The Warriors 46 point loss isn’t without precedent. Two years ago, the Lakers lost by 49 points. Last year, the Chicago Bulls lost by 56 points. The Spurs were once beaten by a cool 47.
What the Warriors, Lakers, Bulls and Spurs have in common is they are all championship franchises. Their beat downs came when they couldn’t field a roster with one MVP caliber player and teams took advantage. The air the Warriors now breathe has passed mediocrity and is hovering on abysmal, ugly, and bitter.
As Warriors fans are covering the eyes and wondering how could it fall apart so fast, the league is kind of happy about this turn of events. It’s not just that the Warriors were champions, but they were champions in a style that was continually crammed down every team’s throat as the standard.
Look at what Steph can do. Can’t you shoot 35 foot threes? Look at what Klay can do. Can’t you space the floor and run off a bunch of buckets while guarding the best wing? Look at how happy the Warriors are. Why are you so grumpy and not smiling? Why aren’t you having fun like the Warriors?
The Warriors impact on the league cannot be overstated. Because they seemingly came out of nowhere to win a bunch of titles, they forced the rest of the league to copy them, if they wanted to keep up. That in itself isn’t unusual. You build your team to compete against the powerhouse. But no one saw Steph Curry and the Warriors coming until they had arrived. When they weren’t a fad, or a one-time thing, teams scrambled to stockpile shooters, ditch iso ball, have a death lineup, devalue big men. They wanted to beat the Warriors while being the Warriors. It was an impossible way to do business. Particularly when the Warriors culture was suddenly more humane than what was going on in every other NBA locker room.
Now that the Warriors phenomenon is over, the payback begins. Teams the Warriors eviscerated with their fun loving three point bonanza are having their revenge at the kids (and average vets) the Warriors trot out night after night after night. At the height of their dominance, the Warriors brutalized teams and did it while being happy go lucky. All the venom that built up is coming back to them in spades. Kind of like karma.
There is another level to the Warriors misery that’s worse than the abuse they are taking for being excellent five years in a row. Shockingly, the Warriors didn’t see this coming when the job of a NBA front office is to anticipate the future and plan for the worst case scenario. It feels like Bob Myers didn’t have a strong plan in place for KD leaving. All of their attention was on the new arena. But how many new SF fans are the Warriors pulling in with the way they compete?
They are the league’s worst defense. Players don’t rotate, they don’t help, and they don’t contest shots. You can blame that on how young the Warriors are but veterans like Alec Burks and Willie Cauley-Stein aren’t setting examples of mature player either. Offensively, there isn’t elite talent so the Warriors are getting exactly what they deserve with the acquisitions they signed. Suddenly, they are a developmental team.
That has the rest of the NBA happy. You can’t deify the Warriors system without living the consequences when it crashes, as all championships do. The Warriors are who they were before the Stephization of the NBA, meaning they are irrelevant unless you live in the Bay.
Sure, Steph will come back this year. (Klay probably won’t). Steph will lift them up with his scoring but they are a lottery team that has to take their lumps in road arenas that remember who the Warriors used to be. Dominant. Fierce. Unbeatable.
Because in the NBA things change on a dime, a lot of folks are laughing at the Warriors ineptitude. They are miserable now. It took awhile but the NBA earth is back on track. Lakers and Celtics. And Warriors a long way in the rear.