Right about now, there is few good news coming out of mediation camp. In fact, it seems that even though there are long talk days and a lot of talk days, nothing has been resolved. Sounds like they either are bickering back and forth like a married old couple or they just keep talking in circles. Either way, it has yet to produce something that is tangible and now not only has $170 million dollars in player salary but now more games maybe cancelled. But, let’s look at some positive things that have been a good welcome since this lockout happened.
1. Bay Area!!!!!!!— While most Bay Area teams (minus the Giants, who won everything last year but didn’t make the playoffs this year which is fairly common for championship teams) have been awful in the past, the lack of basketball has forced fans to watch and cheer for other Bay Area teams. Don’t know if that has helped the football teams, but look out, both the SF 49ers and Oakland Raiders have winning records. The Giants boast a 5-1 campaign while making news because head coach Jim Harbaugh got a little crazy after a comeback win against the Lions. On the other side of the bay, the Raiders made recent headlines because they just traded for a rusty Carson Palmer. While his price tag was quite high, the Raiders are in for a dynamic season with a combination of an emotional loss of Al Davis and the newly minted motivation that just joined the team. While this has absolutely nothing to do with the Warriors, maybe one or both team will play past their usual due date and keep the Bay entertain while the Warriors wait in the wings to fill in that sports gap when football season is done.
2.NBA Players Are Normal—It’s pretty easy to forget that while players constantly entertain us with their amazing skills, they are just regular normal people outside of court. Granted, they got big houses, nice cars, bling and money, but they also have a family, family troubles and eat the same food we do. It has been great to get articles about what the Warriors have been up to since the lockout took place. It has been great to see that Steph Curry has the determination and the will to head back to Davidson and finish his degree in sociology. He has also had time to enjoy his marriage to Ayesha Alexander who met while they were 15 and 14 year old respectively.
3. Injuries— While the light at the end of the tunnel for the lockout does not seem to shine, one of the most key things this offseason is the ability for the players to not only improve their skills but also heal fully without the media or team pressuring them to come back before they are ready. Most notably is Steph Curry, who was playing with a bum ankle last year. During the off-season he was able to have surgery and rehab fully. Though he says he isn’t fully recovering, he has been cleared for full activity since September 14.
The extra time has also given Warriors (no pun intended) who played a lot during the season more time to rest before the season start. Monta Ellis who has been with the organization for his whole career, has been logging more minutes each year. Makes sense, cause the team depends on him but with this more time off, maybe it will help him not be as tired at the end of the year if there is basketball this year.
4. New Ownership—-In a way, it is not exciting, but in a way, it has been one of the best news in the off-season for the Warriors. The Warriors were tanking in the sense that ownership kept on agreeing to ridiculous deals with washed up players and rather iffy coaches. Let’s be honest, Don Nelson is/was way past his time and while it was nice to say that he is now the league leader in wins for coaches and got it with the Warriors, the team and fans suffered. His style of up and down running and no defense (does it scream Mike D’Antoni?) was/is not a winning formula. Then with the trades of J-Rich and the non-resign of Baron Davis, it seems that ownership was dismantling a team on purpose (kinda like Major League). But in the summer of 2010, ridiculous owner Chris Cohen sold the team for the high NBA price of $450 million to an ownership group that included Joe Lacoub and Peter Guber. With the new sale, both Guber and Lacoub talked indirectly about cleaning up the team. I thought they might let Keith Smart have one more year, since he improved the team by 10 wins, but the owners wanted fresh blood. Getting rid of Smart, they hired Mark Jackson, who in his prime was a fantastic point guard and a great defender. While he does not have any coaching experience, he brings some tenacity that was missing from the Warriors last season. The new owners also brought on Jerry West as an advisor. I am sure I do not need to go through he resume, but in case it was a surprise, he’s the guy that is on the NBA logo. Enough said. And finally, few weeks back, the Warriors have hired ex-Suns President and CEO, Rick Welts, to fulfill essentially the same job he had in Phoenix, only he’ll be President and COO instead. Though the guy made more news after coming to and admitting to be an openly gay man in an ever masculine world, he does have a decent track record. The move makes sense for both parties as Welts has been credited in helping the creation of the All-Star weekend as well as helping out the WNBA. For the Warriors, all the front office moves bode well in the sense that the new owners are not holding back on spending money for the best people. These front office people will in turn look for the best players that they can find and mesh together well for a winning combination. Let’s hope that with the limited time for free agency and sorts, that they will be able to continue the upward trend of winning basketball in the Bay.
5. One Word: BASKETBALL!!!!!!! Seriously, when the lockout ends and I have a good vibe that the lockout will end rather quickly, it will be great to see basketball again. To be quite honest, baseball is boring since our team is not in it and it should end soon. The Sharks are starting horrible and while the NFL teams have been doing fantastic so far, it has yet to be seen that they will do great in a full season. So when all those things combine together for a crappy ending, at least we will be able to watch the Warriors come out and fly. I can not wait when the lockout is over and there are some sounds of basketballs being bounced and nets being swished.
In reality, the five things to be optimistic about the Warriors season is the actual fact that basketball will and hopefully (cross our fingers!) back in high flying fashion. With the track record of new ownership, it seems that we would get a reward (minus the fact that bball will be back!) for waiting so long for basketball. At the end of the day, the owners, the players and the fans are ready and excited for the season to start no matter how short it is. Get this thing rockin!