The end of the season described most of the season of the Warriors. They played hard, fought tooth and nail, but were unable to close it out or find a way to win. After trading superstar Monta Ellis and up and coming Ekpe Udoh, the Warriors fell and fell hard. But it wasn’t all in vain. One, the Warriors are owners of the worst record nor the lowest winning percentage in NBA history. Let me repeat that for you. NBA HIS-TORY. Those belong to the great Michael Jordan and his crappy Charlotte Bobcats. I must put up some videos of their bloopers. Incredibly funny if your not a fan of them.
The only history the Warriors made last night was that they started five rookies.
But with both teams without their respective superstars, it seems as if this was a good chance for the Warriors to steal one. Then again, the win against Minnesota about a week ago caused a huge uproar from the fan base. I swear I heard, “It’s going to hurt our seeding in the draft!!!!!!!!!!!” throughout the Bay that night. I don’t think that could be screamed any louder. I mean, no one was happy with the win (minus the players probably cause they ultimately want to win).
But this fan base is right. They deserve better and maybe how they get better is by rebuilding through the draft. And you can’t do that if you don’t have draft picks. And it’s not like you can just buy draft picks (in a sense like they are not stocked at a local Safeway) so when you have them or have the opportunity to keep them, you try your best to do just that. And it was great, even though last night’s game was meaningless for the Spurs, the arena still filled up with true fans. I’m excited to see where the Warriors fall and hope (gulp!) that they will be able to keep their draft pick and get a good player to compliment the All-Star injury reserve.
Side Note: Amazing right, that since the last time the Warriors made the playoffs, that a game at the end of the season would mean so much to the Warriors as they “tried” to lose and get a better draft position. Crazy right?
As for last night’s game, the Warrior’s bench played the Spurs’ bench extremely well. They were in a tight battle all the way till the end of the fourth. And it was with a very thin roster/bench and having five rookies start. And the Spurs couldn’t shake off the Warriors until late in the fourth, when Patty Mills scored a jumper to secure the win for the Spurs. Remember, the bench for the Spurs had Boris Diaw (remember when he looked real good with Steve Nash in Phoenix?), DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner playing. All these guys, while they are not Tim Duncan or Tony Parker, are more experienced NBA players, have played in “game” games and are usually playing with their All-Stars. The team that the Warriors fielded had one guy that signed a 10 day contract earlier in the month, while another was just a training camp invitee. Just being in the game was amazing.
Every statistic was pretty much even with the Spurs. They broke even on fast break points while the Warriors dominated the paint 58-44. Every Warrior that played scored at least one bucket and they had six guys in double digits. This includes all the rookies scoring in double digits.
Chris Wright, who has played sparingly and was only an training camp invitee, led the Warriors with 25 points, eight boards and two blocks. Jeremy Tyler and Chris Jenkins each had 16 points respectively, while Tyler had nine boards and Jenkins had 9 assists to go along with those points. Mickell Gladness had 14 points and nine boards, while Klay Thompson rounded out the starting five and had only 17 points, five boards and six assists. The one surprise is that Brandon Rush was held out. I have not heard if there was an injury or that coach Jackson just wanted to play his young guys only. With how Rush was playing these last couple of games, that was surprising he didn’t finish the season with a bang. Nevertheless, I think the Warriors have found a diamond in the rough with Rush and can only help for next year, moving forward.
The Spurs were unable to pull away and had to rely on luck and defense to pull away. Think about it, the Warriors only lost 107-101 so they must have done something right. During the first half, Thompson hit a three and Gladness a bucket of his own to give the Warriors a five point lead. It was only when Patty Mills hit a buzzer beating jumper were the Spurs only down by one. Mills came to play and has likely secured an all important back-up role for the Spurs while they go on their quest for another championship.
While Jackson has vehemently denied that the Warriors were tanking on purpose, he did acknowledge the idea of the Warriors keeping their pick.
“Now that it’s over, you’ve got to look at it that way,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. “But in the middle of it we were trying to win. The process is now over and we’re pulling for a high pick.”
And he did say that it would look bad for a coach and set a bad precedent if he were to ask his team to tank on purpose. He just did that for them, by putting young and younger line-ups knowing they could probably not match up with the opponents bench. But it served two purposes. One the losing. Two, it help these young players gain experience and confidence in their game. This also allows Jackson and Co to re-evaluate the players for future, whether it be keeping them and having them stick around or trade bait. No matter how much summer ball or even practice time, it is always real, live game situations where you find out how your player will perform and how well.
The NBA will be holding the selection for the higher seeding on Friday. All in all, the pick is now out of the Warriors hands as they did their job. Now it is up to the Warrior basketball gods to help them out.