I was driving around Sonoma County yesterday, and the only sports talk station coming through my speakers with any sort of clarify was the blowtorch. Bob Fitzgerald was complaining about the Warriors’ schedule, which is an annual Fitz tradition on par with his yearly pleas to move the fences in at AT&T Park.
The Warriors aren’t only scheduled to play when Notre Dame comes and visits Stanford (a tragedy of the highest order), they’re also taking the court at the same time as the Division I college football semifinals (Dec. 31) and championship game (Jan. 11). Fitz’s lack of couch/tailgate time really irked him. “Doesn’t anyone with the NBA watch college football?!?!”
He also brought up the Warriors’ 20 back-to-backs (he didn’t note this, but they face three back-to-backs in the first 17 days of the season, which is pretty crazy) and 54,000 travel miles, tops in the NBA. According to Fitz, defending champs generally get more courtesies from the schedule makers the following season.
I don’t know about all that, but it seemed sad. No, not Fitz’s complaining (I’m used to that), but that we’re already talking about the schedule. “We are championship” and leaving the Q at two in the morning, taking one last glance at the floor where arena employees were cleaning up after the Warriors’ celebration, is still fresh in my mind. It seems like two weeks ago instead of two months.
About 10 hours later, as I drove to Pittsburgh, Cleveland talk show hosts kept the conversation focused on next season. Days later, the free agency frenzy was upon us. Team USA is working out in Vegas right now. Training camp starts in six weeks. Every league wants to be in the conversation year-round, but it was like the nation was ready to sweep the Warriors’ first title in 40 years away like a pile of cat hair. Those pesky Dubs caught everyone off guard and peaked at just the right time. Everyone else had guys who were hurt. Now it’s time for another LeBron vs. Spurs Finals, unless the Thunder, Rockets or Clippers end up facing the Cavs instead.
I guess it’s up to us to keep the championship afterglow alive, since the rest of the U.S. and Canada stopped caring about five minutes after Stephen Curry flung the ball toward the rafters and Andre Iguodala chased it down like a Super Bowl fumble.
This isn’t about the Warriors going into next year with a deep team that should be better — at least offensively, seeing as they’re entering their second year with Steve Kerr — than the history-making 2014-15 squad. This is about appreciating the insanely brilliant season we witnessed. They won 67 games, putting them in a five-way tie for sixth all-time. They had a point differential of 10.1 per game, making them the eighth team in history to break the +10 mark.
Stephen Curry won the MVP! Who would’ve thought the guy known for having glass (or styrofoam, take your pick) ankles would lead the Warriors of all teams to a picture-perfect season? He’ll have a very difficult time repeating as MVP, since everyone will look for a new story. James Harden’s response to getting “snubbed” will get attention throughout the beginning of the season at least, and people have handed Anthony Davis a few MVPs in their minds already, so he’s probably the favorite. And if Kevin Durant comes back healthy next year, or LeBron sets his mind to averaging a triple-double for an entire season …
Who cares. They can’t take the trophies or MVP awards away. Golden State was one of the best NBA teams of all-time, Curry is now an almost-certain future Hall-of-Famer, and this all comes just a few years after the Warriors shamelessly tanked a shortened season away. It’s still almost impossible to believe.
Where is this article coming from? Shouldn’t I be writing about 49ers training camp battles, the Raiders’ clumsy quest for a new stadium, or the Giants chasing the Dodgers? This isn’t exactly taking a page from the sports blogging handbook, focusing on past greatness in lieu of writing about current transactions/gossip/intrigue, or trying to predict the future. But it wasn’t THAT long ago that I was trying to keep up with Draymond Green and hearing the screams from thousands as the bus carrying the Curry family (and the NBA Finals MVP, of course) cruised past Lake Merritt. It’s hard to push those memories aside.
But mostly, this morning I saw a link from Andy Liu that contained nothing but this video:
There are so many plays that could’ve made this collection, but I can’t toss any of these out, either. Three of the plays in this video feature Curry making Chris Paul look foolish — can you imagine how Paul’s offseason is going after losing unofficial “top point guard in the league” honors and having to grovel at the feet of DeAndre Jordan to keep him from bolting for Dallas?
There I go again, looking toward next season. It’ll be a trip when the Warriors raise the banner at Oracle on Oct. 27, and watching this team try to repeat will be fascinating, but the 2014-15 season will live forever for so many reasons. I’m not in a mood to move on just yet.