The Alchemy of the Golden State
Having grown up in Walnut Creek about 30 minutes from Oakland, I’ve been a die-hard Warriors fan since the days of Sleepy Floyd, Don Nelson and Run TMC.
The following decades, however, tested my faith in this team as I spent way too much energy on ignorant hope and never-ending frustration — which was summed up nicely in Bill Simmons epic article on this franchise’s tumultuous history.
Despite all that, 2014–16 has witnessed the incredible sprouting of the Steph-Klay-Dray homegr0wn-trifecta. A rare blend of alchemy syncing three souls in harmony that can really only been rivaled by the Mayan Three Sisters.
The way Joe Lacob and Bob Myers (an old Monte Vista summer coach of mine) has turned this franchise around is impressive to say the least. They leapfrogged the rest of the league, embracing their collected talents with the right kind of complementary role players. And for the past two seasons, the league has been left in their regular season wake trying to figure out what catch-up could possibly mean.
Now, with the 2015 championship under their belts and the 2016 ‘ship having slipped through their grasps, an historic regular season will be shelved next to the ’07 Patriots under “Might’ve been”.
I’d rather beat a dead horse than revisit why they lost these past finals, not wasting anyone’s time rehashing the same ol’ regurgitated speaking points various talking heads have already up-chucked. The fact remains, the Warriors didn’t tighten up their TO-reins and they’d be the first to admit that.
Unexpectedly, the door this loss opened led to the winning ticket of the Kevin Durant Free Agency Sweepstakes. A move that’s set the sports radio world ablaze until next Halloween.
When I heard the news, initially, I didn’t believe it. Days later, it still seems like a dream that may fade like Livingston on one of his mid-rangers. But as reality sets in, I can’t help but wonder: what does this mean for the established chemistry? And more importantly, what does this mean for the bench?
Here’s a closer look at the salary for ‘16-’17:
Kevin Durant — SF — $26.54m
Klay Thompson — SG — $16.66m
Draymond Green — SF — $15.33m
Stephen Curry — PG — $12.11m
Andre Iguodala — SG — $11.13m
Shaun Livingston — PG — $5.78m
Zaza Pachulia — C — $2.90m
David West — PF — $1.55m (but only $.98m against the cap, apparently)
Kevon Looney — SF — $1.18m
Patrick McCaw — SG — $.54m (remind me again: who is this guy?)
Here are ten players signed putting them a little below $1m under the $94.14 cap. What’s not accounted for is Jason Thompson’s dead cap space money or the signing of Damian Jones — who should get around $.98m. Assuming Jones gets signed, and he should, that leaves 2–3 roster spots.
Having lost 8 players to FA and a trade (Bogut, Barnes, Ezeli, MacAdoo, Clark, Rush, Speights and Barbosa), it’s amazing to see this click together like some elaborate puzzle. Clearly this was no happenstance and thoroughly concocted in some smokey GM back room like a glorious bball Bitches Brew.
Looking ahead to the ‘16-’17 season, we know the new death line up (Curry-Thompson-Iguodala-Durant-Green), the second team mainstays (Pachulia, West, Livingston) and the need for Looney and Jones to develop quickly on the defensive end to ease the minutes burden. But what about the remaining spots?
Do you sign FA rookies? How about Veteran-minimums? With a couple Trade Exceptions expiring at the end of the month, do you take a flyer on JaVale McGee, Ryan Hollins or JJ Hickson? Are Kris Humphries or Taj Gibson even affordable? Would you even consider bringing back Jarret Jack? How about Jose Calderon, Darren Collison or Tony Wroten? And is that ridiculous Ray Allen rumor even worth mentioning?
I’ll tell you right now, you could fill those remaining spots with D-leaguers who aren’t on anyone’s radar and the Warriors would be fine. Thus, the focus of the team should now solely be on:
THE MEDICAL STAFF
The best part is whatever money is spent won’t go against the salary cap!
So go out and sign Dr. Peter Wehling to an exclusive contract. Patent the Regenokine blood removal treatment. Open up a spot on the bench for an ankle expert. A knee expert. A shoulder expert. A sternocleidomastoid expert. Bring in an expert on every bone, muscle and ligament in the freaking body. Buy an extra team plane just for the 300+ medical staff and equipment.
This is not the time to count zeroes and no expense should be spared.
And after that mathematical wizardry they pulled off relative to the cap, I also don’t want to hear how, suddenly, they don’t believe in the dark arts or voodoo.
Make Dr. Strange a reality. Or Merlin. The Crimson King. Gandalf. Harry. Freaking. Potter.
I want to see that row behind the bench packed with capes, hoods and beakers effervescing some mysterious fog, if that’s what it’s gonna take.
I don’t care if the Cavs sign Dwayne Wade and usher in a new Cold War that makes the rest of the league look like an 80s era Eastern Block. The only way the Warriors are going to lose now is through broken bones, strained ligaments or pulled muscles.
And, you know, all of that can be… and should be… prevented.