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The Warriors love you, and they love you not




The Warriors love you.

The Warriors love you not.

The Warriors love you.

The Warriors love you not.

At this rate, we’re going to be plucking petals off this maddening Warrior flower until we find ourselves holding a stem and standing in the place formerly known as Staples Center in the play-in game, with Steph gulping hard at the rims he always misses.

We all knew this would be a weird season when Bob Myers retired and left us the mystery of a post-Bob existence. We all knew this would be a weird season when Mike Dunleavy got his new keycard and then immediately traded Jordan Poole for Chris Paul.

(Remember the CP3 outrage? Now we look at the guy like a beloved graybeard.)

We all knew this would be a weird season when Draymond Green engaged early and often, and when questioned about his behavior, told us on social media: “Right back at it like an addict!”

That was in November. 

Holy tumultuous memories, Batman.

And now here we are, after 48 hours that pretty much sums up the emotionally abusive relationship we have with Los Dubs. 

On Wednesday night, beautiful basketball (beautiful basketball, to quote our call-in sounder) and 49% shooting from the arc and young Trayce Jackson-Davis etching his name into Giannis Antetokounmpo’s brain and a 35-point win over a championship contender in front of a weeping Bob Myers.

They loved us.

On Thursday night, kersplat. Defensive lapses allowed Demar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic to spoil the party and — much, much worse — Steph Curry rolled his ankle. The Warriors, in a pennant race where every loss is costly, lost a game they shouldn’t have lost.

They loved us not.

It all comes down to this: Can this identity-challenged Warriors team get it all together and make a serious run at an NBA championship?

Because, like Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch’s 49ers, it’s pretty much title-or-bust for Joe Lacob’s Warriors. We have three springs, including 2024, to saddle up and see if Steph/Klay/Dray can win a *fifth* NBA championship. Steve Kerr just signed up through the springs of 2025 and 2026. Steph is, too. So is Draymond Green. Klay Thompson will surely want to ink a deal for two more after this one.

The estimable Marc Spears came on our show last week and said the Warriors are not title contenders. It was not an outrageous take. It was a smart take. The Warriors are too small and too brittle to think that it’s sensible to predict fighting one’s way through a play-in, then winning *three* Western Conference series over the likes of the Timberwolves, Thunder, Nuggets and Clippers. 

Last year was a template: they gutted their way through a seven-game epic vs. the Kings, then ran out of petrol in six games vs. the Lakers. 

Of course, that was last year. Game 6 in L.A. last year wasn’t over for 15 minutes before Kerr grabbed a microphone and willingly told everyone: “This was not a championship team.” As if to emphasize the point, Jordan Poole was on Yelp searching for good take-out food in the nation’s capital a few weeks later.

Is this year’s team a championship team?

I’ll leave it at this: I’m intrigued enough to leave the door open. 

If you truly believe this team is not, I understand your argument. There is too much youth and size on other squads to believe the Dubs can make some sort of heroic slash through April, May and June. 

But I’ve been interested in Chris Paul and what he can do in the playoffs since the trade. I’ve watched the young and springy kids — Jon Kuminga, Moses Moody and rookies TJD and Brandon Podziemski — evolve into true factors.

Draymond has behaved well since his return.

Andrew Wiggins remains an ongoing mystery, and could be the X factor.

And then there’s Steph. Heal that ankle, kid. Once it’s ready to go, you’ll have a mountain to climb. You’ve done it before, and I’m open to seeing if you can do it again — with a healthy dose of realism tempering my expectations.

The Warriors love you. They love you not. This is sports.