Article by: Jeff Koenig
If you haven’t noticed, the Golden State Warriors v. San Antonio Spurs series has been fascinating. And, we’re only two games in to it.
It is not because it involves the Spurs. Let’s face it; these are the same old boringly-consistent Spurs that keep on winning with the core of Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Poppovich. Since the 01-02 season, they have won at least 50 games every year and have only been seeded lower than three once in the playoffs.
It’s all about this Warriors team. It’s the first time they have been in the playoffs since 2007. That year they pulled off one of the greatest upsets in NBA playoff history when they became the first eight seed ever to upset a number one seed in a best-of-seven series. They defeated a Dallas Mavericks team who won 67 games and was a heavy favorite to win the Championship.
However, that is the lone bright spot for this franchise in the last twenty years.
The Warrior franchise has been through the ringer a few times in recent memory. Their fans pretty fed up with it. How fed up are they? They BOOED Warrior great Chris Mullin at his jersey retirement ceremony in 2012. Why would they do that?
Well, this team had the talents of Chris Webber, Chris Mullin, Latrell Sprewell, Tim Hardaway, Gilbert Arenas, and Baron Davis all in their primes at one point or another in the last twenty years. The management flipped these players for less talented ones, and tried to sell their fans on the “re-building” image, only to wind up in the lottery every year. And they have averaged 33.4 wins per season since the 2001-02 season.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Here are some other examples of what Warrior fans have had to endure:
– Over the course of the 1995-96 season, the Warriors turned four former no. 1 picks (Tim Hardaway, Chris Gatling, Victor A Alexander and Carlos Rogers) into some guaranteed mediocrity (Kevin Willis, Bimbo Coles and BJ Armstrong), winning 36 games behind up-and-coming coach Rick Adelman.
– The 1994 Warriors featured a starting five on paper of: Chris Webber, Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway, Latrell Sprewell and Billy Owens. Hardaway blew out an ACL before the season. The team won 50 games, but got swept by Phoenix in Round 1 of the playoffs.
– 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.
Your Golden State Warriors, ladies and gentlemen!
The Warriors are once again young and talented, and have the potential to upset another great team. Their fans are excited. Basketball fans are excited. All the pieces seem to be in place, AGAIN.