As much as people talk about Golden State Warriors fans being opportunistic bandwagoners, it’s sort of funny to see non-fans writing about this year’s team as though it’s the worst thing in franchise history.
I mean, don’t get me wrong: the starting lineup that Warriors coach Steve Kerr was forced to trot out against the Charlotte Hornets was pretty bad. But, um, that’s just what happens when you have seven players injured, including Steph Curry, Draymond Green, D’Angelo Russell, and Klay Thompson.
Bad? Yes. Shocking? Uh, not really.
So for those who just discovered the NBA within the last five years, let me tell you about the time in 1998 when the Warriors faced the Portland Trail Blazers and started Donyell Marshall, Tony Delk, Erick Dampier, Brandon Williams, and Adonal Foyle because ... Jim Jackson and Clarence Weatherspoon just weren’t with the team. Like ... the alternatives were Jackson and Weatherspoon. Most of that lineup was just their best five guys.
It should not at all surprise you that the 19-win 1997-98 Warriors lost that game by 18 points.
Folks, if you’ve been a Warriors fan for more than a decade, you’ve been through this before. This doesn’t even register as anything near the worst situation the franchise has been in because there’s actually an explanation for why they’re so bad that goes beyond they drafted really smart bigs who weren’t actually that good and their All-Star guard choked a coach. There’s hope right now. Green will come back. Curry will come back eventually. Thompson is rehabbing an injury suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
The way I’m thinking of it is that it’s gonna be a developmental year that actually leads to something bigger instead of drafting a series of dudes that keep us in the mid-lottery.
So despite the shock suffered by some that a coach can’t start injured players, I’m kinda enjoying watching these terrible games to pick out which young dudes might have a shot at contributing to the team sometime in the future.
Meanwhile, Damian Lillard is doing pretty well for today’s Blazers.
Best players in the NBA so far this season, according to RAPTOR wins above replacement. (All of this data will be public soon-ish.)— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 4, 2019
1. Donovan Mitchell
2. Damian Lillard
3. LeBron James
4. Kawhi Leonard
5. Luka Doncic
6. Karl-Anthony Towns (might be No. 1 if not for suspension)
So yeah, the current version of the Blazers — the team that the Warriors unceremoniously swept from the 2019 Western Conference Finals with Curry, Green, and Thompson playing — will probably beat us by at least 18 if the season thus far is any indication.
Hopefully, the Warriors will start to figure things out so the beat downs stop, but in the meantime let’s just try to keep things in perspective.
Leave your thoughts on the game in the comments below!