Who of us hasn't been inches from a finish line, only to stagger off the track with the tape in plain sight? Are there others among us who worked all semester diligently only to crap out in the face of the final essay? Or folks who work for years building up a good name and rep only to throw it away in the last few weeks by some act of sloth or idiocy. Ladies and gentlemen introducing for the last time Your 2008 Golden State Warriors. Let this be the last we see of them.
This is how the season ends, with a bang and a whimper.
The Warriors fell Sunday to the Phoenix Suns and eliminated themselves from post-season play. They now go down in NBA history as the best team ever (49-32) to be shut out of the playoffs. But leave it to the Warriors to bury the lead. In spite of the fact that Golden State's great record-near miss had never happened before in the entire history of professional basketball the story of the next few weeks will be how the Warriors took the pipe. The Golden Staters finished their make or break game without Baron Davis. That's as in star Baron Davis, soul of the team Baron Davis, the guy who played in the first half, wasn't injured, then just wasn't put in the game Baron Davis. Glad that's all done with, now comes the ill-informed theory part of the season.
It's already begun today, a double barreled waste of space guessing the motives and motivations of coach and competitor. Will Baron be traded? Will Nelly re-sign? Let me throw a better query in the mix; is there any reason to think this team will do anything other than hit the limbo stick for the final position in the playoff for the next few years?
Even getting a lottery pick means little. Coach Nelson had the number eight pick in the nation this season and treated him slightly worse than a Developmental League pick up; giving him some garbage time minutes and cameos once a month to tease and taunt. And what if Nelson walks? Assuming a new coach who loves him some rookies, recall the last coach who was able to make the playoffs before Don Nelson, was, um, coach Don Nelson. Anyone for revisiting the Bob Lanier or Dave Cowens eras?
Time then for a fresh deal. We're not going to win this hand with a high pair. Keep Nelson, dump Baron, package him with the newbies Nelson's never going to use, hand the car keys over to Monte Ellis, and watch us burn brightly and take the sixth spot next season. Is this the long-term way to build success? Not likely. But that's what you're buying when the price tag says, 68-year old head coach. And if that makes for a summer of anxiety, better that than a Winter's worth of discontent.(Coach Brian if you've forgotten, class of '02 final record 13-46).
Weak finish? You bet. At least these Warriors weren't in a trough when they fell.— Kibby Kleiman