Silver Lining: Golden State's Struggles For An Identity

Joel CreagerCorrespondent IDecember 24, 2008

If you are anything like me, then it is hard to watch the Golden State Warriors and keep the palm of your hand off of your face. Sometimes, just to mix it up on especially ugly plays, I will throw on my thizzle face and cringe. 

As a fan that actually listening to the garbage espoused in the summer by team president, Robert Rowell, I had expectations that have since been squashed into oblivion.

I don't blame the players.  They are the youngest team in the NBA after all.  I don't blame anyone. Not even Don Nelson.  I don't blame because I know. I know that Chris Cohan and Robert Rowell are a complete joke.  Like prickly unlovable versions of Harry and Floyd from "Dumb and Dumber." 

Almost everything from their press releases to their comments reeks of dishonesty, deception, and "spin."  I expect, and understood that coming from Mullin or Nelson.  Besides, the candid approach towards secrecy always made a game out of trying to figure their next move. Not so much these days.

Rowell bleeds the talents of Mullin dry by exiling him to a contract ending Scout-a-thon.  Hence, very little input of any value has made its way down the food chain.  Just the usual, "We try to create the best product." 

To hell with the "Product."  Enough of this corporate mockery of the game people love. Get real, and call it "basketball."  Who do they think they are fooling?  Not the season ticket holders, that is for sure. They are outraged at everything. Here is a short list of things I've been reading.

1. Prices at the concessions stands are ridiculous.

2. The manner in which the team was marketed in the off season.  They requested that season ticket holders renew their season tickets months before most professional teams would (in any sport). In the process giving potential buyers no chance to see the makeup of the team ahead of time.

3. Embarrassing half-time shows.

4.  Increasing season ticket prices significantly during times of economic hardship, and failing to produce a better "product."  Unarguably the "product" has declined embarrassingly.

5. And oh yeah, did I mention that the Warriors are losing more than two thirds of their games?

This after a 48 win season that was already supposed to be a "rebuilding year."  Now, with the prospect of getting even thirty wins slipping through their fingers, the fans can only look on and say, "What happened?"  Only no one wants to be held accountable. Not a soul from the front office is "willing" to face the fans.

This season has turned into a tragic opera, and not merely the kind that has a tragic plot.  As a production this opera, the name is "Regressius," has failed miserably. Rowell
directs, Nelson is Pavoratti, and he's singing the blues—in Italian. 

The horror reminds me of Peter Jackson's first major production about a dysfunctional children's show run by a bunch of sick and twisted animal-themed puppets.  It was called "Meet the Feebles" and even the name is oddly fitting.  I hate comparing the players to puppets, but next to the egos of Nelson and Rowell, calling them puppets is probably an overstatement.

With that said I would like to thank Rowell for pointing the finger squarely at himself.  Recalling Tim Kawakami's analysis of the annual press releases, the Roweasell was second only to the Cohanator himself. Can we hold Rowell accountable yet? The man already gets booed if he shows himself in public.  Do we really want that cheap suit to be the face of the Warriors?  I don't.

Obviously the Warriors didn't pay Nelson such a huge sum of money (around $12 million dollars for two years) just to give up his duties and burble into a microphone.  If they did, then it would just be another reason to fire Rowell. 

Anyhoo, I believe Nelson is fully capable of transitioning from coach to Lord of Basketball Operations.  With Larry Harris and Larry Riley at their sides, what is there hat Nelson and Cohan cannot accomplish without Rowell?  Not much considering that all are front office vets with plenty of respect around the league.

Maybe, and just maybe, Cohan will smell the stench of Rowell's B.S. seeping into his own office.  A lot of those season ticket purchasers have direct ties to the club (as with any club in the NBA, barring the Thunder), and several public rants from season ticket holders have already popped up on Golden State of Mind.  At this point the contract handouts mitigated by Rowell will affect Warriors for years.

Whether they are for better or worse is now inconsequential. If these decisions are for the better then Rowell has made his office expendible for the next five years.  Just blame the crappy economy, and fire the guy with public approval ratings that place him inbetween "Manpons" and  " A contagious mutation of cancer" on the list of undesireables; or things that otherwise threaten the sale of season tickets. 

For the moment I am willing to believe that Nelson handing over the defensive coordinating duties to Keith Smart is a good thing.  Mostly because I trust Smart and Moncrief to produce. Moncrief was a five time all star and two time defensive champion.  They practically invented the award just for him.

I also believe that the Warriors will be better in the future.  Patience is a virtue, and at this point excercising a little is just the pill that the Warriors need. I have been disappointed with Maggette, but the jury is really still out on the entire team. 

The only immediate changes that the Warriors could benefit from would be in the front office or to acquire superstar talent that doesn't severely impact the Warriors' future.  The core untouchables being Biedrins, Ellis, Wright, Randolph, Jackson (if he is OK leading as 6th man in the future), and arguably a handful of the other players.  I am becoming particular to Crawford's exciting play, but like many Warriors he needs to defend better. 

Do the Warriors really need a "Power Broker" at this point in their development? Their front office is chock full of wheelers and dealers, and the team itself is stacked with valuable bits and pieces.  Unfortunately bits and pieces are just that, bits and pieces.  Besides sitting back and waiting for the right trade there is not much that the Warriors can do now that their money is all inked up through 2011.  Barring more panic moves from Rowell, the Warriors still stand a very good chance of pulling a complete 180 in the next two years. 

Rowell publicly smeared Bay Area golden boy, Chris Mullin, during what was supposed to be the punishment of Ellis.  It was a butchered campaign to fabricate a standard by which Rowell would justify his future decisions. Only Rowell didn't fool anyone, and no one forgot. Not while the Warriors are losing most of their games.

It's hard to be truly upset with any of the players, but the word "Patience" is certainly sacrilege in Warrior Land.  Is Rowell the one major stain in Golden State's image that Cohan can afford to rub out? 

It's not much of a silver lining, but what else can I say? Oh yeah, Happy Holidays!