From laughing stock to dynastic, Warriors unlock new status with second title

From laughing stock to dynastic, Warriors unlock new status with second title

Welcome to the Land of the Loathed, Warriors fans.

It hasn’t happened yet, but the heel turn is coming.

Count on it.

On the verge of becoming a dynasty after they closed out their second NBA championship in three seasons Monday night with a 4-1 series victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Warriors have unlocked a new status level previously unimaginable. For the first time since the 49ers ran the NFL in the 1980s and 90s, a Bay Area franchise truly qualifies as that team, the one your friends love to hate because they’re so damn good.

They’re not yet Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. They haven’t quite reached the same level as the late 1990s New York Yankees. But if the core four stay healthy and continue on together, the Warriors are on their way. They’re already the Boston Red Sox, the Miami Heat with LeBron James and the Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

And what a strange place this is to be.

Chew on this fact -- this is the Warriors, a franchise whose history is littered with more missteps than Mikey’s ill-fated drunk dial in ‘Swingers.’

This is the team that once traded away Robert Parrish and the No. 3 pick, which turned into Kevin McHale, so it could move up and select Joe Barry Carroll. It’s the same franchise that only year after trading everything to select him with the first overall pick, swapped Chris Webber for Tom Gugliotta. And then there was that time that star guard Latrell Sprewell choked out P.J. Carlisiemo.

But those are just the highlights.

If you’ve lived and died with the Warriors, you remember so much more. Bill Simmons perfectly encapsulated the hell of being a Golden State fan five years ago with a cringe worthy 4,000-word piece on 60 horrifying moments in franchise history. Reading that May 2012 piece probably felt to many of you as if you’d purposely slammed your head into a desk over and over and over.

It hasn’t all been bad.

There was the Rick Barry title in 1975-76 that many of you weren’t alive to witness.

The Run TMC days made the Warriors a household name again for a few seasons. Sarunas Marciulionis and Manute Bol were fun.

Short-lived as it was, The Baron Davis Era was fantastic.

But the highlights have been few and far between and dominated by years of misery.

Remember when the arrival of Troy Murphy and Jason Richardson pumped life into the Oracle Arena crowd? The Larry Hughes-Vonteego Cummings’ backcourt appeared to have promise. Monta Ellis looked like a star in the making.

None of it panned out.

And yet here they are.

As long as Kevin Durant and Steph Curry stick around, the Warriors appear capable of doing this to the rest of the league for quite some time. The 2016-17 offense put together one of the most efficient postseasons of all time en route to the best postseason record (16-1) in NBA history.

How did this franchise manage to become that team?

They’re young, too.

Curry is 29. Durant is 28. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are 27.

If everyone stays healthy, the possibility of sustained dominance is high as long as the league’s current rules remain in place. And that means the potential for becoming annoying to anyone who isn’t a Warriors fan is extremely high.

Golden State’s brilliance is undeniable. They’ve proven to be that much better than everyone else on the court time and again, including beating one of the league’s all-time greats twice in three consecutive NBA Finals.

Players know they’re good. They like to celebrate as evidenced by Curry’s high steps, Green’s flexing, etc.

In Green, they have the perfect villain, a player who is intelligent on the court, plays at an intense level and wears his emotions on his sleeve. Throw in the mercenary factor they gained when Durant spurned Oklahoma City to join the Warriors and they have all the ingredients necessary.

The haters are headed this direction and they’re coming in droves.

And it’s just so damn weird.

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

UPDATE (2:40pm PT on Tuessday): Steph Curry has been cleared for full team practices with the goal of playing this week, the Warriors announced.


The Warriors’ usual late-spring sprint toward the postseason, already slowed to a limp, deteriorated into a forlorn crawl Monday night in San Antonio as they were losing for the fourth time in six games.

Draymond Green, the only “healthy” member of the team’s All-Star quartet, left the game in the second quarter with a pelvic contusion and did not return.

Though Green said after this 89-75 loss to the Spurs that he doesn’t consider this a serious injury, it’s abundantly clear reinforcements can’t arrive soon enough.

