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Thursday, July 18, 2013

SDH Presents the 2013 End of Season NBA's Worst to First: 5. Golden State Warriors

Overall Win/Loss Record (At Season’s End):  47-35, second place Pacific Division

At Season’s End:

Team Statistics and League Rank (At Season’s End)

  • Points Scored: 101.2 (7th)
  • Points Allowed: 100.3 (19th)
  • Team FG%: .458 (11th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .439 (4th)
  • Team FT%: .790 (4th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .403 (1st)
  • Rebounds per game: 45.0 (3rd)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 42.7 (20th)
  • Turnovers per game: 14.8 (28th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 12.9 (26th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (At Season’s End)

  • Scoring (ppg): Stephen Curry (22.9)
  • Rebounds per game:  David Lee (11.2)
  • Minutes per game:  Stephen Curry (38.2)
  • Assists per game:  Stephen Curry (6.9)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Carl Landry (.540)
  • Free Throw Percentage:   Stephen Curry (.900)
  • Three Point FG Percentage:  Stephen Curry (.453)
  • Steals per game:  Stephen Curry (1.6)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Andrew Bogut (1.7)

Taking a Look Back at the Season that Once Was . . .
SDH Worst to First Recap
Time Period
Change (+/-)
At Season’s End
SDH Player of the Year: 

How Mark Jackson did not get chosen for the Coach of the Year award defies belief, reason, and plain good taste.  Here is a man that took a moribund team considered as a laughing stock in the NBA and brought to respectability in just one season.  Mark Jackson not only chance the view of the Golden State Warriors, but also the team's culture bringing in a philosophy or defense and determination.  It was because of him that the Warrior manage to earn its first playoff appearance in six years and a first round upset against a team coached by the man who got selected as coach of the year ahead of him: the Denver Nuggets' George Karl. Hopefully Jackson and his team will continue their progress and this season will not be considered as just a fluke.

Of all the feel good stories of the 2013 NBA season, the biggest and best most definitely has to be the shocking and celebrated rise of the Golden State Warriors--a team that was once a virtual laughing stock a year ago becoming one of the top teams in the league.  Not only did they post their best record in more than a decade and make the playoffs for the first time since 2006, but they made one of the most stunning upsets in the NBA playoffs by eliminating the third seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round.  As it were not enough for them to reach the second round, the Warriors also lived up to their name as they gave the San Antonio Spurs a fight to remember using every ounce of strength and courage to battle the Spurs through five games before eventually falling in game six.  The Warriors played them so hard in that second round series that even the San Antonio Spurs tipped their hats off to them giving them far more respect or recognition than possibly anyone has ever had given to Golden State.  The most poignant moment of that series was at the end of game six where Warriors fans gave their team a standing ovation for giving them the most memorable season that they will never forget followed by the heartfelt thanks by Stephen Curry to the crowd for supporting them for so long.

To really understand the gravity of his season One has to look back the historic plight of the Golden State Warriors to see what this team and its fans had to endure simply to get where they are today.  Here is a team that since its inception in 1947 has just 24 winning seasons in its 66 years of existence, and these winning seasons came sporadically to say the least as they would come one good for every five or six bad one.  The only time that the Warriors fans ever had a team to proudly cheer for was during the 1970s when they had six straight winning seasons from 1971 to 1977 in which included them winning the first and only NBA title in 1975; that dramatically ended in 1978 and since then, fans in the Bay Area have had little if nothing to cheer for.  Sure they had some bright spots, but they were very few and far between--from 1987 to 1994, for example they were moderately respectable as they reached the playoffs five of those seven years; however, the team during that time was marginal at best going as far as the second round and no further.  After that, it was simply one bad season after the other as the Warriors missed the playoff for a whopping ten year until they made it by some fluke in 2006 and surprised the top seeded Dallas Mavericks who at the time finished with the league's best record at the time; sadly however, that would be a one year affair followed by six straight years writhing in futility.

And it was not just the losing that made the Warriors such a historically sad pathetic excuse of a professional sports team second only to the Los Angeles Clippers, but it was also a poorly run team that suffered through bad management and one poor personnel choice after another.  Who can forget the time where the Warriors had the chance to have two future NBA Hall of Famers in Robert Parish and Kevin McHale, but instead traded both of them away to the Boston Celtics for a chance to get the number one pick at the time which was Joe Barry Carroll?  Although Carrol performed exceptionally well by modern day standards, the Warriors still continued to lose while both Parish and McHale would join Larry Bird to become one of the greatest frontcourt tandems in NBA history and lead the Celtics to five NBA Finals winning three of them during the 1980s.  That would be one the numerous boneheaded moves committed by this Warriors franchise and it would take possibly another ten or twenty more blog posts to mention every last one of the team's miss steps.  Add along the sheer bad luck that simply followed the Warriors each and every season whether it be due to the team being decimated by injuries or personnel in-fighting that would cripple the team and one can see how a fan base can be so sickeningly apathetic to this point. 

In fact, the apathy came to a point where fans simply shrugged off the  impressive  9-6 start of the 2013 regular season as they simply waited for something bad to happen yet to bring it all crashing down; however, to the shock and dismay of everybody, that did not happen.  Instead of following the same script to failure, the Warriors actually did the unthinkable and continued to win as they finish 2012 in shockingly splendid fashion with a 21-10 record holding down second place in the Pacific Division ahead of their perennial oppressors, the Los Angeles Lakers.  It was a true case of the meek inheriting the Earth as not only the Warriors, but also their fellow cellar dwelling LA Clippers had both risen up to take the division that was once dominated with an iron clad fist by the Lakers and Phoenix Suns.  Even when the Warriors starting slipping in January and February losing 15 of twenty seven games and fell from 10 game over .500 to just six, the positive vibes from Warriors' fans kept Golden State pushing as they showed the grit and toughness that had never been seen in ages.  It was that toughness that not only propelled them to the playoffs, but also pushed them to give the heroic effort by first taking down the Denver Nuggets in the first round followed by giving the post season veteran San Antonio Spurs a run for their money as well.    

Now the question that will come to mind as the 2013 season comes to a close is what will be next for the Warriors come 2014?  One would hope that this season would be the start of a new era in Golden State basketball as the taste of victory will lead to even more success; however, knowing the sad history of the franchise, it is hard to keep optimistic as the Warriors have been known to sink right back to the bottom after receiving a small taste of victory.  Hopefully the tandem of head coach Mark Jackson and Warriors special consultant Jerry West, better known as the architect of the Laker dynasties of the 1980s and early 21st century, will keep this team on track instilling a winning culture in an effort to fight against history.  With a talented roster that has a perfect blend of youth and experience, it is the hope many Warriors fans that this season will not be just a one shot affair--after all, have they not suffered enough.  After suffering through nearly 30 years of futility and failure, one would think that this generation of Warriors fans are finally due to have at least a monetary period of bliss to at least reward them for staying true to a team that has let them down time and time again.