On how the Warriors luck (and Jerry West) might have saved them

Although I’ve probably seen more College Basketball games than 99.8% of the world population, I still would be the first to tell you that projecting future success of NBA draft picks is hardly sn exact science or anything. Most of us simply decide if we like a guy or not and then either end up stumping for him or finding reasons to say he’ll fail. After all, even with the all the information we have access to that was previously unavailable, there’s still so much we don’t know.

So with all that polite shit out of the way, the Warriors totally won the fuck out of this draft.

Hey, alot has gone wrong for this team since…well, pretty much since Don Nelson traded Mitch Richmond for Billy Owens in 1991 and ended the RUN TMC (Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond & Chris Mullin for those of you who didn’t know) era. Take away the 2006 ass kicking of the top-seeded Mavericks and it’s been twenty years of utter tomfoolery and bitter frustration for a loyal fan base that deserves alot better than it’s gotten.

Alot of this was supposed to change with the new ownership group but it’s gotten substantially worse the disastrous hiring of Mark Jackson and the trade that sent away their most popular player (Monta Ellis) for a 13 million-a-year Center who hasn’t played a full season since 2006. Oh, and to make matters worse, there was a good chance they were going to lose their lottery pick as the result of trade for a once promising point guard named Marcus Williams, who went on to play a grand total of NINE GAMES in a Warrior uniform before being shown the door.

As luck would have it, the Warriors were given a gift from the lottery gods. The pick would be theirs if it fell in the top 7 but would be conveyed to Utah if it was 8 or lower, and after two months of furious tanking at the end of the season, they managed to be just lousy enough to get the 7th pick. Even better, Harrison Barnes fell into their laps at that spot, giving them the potential high scoring wing that just might, might I say, make this a formidable team next year.

Todd Fuller, the patron saint of goofy white lottery picks.

Things could have been a whole lot worse, and really they still might. The Warriors still have one of the ugliest cap situations in the entire league. As of 2014, they will be on the hook for a total of 48 million dollars to the quartet of Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, Andrew Bogut and David Lee. That’s over two-thirds of your cap for a useless, brittle center, an over the hill small forward, a scoring forward whose defensive game is offensive and a guy who missed almost all of last year with a variety of ailments. Oh, and that’s before they decide whether or not to pay Stephen Curry, their talented but buttery ankled point guard.

So yeah, this can still turn out ugly for the GSW’s, but with a little luck in the health department and maybe a shrewd move or two, this team could actually end up making a go of it in the Western Conference. Yeah, it looks more like an offense-only Fantasy Basketball team, but as any Warrior fan old enough to remember  the P.J. Carlesimo era will tell you, it could always be worse.

If nothing else, they have Jerry West working for them now, which means the days of drafting stalwarts like Ike Diogu, Patrick O’ Bryant Todd Fuller are over, or at the very least, on hold. Having added Festus Ezeli at the end of the first round and Draymond Green (my favorite college player last season) in the sceond, they added some valuable young help that will be working cheap for the next few years. In this new luxury tax era, getting quality players in the latter part of the draft is going to be crucial to avoiding the brutal tax penalties.

Hey, there’s no guarantee that Steph Curry doesn’t spend all of 2013 on crutches or David Lee doesn’t get his arm bitten off again. For the first time in too long, the Golden State fans can feel like they actually caught a break.

-John Hathwell


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