Warriors are navigating out of the pitfalls the Pelicans couldn't survive
Golden State's resurgent season shows there's a thin line between dynasties and coulda-beens.
Hmmm … I just want to take a brief moment to pour some Henny out for the New Orleans Pelicans, victims of just another hot night in the Bay Area. You see, veteran Warriors fans know what it’s like to survive some of the calamities that Pelican fans must be witnessing. Remember when every good player we had either got injured, was past their prime, or ended up spending their glory days somewhere else?
Well check this list of ex birds:
Anthony Davis: ‘12-’13 — ‘18-’19 Drafted by New Orleans and developed into an elite player…before asking for a trade that eventually got him sent to the Los Angeles Lakers…where he won a title in the NBA bubble.
Jrue Holiday: ‘13-’14 — ‘19-’20 Last seen locking up Chris Paul and Devin Booker in the NBA Finals, winning a title with the Milwaukee Bucks.
DeMarcus Cousins: ‘16-’17 — ‘17-’18 Arguably the best center in the league during his brief stint in New Orleans. Tore his Achilles tendon and never played another game for their franchise (although he would eventually help the Warriors make their last Finals run).
Julius Randle: ‘18-’19 Signed with the Pelicans, averaged a career high 21.4 points per game, and then immediately bolted to become the best player on the reborn New York Knicks.
Buddy Hield: ‘16-’17 Played 57 games as a rookie before being traded in the Cousins trade… is now the all-time 3PT leader for the Sacramento Kings.
Lonzo Ball: ‘19-20 — ‘20-’21 Averaged a career high 14.6 PPG his second season with the Pellies…signed with the Chicago Bulls and is now co-starring for a sleeper contender in the East.
Rajon Rondo: ‘18-’19 Helped New Orleans make the second round of the playoffs (where they lost to the Warriors)…signed with the Lakers and won a title in the bubble alongside AD.
That’s a rough combo of star departure and injuries, what franchise could survive that?
And yet somehow the Dubs, after suffering Kevin freakin’ Durant leaving and Klay Thompson getting put on ice, are looking the Future squarely in the eye and growling “we’re not done competing for championships”. They embarked on a retooling experiment so fraught with danger and mystery that a portion of their own fan base believed it’d be too hard to overcome without massive trades.
And what if they’re actually right? How audacious can this team be, banking on Klay Thompson’s battle-scarred body returning to anything resembling his previous legendary form while simultaneously enrolling three lottery picks in Kerr University! Conventional odds wouldn’t make the Dubs one of the favorites to win it all (only the betting odds I guess). I don’t think conventional odds would have the shortest man on the court be in the dunker spot either.
But as the Gold Blooded King, I ask you this day beloved reader: who cares about conventional odds when it comes to Stephen Curry and Draymond Green? Odds don’t win titles; hoopers do, and apparently if you put a gang of other humble and smart players around the Core, success will follow.
By the way, did you catch those two rookies feasting on the Pelicans’ stripped bones after the vets had walked away from the kill late in the fourth?
Oh, mercy me!
Folks, this is getting scary. The Golden State Warriors just took four quarters of professional basketball time to practice their finishing moves on the New Orleans Pelicans.
Mark Jackson was on the ESPN announcing team last night, and it must have been bittersweet for him watching Warriors doing a relatively quick turnaround from their abysmal 2019-2020 season. He’s seen what it looks like before when Golden State rose from the lottery and back into playoff contention; he did coach them beyond the Monta Ellis days and first spread the news of the Splash Bros being the greatest shooting tandem of all time.
But the Warriors never looked shared the basketball like this under Coach Jackson; remember that the last GSW team under his watch ranked dead last in passing. This coming-together-on-the-fly rendition of the Warriors under Coach Steve Kerr is currently 3rd in the NBA in passes per game; 9th overall in offensive efficiency. These dudes are alert and anticipating steps ahead of the defense, symbolized by Andre Iguodala’s 10 assists last night off the freakin’ bench.]
This season is about proving for the umpteenth time that the Warriors know what it takes to win with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green on the floor. Hell, apparently in Year 3 of the Klay injury saga they’re even getting pretty damn good at winning even without him on the floor.
Happy Saturday. E1P’s coming later at 3PM from the legend Apricot. Don’t touch that dial.