A place for me to talk about San Francisco Bay Area sports.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Warriors Can Still Make the Post Season

I know, I look like a bandwagoneer, jumping on after two wins, but these two games make the point I made before, that once you get the whole team together, the team is actually pretty good.

That's one thing that has always bothered me about fans, whether on radio or on one of the boards, is that they beat up on the team when they are missing key personnel. Like a few years ago, fans were dumping on the Giants, but there were a lot of early key injuries and the fans were proclaiming themselves to be "foresighted" to have seen this to happen, and I said that things will change now that we got Schmidt back and it did, the Giants started winning a bunch of games.

The same here this season with the Warriors. KNBR's morning show was really ragging on the Warriors but, hey, you take a Jason Richardson or Baron Davis off anyone's team and you are pretty much screwed, you aren't going to win. And the Warriors had been dealing with that all season long. But now they are both playing and they are only 2.5 games behind the 8th place team (after briefly being that team a couple of weeks ago). With 19 games and 4 teams to climb over, the odds are long against them, but at least they have some chance. The key, obviously, is if the players can stay healthy, because even with limited time playing together, they have already won two games against teams who are competing for the playoffs (or in the playoffs probably).

Nelly's Rant

I was going to post but was too busy, but Nelly ranted last week about how the team's probably not going to make the playoffs (most media hung on his "not making playoffs" but forgot about that qualifier) and there were all sorts of theory on why he did that. I did not see anyone make my argument so here goes.

Nelly is very careful about what he says, he is no loose cannon. So this is not some frustration bubbling up. I think this was a calculated move.

First, this serves as a kick in the butt to the team. Does the team want it enough? The coach is publicly down, it is not like he spoke to the team about this, he broadcasted this to the media. He put them all very publicly on call: will they man up and push even harder to win?

Second, this acts as a sieve to see whether each player can have enough self respect to respectfully decline to agree with the coach and work even harder to prove him wrong or if they are so weak that they collapse in their work ethic. The latter players will be marked for removal by trade in the off-season. He wanted to see what each player is made up of, see how they react to this public challenge.

Third, he did say "probably" so if things change, then he'll say that he was hoping for that but the way things were going at the time, it wasn't likely. And there will be a few teams who remember the quote but not the winning afterward, so they might underestimate the Warriors in their subconscious because the opposing player might slack off, thinking "man, the team sucks bad if the coach says they can't make the playoffs with over 20 games to play and only a few games behind, so they are just being lucky here, we'll get them back."