On the eve of what would eventually be the second-greatest season of my Warrior fandomship (nothing could supplant that anything-is-possible, lighting-in-a-bottle feeling in 2007... though a Larry O'Brien trophy would be nice), I had trouble sleeping. My mind was buzzing with questions of health and rookie potential. It seems like so long ago, and yet, just like yesterday, that we were debating if Harrison Barnes was an upgrade over Dorell Wright, who would be the starting small forward, or Stephen Curry should be extended.
The Warrior's franchise has taken a quantum leap forward in the past eight months since. The magic of 2007 was ephemeral, the pent-up emotion of 20,000 fans bursting forth. Our current team is built to last. On the 07 roster, there were 8 rookies or sophomores. If that seems like a lot, it's because of that group, only Kelenna Azubuike and Monta Ellis were in the top 10 on the team in total minutes played. So, while the current iteration of Golden State basketball held a measly 5 rookies and sophomores (I decided, since Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins weren't on the team during the playoffs on the roster, to not count them) 4 of them (I'll let you guess which ones) actually contributed to the winning cause, each of them in the top 10 total minutes played (and two in the top 5!), doubling the number on the 2007 roster. What I'm driving at here is that this team is built with longevity in mind, not some ragtag ensemble haphazardly cobbled together.
I bring this up because I feel as though we truly witnessed the franchise itself progressing out of the dark ages. Some may call this preemptive, or say that the playoffs only truly start in the second round; to that I reply that the foundation of a successful franchise is built upon an intangible ‘winning culture', and that, at the end of the day, Mark Jackson has succeeded in creating a lockerroom atmosphere conducive to winning. He battled, he fought, he took a lot of flack from us fans, but he did it. I still say his Jacksonisms is fodder he feeds the media; regardless, on all accounts the Warriors possess one of the best lockerroom atmospheres-whether Jackson just got lucky that he has a roster full of exemplary human beings is debatable. The lockerroom serves as a kind of barometer to gauge the culture. Guys don't hang their heads or point fingers in the Warrior's lockerroom. The culture of losing and giving up has been vanquished this season. The franchise is taking steps out of the darkness of irrelevancy, into the warm embrace of perennial playoff basketball.
I plan on doing some more fanposts to try and galvanize GSoM's fanpost section this offseason. Let's get some ideas going!