Whats good for the goose is good for the gander. Unless the goose is the Golden State Warriors laying another late season egg and the gander is the mighty San Antonio Spurs stomping mercilessly on the head of the hapless goose. The playoffs start in two weeks time and the top teams in each conference are jockeying for home court advantage while the bottom feeders bang their heads against the wall in a last ditch effort to gather one or two more ping pong balls on a hope and a prayer that the lottery will bring them someone promising. Or semi-promising… Or promising enough to land them in the lottery the next season.
Its the vicious cycle that leaves many sports aficionados crying foul while general managers of small market teams lock themselves in their offices and simply cry.
Enter Larry Riley, GM of the Golden State Warriors since replacing Chris Mullin in 2009. Larry began his tenure with the same wide-eyed, unbridled enthusiasm of his predecessors. Big changes were afoot, mountains would be cast asunder, and the Warriors would climb out of the primordial ooze that is Oracle Arena in Oakland California. But he quickly found out that that ooze was not ooze at all. It is a super massive black whole that not only sucks up light, but your soul, your energy, and eventually your job. Larry Riley quickly realized what Warriors fans have known since the Reagan administration. That fighting against the inevitable not only prolongs the agony but makes the trip down that much more excruciating. As excruciating as watching Stephon Curry hobble around on two brittle ankles and a mangled big toe. As excruciating as watching your best rebounder and low post presence David Lee go down with a season ending groin strain and stress reaction. As excruciating as watching your team trade its best scorer and fan favorite Monta Ellis for a center who hasn’t played a full season since 2006 due to numerous ailments in his ankles and feet.
So while any semblance of a functioning and burgeoning organization sits at the end of the bench in civilian clothing while the rookies and D-League call-ups get their chance to show that they are NBA ready and the organization gets to unintentionally position itself for an extra ping pong ball. Fighting for a spot at the children’s table and an eventual climb out of purgatory. Across the floor the Warriors watch their contemporaries the San Antonio Spurs three franchise players sitting in civilian clothing not due to injury, but due to the rigors of the upcoming playoff grind that they have found themselves in every year since acquiring Tim Duncan 14,423 lottery balls ago and four championships later. So the cycle continues. The gander continue to feast on the carcass of the downtrodden geese. Until the ball drops for the goose. Or most likely, on the goose.