Growing old together: Warriors, me, and entropy
Some thoughts from a suddenly casual fan
The Golden State Warriors are suddenly, depressingly mediocre. Even with the ongoing miracles that Steph Curry serves up, the team that spent a decade dominating is now looking around at an entire league that has caught all the way up to them.
Draymond Green is on hiatus. Dealing with some of the same demons that derailed the Warriors dynastic accomplishments previously. Finding the friendly side of that line that he toes so well.. until he doesn’t. The failed second timeline experiment is being actively swept under the rug by a front office that has dramatically transformed, but still seems to be back on their heels.
And yet, there’s still something here. That secret sauce. Diminished? Aged, and looking uphill, this isn’t a roster built out to be a dominant force in all aspects - but it could work. And that’s been enough more than once for this core before. The objective is still the same, this is a team that only measures themselves against winning it all.
WHO: Golden State Warriors at Washington Wizards
WHEN: Friday, December 22nd, 2023 // 7pm PST
WATCH: ESPN / NBCSBA
There was a moment - just a flash - where we saw the potential future in Golden State. Jordan Poole could have been the chosen one, the bridge to the second timeline, but it all evaporated into mist. Poole is now stumbling in Washington. James Wiseman’s Pistons are the only team in the league with a worse record. That definitely wasn’t the way.
So here are the Warriors, standing in the dust and looking every inch of the aged veteran core with a bunch of roster gambles that they are. They can still make this happen. They can still win. But it’s way messier now, and far from certain. But this is part of the deal. We got to watch this team carry draft picks into a legacy, and now we are fortunate enough to witness the tail end of their story arc. I love it. It’s not always happy or pretty, but that’s part of the experience.
But a lot has changed for me as well. I’ve been covering this team for almost a decade now, and my life and family has evolved. I’m suddenly a casual fan. I watch almost all the games, but have blasted through the entire off-season and am still learning things - like the fact that Trayce Jackson-Davis is the son of ex-Warrior Dale Davis. Whew, remember that Nick VanExel trade? Those were some hard times. Buuuuut, Davis and Speedy Claxton were eventually flipped for Baron “BDiddy” Davis so there is an entire Davis/Warriors cycle that is now cosmically complete.
Somehow, between the injuries, roster shuffling, and indeterminate suspensions, Golden State might have found their front court answer. Younger, more athletic, and dialed into the team-first mentality, this pairing might be the adjustment that Kerr and the Warriors have long been looking for.
The Warriors are falling apart, but also rebuilding. Like a tree dropping old branches so the new ones can reach the Sun. Sure, the old core that is still here might be a step slower, a little less dominant, but they’re wiser, and come with pockets crammed full of championship credentials. So far, they’re putting in a very mundane performance, an average offense propped up by Curry’s heroics (and the occasional timely contributions from others when it all works), a below-average defense. But they can win - both now, and when it really matters - as long as they figure out how to keep putting it together.
They’ve gotten here by holding on to what’s important. Marginal players can come and go, but the Warriors have held the model that preserving the core is of utmost importance. But to keep pressing forward, this has to turn into something else. It feels now like there’s at least a proof of concept as to what that could look like this season.
A personal update
Where the heck have I been?
Missing this place, and the community, that’s where!
For years, I’ve covered this team almost every day. Many of you that are reading this now have been along for all or most of that ride, so I feel like you all deserve to know what’s been going on - and more importantly, how “back” I can become.
First of all though, my heartfelt and full appreciation and thanks to both Eric Apricot and award-winning author, Daniel Hardee. Eric has shouldered the bulk of my duties around here, and I know it is a lot to stack on.
For those of you who have subscribed and supported our work, thank you. For those who read and/or participate in the community comment section, thank you too!
Without getting into too many details, it’s been a lot of things. My kids are older, my job more demanding, my punk rock lifestyle and friends and family all pull me. We went on a really nice family vacation, and then came back home without issue. A week later, my wife couldn’t walk. It’s a degenerative nerve disease, but doesn’t impact life expectancy, and now with the medicine, the worse is behind us hopefully.
When they say to “expect some quality of life adjustments,” it takes a while to really set it. We are fine now, thanks to her hardcore will and the power of medicine, but things are different around here.
I did meet Klay Thompson though.
It was one of the bad days. I was out getting saltines and ginger ale. I had dumped a meeting to go run to the store in the middle of the day and while I was checking out, I heard the woman in the aisle next to me say “No way that’s him.”
Looking over, it was for sure Klay. My favorite player. I felt like Hot Rod in that old Transformers movie pulling open the all spark to light my darkest hour. All of the sudden, it was a very good day.
We chatted for a little bit, I told him about this site of course (he said “that’s what’s up”) and then he commented on my shirt. It was a punk band called Bad Cop Bad Cop, so he read the name and chuckled. I popped off with a “yeah, like Draymond and CP3 - no good cops, just double bad cop.” We laughed. I asked for a selfie.
But as a creator, there’s a certain balance when it comes to creating output. As much as I wanted to share that moment (and I may have popped into the comments or something), I didn’t have it in me to breathe any of the experience out.
But rooting for this team isn’t enough for me. I need to be able to talk about the Davis-to-Davis-to-Davis cycle with people who will even know what I’m talking about - much less care enough to want to be around me while I expound on it. This community is special, and I really do want to thank all of you for being a part of this special site.
I don’t know how much detailed analysis I have in me. How many charts and trend graphics I’ll create, but this place still feels like somewhere I want to help exist.
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