You know those KNBR “trending topics” segments, where the deep-voiced narrator guy interrupts a KARS-FOR-BRATS ad and quickly runs through 6-10 subjects o’ the day?
For example: “Jim Harbaugh’s picking up chairs for the Indiana Hoosiers. The Panda gets ready for his weigh-in, is his conditioning an issue? The A’s sign Manny Ramirez. St. Mary’s played a game somewhere, do they really exist? Somebody sort of famous died. Elijah Dukes ate a bag of marijuana. Jeremy Lin!”
On Thursday afternoon, the narrator guy led off with something like, “Monta Ellis hits the game-winner in Phoenix, how is he not in the All-Star Game?!?!”
No Warriors are in the 3-point contest either, even though three Golden Staters are in the top 10 in 3-pt FG%. No Warriors are in the dunk contest, even though Jeremy Tyler and Chris Wright can throw down in warmups with the best. Klay Thompson isn’t in the rookie/soph game, nor is Ekpe Udoh. Stephen Curry was going to be in the skills competition, then he tweaked his ankle again so he won’t be there.
No Warriors in attendance at All-Star Weekend, unless one or two Warriors fly to Orlando to party because they have the same agent as another player who was invited to participate. Oh, whatever shall we do…
Here’s an answer for everyone: stop worrying about so-called “snubs,” stop looking for conspiracies, and obsess instead over the obvious reason why the Warriors haven’t had an All-Star since Latrell Sprewell.
That goes for the Warriors, too. You want to have your guys invited to these frivolous exhibition events? Do what you did the last two games against the Clippers and Suns, and keep doing it.
Win. Win again, and again. Beat good teams at home most of the time, and bad teams at home almost always. Prevail over bad teams on the road more often than not, and upset good teams on the road often enough to keep us on our toes. Finish over .500. Go to the playoffs — not just once, but twice. Three seasons in a row, even.
When you aren’t winning, you don’t get the benefit of the doubt. This would seem obvious to some, but we’re still hearing how much of a travesty it is that the league’s No. 6 scorer by average isn’t being rewarded after 30 games. Sorry, Ellis might be dynamite in an All-Star type setting (he’d quite possibly be the game’s leading scorer), but name an important win where Ellis was the star.
Sure, the Warriors have some accurate long-distance shooters, but no one on the team is in the top 25 in 3-pointers made this season. Thompson’s only playing 16 mpg, and Udoh isn’t even starting over Andris Biedrins, who scored 12 points in February … in 10 games! We’ve seen glimpses from the young guys and we’ve seen Ellis do some spectacular things, but nothing to make the nation pay attention.
This isn’t an example of East Coast Bias. It’s bias against play-out-the-schedule basketball.
Get out of the Pirates Zone
When the 49ers rose to power this past season, there were a lot of posts in this space about players going to the Pro Bowl or making First-Team All-Pro. It was perfectly within reason for the 49ers, writers and fans to revel in individual glory. When a team wins at the rate San Francisco did during the 2011 season, the accolades overflow.
The Warriors have had enough time since the ownership transition to figure out where they are (the middle of a long staircase leading out of the cellar, but nowhere near the top step) and where they want to go (a win total that allows them to raise season-ticket prices). The worry many fans have is that, like the last regime, this front office is afraid to make difficult choices. Scared to look within and find fault.
Maybe that’s why we hear the hue and cry over the All-Star Weekend nothingness; the Warriors are frustrated because they can’t point and say, “Hey, check out the bright future for this guy, who the rest of the league really likes, too,” and the fans (loud and loyal to a huge, San Andreas-esque fault) can’t pretend their team is right around the corner from greatness.
Even though if the NBA threw Warriors a bone and made Ellis an All-Star, it wouldn’t change anything. MLB lets a player from every team get into their All-Star Game … think Pirates fans are satisfied?
Don’t waste this trade deadline
All sorts of NBA teams go to the playoffs on a regular basis. It doesn’t mean other teams are blessed and Golden State is not. The Warriors just need the competence and consistency which stems from stability at the top and a habit of judging their own talent more harshly than anyone else.
The time to break up Ellis and Curry has long since passed, and the Warriors won’t lose nearly enough games to protect their first round draft pick this season. They must make a decision between the two guards and get into the 2012 NBA Draft however they can. Then, build around Ellis or Curry, Thompson, Udoh and David Lee — unless they can package Lee and one of the guards for someone like Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol…
They also must stop pretending Biedrins wants to play for Golden State any longer. He still rebounds fine and blocks a couple shots per 36 minutes; see if you can deal him for a trade exception, or another terrible contract plus a second rounder. His permanent malaise is a reminder of both what could’ve been for that “We Believe” team and what actually DID become of that team. With a fresh start Biedrins could be serviceable. Here, he’s an open can of paint thinner in a car with the windows rolled up.
Oh, like the Warriors would lose more games with a center rotation of Udoh/Tyler/Barron, anyway.
There’s a contract with the season-ticket holders promising that prices will be held steady if the Warriors don’t make the playoffs (as well as a drawing for an all-expenses-paid trip to Orlando this weekend if zero Warriors were selected to play in the All-Star Game). So what? Forget about the contract and what you supposedly guaranteed, stop hoping this team will “learn how to win the close ones,” and remake the roster so they’ll have a chance next season to win 45+ games. Or, at the very worst, so they’ll possess more financial flexibility than they enjoy now.
There’s still time to make a move or two. However, if they stand pat, here’s a trending topic I’ll supply KNBR’s narrator guy (free of charge): “The Warriors will have the same starting five next season, was the lockout-shortened season completely wasted?”