Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ghost of Warriors Christmas Past reminds us how good this team is now

OAKLAND – Merry Christmas from Oracle Arena where the Golden State Warriors – with the addition of championship-chasing free agent Kevin Durant – are now considered the Scrooge of the NBA, at least nationally and in the warped mind of Charles Barkley.
Well, bah humbug, humbaby.
I had the opportunity to cover this franchise for 22 years and for all the jump shooting haters out there, let me introduce you to the Ghost of Warriors Christmas Past. He just walked in with Joe Barry Carroll’s attitude, Ralph Sampson’s limp, Chris Webber’s pout, and P.J. Carlisemo’s bruised neck. Take my hand and fly with me like a halfcourt shot by Stephen Curry on this journey through time and all the bad, dysfunctional basketball I witnessed and then you will gain a greater appreciation of these Warriors.

Let me remind you of some of the head-turning, head-scratching scenes I was around for more than two decades, save the Tiny Tim Hardaway Days of Run TMC.
Stop now and watch the horror as I did …
Look! There is a frustrated George Karl going postal on Joe Barry Carroll’s locker, trashing it like Taylor Swift does guys.
Look! There is Chris Weber and Don Nelson engaging in a divas pissing contest about Weber playing center or power forward. Look!  There is Tom Gugliotta replacing Webber and Nelson going to Maui!
Look! There are the Warriors following up the Webber Faux Pass by drafting in the first round Clifford Rozier, Joe Smith and Todd Fuller in the next three years! That’s like stocking the pantry with Spam.
Look! There is Latrell Sprewell trying to turn P.J. Carlisemo’s Adams apple into crushed grapes! 
Look! There is Mike Dunleavy Jr. leaving his shooting touch at Duke and playing defense like an umbrella in a hurricane!
Look! There is 2000 top draft pick Chris Porter getting arrested then getting traded to the Hornets then getting waived after missing his flight to Charlotte. The Warriors won 57 games in three years during the Porter Error!
Look! There goes free agent Baron Davis to the Clippers in L.A. when the Warriors, after making the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, decide instead to pay free agent Corey Maggette $50 million and re-sign Andris Biedrins for $63 million who proceeds to average, coincidentally, 6.3 points per game in a 10-year NBA career.
Look away! You can’t stand it, can you? Call time-out. The Ghost of Warriors Christmas Past hasn’t even gotten to Donyell Marshall. Or Larry Hughes. Or Erick Dampier. Or Chris Cohan. This nightmare could go on longer than Kardashians.
Lest we remind you that there is a generation of Warriors fans who only know that every shot Curry takes is expected to go in and that the Warriors win about as often as Donald Trump tweets.
Yet to fully appreciate the Warriors of Present and Yet To Come, one needs to just to conjure the Ghost of Christmas Past when the Warriors were knuckleheads and not bobbleheads. It’s time to appreciate what the Warriors have become almost overnight.
Feel my pain and be grateful. These Warriors are kinder and gentler and show compassion, even after scoring the most lopsided win in the NBA this season on Saturday night with a 45-point victory over the Portland Trailblazers.
Look at them now. The Warriors deliver as much joy and love in your heart as they do assists and 3-pointers. They are fun to watch and fantastic. They are the epitome of the Christmas spirit.
Merry Christmas.