As an east bay native, I’ve always been a fan of the three teams that play in the Coliseum. Up until recently, however, I’ve always watched the Warriors from afar. Not because they were bad teams, hell, I remember the "Tim and Chris burger" teams (that’s "Chris and Tim burgers,) from the early 90’s. No, I probably avoided watching basketball because of the amount of influence the referees have on the game. Be that as it may, the Warriors are my team, and I will always root for them, even if the game itself is hard to watch.
Recently, however, I’ve taken a much closer look at the Warriors, like actually watching entire games, coaching recaps, and learning about all the different advanced stats. For me, the Warriors changed from a "good little team in a big bad division" to a balanced, legitimate contender, not when they drafted Curry, or signed Lee, or even when they traded for Bogut. To be sure, they seemed to be heading in the right direction, but for me, the pivot point came in the GSOM article "Warriors win the gosh darn coin flip." That event signaled to me that God (or any infinite transcendental of your choosing) finally wearied of punishing the Warriors. I felt much more comfortable about the Warriors’ long term future.
My expectations shifted so dramatically from that moment that I immediately started thinking about how to improve the team, almost without enjoying the team I did have. Instead of feeling grateful for the little things I had before (like the D-league all-stars,) I got greedy, and tried to identify the weakest link in the team. I tried to figure out how to upgrade David Lee. Now, I remember my pleasant surprise when Lee signed with us, partially for his offensive ability in the post, and partially for his reasonable contract, as compared to other power forwards at the time. Yet I still dreamed up unrealistic trades involving Chris Bosh and Pau Gasol, and later, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love. And the more I tried to upgrade David Lee, the more I realized how few upgrades existed, both in terms of production and in terms of contract. And of the upgrades, very few, if any, were available to trade.
How did this happen to me? The exact same player, with the exact same skillset, and the exact same contract, goes from a welcome addition to a deplorable albatross. How does a player with so few viable upgrades become so undesirable to me? Well, it seem most likely that I expect this team to compete for the finals championship, and those lofty expectations cause me to panic, lest the Warriors let this window of opportunity slip away. My head tells me that this is a solid, balanced, even elite (E-leet) team, but my head is screaming, "We only have a few years left! Andre and Andrew are aging! Klay might leave! We have to WIN NOW!!"
Well, there you have it. This year, I’m going to try to not let my expectations diminish this thoroughly enjoyable Warriors season. Whether or not they get Kevin Love, whether or not Klay Thompson stays, or whether or not Steve Kerr is better than Mark Jackson, I will try to just sit back and enjoy this exiting Warriors season. I really should be used to players coming and going by now. After all, I’m an A’s fan.