Kevin Garnett once famously bellowed, "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!" It seems he was right: the 2014 offseason, most assuredly the longest in NBA history, and maybe the longest span of time of anything ever, has at last come to its merciful end.
Ladies and gentlemen: Let there be basketball.
And while this vampire took its pint of blood from many of us, the dawning of the season has torched its sickly marble flesh into ash; we survived its terror; and here we are, standing tall, the sun shining, the Bay brimming with sports enthusiasm, and our 2014-2015 Golden State Warriors standing there on the steps of Oracle's East Entrance, reminding us that — damn, we got it good.
Good? Not strong enough. Better? Better, but doesn't make sense in this context.
Well, I mean... hmm. Yes?
To put it more frankly: For most of us, this Warriors team is the best we've ever seen. Ever.
I'd love for some old timers to take a seat in that La-Z-Boy over there in the corner and ramble on about Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond and short shorts. But let's face it: most of us here are under 35, have vague memories of Run TMC skipping around on grainy standard definition televisions (I shudder at the thought), mostly remember Latrell Sprewell for The Choke and for feeding his family, and talked ourselves into Jason Richardson as our favorite player in the NBA for a few years. And even if we had clear-as-day memories of any of those post-championship teams, I think this is still true: the 2014-2015 Warriors stand alone as the best team we've seen in 30+ years.
Listen, we all know the reasons. Stephen Curry is a top 5 All-NBA'er, the most marketable Warrior maybe in history. The defense should be top 5 also, with Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson leading the way. The bench, led by the still-somehow-hidden gem Draymond Green, was restocked with bigger and better performers than last year's circus. The coaching staff seems to Get It, even if time still needs to tell us to what extent.
But this is a team that can quite honestly strive toward the top seed in the Western Conference. This is a team that has a chance to make the NBA Finals. And I'm not talking about a Lloyd Christmas "so you're saying there's a chance" chance. I think you can survey the landscape, peer back in at this roster, stroke your beard, and then slowly nod, "Yeeeaahhhh. Why not?"
But I want you to do something for me: don't answer that question just yet. I know there are reasons why not. Most of them are true. Some of them scare me. Odds are odds, and Spurs are Spurs, and good things don't always come to those who wait.
We don't need to talk about those things right now. What we can focus on, today and in the immediate future, is one thing: basketball. Did I mention that they get to actually start playing that thing again tomorrow night?
Let's let them play some basketball, and let's let ourselves bask in its magnificence. Let's witness some grace, some transcendent athletic feats, some brute force rim crushers, magical footwork and agility and ball handling and shooting, shooting, oh yes, some beautiful shooting. Let's watch Andrew Bogut crawl right inside of DeMarcus Cousins' skull and poke at it like an annoying big brother who gets away with everything.
While we know how good and how successful this team can and should be, ultimately Game 1 isn't going to tell us a whole lot. It won't be a crystal ball or an ominous foretelling.
What Game 1 does tell us: Meaningful NBA basketball is back. The Warriors are back. And Golden State of Mind? Well, we never left, but now we can get back to doing what we're best at: enjoying the game we love.