It has been three months and seven days since the 2011-2012 season began for the Golden State Warriors. What started out with three impressive performances against the Clippers, Bulls and Knicks has turned into utter turmoil.
Let's summarize what has happened since opening night and April 1st:
- Due to the outstanding play of Monta Ellis, Golden State manages to stay in playoff contention, getting as close as three games from the eighth spot in the Western Conference in March.
- The Warriors promptly destroy any remaining chance at making the postseason by trading Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks for an injured Andrew Bogut and Richard Jefferson, a former all-star who is way past his prime.
- Monta and the Bucks blow out the Warriors in Oakland in Monta's first game with his new team.
- 20,000 Warriors' fans fiercely boo owner Joe Lacob during Chris Mullin's jersey retirement, voicing their displeasure with the trade.
- Golden State is 10 games under .500, in the midst of a four game losing streak and has fallen way out of playoff contention.
To a fan, this is just another average year of Golden State Warrior basketball. Don't believe me? Look it up. A quick search on Google brings you to this page, a year-by-year list of the Warriors' franchise history. What do you see? A few playoff appearances and one NBA championship. What jumps out at you the most? Oh, I don't know, probably the 29 losing seasons since the franchise moved to the Bay Area in 1962.
I'm sure you know the story by now. One playoff appearance in the past 17 seasons (soon to be eighteen), six in the past thirty-four seasons—blah, blah, blah.
Ok, so those are the facts. But, there is still one thing that irks me. Why do the Golden State Warriors still have fans? After all of that, you have to imagine that the Warriors' fan base would be nearly non-existent. I mean, nobody would want to watch a team that plays meaningless games year after year, right?
Wrong. Astoundingly, the Golden State Warriors are averaging 19,000 fans a game this season at Oracle Arena, good enough for ninth in the NBA. The teams below them include the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs. The Indiana Pacers, who are fifth in the Eastern Conference, are second to last in attendance, drawing 13,000 fans a game.
Here's another puzzler. After the Monta Ellis trade, you might expect attendance to go down, right? After all, he was the main attraction and one of the reasons why people bought tickets.
Wrong again. In the six home games since the Ellis trade, the Warriors' have averaged over 19,000 fans a game. And it isn't because of their opponents. Excluding the games against the Milwaukee Bucks (Monta's first game with Milwaukee) and the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors have faced the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Hornets and the New Jersey Nets. None of those teams will make the playoffs.
This is just puzzling to me. Why would fans want to pay money just to watch a team that has failed them, year after year?
According to a poll on CSNBayArea.com, over half of their supporters want the Warriors to lose every game for the rest of the season in order to gain a higher position in the upcoming 2012 NBA Draft.
Ok, I'm cool with that. But if their fans want them to lose every single game, why even bother to show up at Oracle Arena for the rest of the season? Why waste the time, energy and money ($25 for parking!)?
The Warriors have six remaining home games left. Attendance is expected to be over 18,000 a game for all of them. Of the six home games, four of them will be shown on national television. That means the entire nation will get the opportunity to see Oracle Arena packed and cheering for a team that will miss the playoffs for the 17th time in 18 seasons.
So, I ask once again, why do the Golden State Warriors still have fans?
I'd like to conclude with the following words from Bill Simmons' blog:
[T]he Warriors lack an identity beyond the whole "they suck every year, they always screw up, but at least they have great fans" tag. Doesn't that really mean that their fans are just loyal saps? What keeps them coming back? At what point do you just throw your hands up and scream, "ENOUGH"?