That … Just Happened

November 7

                       Dude!   I had this really weird dream last night.  I was at the Warriors game with my wife, and they lost to the Clippers!  Wait, it gets better.  They lost to the Clippers by 28 points at home !  No, seriously !

                       This is the part where my friend says “Ray, you weren’t dreaming.  It really did happen.  There were thousands of witnesses.”

                       It’s true.  The L.A. Slumlords came into Oracle like they owned the place.  It was like Donald Sterling thought the Warriors were minority tenants.  The Warriors were summarily evicted from the premises by the end of the 3rd quarter.

                       Where to begin with describing the China Syndrome that is the Warriors?  I suppose you could start with the point guard on the Clippers.  It’s true, when Baron Davis left the Warriors fell apart.  However, it was still a bad bet to sign Baron at five years and 65-million dollars.  Kudos to Baron for getting in shape — in the second year of his deal.

                        You can go to the sidelines, where even Coach Don Nelson couldn’t sugarcoat what happened last night.  A coach who doesn’t teach defense anymore ( Exhibit A:  last night ) and who is jimmy-jacking with talented sophomore Anthony Randolph.  A coach whose style fit the talent of two years ago for a brief glimpse of sunshine.  A coach who is counting down to getting the most wins in NBA history.  He might not make it this year.

                        You could go to the front office, where the Machiavellian maneuvering has led to a series of catastrophic decisions, including the ouster of Chris Mullin.  You could go to the top, to owner Chris Cohan, if you can find him.  A front office where Nelly’s buddy is General Manager. 

                        Nelson has called Cohan, “the perfect owner.”  Why wouldn’t he?  A hands-off owner is one thing.  An ineffectual owner who lets his underlings run wild, is another.

                        You could go to Stephen Jackson and the poison pill he dropped in August, although now it looks like he’s the only sane guy in the room.  Who would want to hang out for this?  Or you could go to Corey ( What’s A Pass ? ) Maggette, the panic signing after Baron left.  Both with nearly un-tradeable contracts.  You could go to the kid on the moped who wrecked last season and is somehow trying to transform himself into a leader this season.  

                        It’s a perfect storm.

                        I have reserved judgement on the Warriors until they actually hit the court.  But what happened last night was an epiphany, so shockingly bad that you wonder if they’ve turned back the clock to 1999.  The only good thing about that would be, I’m ten years younger.

                        I understand Biedrins and Turiaf were hurt, and that made a big difference in the Warriors’ ability to defend under the hoop and get rebounds.  I understand the Warriors are going with two undersized guards who faced a real mismatch in Davis and Eric Gordon, who each scored 25 points.  I understand they are still a relatively young team.  

                       But when you lose to the Clippers by 28 at home, you send a message to your fans that you stink out loud.  You send a message that you are headed down 60-loss highway.  The only thing that kept fans in the game last night was booing Baron Davis, which is silly and pointless now.

                       There is talent here:  Ellis, Randolph, Curry and Biedrins are enough to build around, with Azubuike and Morrow off the bench.  Nelson should let these guys go and work together.   Trading Jackson for any kind of able power forward would be the best fit, but Nelly isn’t crazy about “4’s,”  so I’d settle for a big backup guard who can defend.  To Nelson’s credit, he is trying different lineups with the talent he has, but his style just doesn’t work anymore.

                      Nelson’s time has come and gone.  Jackson’s time in Oakland has come and gone.  Cohan’s time has come and gone.  Their departure would be addition by subtraction, and it’s the only way the Warriors have any chance of becoming a viable NBA team again.   If they don’t all go soon, the fans will be gone, too.

                      The bad news is, you can’t fire an owner.  The good news is that he might be willing to sell, someday.  The bad news is Jackson probably won’t be traded anytime soon.  The good news is that he will eventually be traded.  The bad news is that Nelson likes his money and won’t change his style.  The good news is that he’s got one, maybe two years left.

                      Not much to hang your hat on, Warriors fans, but there it is.  Warriors fans?  Warriors fans?  Hello?

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