Saturday, January 31, 2009

Warriors Best of NBA's Worst

Friday night on ESPN, you may have witnessed the Golden State Warriors, with a record of a mere 14 wins versus 32 losses, beat the Hornets, 28 and 14 and one of the best teams in the Western Conference, in New Orleans. This may have seemed like a freak occurrence, but in actuality, it was not.

The recent return of guard Monta Ellis to the G-State lineup has spurred the Warriors to action; while he hasn't played particularly well, his very presence on the court and in uniform seems to have galvanized the team. You can see it in their play. Hey, their best player is back.

If it hadn't been for Bronzino doing his best Black Cat impersonation against them at the Oracle last Saturday, they would have succeeded in shooting down arguably the best team in basketball. And now let's take a look at this squad: there's Monta, there's Crawford, there's Jack, there's Maggette, there's Auzubike. All of these guys can score, meaning they will only naturally thrive playing Nellieball (as anyone reasonable gifted offensive player would).

Right now, they are the best of the NBA's bad teams. And assuming they don't trade Jack (and they may or may not), going forward, they're going to win some basketball games. They'll beat up on most of the really terrible teams, and every now and then they'll sneak up and take out one of the contenders.

So, in what has been a very difficult season to be a Warriors fan, at least they have a solid second half of the season to look forward to, as their team pulls off some upsets and potentially plays spoiler in April. It's not like I think they could beat any really good team in a seven-game series, but the point is, on any given night, the Warriors are good enough that they could defeat anybody and it shouldn't be that shocking.

Better than being a Wizards fan.

A brief glimpse at the outlook of some other poor teams:

Sacramento (10-38): At least they have Jason Thompson, the rookie steal who for some reason reminds me of a taller Shareef Abdur-Rahim. This probably means that the Kings won't win many games during the Jason Thompson Era, but at least they made a good draft pick.

L.A. Clippers (10-37): Love Eric Gordon. Great shooter, and he can absolutely play the two because despite being 6-3, he's strong as hell and a really good athlete. Even better, he's competitive as hell - you can tell that he hates losing. He wears it on his face and you can see it in his body language.

Memphis (11-35): Well, I'm a strong advocate of O.J. Mayo, whom I think is a future franchise guy, but he seems to have marginalized Rudy Gay a bit (hasn't gotten any better this year). I like Marc Gasol, a beefier, more physical, less skilled version of his brother, Pau. And I think it's good that new head coach Lionel Hollins has made Mike Conley the starter at the point - I still think he's going to be very good, he's just one of those one's that has a longer learning curve. Not everyone is Derrick Rose.

Minnesota (16-29): I love Big Al, but he's not a center - Andrew Bynum dominated him on both ends Friday night when they were both in the game. It's not Al's fault; he's only 6-9. Bynum is 7-1. Problem is, Love isn't any taller than Jefferson, meaning they're going to be playing two power forwards and will always be undersized against teams with true centers. Love will rebound with anybody, but he's not guarding any five's.

And Roy for Foye is beginning to look like the underrated one-sided draft day trade of the past 15 years. Plus, Brewer is hurt and was looking like a bust last year.

At least they've finally found a good coach.

Oklahoma City (11-36): Durant is a STAR, but he doesn't make his team any better. I don't want to hear that he's only 20, or that he was only 19 as a rookie. LeBron and Carmelo came into the league under similar circumstances - teenaged saviors of horrifically bad teams - and both of them made their teams better immediately, and kept them that way. Durant is an awesome talent, but he needs to help his team win more games.

Other than that, I must say that I absolutely love Russell Westbrook. I don't even know who he reminds me of. The guy he's most compared to is Monta Ellis, but Westbrook is stronger, better defensively, and more of a true point. The guy's a future All-Star, he's made a believer out of me.

Washington (10-37): Put it this way: Even if Agent Zero were playing, they'd still suck. Totally screwed up.

And now I gotta thank God that it looks like Andrew Bynum is going to be okay.

Enjoy the Super Bowl. I got 'Zona. Feels like destiny.

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