Warriors

Allocating credit for the rise of the Golden State Warriors

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Allocating credit for the rise of the Golden State Warriors

The New York Times devoted another massive chunk of print and Internet space to the Golden State Warriors the other day, this one 6,300 words and change from Bruce Schoenfeld on the team’s owners and the words of the deck head beneath the title, “What Happened When Venture Capitalists Took Over the Golden State Warriors,” lies the road map to how the Warriors will be undone. It reads: “After racking up a historic N.B.A. season, the team’s owners — most of them from Silicon Valley — think their management style deserves some of the credit. Are they right?”

The answer is obvious. No.

The secondary answer is equally clear. They should shut their insecure tediously flapping pieholes, the cloth-eared nitwits. The entire story is well worth your eyes, but we have made our point. Still, reasons follow:

1.        None of the owners are Stephen Curry, or Klay Thompson, or Draymond Green, or Andre Iguodala, or Andrew Bogut, or Steve Kerr, or Bob Myers, or Jerry West, or any of the players, coaches or staff that made the basketball product people come to see. They are rich folks who owe their notoriety to the work of their underlings, even though in some cases said underlings were hired by Joe Lacob. Point is, they all turned out much better than anyone could have hoped, and in any event hiring someone does not mean you get credit for their work just because you're the one who found them..

2.        None of the owners are Curry’s family, which took a gamble on a moribund team to avoid playing for a more moribund team, and was saddened to learn it could not actually get Curry to New York to likely die a horrible career death.

3.        None of the owners are Minnesota ex-GM David Kahn, who passed on Curry twice in successive picks because the Currys told him they didn’t want Minnesota and because he thought he was too clever to need him.

4.        None of the owners are soothsayers because no person living, dead or thinking about changing their status knew Curry would be this, or that the roster around him would work this cohesively.

5.        None of the owners understand the central truth about getting credit -– those who desire it do not deserve it, and those who deserve it do not desire it. Credit seeks its own platforms.

6.        None of the owners mean anything to anyone except their own families and accountants. Nobody has ever gone to a Warrior game and said, “I just came to see Peter Guber sit on a chair.” Nobody. If none of them ever came to a game, nobody would know the difference or give a nanobot’s worth of a half-damn.

But we do promise this. When this mad dash toward the sun ends, and it will because all of them do, we will make a specific point of blaming each and every one of them repeatedly, by name, address, Social Security and ATM PIN numbers for letting it happen, because that’s how credit works too -– in good times, everyone shares, and in bad ones, the big hogs get butchered first. And we’ll hate them while we eat.

Besides, what’s wrong with just being part of the crowd, enjoying the show while watching money roll in by the traincar? They need credit too? Do none of them remember Chris Cohan? Do none of them see what is happening to Jed York? Do they not recall the rise and fall of Peter Magowan? Can they not remember the admonition of Al Swearengen – "Announcin' your plans is a good way to hear god laugh."

Listen, kids, when Lacob says, “The great, great venture capitalists who built company after company, that’s not an accident, and none of this is an accident, either,” he is basically daring God/the fates/karma to laugh, and right in his face. Because he, and his partners, are better off enjoying what they have helped build rather than wanting to be remembered for it. They will be. All they have to do is not tell people that they want to be. 

# # #

Landon Donovan weighed in the five U.S. women’s national soccer team stars who have sued for equal pay from the nation’s sanctioning body, and he opened with a quick treatise on the market economy and why the U.S. Men’s teams deserve the lion’s share of the income.

Cue the Twitter abuse machine.

Then:

“The lovely @Jackie_Pepper reminded me that the men & women are doing the same amount of ‘work’ and should be paid equally. Can't argue that.”

If only all arguments could be solved so easily. 

# # #

Speaking of women and the market, Elena Delle Donne’s suggestion that WNBA might become more marketable by lowering the hoop to nine feet, and Diana Taurasi’s acidic response, “Might as well put us in skirts and back in the kitchen.”

