Warriors' Top 5 moments of 2014
Year in review
The year 2014 was remarkable for the Warriors and their growing fan base, which is lined up for a season-tickets waiting list that is now 6,000 strong. It was a year of historic accomplishment and somber resignation, of a brassy firing and a bold hiring. A year in which the smartest move of all might have been one that wasn't made. Here are, from Monte Poole's perspective, the Top 5 moments for the Warriors during this calendar year:
5) Warriors fire initial plan for San Francisco arena
From the day Peter Guber and Joe Lacob took ownership in Nov. 2010, they've been very candid about their desire to move the team from Oakland to San Francisco. Their vision was of an arena on the waterfront, two blocks south of the Bay Bridge. They insisted they were aware of the many hurdles, financial and civic. For a full 41 months, despite widespread skepticism, they said they were committed to adding a highly recognizable structure to the city's iconic skyline. It would be gorgeous. On April 22, the co-owners backed down. Conceding that the plan was not feasible, they dumped the waterfront plan and replaced it with one in which the arena would be built in the Mission Bay area a few blocks south of AT&T Park. As of late December, the Lacob and Guber anticipate moving in by 2018 – and maybe 2017.
4) Klay Thompson's contract extension
Once Steve Kerr replaced Mark Jackson, the primary Warriors offseason storyline was related to the future of Klay Thompson. Would he be traded to Minnesota as the key figure in a package that would send All-Star power forward Kevin Love to the Warriors? Or would the Warriors keep Klay? If so, would they reach agreement on a contract extension before the Oct. 31 deadline? The Warriors still had to decide whether they would meet Thompson's request for a near-max deal. They did, mere hours before the deadline. Thompson signed a four-year pact worth $69 million.
3) Warriors win franchise-record 16 straight
Though it may seem the Warriors have existed in a state of perpetual struggle, they have not. They made the playoffs in 11 of their first 16 seasons after moving from Philadelphia to the Bay Area in 1962. They won the NBA Championship in 1975. Never, though, had a Warriors team ever won 16 consecutive games, as the 2014-15 Warriors did between Nov. 13 and Dec. 14. They obliterated the previous record of 11, set by the 1971-72 Warriors under Al Attles. Of the 16 wins, 10 came on the road, giving the franchise its first double-digit road win streak. The average margin of victory was 12.4 points, as they won by at least 10 points on 10 occasions.
2) Stephen Curry starts All-Star Game
An entire generation of Warriors fans was rewarded with an altogether unfamiliar experience when it was announced Jan. 23 that a member of its favorite team would start the NBA All-Star Game. Stephen Curry not only was voted in to start in New Orleans but also received more votes (1,047,281) than any guard in the league. He was the first Warrior to start since Latrell Sprewell in 1995. After a seven-year stretch (1989-95) during which they sent at least one player, the Warriors failed to send anyone for 15 years, until David Lee was selected as a reserve in 2013. When Curry went one better, it was another indication that the Warriors had indeed rejoined the ranks of NBA relevancy.
1) The firing of Mark Jackson
Not many owners dump a coach who takes his team to back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in 22 years. Warriors CEO Joe Lacob did, dismissing Jackson on May 6, three days after the Warriors were ousted from a stirring seven-game series with the Clippers. Though it had been rumored for months, Jackson's firing was met with curiosity at the local and national level. His players had expressed vocal support. NBA TV analysts and coaches had showered him with praise for being successful with a franchise with a history of futility. Lacob was not swayed. He made the call, and within a week hired Steve Kerr, who had never coached a day in his life. Through the first two months of the season, with the Warriors sitting on the best record in the league, Lacob looks like, um, an oracle.