The Bad News
So the moral of the story is that Charles Barkley was right.
Barkley, who has become something of an antagonist for the Golden State Warriors dating back to his now infamous proclamations that the Warriors would have no chance against 2007's 67-win Dallas Mavericks, is still rankling feathers by the bay.
In the last few years, Barkley has contended that Stephen Curry is not a real point guard, but a shooting guard - and an undersized one at that. The former Round Mound of Rebound has also repeatedly argued that a jump-shooting team like the Warriors could never win an NBA Championship. And most recently, Barkley has gotten under the Bay Area's skin for leaving the now 36-7 Golden State Warriors out of his top-3 in the west.
Sadly, Barkley was right. We should've known it's the 43rd game in the regular season that really counts. Not any of the first 42 games. And we also know that beating Barkley top-3 teams Dallas and Portland on the road doesn't prove that you deserve to be in the conversation with them.
We should've known that David Lee posting 24 and 9 against the league's best defensive front court (without Andrew Bogut in the lineup) was proof that our lack of low-post scoring is a fatal flaw. And surely, we know that a player who famously proclaimed that God wanted him to win the NBA Finals against Michael Jordan could never be wrong about the future.
Warriors fans - this was about as tough a gut punch as any team could take. A January loss to a good Bulls team with a full four game conference lead to fall back on. As Draymond Green lamented earlier, "[the Warriors] ain't even that good." If only Golden State could sign Sir Chuck out of retirement...
The Good News
Fortunately, that may not be necessary. Wednesday, the Warriors optioned Festus (for the Rest of Us) Ezeli to the Santa Cruz Warriors for a temporary conditioning assignment. This is an encouraging sign that Ezeli, who has been out with an ankle injury since December 23, is nearing a return to the court. This follows the news that Ezeli was seen scrimmaging in an "intense" 3-on-3 scrimmage at practice, Monday.
In a related move, the Dubs recalled second-year center Ognjen Kuzmic from Santa Cruz. He was averaging 8.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in 10 starts for the Surf City Warriors this season.
Warriors center Festus Ezeli (ankle) has asked to do a rehab stint with @DLeagueWarriors that starts Saturday at Reno, a source told Yahoo.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) January 28, 2015
Additionally, the Warriors made good on their growing reputation for fashion. This week, the team unveiled Chinese New Year jerseys -- an NBA first. The new threads are similar to the slate jerseys on first glance, but these special uniforms also include red piping, as well as a red and gold pattern down the sides. The characters on the chest spell "Warriors." Golden State will break them out on February 20th when they host the San Antonio Spurs.
The...sort of Ugly News?
Festus Ezeli's pending return, combined with Justin Holiday's rapid ascension, David Lee's breakout performance against Chicago and Marreese Speights' general awesomeness compounds what was already an enviable problem for head coach Steve Kerr. There's only 240 minutes in a regulation basketball game, and Golden State simply has too much talent for the time allotment. Seriously. Try playing franchise mode on NBA 2K and see what happens when you try to distribute the minutes on this roster. Every cyber-Warrior will hate you. Especially Andrew Bogut, for some reason.
Warriors fans can only hope that the management group is better at the popular video game series than the rest of us. Or at least better at the real life version. At any rate, the Warriors' waiver wire and rotation schemes will be an interesting watch the next few months. Despite sitting pretty in first place, Steve Kerr and the Warriors brain trust still have their work cut out for them.