Joe Lacob and Peter Guber know a fair share about timing, doesn’t he? Here’s the new owners’ plan so far, pretty awesomely executed given the power and salary cap room they have.
1. Sign or trade for several players who will hustle and keep their mouths shut (David Lee, Rodney Carney, Dorell Wright, Louis Amundsen, Jeremy Lin, Charlie Bell, Dan Gadzuric). Hey, if you’re going to struggle to make the playoffs, you might as well fill your team with guys the fans can get behind instead of a bunch of malcontents (even though I still wish they didn’t have to trade Anthony Randolph).
2. Embrace the blogosphere, a smart move since the Warriors’ online presence is huge and incredibly passionate.
3. Give Don Nelson his money and usher him out, keeping the drama we all expected to a minimum.
Really, how can you complain about any of this? It’s kind of weird — part of talking about the Warriors was giving each other knowing glances, shrugging our shoulders and saying, “Stupid Cohan!” The only other option was to convince yourself that basketball that includes lots of points, running and dangerous passes is at least fun to watch, if not all that effective.
Another smart thing about replacing Nelson with Keith Smart is that Smart isn’t a powerless “interim” guy. Sure, if the Warriors have another injury and suck-filled year, Smart will become an assistant coach somewhere else and never get another shot. But he knows the personnel, he’s played and been a head coach in the league, and even though the record (1-4 as Nellie’s sick-time replacement last season) didn’t show it, anybody who watched the games knows that the team played MUCH harder for Smart than they did for Nelson last season.
The lasting image of last season should have been the growth of Stephen Curry’s game. But it wasn’t. Instead it was a tired coach who had given up on trying for an NBA championship, sitting lifelessly on the bench while waiting for a record that was more of an inevitability than any sort of inspiring accomplishment. Lacob and Guber treated Nellie with due respect (after all, he earned his contract based on reputation and his ability to play the “social game” behind the scenes … and if any of you reading told me you wouldn’t take all that guaranteed dough, you’re lying), but they did the right thing and sent him to Maui with the most golden of parachutes. Now it’s time to see how the rest of the Warriors and Smart can fly without him.