This led men to opine all the old arguments, that the WNBA isn’t as entertaining as the NBA, that nothing will change that, blah blah blah.

Well, here’s the fact. The WNBA doesn’t need to crack the all-important men’s market because (and this will come as a surprise) a woman’s money is just as green and spends just as well. The WNBA is better off trying to emulate the Golden State style of play than it is trying to dunk on Fisher-Price hoops.

And finally, the WNBA has its place, it can grow its footprint, and it can become an elite league if it is willing to pay the best players in the world to play for them, whether they be American or not. America has a better chance of embracing you if you have the best players in your employ.

There’s your solution. I’m here for other consulting work, and thank you. 

# # #

And finally, Ayesha Curry, wife of you know who and a cook of considerable skill in her own right, will have anew show on The Food Network (working title, At Home with Ayesha).

I wonder who in the Warriors’ investor group will want some credit for that, and how willingly Curry will invite them into the kitchen to whip up a quick Bechamel reduction.

Willie Cauley-Stein opens up about time with Kings, how things ended

Willie Cauley-Stein opens up about time with Kings, how things ended

SALT LAKE CITY -- Warriors center Willie Cauley-Stein bunkered up in a corner of the visitor's locker room at Vivint Smart Home Arena under unusual circumstances before Friday night's loss to the Utah Jazz. 

For the last four years, he has sat in a similar area twice a season, with "Sacramento" across his chest. Now, two days before his first matchup against his former team, Cauley-Stein is still reconciling his emotions. 

"It's going to be weird," Cauley-Stein said to NBC Sports Bay Area. "It's my brothers over there, and I went to the battle with them dudes and for them four years. So it's going to be cool just to see my guys again and be on the other side of it, it's going to be cool to just to see how different it is." 

Cauley-Stein’s time in Sacramento came as the Kings were in peril.

Six months before the Kings drafted Cauley-Stein, the team fired coach Mike Malone after a year-and-a-half on the job. Sacramento opted to hire George Karl midseason, reportedly to the dissatisfaction of the roster.

By the end of his tenure, Cauley-Stein had two head coaches in three years. The Kings never made the postseason, holding true to the perception he heard about Sacramento when he was drafted. 

"Before I got drafted there, [University of Kentucky] coach [John Calipari] kind of warned me what that organization was like already,” Cauley-Stein admitted. “So, I mean, I just went in there just trying to get better. Every year just try to keep on getting better, and that's the way I approached the game and every day.”

All the while, Cauley-Stein garnered the reputation of inconsistency, much to his chagrin. While he posted respectable numbers, local observers complained about his propensity to occasionally disappear during games. 

Nonetheless, prior to last season, with solid numbers in tow, Cauley-Stein stated his goal for his fourth season was to “get paid.” Despite him averaging 11.9 points and a career-high 8.4 rebounds per game, the Kings missed the playoffs, leading to the center’s former agent Roger Montgomery to tell The Sacramento Bee that his client needed a “fresh start.”

According to Cauley-Stein, his agent’s comments came after the team had all but given up on their former first-round draft pick. 

‘Yeah, because they decided to go a different route,” Cauley-Stein said. “So like we tried to jump the curve and be on top of it.

“I might as well move on and show my work somewhere else. That’s the way me and my agent approached it was just like, 'They really don't want us, so we might as well take our talents somewhere else.' That's the kind of way we went on with it.” 

The prospect of leaving Sacramento left Cauley-Stein with a conundrum. The capital of California gave him the center the luxury of living on the West Coast, while providing a hometown feel similar to his small-town Kansas roots. 

“Sac was home,” Cauley-Stein admitted. “I was here for four years. Like, I lived there. I didn't go away for the offseason. I could go to the same neighborhood and go to my little like corner store and jones with my guys there and it's all love.” 

