Chase Center faces uphill battle to match loud Warriors fans of Oracle


Chase Center faces uphill battle to match loud Warriors fans of Oracle

SAN FRANCISCO – Chase Center will not have concessions.

It will have “eateries,” 37 in all.

The Warriors locker room, weight room and practice courts are referred to, in the collective, as the “Players Campus.”

Chase Center may be a 15-mile drive from Oracle Arena, the team’s former home, but exists on an entirely different planet.

The Warriors opened the doors Monday morning for a guided tour that revealed the poshest basketball arena on earth. Less than three years after CEO Joe Lacob and his primary partner, Peter Guber, said their privately financed -- to the tune of $1.4 billion -- project would result in a spectacular, state-of-the-art facility, it is evident they meant every word.

“What do you think? Pretty nice, huh,” chief revenue officer Brandon Schneider said while standing in the J.P. Morgan Club, perhaps the most upscale of the various lounges within the 18,000-seat arena.

“Nice” is an understatement, as Schneider surely knows. Chase Center is a monument to its own magnificence, from boasting the largest scoreboard (9,699 square feet) in the NBA, to its suitably broad concourses, its 23 bars, its 552 taps, its 1,111 TVs, its 74-by-42-foot screen on the outdoor plaza, its 3.2 acres of plaza space and the 5.5-acre public park on the waterfront across the street.

From the spectacular groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 17, 2017 until Monday morning -- 11 days before the first event on Sept. 5 -- the cost has been near equal amounts of dollars and perspiration.

"It's been an amazing journey, it hasn't always been easy, nothing is," team president and COO Rick Welts said. "A project this size in San Francisco is daunting, to say the least.

“But we are on the verge of cutting the ribbon."

Chase Center is neither garish nor excessive. If there is anything to knock, it is the segregation of seating based on finances. Though that applies to every arena ever built, it’s particularly overt at Chase.

There is a maze of private rooms, private suites and private areas with levels of comfort and relative seclusion commensurate with cost. Those who wish to avoid rubbing shoulders with hoi polloi will be delighted to plunk down $2 million per year for one of the 32 suites that satisfy that desire. Those suites include courtside seats, wine from a personal cellar beneath the lower bowl and, of course, a butler to fetch any requests.

Only two remain available for the 2019-20 season.

Which makes it reasonable to wonder if these folks will deign to even try to match the lung power from the throats that made Oracle roar.

That’s the biggest question of all. Can those strolling into Chase Center, with its Symphony Hall luxury and all its internal pampering, be properly engaged by quality hoops to muster the disposition that made Oracle such an imposing building to visiting NBA teams?

Welts has consistently indicated that the venue is built to enhance acoustics. He meant every word. The seating is dense, the ceiling is low and there is plenty of concrete to amplify sound. From a construction point of view, the Warriors have done their part.

From a competitive point of view, the Warriors will do their part. With good health, they’ll be a playoff team to be feared.

But the cost of business -- this building is, after all, its own mint -- has priced out most of the blue-collar fans that revel in loudly cheering the Warriors and blasting aural hate upon opponents. As of Monday afternoon, the cheapest ticket available for the Oct. 30 game against the Suns is $79, not including binoculars.

[RELATED: Take a first look at the inside of Warriors' Chase Center]

It’s inevitable that at least some of the unbridled passion that defined Oracle at its best will give way to world-weary apathy from those bringing boardroom energy to Chase.

It’ll be up to those folks in the upper regions, nearly close enough to touch the ceiling, to carry on the tradition. The Modelo Cantina and Bar sits on the north end of the concourse skybar, and it has potential. There’s room for 140 season-ticket holders, but the place can be accessed by anyone with a ticket. There is bar-area standing room for many, many more.

Hoping the ambiance of old Oracle can be replicated by folks at sparkling new Chase is an admirable endeavor. If the Warriors can pull it off with this crowd, it will be an impressive feat indeed.

Why James Wiseman is, is not a perfect fit for Warriors in NBA Draft

Why James Wiseman is, is not a perfect fit for Warriors in NBA Draft

It's been a long time since the Warriors have had to worry about pick at the top of the NBA Draft.

But, barring a miraculous turnaround, that's exactly what Bob Myers and his staff find themselves thinking about midway through January.

