Golden State is getting to your head.
Barely anything happened at the NBA trade deadline yesterday. I would’ve said nothing happened but that would be insulting to Channing Frye, Tobias Harris, Jeff Green and the two other people who got moved yesterday (it was more than that but whatever I’ve been respectful enough).
Prognosticators cited many different reasons for this: “not enough good players on the market”, “contract situation of players on the market”, “the increasing salary cap next year”. But the one reason that stuck out to me that David Aldridge suggested on Inside the NBA last night was the notion that Golden State is just too good right now. Other teams are intimidated or afraid to sacrifice long term assets and try to “go-for-it” now because anybody they get will not be enough to beat Golden State.
This is likely exactly the reason why the Raptors and the Celtics didn’t do anything. Both are rising teams sitting comfortably in that “good but not great” category where no one thinks they’re contenders, but it is largely agreed upon that they are one superstar player away from being a legit contender. Both also have many long term assets that they could have parlayed into a star player at the deadline and go-for-it.
However, what’s the point of all that if it won’t be enough to beat Golden State? Why should they waste long term assets on an expiring contract just to lose to Golden State?
This is so interesting to me because you have a team that’s so good, so dominant, so intimidating to the rest of the league that teams are literally altering their competitive timeline because they know they don’t stand a chance against the Warriors.
David Blatt was fired, largely because of a blowout loss to Golden State exposing his inability to strategically slow down the Warriors. OKC and the Clippers made moves at the deadline specifically so that they can compete against Golden State in the playoffs if they met up. Atlanta contemplated blowing up their team and rebuilding simply because they knew they wouldn’t win the championship. Atlanta’s a good team, they had the best record in the East last year, but they can’t beat Golden State.
Golden State isn’t just beating teams when they face them. They’re beating teams even when they don’t face them. They’re getting to the heads of all the other NBA teams. When Gregg Popovich admits that he’s thought about you and how to stop you more than another other team in his career, that’s saying something.
It’s amazing to see how much effect one team has on the entire NBA.
It should be a very interesting NBA playoffs. Or, maybe, we should just give the championship to Golden State right now and call it a night.