Two nights. Two different Dubs. What happened? The way fans have been talking, it would seem that our best players had all died in a plane crash, and the season was officially over. It was off to a terrible start, for sure. But it's not over.
On paper, we should be a pretty good ball club. Last year, we only had 26 wins but without Monta Ellis and with a myriad of injuries and considering some of the promise we showed, this season should have been, at a minimum, fun. Randolph had turned the corner, and one of our glaring weaknesses was made strong; an up and comer, Anthony Morrow, had left his mark on the league by becoming the three-point champ. This preseason showed even greater promise, despite even Brandan Wright's "broken wing."
Then it all fell apart.
What happened? Lack of direction, lack of focus and lack of caring. We can't discount a lack of camaraderie, either. All of this lead to stupid and selfish play on the part of our adrift Warriors. Last year, a terrible year by all objective measures, we were far better than we have been this year...
These two showed us what they could do, when they have the will and direction.
But that all changed in Minnesota on Nov. 9, 2009, a date which may be looked back on as the sign of things to come. That's not to say we won't have bad games anymore. But the team proved to itself what it takes and now knows how to win again. On that date, no one exemplified how to win better, in my opinion, than Stephen Jackson. No one played more unselfishly than him, and he reminded me and hopefully others, why he deserved to be a captain.
While he wasn't technically Captain Jack last night, he was still the leader of whom Baron said after the greatest upset in NBA history over the Mavericks:
I told [Stephen Jackson] I'll give it all I got and I didn't want to be the hardest worker out there. He had to carry me. He is the leader of this team and if you ask anyone on this team, he is the heart and soul of this team. He is a big-game performer and he knew just how important this game was. He is the only one on our team to have won a championship, so we had to feed off of him.
What makes Jackson so special is not only his strong will but that his will can be, at times, completely and 100% focused on winning. He loses himself in the goal of winning and nothing else matters. Combine his heart and his drive to conquer, and teammates can't seem to help but be pulled up with him in the wake of his fiercely competitive spirit. Despite Jack's obviously excessive pride and immaturity, the man is a leader, whether for the good of the team or the detriment.
Against the T-Wolves, he proved once again that when it comes to basketball, he'll always be a captain. I thought he might be taking his crew down with the ship, but it appears he steered us to safety, instead. A blowout like that doesn't come without leadership, and I know of no one else on the team nor any coach that could have turned the team around, most especially Monta Ellis, in such dramatic fashion. He will be very hard to replace; if he continues to lead the way he did last night, perhaps we ought to think twice about doing so.
On Stephen Jackson:
“I thought he set the tone for the game by moving the ball as everybody else did as well. I thought he did an excellent job on (Ryan) Gomes, who’s their leading scorer.”
On Having 15 Assists:
"I just wanted to make plays. I know I’m one of the guys that has to make plays for other guys and not worry about my shot that much. So I just wanted to come out and be aggressive and make plays and try and get us going, and for the most part it worked.
On Playing Well vs. Sub-.500 Teams:
“I think being a young team the guys feel more confident against teams that they feel they have the same record, but we have to have that confidence. I know me, personally, I have that confidence against any team, but as a team we have to have the confidence whether we’re playing Boston or Minnesota.”