Warriors

Kings' rise to playoff contention should resonate with true Warriors fans

Kings' rise to playoff contention should resonate with true Warriors fans

OAKLAND -- Much of the Now Generation barely knows how the Warriors lived before being plucked from the trash bin by an ambitious ownership group actually sincere in its vow to pursue greatness.

Before becoming the super team that “broke” the NBA a few years ago, the Warriors spent the better part of 20 years wearing the league’s brightest clown suit. They were submerged in such a toxic stew of instability, ineptitude and avarice that 42 wins was all it took for their fans to express full-throated “We Believe” euphoria.

Belief meant snapping a 13-year playoff drought.

The Warriors were, at that time, about where the Sacramento Kings were at the start of this season. By coincidence, the Kings are trying to put an end to a 13-year playoff drought.

Even for the Warriors fan that would like to crush the Kings into a fine purple powder, it is refreshing to see the Kings making themselves significant. They come into Oracle Arena on Thursday night with a 30-27 record -- already more wins than they’ve achieved in eight of the last 10 seasons. They’re a part of a postseason race for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

“Great story, great for Northern California, great for Sacramento,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr says.

There’s a buzz in Sacramento that should be somewhat familiar to the Warriors fan of a dozen years ago -- or to those that remember the 61-win Kings of Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divic, Mike Bibby, Doug Christie and Bobby Jackson.

The dazzling point guard, De’Aaron Fox is 21. The sharpshooter, Buddy Hield, is 26. Marvin Bagley III is 19, Harry Giles 20. Coach Dave Joerger is in the Coach of the Year discussion.

There are reasons why the Warriors have had difficulty shaking these dudes. After splitting four games with Sacramento last season, the champs this season are 3-0 -- but with a win margin of 3.3 points.

“I love watching them play,” Kerr says. “Dave has done a fantastic job with the team. They’re exciting, they’re young and fun and full of energy. They’re tough to beat.”

Such talented youth is why the Kings have a future that can’t compare to the current Warriors, but is considerably much brighter than the “We Believe” bunch.

When Kerr was asked about a potential Warriors-Kings playoff series, he politely, and wisely, steered clear. His prerogative.

Here, though, we think a Warriors-Kings series in the first round would be great fun to watch. It wouldn’t be terribly competitive, but the Warriors could benefit from facing a team that out to change its status within the NBA.

Indeed, the Kings and the Lakers are the two most captivating first-round opponents for the Warriors. Any time LeBron James steps on the court to face the Warriors, it’s an event. And the idea of a team on the rise and only 80 miles away -- and the former home of DeMarcus Cousins -- ensures electricity.

To be sure, the appeal of either far outshines that of, say, the Spurs or the Timberwolves.

As someone eager for playoff hoops the Warriors were not able to provide, I often drove up to Sacramento in April and May. I saw and heard a man run out of Arco Arena sobbing and screaming after the Shaq-Kobe Lakers came back for an overtime win in Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. It was the third consecutive postseason that the Kings were ousted by the Lakers.

When the Kings were contenders, their fans were annoyingly loud and profoundly engaged. The equivalent of Warriors fans at their most vociferous.

[RELATED: Five issues Warriors must confront to clear path to another championship]

“That place has always had great fans,” Kerr said. “I remember back in the day, going into Arco. So I’m happy for their fans because it’s been a while since they’ve been able to really connect with their team. And this team is easy to connect with.”

It seems somehow appropriate that on Thursday the Warriors will honor the “We Believe” team, with coach Don Nelson will be joined by Stephen Jackson, Jason Richardson and Kelenna Azubuike at Oracle Arena.

If any fan can identify with the despair of those following the “Kangz,” it is the Warriors fan that remembers Keith Jennings and Bill Curley, endured Jason Caffey and Tony Farmer, and once saw Larry Hughes is the savior.

Warriors GM Bob Myers discusses high school Hall of Fame induction

Warriors GM Bob Myers discusses high school Hall of Fame induction

Believe it or not, Warriors general manager Bob Myers was once the worst player on his basketball team. That was at UCLA, but in his defense, he was one of the stand-outs in high school.

He was a star for the Monte Vista Mustangs and was recently part of the first Athletic Hall of Fame class.

Before the dinner honoring the group of inductees, he told his kids that he was being honored for being a good player, and they poked fun at him as they were confused about him being referred to as a talented athlete.

"But I'm in man, I got in -- they can't take it away," Myers told NBC Sports Bay Area's Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike during Friday's Warriors-Lakers telecast. 

His former school honored him with a plaque that he's sporting on his dashboard. He also got a license plate frame.

[RELATED: Kerr embraces Liverpool FC fandom]

Fitzgerald said he will be calling Myers "Hall of Famer" for the rest of the year.

Suppose that means it was worth it.

Warriors GM Bob Myers breaks down what Marquese Chriss brings to team

Warriors GM Bob Myers breaks down what Marquese Chriss brings to team

Marquese Chriss hasn't wasted any time adjusting to the Warriors after being acquired in October.

"He's done a nice job, he's played in the five -- I don't think he's played a ton of five, screen-setting, just the littlest things," general manager Bob Myers told NBC Sports Bay Area's Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike during Friday's Warriors-Lakers telecast. "Changing his angle on the screens, he's learned to play off these guys."

"Sometimes you need a bit of a wakeup call to just start doing the little things."

The little things the big man has been working on stretch beyond his playing ability. Young Chriss, at just 22 years old, has already been on four teams in three years if you include the Dubs.

When he was brought in, he was viewed as someone to not only make an impact now but down the line.

The team hadn't had a high draft pick in several years and to get someone of his age and caliber is the perfect addition to the roster as Kerr explained after acquiring Chriss

[RELATED: D-Lo's potential displayed in Warriors preseason finale

Chriss looks forward to making a comeback after being plagued with a history of injuries. And the Warriors appear to be happy with the gamble they took. But time will tell.