Andris Biedrins really knows how to push the emotional buttons of Golden State Warrior fans. The Latvian center, formerly a rising star among NBA big men, has managed to engender sincere hope, frustration and abject disgust during his professional tenure. But during media day on October 1, Biedrins made Warrior fans feel something else.
He bummed them out. Like, totally.
All any Warrior fan wants to hear from Biedrins is that he's had a breakthrough, that he's ready to shake himself out of the doldrums. Dubs loyalists crave something, anything, from Biedrins that might show there's a spark of hope for his resurrection. They’re hoping to hear something new.
But the last thing anyone wants is to hear Biedrins parroting the same tired lines he’s given during every training camp since his career went off the rails.
Unfortunately, Biedrins showed up to the Warriors’ media day on October 1 and gave more of the same. He talked about his offseason, which was the same as it’s been in the past—working out in Latvia before heading to Santa Barbara in September for solo training camp.
He fielded questions about his confidence, his role and his outlook on the season. All the answers had a familiar ring. A quick comparison between Biedrins’ statements from last year and this year gives a good indication of how sadly similar his words were.
Here's what Biedrins said at the Warriors' media day last year:
“I told [Mark Jackson] I have a different mindset, I had a good break and I came back and I feel good, I feel strong. And I will give everything that he needs.”
On why this season will be different:
“Now, I feel good about myself. I had a great offseason. I think a lot of things are different now and now is the right time to get it back.”
On whether he thinks he can return to form:
“I do. I really do, and I'm on that path right now. I won't let anything drag me down. Now is my chance. The last two years were horrible for me. I know that, and everybody knows that.”
On their own, Biedrins' words aren't totally bummer-inducing. Objectively, they sound great, but the problem is that none of his apparent optimism before the 2011-12 season ended up counting for anything—he had his worst year ever.
Now, he's saying the same things, which is sad in part because we know that little has changed about his mindset. But the worst, most heartbreaking aspect of all of this, is that it's pretty clear that Biedrins isn’t even buying in to his own words anymore.
Here’s what CSN Insider Matt Steinmetz got from Biedrins at this season’s media day:
I think it is [possible to get back to where I was]…I think physically I’m there. A lot has to do with just kind of believing in yourself more than I am. I’ve had frustrating years and you kind of stop believing in yourself so much as you did before—like three years ago. That’s the main reason. But I think I can get there.
And then, Biedrins dropped an even more familiar line. He said, “I think [my confidence] is much higher than it was last year. I think I had a great month now and I was practicing a lot and I feel good about myself.”
It’s getting harder and harder to hold out hope that somewhere inside Biedrins, the player he used to be is still present. Now, it sounds like Andris, a shadow of his former self, has given up hope of returning to form.
With Biedrins looking, acting and speaking in exactly the same sad-sack manner he’s had for the last three years, maybe it’s time for Warrior fans to give up the ghost, too.