Ruined the game? No, the Warriors are the best thing about the NBA

Ruined the game? No, the Warriors are the best thing about the NBA

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Coverage of the Warriors 2018 Championship Parade begins Tuesday at 9:30am on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on NBCSportsBayArea.com.

OAKLAND -- Perhaps it’s because they’ve come so far, so fast, and are flying higher than they ever could have dreamed.

Or maybe it’s the natural by-product of a news cycle that must be fed 2,880 times per minutes, resulting in a constant stream of repackaging and regurgitation in the misguided belief that if a flawed notion is repeated enough times it must be worthy of debate.

No. Please, stop. Enough with the narrative folks have been slinging at the Warriors for roughly 101 weeks, suggesting they are “bad" for the NBA or “ruining" the NBA or otherwise a stain on the spirit of “honest” competition.

The Warriors are rapidly becoming the model for any sports franchise. Three reasons:

1) Their first, second and third objectives are to pursue excellence.

The Warriors do that by making their organization as attractive as reasonably possible. Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought into a franchise players loved to leave and have turned it into a place they line up in hopes of getting in.

In a desperate lunge for credibility, the Warriors in 2004 overpaid veteran guard Derek Fisher ($37 million, six years) largely because he had earned three championship rings with the Lakers.

Nine years later, 31 months into the Lacob-Guber ownership, veteran forward Andre Iguodala, who knows the location of his every nickel, was signing on for millions less than he could have had elsewhere.

They wanted Kevin Durant, so they sent general manager Bob Myers, coach Steve Kerr and their four most accomplished players to The Hamptons to recruit the free agent. The pipe dream became real.

2) They don’t let money dictate significant decisions.

When Lacob and Guber and their partners paid $450 million -- then a record fee for NBA franchise -- to buy the team from Chris Cohan in 2010, the popular opinion was that they spent more than they needed to. Lacob and Guber shrugged: “Give us a few years and let’s see what those people are saying.”

According to Forbes’ annual report on team valuations, the Warriors in 2009-10 were worth $315 million, ranking 18th in value among all NBA teams.

The Forbes report released last February has them ranking third, at $3.1 billion.

The Warriors last week spent $400,000 on high quality champagne, knowing most of it would be sprayed all over the visiting team locker room at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. They’re spending $2 million on their third championship parade Tuesday in Oakland.

Asked Monday about upcoming contract negotiations with Kevin Durant, the first three words from Myers were “Whatever he wants.” That’s exactly the same position the front office took last year with Stephen Curry.

3) They listen. They give voice to players and most anyone else on the payroll.

That message came through almost immediately when Lacob lured Jerry West to the Bay Area in 2011. The Hall of Famer is quick and bold with opinions, and they can be lacerating. The Warriors didn’t care because they wanted access to his brain.

They listened when he said they must draft Klay Thompson, and listened again when West said they’d be foolish to deal Thompson in a deal for Kevin Love.

The players want music at practice? Done. Want family and friends on the road? Cool. Want access to Silicon Valley titans? No problem. Don’t want to visit the Trump White House? Fine. They want to coach? What? Oh, yeah, Kerr gave select veterans the opportunity against the Suns in February.

Upon joining the Warriors in July 2016, Durant said he felt as he walked through the door that the Warriors were “a family.” He sprinkled in the word “family” on no fewer than a half dozen occasions last week.

“The way things are done here, it’s not normal. It’s special,” says David West, a 15-year veteran who has played for four different NBA franchises.

The worst thing an NBA franchise can do to itself is to accept mediocrity, pinch pennies and neglect the talent. The Warriors spent too many years mired in that trifecta of failure.

Now that they have pulled themselves out, they should be commended rather than considered some sort of evil Goliath.

In a league where word-of-mouth is gospel, they’re a desirable destination. They’re achieving the lofty goals they set for themselves.

One of the best things to happen to the NBA was the rise of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the early 1990s. They won six championships in eight seasons.

One of the best things to happen to the NBA today is these Warriors, bringing in fans and daring competitors to come and get them.

Report: Steph Curry's mouthpiece to hit auction, could be worth $25,000


Report: Steph Curry's mouthpiece to hit auction, could be worth $25,000

One of Steph Curry's mouthpiece's is reportedly going to hit the auction block.

And no, it's not the one he threw during Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

The mouthpiece that Curry wore during Game 4 of the 2018 Finals will be up for sale, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell.

Curry scored 37 points that night, and also registered six rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks.

An excerpt from Rovell's story:

"This is a great, unique piece of memorabilia," said David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions. "It's something that people so identify with Steph, it's something that he closely guards and it's from a significant game."

Kohler said the mouthguard, which has the Under Armour logo and Curry's interlocking SC logo, could be worth at least $25,000.

"It would be perfect for a Warriors fan who is a dentist," Kohler said.

How much would you be willing to pay for the mouthpiece?

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Draymond Green tries his hand at scouting during latest Warriors Draft workout


Draymond Green tries his hand at scouting during latest Warriors Draft workout

OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Tuesday brought in six more draft hopefuls, who went through drills under the watchful eyes of the five most significant layers of the team.

CEO Joe Lacob was there, as was general manager Bob Myers, assistant GM/chief scout Larry Harris, assistant coach Ron Adams and...forward Draymond Green.

This is a glimpse into the inner workings of the Warriors, a hoops democracy in which every voice is given a chance to be heard.

It’s conceivable, though, that no one’s words carried more weight than those of Green, who continues to prove his value to the franchise goes beyond defending, rebounding, playmaking and scoring.

“Who am I to say I know more than Draymond Green about basketball?” Myers asked. “It probably is the other way around. If you want somebody whose opinion holds some weight ... he watches college. He comes to the workouts. So maybe he should make the pick.”

Myers wasn’t entirely serious about that, but he’s also not dismissing the possibility.

“When he speaks,” Myers said, “we give him the gravity that his comments deserve.”

Few if any players in the NBA can dissect and analyze the game as effectively as Green, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and a noted video student. It’s also conceivable that no one knows better than Green what the Warriors need to become a better team next season.

“Draymond’s been here the last three days,” Harris said. “He was in a meeting with us in our draft room for a couple hours yesterday. He would tell you he was bored. But that’s OK. We’re glad he’s here and he really does care and wants to know.”

None of the players at the team facility Tuesday is a lock to be drafted. Guard Svi Mykhailluk (Kansas), and forwards Gary Clark (Cincinnati) and Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame) project as possible second-round picks.

The Warriors own the 28th overall pick but are considering buying a second-rounder for the third consecutive season. They took Pat McCaw (No. 38 overall) in 2016 and Jordan Bell (38th) last season. Green was chosen in the second round (35th) in 2012 and has become a core member of a three-time championship team.

“To have a guy like him, who is a three-time champion, care about who we’re taking at 28 shows great leadership,” Myers said. “I’m sure the players look over there and say, ‘That’s Draymond Green.’ He was a 35th pick. It’s motivation for those guys.”