||03-22-2012 09:17 PM
Bill Simmons: How to annoy a fan base in 60 easy steps
Really nice piece from Simmons detailing WHY the Warriors fan base revolted. It does make me think how bad the Raptors history is.
14. You might remember everyone enjoying the TMC Warriors in 1991: They won 44 games, averaged 116.6 points, broke ground with their wide-open/spread-the-floor/slash-and-kick offensive game and even won a playoff series (over David Robinson's Spurs) before succumbing to the Lakers (in a series that included multiple ESPN Classic games). Their best three players (Mullin, Hardaway and Richmond) were 27, 26 and 24 years old.
15. Naturally, the Warriors blew things up again, flipping Richmond to Sacramento for the rights to Billy Owens, a talented but sluggish forward who (you're not going to believe this) never reached his potential for Golden State. The Warriors spent two other first-rounders on Chris Gatling (no. 16) and Victor Alexander (no. 17) in their ongoing quest to land a center … you know, as Parish was starting his 12th season in Boston.
16. The 1992 Warriors won 55 games, featured two of the league's best 10 players (Hardaway and Mullin), averaged an astonishing 118.7 points per game and grabbed a 3-seed in the playoffs. What happened? The upstart Sonics shocked them in four games, with the defining moment being Shawn Kemp's ferocious dunk on Lister … you know, the guy Golden State acquired for the future rights to Gary Payton.5
17. The following year, Mullin, Hardaway and Owens missed a combined 107 games for the 34-win Warriors, who earned the third pick and pulled off a blockbuster trade: They sent the draft rights to Penny Hardaway and three other no. 1s (1996, 1998 and 2000) to Orlando for the no. 1 overall pick (Michigan star Chris Webber). Of course, this happened during the worst possible season to have a high draft pick — salaries were totally out of control and rookies had too much leverage, so the Warriors were forced to sign Webber to a 15-year, $74.4 million deal that, incredibly, gave Webber an out after his first season. Hold that thought.
18. The '94 Warriors featured an incredible starting five on paper: Webber, Mullin, Hardaway, Latrell Sprewell and Billy Owens. And that's where it stayed: on paper. Hardaway blew out an ACL before the season. The team was talented enough that they won 50 games before being swept by Phoenix in Round 1. Somehow getting demolished by Barkley's greatest game (56 points in Game 3) would end up being Golden State's only ESPN Classic-worthy highlight for 13 solid years.
19. That summer, assistant coach Gregg Popovich left to run the San Antonio Spurs, eventually winning four titles and becoming one of the best NBA coaches ever.
20. That fall, Webber decided that he didn't want to play center anymore, exercised his one-year option and demanded a trade. The Warriors quickly dealt Owens to Miami for center Rony Seikaly to make him happy. Webber still wasn't happy — he wanted the trade. New Warriors owner Chris Cohan backed Nelson and sent Webber to Washington for Tom Gugliotta and three first-round picks (1996, 1998 and 2000). All three of those picks eventually landed in the lottery, and yet the Warriors ended up with Todd Fuller (no. 11), Keon Clark (no. 13) and Chris Mihm (no. 7; sent to Washington).
21. We can't just casually skip over this Webber thing. He had just won Rookie of the Year and unleashed a free-flowing, up-and-down, uber-athletic, cerebral offensive game that had absolutely nothing in common with anything that had ever happened in the NBA before. If 1994 Me wrote my annual "Who Has the Highest Trade Value" column that summer, Shaq would have gone first, Robinson and Hakeem would have gone second and third, and Webber would have gone fourth … yes, ahead of Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Shawn Kemp, Grant Hill and everyone else. When someone that talented blows through your city and disappears just as fast, you don't just salvage that, and you certainly don't recover from it. The Warriors were never, ever the same.
45. In true Warriors fashion, the team celebrated the previous paragraph for exactly one month before blowing things up.
46. They traded Richardson to Charlotte for the eighth pick of the 2007 draft, then took Brandan Wright one spot ahead of Joakim Noah. With their own pick (no. 18), they drafted Marco Belinelli to replace Richardson. So … yeah.
47. The '08 Warriors won 48 games — their highest win total since 1994 — but somehow made history by winning the most games by any team that didn't make the playoffs. Only the Warriors. That summer, they lost Baron Davis (signed by the Clippers for $60 million), missed out on Elton Brand (went to Philly), then panic-signed Corey Maggette to a five-year, $50 million deal. That summer was the equivalent of the gang fight in Anchorman — things got out of hand pretty fast, and I think Brick killed a guy.
48. I forgot: That same summer, they traded a future no. 1 pick to New Jersey for the rights to troubled rookie Marcus Williams … who ended up playing nine games for them. On the bright side, this made Russell Cross and Chris Washburn feel better. Four years later, Utah owns the rights to that "future" draft choice; unless it lands in the top seven, Golden State will lose that pick. We No Longer Believe.
49. That same summer, Mully spent $129 million on six-year extensions for Biedrins (gulp) and Ellis … who celebrated a few weeks later by crashing his motor scooter, tearing ankle ligaments, then trying to cover up the accident before getting caught. The Warriors suspended him without pay for 30 games, which he couldn't have played anyway because, again, he ripped up his ankle riding a motor scooter.
50. Needless to say, the 2009 Warriors won 29 games and declined to renew Mully's extension. His replacement? Larry Riley, who kicked things off by trading Jamal Crawford (acquired for Harrington a few months earlier) for Acie Law and Claxton (he's back!), then dealing Law and Jackson to Charlotte for two overpaid role players (Vlad Radmanovic and Raja Bell). At this point, frustrated Warriors fans were doing everything but staging daily "PLEASE COHAN YOU HAVE TO SELL" protests outside Oracle Arena.
51. One lucky thing happened: Thanks to David Kahn, Stephen Curry magically fell to Golden State at no. 7. That didn't stop Nellie from mailing in the 2009-10 season, allowing Keith Smart to run practices, burying lottery pick Anthony Randolph (yet another Warriors pick that didn't work) and seeming openly bored during games. Like he was daring the Warriors to fire him so he could move back to Maui or something.
(Oh, wait, he was. I forgot.)
52. Turns out that having a negligent coach affects your team: The Warriors won 26 games and capped things off by picking Ekpe Udoh sixth right between DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe. Just when you thought they were running out of ways to annihilate their fans, they overpaid free agent forward David Lee (six years, $80 million) and dumped Maggette for two not-quite-as-awful-but-considerably-more-useless contracts (Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Bell). To recap: Baron Davis > Elton Brand > Corey Maggette > Dan Gadzuric & Charlie Bell. WE BELIEVE … IN AN ANAL PROBE!!!"
If you have five to ten minute please check it out.
The Warriors have fallen just about as far as a franchise can fall - Grantland