Normally, I’d begin the next chapter of this series with adulation about the back-to-back champion Golden State Warriors’ secret power of weaponized joy.
But, it appears that joy has been stripped away from the team momentarily through a combination of injuries, squabbling, and Harrison Barnes’ lockdown defense.
Check out the official rundown of how crappy the Texas road trip was from the official Warriors PR team:
Postgame Notes from tonight’s 104-92 loss at San Antonio: pic.twitter.com/ME4aImOeyo— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) November 19, 2018
Ugh. But how did we get here?
Steph Curry was playing at his usual Unanimous MVP-level before a groin injury against the Milwaukee Bucks yanked him out of the lineup. That forced the angelic face of the franchise to spend some time with his beautiful wife and children in the Bay while the team traveled to LA for what should have been a routine stomping of the Clippers.
We all know what happened next: Draymond Green didn’t pass Kevin Durant the ball when KD thought he should have. KD, a thirsty scorer with a history of clutch performances, responded by screaming and gesturing at Dray in scolding admonishment.
Green, the team’s vocal, grizzled enforcer and assists leader, battling a debilitating toe injury of his own, felt like KD was disrespecting his basketball IQ. Predictably, he clapped back with hurricane force.
Two emotional guys with hair-trigger sensitivities clashed, and Dray took it a step further by profanely calling out KD’s manhood and loyalty. Dray got suspended, before being shelved to rehab his painful injury.
Warriors’ brass sides with KD, suspends Draymond, following public spat. Quick rundown of the situation before Myers/Kerr address reporters in an hour. https://t.co/6tReDoUaiU— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 14, 2018
In the aftermath, the Warriors got their asses beat three straight times in Texas. KD’s jumpshot has disappeared as his frustration has risen.
The Warriors’ ability to weaponize joy appears to have been crushed!
Yet, in the NBA, greatness is defined not in the absence of adversity, but through the fiery gates of it.
Nick Friedell of ESPN picked up on the Warriors mulling this over following the end of the road trip from hell:
Kevin Durant said (Warriors head coach) Steve Kerr’s message to the group has been pretty simple.
”Play with joy,” Durant said. “Just trying to get that joy back.”
Klay Thompson said, “We’re obviously short-handed. I’m proud of the way the guys fought. Besides the Houston game, I feel like either game could have gone either way; unfortunately, it didn’t. It’s been a challenging week on all fronts. The best thing for us is just to get away a little bit [Monday], regroup, take it back home and just have fun, play with that joy.”
With that in mind, there’s only one possible entry for the representative for this week in weaponizing joy.
Curry, the king who discovered the supreme power of joy and birthed the Golden Dynasty, left his family at home in the Bay to join the wounded squad. Though he could not assist them by breaking ankles and dropping 50, he planted the seeds of glee that will grow over the weeds of early season discontent.
Well, for the Warriors sake, at least the blowout L is giving Steph Curry some time to bring KD and Draymond (and Cousins) together on the bench for a light-hearted conversation pic.twitter.com/IhylhtkovQ— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 16, 2018
Draymond Green on the sideline vibe tonight, Steph Curry absorbing a ton of jokes from him/KD/Cousins pic.twitter.com/JnWM05rdSp— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 16, 2018
Laughter truly is the best medicine. Dr. Curry is in, and the enjoyment will follow. In his own words:
“Obviously, I’m a leader,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot with these guys. I’ve been here the longest, I understand exactly the culture we created here, and I’m not going to let that fall from one incident like that. I could talk about all the different conversations that have happened, whether I’ve been included or not.
Again, it’s just about how we as a team move forward. I just like the vibe. When I was in the locker room in Houston, on the bench, guys know how to have fun, how to enjoy themselves and understand what a special group we have. Not to let that fall by the wayside.”
Per Nick Friedell for ESPN
Curry’s presence is the game changer, even when he’s not playing. Connor Letorneau of the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Coach Kerr on this subject: “He’s got the respect of everybody in the organization,” Kerr said. “He’s very wise. He brings us together. He’s a guy we count on to keep things rolling.”
LET’S GO WARRIORS! clap clap, clap clap clap