Villains and Basketball
Are the Golden State Warriors boring to watch? To most fans, not quite yet. They are almost too good on offense, they make 3’s and jumpers look like warm-ups. But they aren’t doing it for 48 minutes. They are missing shots and letting teams dominate them down low. When they are struggling, they are the most interesting thing on TV. When they are on point, they are seamless and boring. They are the becoming the Spurs of the mid-2000’s.
The Warriors plays get them the easiest shots possible. When they switch to the “death” lineup where Andre Iguodala replaces ZaZa Pachulia, everyone is lethal from everywhere on the court. The ball whips until suddenly there’s an open shot and 3 points are on the board. The death lineup is the best in the league, maybe even ever. When they put it together, they become mid-2000’s Spurs again. No one can score on them and there’s so much movement, it feels like everything is standing still.
They can’t sustain this for whole games quite yet. They are vulnerable in almost all their other lineups, even the starting 5. The Warriors are beatable right now and teams need to pounce on that chance. As the Warriors bond more and look at acquiring some extra help via a trade, they will become nearly unbeatable. There’s way too much talent and good coaching. But teams like the Rockets are hurling everything they have at the Warriors and it’s working. Teams may not always be beating them but they remain competitive and have leads for long periods of a game. This will wear on an already stressed out Warriors team that needs to win every game to not be questioned by everyone else. Phoenix caught them off guard more than a few times and Anthony Davis dominated them from all over the court. I love watching those games because we see the cracks.
Teams with clearly less talent working hard to defeat the villain sounds like something out of a movie or anime. It’s the daydream of every kid who plays sports and any team that actually accomplishes that feat become heroes. Allen Iverson was that hero in 2001, taking one game from the unstoppable Lakers. It was LeBron trying valiantly in 2007 and losing to the Spurs. It was even the Warriors in 2015 when they denied LeBron his homecoming promise of a title. The cycle will always be there and it will keep the league going.
I will always root against this Warriors team. It’s not because I hate any of the players or their coach. They are just too good and I want some excitement. I want to see cracks. I want the narrative of the underdog to prevail. I want teams to remind people that you can’t just buy the best team, it takes chemistry and extremely hard work. Some parity is good but ultimately everyone needs a villain to watch. The league has to sell and hating on the Warriors is as interesting as rooting for them. The TV deal may have changed everything but now we can watch our next cycle of villains rise or fall.