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Murph: This ain’t the year



© Cary Edmondson | 2024 Jan 10

Girls and boys, I think the Warriors are trying to tell us something.

You just can’t hear it over the boos. 

Surrendering 133 points to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday at Chase Center was one thing. Surrendering 141 points to the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday at Chase Center— in front of God and Doris Burke — is another. 

ABC wanted prime-time programming, hence the 5:30 pm weeknight start. ABC may want to be careful what it wishes for — or place a parental warning on any Warriors defensive set. At this rate, the network may want to urge the writers of ‘Abbott Elementary’ to crank out a few more episodes. Pronto. 

If subtle clues aren’t your thing, the message boils down: This ain’t the year.

I will now sit patiently and hear the most ardently optimistic among you tell me that Draymond Green is returning, that Chris Paul and Gary Payton will return for the stretch run and that you can never underestimate the heart of a champion.

More fodder for the blindly optimistic: as late as March 18 last season, the Warriors were a .500 team, and wound up winning 44 games and making the Western Conference semifinals.

That sure sounds nice, but Jonas Valanciunas just dunked again with minimal resistance while you read that sentence. The Dubs are 23rd in the NBA in team defensive rating at 116.9. During their championship run just two years ago, the Dubs were *second* in the NBA in defensive rating.

It was only one week ago, with six minutes remaining in the game, the Warriors led the defending champion Denver Nuggets by 18 points and were set to get back to .500 with James Wiseman’s Detroit Pistons due the next night. Instead, the Dubs wet the bed, somehow lost the game and the Jock Blog identified the moment as Crisis Time, capital ‘C’, capital ’T’ for Steve Kerr when Jonathan Kuminga’s people told The Athletic that the youngster had lost faith in the championship coach.

A week later, all hell has broken loose. Heck, not only are the Warriors foundering and drowning, but Bill Belichick, Nick Saban and Pete Carroll are no longer coaching. What in the name of a Stephen A Smith/Jason Whitlock feud is going on in 2024?

About the only thing good for the Warriors in the past week — setting aside a way-too-close win over the Pistons — is that Kuminga seems to have settled his beef with Kerr, and has averaged nearly 30 minutes a game in the last three contests. Glad he’s happy. No one else is.

The problems are multiple, starting with the absence of calming presence Chris Paul and defensive wizard Gary Payton, moving on to the psychological drama that is the Draymond Green Distraction, migrating over to the mystery novel ‘The Case of the Missing Wiggins’, and including some of the worst statistical marks of Klay Thompson’s shooting career, including advanced metrics.

The buzz now is that new general manager Mike Dunleavy, Jr. has no choice but to blow this thing up, which doesn’t exactly jibe with the concept of being ‘light years’ ahead of the league. Unless ‘light years’ means 12th place in the West.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that no player on the Warriors, save for the incomparable Steph Curry, is untouchable in trade talks. I am not a scientist, but that would include Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, by my reasoning.

To which I say, why not?

Listen, I love a good Klay-on-the-Bay Instagram as much as anyone, but I also have lived long enough to see:

— Joe Montana, Kansas City Chief

— Ronnie Lott, New York Jet

— Jerry Rice, Seattle Seahawk

— Tim Lincecum, Angel of Anaheim 

— Madison Bumgarner, Arizona Diamondback/part-time calf roper

The romantic ideal was to “run it back” with Steph, Klay and Dray in the “championship window”. It’s not romantic when you can’t open the window, like one of those old apartments where the window is painted shut. 

It was a lofty idea, and required a lot of things to go right. Judging by the home boos down on Terry Francois Blvd., things have not gone right. As former Warrior legend Micheal Ray Richardson famously said (when he was a New York Knick): “The ship be sinking.”

Time to get the lifeboats.