When the Warriors selected Mike Dunleavy with the #3 overall pick back in 2002, I thought the organization made another stupid, costly mistake. (For the record I wanted them to take Bay Area product Drew Gooden who's currently averaging an insane 16.3ppg and 12.5rbp- man, we could really use those boards!). Throughout the first few years of his career despite all the local hype ("he's so smart", "he's such a great shooter", "he makes his teammates better", "he has such a great all-around game", etc), I thought Dunleavy was a B-U-S-T. I was never impressed with his on court performance and demeanor. He seemed to be the most overvalued player by the fans, local media, and the Warriors organization- by far. I never understood why Dunleavy got so much praise, while guys like Jason Richardson and Troy Murphy who improved their games tenfold since their rookie seasons didn't get as much hype.
Before the 2005-2006 season Dunleavy was about to be a restricted free agent. I thought that finally the organization could end the failed Dunleavy experiment by either letting him walk at the end of the season or trading him mid-season. The Warriors had to see that Dunleavy just wasn't a starter in this league and they needed to draft or sign a real starting NBA small forward. It seemed perfectly clear that Dunleavy wasn't an impact player in this league.
But in line with the foolish contracts that were handed out to Adonal Foyle, Derek Fisher, and Troy Murphy, the Warriors inked Dunleavy to star money with a 5 year 44 million dollar extension. The extension drove me nuts at the time:
- Why did the Warriors just reward a player who had been inconsistent and mediocre at best during his first 3 years in the league with such big money?
- If the Warriors were really intent on keeping him with the team, couldn't they just wait till the end of the season, see how he performed, and then give him an extension based on what his market value was?
- How could the Warriors be so stupid to think that Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, and Adonal Foyle were an acceptable starting frontcourt in the NBA?
- Why were the Warriors so keen on locking up a "core" that had never proved that they were a contender or let alone a playoff team?
After one of the toughest seasons being a Warriors fan in which the organization showed a stubborn insistence to play Dunleavy 30 minutes a game despite his unwatchable poor play, a failed Dunleavy as a Point Forward experiment, a failed Dunleavy Point Guard experiment, and an all around acceptance that the Warriors goofed big time handing him that insane contract extension, Warriors Nation and even the national hoops media are dissing Mike Dunleavy like no other:
- another honor for jr. dunleavy diary by mike D
- Skip to My IQ- The Mike Dunleavy Jr. Hater Blog
- The Warriors’ 1-2 start: Exposing Dunleavy and Murphy & Nelson dumps the Dunleavy-Murphy tandem and (maybe) saves the Warriors by Tim Kawakami (more so about the Dunleavy + Murphy disaster as a tandem, but still a great read)
- The Return of Li'l Dun's Facials by Lang Whitaker for Slam
- any message board on the web about the Warriors
I've always tried to have a good sense of humor about the Warriors (it's just for fun, there's bigger problems in this messed up world we live in, etc), but Dunleavy's poor play, outrageous contract, unwarranted hype, and even curious team captain status just aren't funny anymore- they're sad. As a longtime Warriors fan the jokes can only keep you going for so long. Funleavy Foto Fun and the absurd praise some of Dunleavy's few remaining supporters insist on giving him, while still entertaining, just don't do it for me like they used to. It's been too long. I'm sure the jokes will continue, but all jokes aside I'd like to see one of four things happen with a strong preference for the unlikely #3 and #4:
- Mike Dunleavy at the age of 26 finally steps up and becomes the player all his longtime supporters have always hyped him up to be.
- Coach Don Nelson banishes Mike Dunleavy from the starting lineup and never plays him more than 10 minutes a game purely to rest the starters
- The front office owes up to their foolish past mistakes and trades him the instant some GM is desperate enough to deal for him
- The Warriors negotiate a contract buyout with Mike Dunleavy and his super-agent
Mike Dunleavy is now in his 5th season with the Warriors. Through 5 games his play on a minute-by-minute basis is at an all time low : 8.2ppg (39.4% FG and 68.8% FT), 3.0 rpg, 1.8 apg : 1.6 turnovers, 0.6 spg, and 0.6 bpg. Dunleavy has historically gotten off to slow starts, but with his team captain title, veteran status on this young team, hype and confidence from Don Nelson in the offseason, and his statement that former Warrior coaches Eric Musselman and Mike Montgomery used him improperly, things were supposed to be different. It just doesn't add up. What gives?