The Warriors' Media Day is officially in the books, and while most teams are busy hyping the upcoming season, introducing new players, revealing strategies, and getting the fanbase excited about the upcoming season, the Warriors do things differently.
Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis took the opportunity to drop a torpedo on the franchise, publicly airing their disillusionment with how the team is run. Let's look at their comments in brief.
After getting fined by the NBA for publicly requesting a trade, SJax avoided saying the words, but he danced around the issue far better than he dribbles through traffic.
"What I said is how I feel. Point blank," Jackson said. "And that's not going to change."
"As you know," Jackson said with a shrug, "this organization's unpredictable. Very unpredictable."
"Every year I've lost somebody that I felt helped me get to that, with Baron (Davis), Jason (Richardson), Al (Harrington)," Jackson said. "It felt like I'm next. You know what I mean? It feels like we're not getting better."
SJax added, "We've been taking steps backs since that year we beat Dallas."
While it's pretty disappointing to hear the team's captain and leading scorer say these things, he's got a point. After a starving and loyal fan base was rewarded with a team that made the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, the team was slowly broken up. And each year, the record started slipping a little.
And then there's Monta Ellis: "(Management) say we can, but we can't," Ellis said. "I just want to win. We're not going to win that way...It's different when you're trying to compare me and Stephen (Curry), when you're trying to go back to when me and BD (Baron Davis) were playing, it's a different situation. You've got a veteran who's been in the game, who understands the game, knows how to play the game, and he's a big body.
"You can't put two small guys out there and try to play (point guard) and (shooting guard) when you've got big (shooting) guards in the league. You just can't do it. OK, yes, we're going to move up and down fast, but eventually the game is going to slow down. You can't do it."
And then there was this:
Q: "Don said you’re going to be a captain. What’s that mean?"
ME: "I don’t know. What’s different from being a captain? I don’t know. It’s just a title to me.
The face of the franchise and potential future All-Star doesn't understand what leadership means? Uhhh, so why make him a captain?
However, both players have legitimate gripes. Let's briefly review the front office's last couple of years:
-After making the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, JRich was immediately traded away for a project power forward who has yet to pay dividends. This after Richardson's loyalty through the "bad years," his veteran leadership, and his great shooting.
-After letting Baron Davis opt out and sign with the Clippers, the front office offered Elton Brand and Gilbert Arenas big money that was turned down. And then they signed Corey Maggette for roughly 50 million. Not only is this more money than Baron Davis was requesting, but Maggette is just as injury-prone (if not moreso) than Baron. And the team already had a glut of swingmen.
-Also, Pietrus was let go for nothing in return, and Matt Barnes was not resigned, even though he provided defense and grit, something the team needed.
-After Monta Ellis injured himself in the offseason in a stupid accident, the front office overruled the team's GM (who had managed to put a pretty good roster together) and hung the spectre of contract voiding over Monta, inspiring bad feelings all around.
-Stephen Jackson, in a non-contract year, is extended for three years at a hefty price. Keep in mind he's over 30.
-A first-round draft pick is traded away for a pass-first point guard with no offense who saw about 20 minutes of playing time before being cut loose for nothing in return.
-Al Harrington, after publicly requesting a trade (for which he was not fined) was sent to the Knicks for Jamal Crawford's bloated and longer contract. Jamal is a great guy, but plays possibly the worst defense of anyone on the team. And that says a lot.
-Crawford gets traded for two expiring contracts who will most likely never see the floor this year.
-Chris Mullin, a player favorite and the one who drafted our best young players and engineered the trades for Baron, Jackson, and Harrington, is made a lame duck and then unceremoniously fired.
-A trade for Amare Stoudemire is jettisoned in favor of an unproven rookie with exactly the same body as the guy the team just committed six years and $66 million to (even though I like his potential).
-Marco Bellinelli, a young first-rounder who began to show promise and did everything coach asked him to do (yet inexplicably still didn't get much PT) was traded away for an aging veteran defender and "cash considerations," a definite downgrade in talent for a guy who will probably be starting in Toronto.
I could go on, but you get the picture.
So Robert Rowell, Chris Cohan, I ask you, what is your plan? I am not a business mastermind, nor a basketball genius. But I see no rhyme or reason to these decisions. It's not that you don't have a plan. It's that your plan is haphazard and inarticulate. The players don't know it, the fans don't know it. Does the coach know it? I question even that.
So, two seasons after the explosive "We Believe" movement, you have managed to sink the team to the basement of the Western Conference.
The Bay Area has the best fans in the NBA. Oracle Arena consistently sells out for a mediocre product. And one that keeps getting worse. Warriors fans deserve better. I predict that season ticket sales are down, correct?
And so I ask you, please, for the love of basketball, SELL THE TEAM. To someone who cares.
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