The Warriors enter the weekend with the worst record in the NBA and appear set to land one of the top overall picks in the draft on June 25.

Assuming the Warriors land one of the top three picks in the draft, there are three names that have been tied to Golden State: Center James Wiseman and wings Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball.

NBC Sports college basketball writer Rob Dauster explained to NBC Sports Bay Area this week why he believes Wiseman should be the pick for the Warriors.

"I think in an ideal world, if you can get a top-three pick, and you end up getting James Wiseman, that's the perfect fit for this Golden State team," Dauster said. "You look at the players they've run through at the [center position], whether it's Kevon Looney, whether it's Damian Jones, anybody that they've brought in, they are looking for that guy that can be that athletic center, that can be switchable defensively, that's gonna be able to block some shots, that can rebound the ball, that can run in transition and James Wiseman is the guy that makes the most sense to me.

"He's 7-foot, he's got a 7-foot-6 wingspan, he's got all the tools to be a really good defender at the NBA level and I think he has a developing offensive skill set that should allow him to space the floor a little bit.

Dauster did add a bit of caution with Wiseman. The 18-year-old began his college career at Memphis, but was ruled ineligible on Nov. 14. In the summer of 2017, Memphis coach Penny Hardaway paid $11.500 to help Wiseman's family move from Nashville, Tenn. to Memphis.

A little over a month later, Wiseman decided to leave Memphis and declared for the NBA Draft. He ended up playing in just three games for the Tigers.

"Now, the thing about Wiseman is that there are always questions about his competitiveness and whether or not he loves basketball," Dauster said. "Of all the red flags you see come along with big guys that kind of loff their way through high school and loff their way through college a little bit, and it hasn't been helped by the fact that he basically quit on his Memphis team earlier this month. There are red flags involved with him, but if you have a guy with competitiveness issues, I think the absolutely perfect fit for him would be to put him in a locker room with guys like Draymond Green and Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. You're not going to be able to loff when you have those guys to answer to after every single practice and after every game.

The other issue Dauster brought up is the Warriors' window to compete for an NBA championship. Assuming Curry and Thompson are healthy to begin the 2020-21 season, most experts feel the Warriors will return to the top of the Western Conference standings. But Wiseman might not be ready to compete at that level, according to Dauster.

"Now, the problem there is, Wiseman to me, is probably two or three years from really becoming the guy that you want him to be when you're drafting him and I don't know if you have a two or three year window with this crop of players," Dauster said. "How long is Steph Curry going to be at his peak? How long is Klay Thompson going to be at his peak? Have those guys already crossed that threshold and now on the downside of their careers? So the big question to me is, if you want to use this pick on James Wiseman, are you doing it knowing that you have a year or two before he becomes the guy that can impact the game the way you want him to impact a game?"

[RELATED: Players Warriors could take at No. 2]

The Warriors will have a big decision on their hands come June. Of course, they could package the draft pick with D'Angelo Russell and bring in an All-Star caliber NBA player.

The options for the Warriors are unlimited. Wiseman will surely garner consideration from the Warriors. But they must do their homework and make sure he's the right fit.

Quakes' Tommy Thompson challenges Steph Curry after making tunnel shot

Quakes' Tommy Thompson challenges Steph Curry after making tunnel shot

During the Warriors' final years at Oracle Arena, Steph Curry capped off his pregame routine with a tunnel shot.

It became a must-see event for anyone attending a Warriors game.

But due to the different layout of Chase Center in San Francisco, Curry had to adjust his tunnel shot. Now the shot has a higher degree of difficulty. He almost made the shot before the regular-season opener against the Clippers.

Curry hasn't been able to try the trick shot for a few months because of his broken left hand, but when he returns, he has some work to do.

This week, San Jose Earthquakes defender Tommy Thompson joined the Harlem Globetrotters for an event at Chase Center and made Curry's trick shot ... with a twist.

After kicking in the tunnel shot, Thompson challenged Curry.

"Can you make that, though?" Thompson said.

Curry has yet to respond to Thompson on Twitter or Instagram, but we're sure he'll have a response once he returns to game action.

[RELATED: Neymar starstruck by Steph]

Curry is a wizard when it comes to trick shots, but even this might be tough for him to replicate.

Good luck, Steph.