On the business side, the Kings decided to extend a qualifying offer to the center, giving the team the first right of refusal on any contract tendered from another organization. The Kings relented in late June, pulling the offer on the eve of free agency in a move Cauley-Stein believes hindered his options. 

"I feel like that kind of screwed things up for me a little bit," Cauley-Stein said. "Because people didn't know. So, then it was just a waiting game after that, all the deals was gone by that time."

A little over a week later, he signed a one-year contract with the Warriors, equipped with a player-option, giving him an opportunity to make true on his proclamation last season. However, his performance hasn't helped so far.

Despite flashes, Cauley-Stein is averaging just 7.7 points and 6.4 rebounds, the lowest output since his rookie year. Nonetheless -- with Steve Kerr coaching -- he says he wants to stay in the Bay Area long-term.  

"He wants to build a relationship with you," Cauley-Stein said of Kerr. "I think, in the past I hadn't had a relationship with my coach. [Former Kings coach Dave] Joerger, me and him had a pretty good rapport, pretty good, like cordial, but we never had like in-depth conversations about life and stuff like that, and the first couple of conversations I had with coach Kerr was real-life stuff and that hit home with me like, 'Damn, he really tried to get to know me.'"

[RELATED: How Warriors' players recruited Cauley-Stein]

Until the decision about his future is made, the center remains fond of his former home, even if it's not his current place of employment. 

"I'll always have a place for Sacramento in my heart," Cauley-Stein said. "Like I said, it's never, it was never bad blood. It was just like a business decision on their side. So, I had to make one on my side."

Warriors' Steve Kerr says trade rumors don't affect D'Angelo Russell

Warriors' Steve Kerr says trade rumors don't affect D'Angelo Russell

D'Angelo Russell is rapidly approaching a date some NBA observers have circled since the Warriors acquired him this summer.

Golden State can trade Russell as soon as Sunday, Dec. 15, and the 23-year-old has been the source of trade speculation during his time in the Bay Area. The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski reported Wednesday, citing sources that the Minnesota Timberwolves "remain interested in Russell" and that the guard "seems to be realistic in understanding that he may not be long for the Warriors once Steph Curry and Klay Thompson return to full health."

Russell is averaging a career-high 22.4 points per game this season to go with 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, serving as the top offensive option in the absence of his All-Star teammates. He knew he wouldn't play much with Thompson this season as he recovers from a torn ACL, but Curry's broken hand threw a wrench into the Warriors' -- and thus Russell's -- prospects this season. Warriors coach Steve Kerr praised how Russell has handled the rumors surrounding him. 

"Money doesn't buy peace of mind," Kerr said Friday morning (H/T San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau). "It doesn't buy a sense of belonging, a sense of, 'Alright, this is my team.' If there's speculation that you're going to be traded all the time, I don't care how much money you make, I don't care who you are. That's tough. That's no fun to deal with, and this season has been nowhere close to what D'Angelo thought it would be when he first signed with us.

"There's no Steph. We're struggling to win games. He's had his own injuries, and we're throwing all kinds of different lineups out there based on the other injuries we've faced." 

Russell has played in just 15 of the Warriors' 27 games this season, playing on a team that looks far more like the Los Angeles Lakers of his first two seasons than the playoff-contending Brooklyn Nets a year ago -- let alone the reigning Western Conference champion Warriors. 

[RELATED: How Warriors' Chriss earning chance to start at center]

Kerr, who entered this season with the highest winning percentage in NBA history (.785), is as aware of Golden State's dramatically different reality as anyone. He said it has only brought out the best in Russell. 

"So given all that, he's played really well, and he's been a great teammate and he's doing everything he needs to do to solidify his position here," Kerr continued. "But this is the NBA here, and we never know what's coming, what's happening. So, it's a difficult position to be in in general, but for him in particular it's strange set of circumstances and he's handling it really well." 

Whether or not the Warriors trade Russell, it's clear Kerr holds him in high regard.