1) Will the Warriors be “boring” this year?
As a long-time fan it feels weird to ask this question. For so many years we were conditioned to root for losers who weren’t all that lovable most of the time. Now that we’re the king of the hill, the juggernaut everyone else is coming after, can we get spoiled? Maybe all the complaints from the media and fans of other teams that the NBA might as well crown the Warriors champs already, that the league is becoming boring, can be true for Warriors fans too. We’ve come to expect excellence over the past few years so watching the team be sloppy and unfocused can leave one feeling a bit meh.
There are three primary outcomes I expect from Warriors games: 1) they obliterate their opponent, 2) they slack off but come back to win (as they did last night in impressive fashion against the Raptors), 3) they struggle with their focus and come up just short.
I used to get quite upset when they lost any game. Now I just kinda shrug my shoulders and say, “they’ll be fine,” because I know they will be. This part of the season is meaningless. Sure, they’re getting their mental and physical conditioning up to speed, so it’s important to get reps to get sharp, but because we’re all so confident they’ll be the last man standing, the rest of the regular season could become a little unsatisfying.
The lack of early season drama might be a drag. Like a traditional movie, you know the good guy is going to win, but it’s the overcoming of obstacles, the hero’s journey that captures our imagination.
When will that journey start? When they play the Cavs, OKC, the Spurs? Or if one of the Hamptons 5 goes down with an injury?
2) The Warriors have a switch and know they can flip it
The final 90 seconds of this game was the figurative switch. The Warriors were sloppy throughout, got a decent-sized lead, thought the Raptors would fold, got behind when they didn’t, then finally had to come back to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. This team has accomplished so much, they should believe they can turn it on whenever they have to. But hopefully it doesn’t become a habit throughout the season and into the playoffs. We saw how that worked for the Cavs.
3) Steph and Klay are still by far > Wall and Beal
I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, as the Wizards come to town on Friday, but I watched Washington play the Lakers on ESPN and the Wizards did what the Wizards do. They talked a big game, then dropped an embarrassing stinker. Wall and Beal were clearly the two best players on the court for most of the game, but it feels like they don’t know how to win, they don’t know how to close. It doesn’t help that Scotty Brooks’ offense in Washington is basically let Wall try to power to the basket and either draw a foul or dish. That backcourt had its moments, but I’ll take a couple guys who play smart and can finish games over two guys who can dunk really hard but consistently come up short.
Yes, the Warriors duo has a better supporting cast, but against a young and inconsistent Lakers team on national television, there’s really no excuse. No, I don’t watch the Wizards consistently, but from what I’ve seen (playoff loss to the Celtics last year, cartoonishly dressing in all black, underachieving with two of the “best” players in the east, etc.), this is par for the course. It may have been an off night for them, but with a 10 point lead in the fourth and the game seemingly in their grasp, I doubt it.
Maybe if Gortat doesn’t get hung up on that 4Q dunk, they keep the momentum and win, but they had the ability to stop a feeble Lakers team that was ready to chalk this game up to youth and learning and they couldn’t.