I’ve been spoiled with Bay Area championships through the first quarter century of my life.
It all started in 2010 when the Giants started miraculously winning championships every even year with a ragtag group of washed up position players (but supported by an all-time great pitching staff.)
Then in 2014 when the Giants earned their third title in five years and it seemed like Bay Area sports had used up all their luck for the next century, the Warriors started a dominant streak of their own and toppled arguably the greatest player of all time to bring the first basketball title to the Bay since ’75.
However, it’s worth noting the Warriors’ rise to the top was not as random as the Giants.
In 2009, with the seventh pick in the draft, the Warriors selected a scrawny point guard from Charlotte, North Carolina. No one, and certainly not the five teams that selected before the Warriors in ’09 (Minnesota had two picks), felt that this guy would amount to much.
Little did they know that he had multiple rings and MVPs in his future.
The first piece of the puzzle had been set, followed by a prophetic decision to trade Monta Ellis and continued excellent drafting that netted a Defensive Player of the Year and one of the greatest shooters of all time to complement Steph. The stars had aligned and created an environment that attracted Kevin Durant, one of the greatest scorers of all time. I’d say this title run didn’t involve much luck at all. It was quite methodic.
So I sit on my friend’s couch wearing my Draymond Green jersey with pride and watch the Warrior’s take their third title in four years with ease from the Cleveland Cavaliers, and this one just feels different from years past.
I don’t jump up in joy and run around the neighborhood screaming. There’s no anxiety. My heart continues pumping at a normal rate (however, yes, the conference finals with the Rockets was a different story.) I text Kai Borer a trophy emoji, call it a night, and calmly ride my bike home.
This championship is different. I’ve fully expected this moment to arrive for a year.
Here’s what I wrote on June 14, 2017:
“So let me just make my official call for 2018 now. Dubs repeat. Title stays in the Bay.
“Pressure is on Steph and KD. Go get it done.”
Now this is by no means the most ballsy prediction. It was actually the safest bet, especially at the time pre-CP3 to Houston trade, but it goes to show an overall sentiment I think many Warriors fans felt.
Now the Warriors players definitely felt the same way and did their best to make me second guess myself many times on their road to the championship.
Streaks of lazy defense, lackadaisical decision making, key injuries, shooting slumps from Steph, and an overall lack of urgency led to nine wins less than the season before and a sense of vulnerability. Could the champs be brought down after all?
When the postseason rolled around the Dubs got it done, especially Steph and KD, as if they heard my request in 2017. Both were brilliant in the Finals and equally deserving of the Finals MVP that ultimately went to KD. Additionally, Klay and Draymond did Klay and Draymond things, Iguodala proved to us that he’s not as washed up as we thought, Steve Kerr thankfully kept Zaza’s ass glued to the bench for the greater good, and the Warrior’s musical chairs bench rotation came in when called upon and all chipped in.
It was (mostly) a beautiful thing to watch.
Looking ahead, the summer of 2018 is set to be an interesting one as far as the landscape of the NBA. With big names such as Lebron James, Chris Paul, and Paul George as free agents and plenty of other trade rumors flying around, the Warrior’s biggest competitor may be very different next year.
However, all that said, I am going to hold my 2017 prediction again in 2018: the Warriors will three-peat in their last year in Oakland before crossing the Bay Bridge to their new home in the City. Again, not a ballsy prediction, nor a tough one to make for me, but just saying.
As Bay Area fans, let’s sit back and enjoy this dynasty while it lasts. All dynasties come to an end, but it seems like this one still has quite a bit more gas left in the tank.
Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
5 thoughts on “Basketball talk: The not-so-inevitable title run of the Golden State Warriors”
Evan: Too bad you’re too young to remember the 1980s, the decade of the 49ers — when Coach Bill Walsh, QBs Joe Montana and Steve Young and receivers Dwight Clark and Jerry Rice were among the Niners who led SF to enough glory and enough championships to keep the city’s athletes in gaudy Super Bowl rings that made some of them look like they were sporting diamond-studded brass knuckles on their fingers! Go Niners!
Good column about the Warriors and a bit different than your writings about surfing and your world travels. Good stuff.
Thanks Lee. Unfortunately I missed the 80’s. I grew up in a time when bay area sports were more or less terrible (Giants lost in the world series in ’02 and the Raiders lost in the super bowl that same year, that was all I had to cheer for).
Thanks for reading. See you soon.
EQ, Any predictions regarding the Warriors bench players, who will be back
who will be cut loose for next year?
There is a good article on The Athletic about this. It has a pay wall, so I just emailed you the text. Basically, they are probably going to gut out a lot of the aging bench and rely a lot on the younger guys to fill in the rotation.
Fun season! Wish the Giants would pick it up … it’s an even year.
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