It’s been a pretty strange year for your Golden State Warriors. Over the last 12 months, the Dubs have emerged from a lockout with a new coach, made playoff guarantees, traded a beloved “star”, imported an Australian, tanked a season, gained a new identity and knocked off the NBA champs.
Other than that, it’s been a little dull in Oakland.
The Dubs are in the midst of the best start anyone can remember, and for the first time in a long while, the successes feel real. Even sustainable. Somehow, over the past year or so, the most mismanaged, inexplicably fan-supported franchise in the NBA went from embarrassment to example. In 10 important moments during 2012, the Warriors laid the groundwork for the most impressive franchise overhaul we’ve ever seen.
No. 10: The Mark Jackson Scandal
Early in the summer 0f 2012, news broke that Warriors coach Mark Jackson had been extorted by an ex-stripper and her felonious pal. The unsavory duo had information on Jackson, consisting of audio recordings and photographs that proved the Dubs’ coach hadn’t exactly been conducting himself like the pious man of faith he claimed to be. Keep in mind, at this juncture, the only things Jackson had done as the Warriors coach included making a foolish and ill-fated playoff guarantee and looking generally lost on the sideline.
This could have totally crushed whatever remaining credibility Jackson had.
Instead, Warriors ownership stood behind him and he somehow didn’t lose the trust of the locker room. How he managed to retain the support of his players in the midst of all this is baffling.
This moment carries special importance because it’s the one that could have derailed the train before it left the station. If Jackson’s lost integrity had cost him the team (which it probably should have), who knows where the Warriors would have ended up.
No. 9: The Bogut Revelation
Somehow, the Warriors managed to avoid a complete PR disaster when the public learned that the organization had been lying about the severity of Andrew Bogut’s ankle surgery for months. In hindsight, it’s truly amazing that there wasn’t more outrage (especially from season ticket holders who made heavy investments on the promise that Bogut would be playing) when the Warriors center revealed that he’d been hiding the fact that he’d actually had microfracture surgery on his ankle.
GM Bob Myers was falsely apologetic, and it seemed clear that he was falling on the sword for Joe Lacob, who mandated the plan in hopes of avoiding more disapproval for the trade that sent Monta Ellis away.
If the Warriors hadn’t gotten off to a solid start, this whole scenario would have played out in a very different way. Now, after just a few weeks, it’s been swept quietly under the rug. Apparently, winning games really does make everything OK.
No. 8: The Crucifixion of Joe Lacob
In a move that only emphasized how shortsighted and illogical many Warrior fans truly are, Joe Lacob was mercilessly booed during the jersey retirement ceremony for Chris Mullin. The assembled, braying masses at Oracle destroyed what should have been a beautiful occasion for one of the franchise’s most beloved figures by vocalizing their idiotic frustration over the organization’s decision to dump Monta Ellis.
Point the first: Monta Ellis is a bad NBA player. You cannot win with him and he’s going to fall off of a cliff when his athleticism leaves.
Point the second: The Warriors were going nowhere and gave up an overrated player for a shot at an elite defensive center. Smart teams make that trade 100 times out of 100.
Point the third: If you’re going to boo Lacob, don’t do it at the expense of Chris Mullin.
Point the fourth / Question the first: How do the 19,000 morons who booed that night feel about Lacob and the Warriors now?
Anyway, this was a critical moment because it showed that ownership clearly knew what it was doing. It also revealed how generally ignorant much of the Warriors’ fan base really is, but most intelligent Dubs’ loyalists already knew that.
No. 7: Warriors Sign Carl Landry
You know what the Warriors have lacked for years? A rugged scorer who does his work in isolation on the block.
You know what Carl Landry is? A rugged scorer who does his work in isolation on the block.
Golden State GM Bob Myers addressed one of the franchise’s most pressing needs at a bargain basement price when he inked Landry for $8 million over two years last summer. The move clearly filled a hole on the roster, but it also emphasized the changing environment in Golden State.
Landry came to the Warriors because he liked the franchise. How’s that for proof that things were starting to change in Oakland?
No. 6: Dubs Dominate Draft
From a volume perspective, the Warriors’ draft performance might have been the most important moment of 2012. In one fell swoop, the Dubs added two starters and a key rotation player in Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green.
Though the rookie wall has slowed Barnes a bit, he certainly provided the year’s most impressive highlight. Going forward, he looks like a rotation player, at worst.
Ezeli has a chance to be a good backup center for a long time, especially if he can find an alchemist to turn his stone hands into some softer material.
Green looks like a real glue guy, with a chance to stick in the league on the strength of his smarts and hustle. He’s limited from a skills standpoint, but any team would be happy to have him.
Overall, the Warriors killed the draft, which makes it the highest entry in Part 1 of our list.