Sorry to deviate from your Finals coverage, but I need to share this with the world.
Being a Golden State fan requires a somewhat unhealthy combination of self-loathing, perpetual loyalty and the ability to constantly remind yourself that things could be much worse. After all, we could be Clippers fans.
Actually, I take that back – it’s better to be a Clippers fan (and not just because of a certain B. Griffin). At least you can blame Sterling and the Buffalo Braves curse. We GSW fans have no one to blame. We can’t even be bad enough consistently enough to get team changing picks – and when we do get them, they bust.
Last year, when the Chris Cohan Reign Of Tyranny finally ended, I felt a glimmer of hope. Maybe Joe Lacob would be the man to lead the Warriors and their fans to the Promised Land.
Now? I know that Lacob is the man.
I always had a good feeling about the guy. Oh sure, I didn’t love keeping Robert Rowell as president even if only as the business mind. Appointing his son as prez of basketball operations stunk of nepotism. And I wanted to see what Don Nelson could do with this team, even though by all accounts he was perfectly happy to take his win record and go to Hawaii.
But this off-season, so far, he’s repaid every bit of faith I invested in him.
First came the appointment of former power agent Bob Myers as assistant GM – surely with a view that in a few years he would be our guy. I like this. Having agents on your team’s side is never a bad thing and Myers has plenty of contacts for sure. This seemed like a brave, innovative move a venture capitalist like Lacob should make.
Then came the announcement that Jerry West was joining the management team along with getting a small ownership stake. Nothing really needs to be said about the Logo and his years of expertise as a basketball mind. Suffice to say that I read it while in a lecture, and as soon as I was done turned around and high-fived the guy behind me (who, as far as I know, knew nothing about basketball).
Now we have the last two major pieces of our puzzle in place with ABC broadcaster Mark Jackson (yes, that Mark Jackson) coming along as our new head coach and bringing along Hornets assistant Mike Malone for the ride.
I found about this when I was at work. This time, I went across the room and high-fived my chief designer (who’s a basketball fan) and explained to him what was happening. He bought me lunch to celebrate.
I love these hirings. No, wait, I LOOOOOVE them.
Some are trying to complain by pointing out that Jackson has no head coaching experience. To which, I say I don’t give a shit.
He’s exactly what we need for this team. As a player, he wasn’t the most athletic point guard but he had great smarts, basketball IQ and toughness. Hmmm, sound like a certain young point guard currently wearing the Bay Bridge #30? He was known as a tough defender in his time coming to a team that desperately needs a coach who will emphasise toughness and defense. As a player, he was known for his command of Xs and Os – and what he lacks in this area as a coach, Malone (by all accounts one of the smartest young assistant coach minds out there) will bring.
Most importantly – Mark Jackson is respected around the league. After I tweeted the good news, the next thing I noticed was that Dwyane Wade was congratulating him. Yes, that Dwyane Wade who is currently playing a tough Finals series, took the time to Tweet his congrats on his new job.
Considering that the last Warriors employee who Wade gave props to upon joining us was Dorell Wright, who was one of the signings of the year for any team, I’d say I’m pretty keen on his gratitude. But it’s more than that.
People forget sometimes given just how lousy we’ve been on the court for the past 15 years that the Warriors are actually a pretty big market team. They have the sixth largest media market in the USA (the SF Bay Area) pretty much all to themselves. Given our front office buffoonery and lousy coaching, to say we’ve squandered these opportunities would be to put it mildly. But we should be competing for the biggest names, with the Lakers and the Knicks and the Heat and the rest of them. I’m not saying that Jackson will make us competitive in that area overnight. That’s gonna be a long process. But having a high profile presence as our head coach shows that Lacob and co are on the right track.
Now, here’s what I hope our new brain trust (West, Myers, Jackson and Larry Riley) do from here.
1) Trade Monta Ellis.
This one seems almost a given. It’s hard for me to accept. Monta is my favourite player, bar none. There’s no one I love watching play more. When he’s on fire…*drooling*.
But he doesn’t help the team. Even last year, when he was switched on the whole time, playing hard and doing the good teammate thing – it showed me, once and for all, that you can’t rely on Monta Ellis as a No.1 scoring option. His biggest flaw always has been that when he’s double teamed (as he was much of last year) he couldn’t or wouldn’t find his open teammates for easy buckets and instead try to force things himself. Part of that was shit coaching (Keith Smart giving Monta way too much leeway) but it was mostly Monta.
Ideally, he’d go to a team where he can either play a sixth man role or another team with a dominant ball handler and a coach who can keep him in his place. I loved the earlier trade mooted which would have sent him to Chicago for Luol Deng and Omer Asik – we get a starting SF and a very promising C prospect in that deal – but it seems the latest talk is Monta to the Sixers straight up for Andre Iguodala. There’s been trade talk around Iggy to the Warriors for the past two years and I don’t buy a lot of it, but this deal makes sense for everyone. Philly get a big time scorer, GSW get a lockdown defender on the wing and a complimentary player to Curry.
2: Do something – anything, really – with Biedrins.
Whether that involves hypnotising him to get his best play out of him, trading him for a half-eaten bag of Doritos, driving out into the desert with him and trying to communicate with a shaman, Jim Morrison-style – I don’t care. But they gotta do something about him. Last two seasons, his play’s been so bad I would argue he is the worst 6’11″ guy in the league. What’s extra aggravating is that we know the talent is there – particularly for rebounding and shot blocking – it just seems to be a mental block with him. Hopefully the FO can trade him – if not, Jackson can work some magic.
3. Sign Patty Mills.
OK, this one’s for me. Us. Some other time, I’ll tell the story of when I played Patty one-on-one.
That’s it. But for the first time since February 08, my ‘We Believe’ tattoo doesn’t feel like a bad idea.