I figured before I can officially welcome the new Warriors (yes, it's a little late) and welcome back some returning Warriors, I have to say goodbye first (and yes, this has been even later). It's only right to do so, I guess.
A new Warriors era is starting and the longest tenured Warrior is (well hopefully will be) Andris Biedrins. So before we jump into this youth movement, I gotta pay my respects to the departed. Baron, Matt, and Mickael. 3 key components to my most memorable Warriors season. No, not last season, that magical '07 playoff run.
And Austin, Troy, and Chris don't count. We barely knew ya, especially you CWebb.
It's a new era for the Warriors. The 13 year playoff drought ended and now the Baron Davis era is over. Though it was short lived, the 3.5 years that Baron was on this team were the best in recent memory. He was the catalyst for that magical run in the 2006-2007 season. I'll never forget the incredible run to end the season playing like a team possessed. Baron was the man. He brought instant credibility to the team that casual NBA fans didn't know existed. Because he's so widely recognized around the league, the Warriors had a new respect.
I cannot say enough about Baron and how much I enjoyed watching him play. He was the reason to watch the Warriors. The star, the guy teams focused their defense on, the player you could count on to hit big shots or make clutch plays. With him on the court, you always felt you had a chance no matter what. The thought of him teaming up with JRich in the backcourt made my mouth water. Two explosive offensive players? Oh my. Too bad it only really happened for that magical playoff run.
But the Boom Dizzle era is over as he opted out and signed on with his hometown Clips. Good luck in LaLa land. With Monta signing a 6 year, $66 million deal, we can now officially move on to a new era, the Monta Ellis era. For better or worse, Mullin and Nelson have pinned the future of the Warriors' franchise on the speedy 2-guard. Does that make me a little nervous? Hell yea. But I'm also excited to be able to see how this team grows over the next few years. Though I might be complaining about missing the playoffs for the next few years as well.
Matt came along at the exact right time. Nellie loved his game in that '06-'07 season and so did all the fans. His passion, hustle, hard work, and "leave it all on the floor" attitude resonated with the Bay Area community. He was so Oakland. I remember walking into a jersey store looking for a new Warriors jersey. They had plenty of Pietrus, Jackson, Baron, Harrington, Monta, and Biedrins. You know who they were sold out of? Yup, Barnes. Most popular jersey at that store.
The tats along with the tough, football mentality fit so well with the team especially with the mid-season Jax and Harrington heist.He played out of his mind that season and brought the intangibles to the team that everyone talks about but are impossible to measure. He probably will never have another season like he did 2 years ago, but he'll always be remembered by Warrior fans as a major role player in that magical run. And those half court baseball outlet passes. And the tackles, I mean hard fouls. And the 1 on 5 3 pointers.
It's hard to say goodbye to 3 major pieces of the roster during the greatest season I've ever experienced. Barring a championship, that season and those players will be my favorite team.
But we move on to a new era, the Youth Movement, the Monta Ellis Era.