Stephen Curry, a profoundly superior reinforcement, may return as soon as Friday.

Curry’s tender right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which the Warriors will establish a timeline for his return. He could, according to team and league sources, be back in the lineup Friday night when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena.

That would provide a massive injection of talent for the Warriors, who lost of three games during a four-day stretch in which they were forced to rely heavily on reserves and role players.

“We’re already shorthanded and then we lose another All-Star, the glue to our team, Draymond, at halftime,” said Quinn Cook, who in scoring 73 points over the past three games did an admirable job of trying of producing Curry-like numbers.

As good as Cook was on Monday, scoring 20 points, it’s a bit much to ask Cook to lead the Warriors past a San Antonio team fighting to extend its 20-year streak of consecutive playoff appearances.

The Warriors are built around their four All-Stars -- Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Curry and Green. They usually can withstand the loss of one, and they can often are OK missing two. But when it’s three, and possibly four, the defending champs are a home without a foundation.

As the Warriors were losing four of six games, and two of the last three, we have learned four things:

1) Cook is an NBA keeper.

The point guard from Duke, who turns 25 on Friday, has proved not only that he belongs in the league but also that he can survive in the rotation of a championship contender. He’s considerably more effective than Pat McCaw. Even if everybody were healthy, it would be hard, maybe foolish, to deny Cook minutes.

2) Kevon Looney continues to smooth the rough edges of his game.

The Warriors opened the season uncertain what they could expect from a forward that has undergone surgery on both hips. Month after month, though, he has done most everything they could have asked. He operates well in their switching defense, is effective in traffic and now he’s blocking shots and raining jumpers. At this rate, the Warriors would be delighted to have him back next season.

3) David West and Jordan Bell are in search of rhythm.

West was reliably excellent, at both ends, prior to missing five games with a cyst on his right arm. Since returning last Friday, there have been visible signs of rust. He’ll be OK in time, but at 37 likely needs another game or two to rediscover his touch.

Bell missed 14 games with a left ankle sprain, returned briefly, sustained a sprain of his right ankle and missed three more games. In the three games since his return, he has yet to look comfortable. It’s not just rust; it’s also the team around him. He’s at his best when supporting the stars. It may take him a while before he shines again.

4) Postseason minutes may be scarce for Nick Young

The Warriors hired Young to score while not embarrassing himself on defense and he has had good moments on both ends. But his inconsistency -- partly attributed to unspectacular conditioning -- grates on coaches and sometimes teammates. As much as he wants to enjoy the postseason, he’s playing his way toward an insignificant role unless injuries dictate otherwise.

Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return


Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return

UPDATE (2:25pm PT on Tuesday): The Warriors announced that following an examination by the team's medical staff, Steph Curry has been cleared to participate in full team practices beginning on Wednesday. The goal is for Curry to "play later this week."

The Warriors return to action Friday when they host the Hawks. They face the Jazz on Sunday in Oakland.


The Warriors have been without Stephen Curry for six full games and all but the first two minutes of a seventh. The last three were less out of medical necessity than an abundance of caution.

Curry could, however, return as soon as Friday when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena, multiple sources disclosed to NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday night. ESPN, citing league sources, was first to report the team’s plan.

The two-time MVP’s right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which time a firm return date is expected.

Curry was physically able to play -- and actually pushed to return -- last weekend, according to league sources. But the Warriors, looking ahead to the playoffs and seeing diminished value in the remaining regular-season games, opted to continue rehabilitation in hopes of maximizing support for the area around his ankle.

The Warriors have described Curry’s injury not as a sprain but a “tweak,” implying less severity.

Though the Warriors won the game in which Curry was hurt, 110-107 over the Spurs on March 8, they have since lost four of six, including 89-75 on Monday in San Antonio.

The Warriors arrived early Tuesday morning and won’t practice Tuesday afternoon and are contemplating skipping an official practice on Wednesday.

The Warriors, averaging a league-leading 115.5 points per game this season, saw that figure drop to 103.3 during Curry’s six-game absence.