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The sacrifice of the Splash Bros provides hopeful future for Warriors

Curry and Thompson gave their bodies to forge a dynasty. As they heal, the Dubs aim to build the next generation of ballers to help carry the torch.

2019 NBA Finals - Golden State Warriors v Toronto Raptors Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images

I saw Stephen Curry, face of the Golden Empire, take the nasty fall during a wildly uncompetitive blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns. When he grimaced and laid on his back, gingerly holding his left arm, that old sickening dread crept over me.

Warriors fans know the feeling well. Every time Curry throws his body into the lane, we gasp. Too many ankle, foot, and knee injuries over the years have made us look at Curry like a combo of delicate instrument/natural treasure that needs to be protected.

When he gingerly stood up and briefly busted out a snicker that was equal parts “oooow!” and “haha hey I’m not dead guys”, I must admit, I relaxed. He skipped his free throws and headed to the locker room, and I figured, “Good, don’t waste your time out here Steph”.

A few minutes later, my phone erupted with notifications: “Curry, broken hand”. The nauseating anxiety swept back over me in a wave, as though I had heard a family member was injured. As I slowly paced around the living room with beloved announcer Jim Barnett’s mellow tones wafting from my TV for the final time, I reflected on the future. A few thoughts came to mind, with the first one being, who knew ruling the league with an iron fist for five years could break a man’s hand?

The Splash Bros can finally heal

Ever wonder why we can’t just create extra-long snorkels to breathe underwater? Seems like an obvious and easy solution for breathing without an oxygen tank, but there’s a good reason this can’t work. For every 33 feet a diver descends the weight of the water above them increases by 15 pounds per square inch.

At only a few feet below the surface, the water pressure is already too great for the muscles that expand and contract our lungs to work, making it extremely difficult for us to draw breath. A couple feet of water pressure isn’t enough to do serious damage yet, but looking at deeper levels shows how pressure affects us a little more gradually.

- Medical Daily: How much water pressure can human body take

The two Splash Bros, Curry and Klay Thompson, are finally suffering the effects of going so deep in the icy, cold Bay to drown other franchises.

Golden State has made the NBA Finals five straight times, but let’s not bury the previous two playoff runs of the Mark Jackson-era. That marks seven straight times the Splash Bros have put it all on the line against the enemy hordes. There have been minor injuries here and there for them, but for the most part, they’ve played the string out, fighting until June.

Klay Thompson’s devastating knee injury from last Finals has him projected to miss most, if not all of the season. Curry’s hand injury timeline shouldn’t be as severe, but he could out several weeks at the least. It’s clear their bodies need a break from the grind.

Crushing the dreams of places like Portland, Oklahoma City, Houston and Cleveland year after year after year took a lot out of them. They are only human, after all.

The bandwagon can be baptized

When I created the “Bandwagon Release Form” earlier this month, the reaction to it was hilarious and heartwarming. Well, mostly. A minority of folks started freaking out, declaring how they shouldn’t be judged for only caring about the Warriors when they won 73 games.

“dOeS tHaT mAkE Me a bAnDwAgOn fAn toO?!”

Yikes, relax, the form isn’t real lmao.

But now the newer fans have a great opportunity to embrace what many veterans of Dub Nation all too well: process over results. With the Splash Bros on the shelf, the Warriors now can go wild with their youth movement.

Let Jordan Poole shoot 30 times? Sure!

Put Eric Paschall on LeBron James for 40 minutes? Hey, see what happens!

There are no expectations on this team beyond competing hard and learning on the job. Each loss presents an opportunity for the youngsters to understand just how fast and complicated the professional game is. Each win is savored and sweet because they represent improvement, much like a parent penciling notches on the doorjam above their child’s head every year to see how much they’re growing.

Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder
Young players like Paschall have plenty of room to experiment this season
Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

As a fan, that draws you into the personalities of the team. You pick little favorites on the depth chart, make small bets with other fans about who is going to make a difference, and watch real time as young men face the greatest athletic challenges of their lives in the name of the Golden State Warriors. That’s why when someone from a rival fanbase snickers about how wack Monta Ellis was, there’s a part of me that’s ready to go to war and defend Monta, shooting percentages be damned.

I watched him grow up and go to battle nightly, even when the chances of victory were slim, and I appreciated his effort and heart. As a fan, you never forget those moments, and they provide inspiration in your own life. You meet other fans sharing in that same experience, and a beautiful camaraderie is born out of a team struggling for wins.

Whoa, I know I’m excited: I’m just went full Hubie Brown second-person right now!

Speaking of struggling for wins...

Draft picks matter now, so watch college basketball

I haven’t cared about NCAA men’s hoops since the Warriors drafted Harrison Barnes. That was the last high draft pick Golden State had, and the birth of a young nucleus was forming with him, Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Festus Ezeli. I didn’t need to watch college to be excited about the future, I could just watch the Dubs fight in the playoffs.

Wellp, guess who will be watching a ton of college hoops this year? Me, and several other folks who will be keenly interested in doing some personal scouting. The Warriors’ 2020 first round pick is is top-20 protected, and if they keep getting blown the hell out, I’m sure their record will allow them a solid chance at a top-5 prospect.

Can you imagine adding a young phenom to a dynastic team that will still boast the Splash Bros and Green, plus a plethora of young guys who got a year of seasoning and a chip on their shoulder from fighting for their pride all year?

Or what if the pick is used as a bargaining chip in possible trade scenarios to beef up the roster? Folks, the Warriors might be stumbling into the most #LightYears tank we’ve seen since the Spurs threw away the 1997 season to draft Tim Duncan.

So enjoy this season, Dub Nation! There’s a ton of basketball left to play with heavy future implications hanging in the balance. The Splash Bros, arguably the greatest backcourt in the history of the NBA, shall return. Who will be ready to fight with them? This season is our opportunity to find out live, firsthand, and with vigor.