No easing into the sunset of the dynasty for these Golden State Warriors, huh?
If the Warriors were going to accelerate the end of an era, they went all in.
At the speed of light . . . years?
They left the championship years behind with the alacrity of the ball movement that defined those glorious years in the 510.
(I’ll let you pause for a minute while you remember yourself, younger then, watching the ball whip from Steph to Klay to Draymond to Bogut and back to Steph for an open three. Splash.)
(And now I’ll let you pause for a moment while you remember the unbridled Oracle roars of 2015. Not the Oracle roars of 2018 or 2019, because let’s be honest: It wasn’t the Oracle of your youth by then. Real talk, sports fans.)
And I’m not even at the Steph Curry broken left hand yet.
No, the Warriors in three of their first four 2019-20 games looked so undermanned, it was going to be a rough slog anyway. I mean, they fell behind to the Suns, 43-14, in the first quarter *with* Curry.
And then, Curry broke his hand.
At which point, the jig was up. Any pretense the Warriors had of making a “playoff run” was gone. I put “playoff run” in quotes because, well, you saw the team play.
I know, I know. They’re young. Maybe they were going to improve. Maybe they’d be at .500 by the All-Star Break and then maybe Klay would come back and maybe they’d keep that winning culture alive for another year.
To paraphrase the great George Costanza, you can stuff your ‘maybes’ in a sack, Mister.
The Curry injury, while obviously unfortunate in that it costs Chase Center seat-holders the chance to watch the great man play basketball for a couple of months, is the truth serum we all needed. The Warriors weren’t going anywhere this year.
So why not just let this year happen, use it as the training ground for the Jordan Pooles and Eric Paschalls of the world, let Steph’s legs rest for a precious few months, let Klay take his sweet time at Muir Beach while not rushing his ACL rehab and then, yes — break for the summer in mid-April.
Just like we used to do it, Warriors fans. Yeah, I’m talking to you. You remember, right? The Dave Cowens years? The Bob Lanier years? The PJ Carlesimo/Latrell Sprewell years?
What, too soon?
The five-Finals-in-five-years run was so ridiculous, it hadn’t happened since the flippin’ Bill Russell Celtics. That’s just nutty. Magic’s Lakers didn’t do it. Jordan’s Bulls didn’t do it. Duncan’s Spurs didn’t do it. LeBron’s Heat didn’t do it, even though he was counting on it when he was talking big amid the dry ice that day in Miami.
It was an absurd bit of history, and quite frankly, the fan base didn’t truly grasp it or appreciate it. You don’t know what you have til it’s gone. Now, it’s gone. Now do you know what you had?
This is Isaac Newton stuff. For every Warriors five-Finals-in-five-years run, there needs to be an equal and opposite reaction. So, Kevin Durant tore his Achilles and left. Klay Thompson tore his ACL. Andre Iguodala had to be shipped out. Shaun Livingston retired.
And now, Steph broke his hand, guaranteeing what we all knew in our hearts — that this was a lottery team, anyway. Right?
So let’s use this moment of sadness to reflect and be thankful, four weeks out from Thanksgiving, for those parades down Broadway in Oakland, for Oracle’s mighty send-off, for beating LeBron in Cleveland, for never letting James Harden get past you.
Now, the slow reparations begin. You learn some new players. You let Steph refuel. You start scouting college basketball for a top-10 player. You even begin to think about LaMelo Ball at the corner of Third St and Warriors Way.
It’s OK. We’ll get through this. It sort of had to happen.
And look on the bright side: the lines at Bakesale Betty at Chase will probably be a little shorter. Right?