Here’s how good the Warriors are: opposing fans decide not to watch their games because they don’t want to see their team get demolished.
It’s demoralizing. Sure, the Warriors draw a ton of neutral eyes when they play on television, but mostly it’s to see if they can be beaten. The answer is usually a resounding no.
Tonight, the Rockets take on the superteam that’s pretty much guaranteed to win a ring this summer. With the addition of Durant, this team has moved from super-mega-amazing-great to “yeah it’s not worth the effort.”
I know Xiane has talked a bit about it in the comments section, and I will expand on it a bit further here, but as a fan or a front office, you have to be cognizant of the fact that this team exists. If you’re a contender making a big move at the deadline, it has to be with the thought process of “Does this move put us on Golden State’s level?” The answer is usually no. I’m aware that any team with a chance should take their shot, but barring injury this train is unstoppable.
So if you’re Daryl Morey, why trade away anything of note next month? Better to let this season ride and use the good press you’ve generated to bring over a free agent this summer. Plus, the entire league will look to see what happens to Golden State this summer. If Durant and Curry ask for the $200+ million contracts they can get, this team won’t have the money for much else besides the core four. That’s always going to make you a contender, but what about Andre Iguodala? What about Shaun Livingston? Those guys are free agents and might be getting their last big contracts this summer. Do they stay for less money when they already have two rings? If last summer was any indication, someone is going to offer Iggy 3 years and $60 million, easily.
As a fan of parity (and the Rockets), my hope is that the Warriors aren’t sustainable. But maybe they’ll find some loophole to keep everyone and get Boogie. Nothing would surprise me.
For tonight, the Warriors are playing outside of the state of California for the first time since Christmas. Yes, you read that correctly. After losing to Cleveland on Christmas, the Warriors went home for a 5-game homestand, traveled 80 miles to Sacramento for a game, then returned for another 4-game homestand. So that’s kinda bonkers.
Look, this is a Warriors team with four All-Stars. There’s a reason they are still favored to win the NBA championship. They exorcised their Cavs demons by demolishing them on MLK, and are now primed to go on one of those long winning streaks that never seem to end. They get the CP3-less Clippers three times in the next five weeks. Yet, it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
The Rockets are really good and a lot of fun, but these Warriors are damn near perfect. It will take another effort like the one Houston put forth on December 1 to beat them, and you know the Warriors haven’t forgotten that matchup. Look for the Dubs to be physical with Harden since flagrants to opposing stars seems in vogue for them, and if the rest of the Rockets don’t step up it will be a long night on national television.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT on ESPN.
For an opponent’s perspective, visit Golden State of Mind.