There was an article a couple weeks ago from ESPN about the top franchises in all of sports. Keep scrolling down for the Golden State Warriors. Can't find it yet? Keep going. There we go. Coming in at a solid #101 sandwiched between dubious franchises like the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals sure doesn't make the fans feel good but at the same time, isn't very controversial at all.
Will the new regime of Peter Guber and Joe Lacob be able to propel the Warriors up the standings this year and in the future? Here are a few things that have to happen:
1) Move to San Francisco. Something that is still in limbo as the blueprints are still being made and negotiations for the space at the Piers still in talks, but if it does happen and it eventually might, it would be a huge financial boon for the Warriors. The projected date to the move to SF is 2017 making the next half-decade crucial to the potential of what a good Warriors team can do.
Let's use a hypothetical that sees Stephen Curry finally stay healthy and blossom into a top-ten point guard and they make the playoffs three out of the next five seasons. By that time, fans hope that young players like Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes are solid stars at that point, raising the hype level when they do finally move. The regime will be taken seriously as they draft well (hopefully Klay, Barnes, Draymond Green, and Festus Ezeli was the start) with the help of the logo, Jerry West.
Moving a perennial playoff team oozing with potential across the Bay would bump up the franchise's worth as well as its exposure.
Oakland simply isn't San Francisco. Ask the A's.
2) Model after the San Francisco 49ers new regime. When the 49ers were in the dumps with Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, and J.T. O'Sullivan, there was no hope for the future despite owning several talented francise cornerstones like Patrick Willis and Vernon Davis. Once they promoted Trent Baalke and hired Jim Harbaugh, all that changed and even number one pick Alex Smith has played like a Pro Bowler. The 49ers always had the potential, but when combined with the new regime, they were finally able to fulfill that and are now the NFL's best team, by far.
This might already be in effect with new GM Bob Myers and second-year head coach Mark Jackson coming in last year. Although the Warriors' record was not good due to bad luck and tanking, it did help them add significant pieces throughout the offseason. Are the Warriors in store for a Niners-esque turnaround this year?
3) Make the playoffs. The easiest way to turn around a franchise is to win. Easier said than done, because the word "win" is joined at the hip with the unrealistic expectation of the word "healthy" in the Bay Area. For the immediate future, it is probably more important that Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry stay healthy than have the Warriors immediately move to San Francisco. Remember, the fans in Oakland are one of the best in the entire NBA (see: We Believe playoff run).
That's it. Just a simple three-step move starting with the team making the playoffs, a total team turnaround with a budding young coaching stud (Harbaugh certainly is while Coach Jackson still has much to prove), and moving the team to a state-of-the-art stadium in one of the best cities in the world.
A quick aside: I know many people aren't fans of Mark Jackson but he wasn't dealt with the best hand last year, and while many point out the team still doesn't play much defense, I argue that there aren't many players on this team that can. For every Brandon Rush who is solid defensively, there are three David Lees. With this year's team, Coach Jackson will have no excuse - again, barring injury- to have this team play well and compete for a playoff spot.
Not much to ask for but with a little bit of that maybe they'll leapfrog the likes of moribund franchises like the Bengals and Vikings.