scorer played for a school with less than 2000 kids last year. Our second most effective player was undrafted. 2 years ago. Our center should really be a 4, but we play him there because we have a great college player who’s game doesn’t seem to translate at the 4, and because, hell, Biedrins is 6’11” and we don’t have a better option.

The problem is, in Minnesota, they saw our refusal to sign a star point guard by drafting 2, pissing off one, trading a franchise player for about 3 cents on the dollar, and basically doing the rebuilding equivalent of remodeling by taking everything out of a house, tearing up the flooring and walls, then saying ‘screw it, it is cheaper if we just live with it, and hope that we can clean this mess up as we go.’

The Warriors are only 5 games back of Minnesota in the loss column, but any realistic Warriors fan knows that they have done a much better job of putting an embarrassingly bad product on the floor. They are the Nadal of the NBA.

Then there is the Federer of NBA futility. Really, though, the Nets are more like Tiger without the scandal, Ali without prison and Jordan without baseball rolled in to one, crossed with Lemieux, Gretzky and Jesus. They are that good. At being bad.

The Wizards had a gunfight in the locker room, suspended their most talented player, traded two of their other top players, and they are 14 games better than the Nets! People talk about how John Wall might not fit on a team that has Devin Harris, which is crap. I know it is crap because Wall does fine at Kentucky, and they are a much better team than the Nets.

(This is an exaggeration, but come on…the best scoring point prospect since Iverson can’t start for a 7-63 team? Please.)

Anyways, that is where I stand with the Warriors. They seem deadlocked in the #27 seed, 5 games behind the T-Wolves, but 2 up on the Bullets. It could be worse, especially considering that they only need a top 2 pick to fulfill this goal. The lottery could yet be the savior. At the #3 seed, the Warriors would have a 15% chance of getting the number 1 pick, and a 16% chance at number 2. The third worst team has gotten the number one pick 5 times, although one involved a frozen envelope (little help, David!). We may be in an era with extraordinary competition, but I’m not ready to give up on our chances at Wall or Turner yet.

With new ownership coming next year (the story having been officially broken yesterday), the desire to get an A prospect becomes much more serious. This is not a sellers market, especially in a league that had dire, documented financial problems. That leaves the door wide open for the plethora of wealthy bay area people that would love to put a winner in Oakland. I mentioned it in passing, but the Warriors haven't finished higher than 8th in the past 16 years. They have become a dismal franchise.

I said a lot of stuff in jest, but with the ownership story breaking this may be a turning point for the franchise. Nelly was a great coach but the game has passed him by (you need to play defense these days). If an organization like SVSE (Sharks owners), or the Neukom partnership (holds the Giants) that has shown itself to care about putting out a good product, or one of the many Silicone Valley figures with money to blow who can hire the right people, they have an interested market. On top of that, there is a core of good players with Ellis, Morrow, Anthony Randolf and Curry. There is no reason that this can't be a playoff team.

I joked around about losing a lot in the last two columns. I am saying this seriously: The Warriors could turn around, and John Wall or Evan Turner could be the start. Go T-Wolves, Go Nets.

(And with that, I have reached my NBA quota…back to the NHL in the next few days)

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