The Golden State Warriors are like.......
an artist that you wish you can hate completely, but simply can't.
A few years back when I was young and more of a music snob (not sure that I can be called a music snob anymore since I love yacht rock, Bobby Shmurda, and a few Chris Brown songs), I listened to KCRW's Chocolate City with Garth Trinidad religiously. During one episode, Garth and his guest discussed DJing at a club, and dropping a Madonna remix that everyone at the club loved --- until they announced that it was a Madonna song. The announcement cleared the dance floor. His guest, whom I can't remember the name of, said, "It was as if they (the people) were afraid to like it." I am discerning, but I am not that big of a high cultured snob. If I like a song, I like it. And as Common once said, "If I don't like it, I don't like it, that don't mean that I'm hating."
I hate the idea of the Golden State Warriors winning an NBA Championship, perhaps almost as much as the aesthetically horrible Oklahoma City Thunder winning an NBA Championship. But I can't hate on the entire Warriors team or their brand of basketball.
Comparatively, I dislike the idea of Justin Timberlake. I find Timberlake smug, overly cocky, insincere, and incongruous. Timberlake plays the polite card well, but there is a sneering smugness right underneath that politeness, which in some ways in similar to the greatest tennis player of all time, Roger Federer. Both are polite and friendly to the media, but look beneath that veneer and there is a "I'm better than anybody else," and "damn, it is good to be Justin Timberlake/Roger Federer" attitude bubbling under the surface. Timberlake can play both sides. He can say he is a nerd and not cool, because he is not treated like a nerd and is actually, in the eyes of the public, cool. He can play all the uncool characters and sketches because the public still find him to be a sex symbol. As much as I can't stand Timberlake, the person and persona, there is always at least one song on each of his album that I liked, along with his Robin Gibb impersonation. I liked "Rock Your Body" and the pre-RAM Daft Punk ripoff, "SexyBack." I listened to "Damn Girl," from the FutureSex/Love Sounds album at least 20 times in a row in 2007. And once I found a version without the unnecessary Jay Z rap, "Suit & Tie," was a mainstay on my phone's playlist. All of that stated, I would never pay to buy a piece of music, a concert ticket, or a movie that involved Justin Timberlake.
Sometimes, our hate for artists, teams and athletes are from the heart and the gut. Sometimes, the hate is because they upset what we think the art or activity should be aesthetically. Other times, maybe it is because, there is a small part of us that wish we could be that artist or athlete. This latter rationale is partially why I don't give Mayer Hawthorne the credit or love that hipsters or people who never heard of Alexander O'Neal do. I have a similar musical taste to Hawthorne ranging from underground classic soul such as Leroy Hutson, west coast light rock, and 1990s hip-hop. Even though I can't carry a tune (Hawthorne isn't great either. His vocals are multi-tracked to make them sound fuller and richer.), sometimes I think that I should be the one dating models, sleeping with groupies and have a record deal and a following. While Hawthorne is not as talented as Van Hunt or as intellectual as Georg Levin, and definitely not as authentic or soulful as Allen Stone; he has figured out how to write good songs if not whole albums. I tried hard to be dismissive of his music, but there are times when I simply can't. His latest album, Where Does This Door Go, contains two great retro sounding songs, the Steely Dan sound alike, "Reach Out Richard," and my favorite post millennium light rock/yacht rock song of all time, "Back Seat Lover." This latter song is the perfect West Coast, getting over a divorce, firing, or lost of a limb, driving song.
As much as I dislike this current edition of the Warriors, I cannot hate the entire team. While I will not say that Stephen Curry is the best point guard in the NBA, his offensive skills and semi-low key personality make it very difficult for me to dislike him. Curry is not humble and he grew up well socioeconomically, but he is far from the privileged smugness that is Klay Thompson and David Lee. Hell, I don't even like listening to Klay's dad on Lakers' radio broadcasts. The Warriors have two Illinois players, who are not from Chicago. I always root for non-Chicago players from the Land of Lincoln, even Meyers Leonard. The Warriors with Illinois roots are two of the most unique players in the NBA. It is impossible to root against Shaun Livingston, unless you are either: heartless, soulless, or a Lakers' fan (which may encompass the former traits). I want Shaun to win a ring after all that he has gone through, just not with the Warriors. With my affinity for point forwards and guys who play like Scottie Pippen, Andre Iguodala has always been one of my favorite players.
Additionally, maybe I would love to have some of the elements of the Warriors' team on my favorite team. Andrew Bogut takes gamesmanship too far, but he seems like a sensible dude off the court and he clashed with Mark Jackson and saw through preacher's bullshit, which proves that Bogut is a very intelligent human being. I love DeAndre Jordan's personality and parts of his game, but I would love to have a center on my team with a few post moves and playmaking skills. It would also be nice to have the luxury of bringing a defensive stopper/playmaker off the bench to guard the other team's best wing player and act as a secondary ballhandler, even if that player is shooting near Josh Smith territory in free throw percentage. The Warriors also have players like Harrison Barnes, Livingston, Iguodala, Thompson, and even Draymond Green who can guard multiple positions and effectively allow them to switch everything on defense and not have extreme mismatches.
I have no idea how the Warriors built this team that seem too perfect on paper. Steve Kerr also took a lot the bullshit and posturing that came with Mark Jackson out of the team and made the team more likeable, but I still dislike the Warriors. I appreciate their game on both ends and like some of their players, but give me my flawed favorite teams anytime. It is just more fun, easier to root for and relate to when teams battle through their visible flaws and issues. It would be nice to be Justin Timberlake for six months and Mayer Hawthorne has good songs, but I'm back to listening to Van Hunt and Allen Stone, and rooting for a Clippers-Wizards final.
Warriors' Watchability Essay
Minus the tongue wagging and their antics, the latter of which have decreased since Mark Jackson left, the Warriors are a joy to watch. The team is filled with great passers. The ball moves. They get great shots. Stephen Curry is a one man offense. There has never been a point guard quite like him. There's been other scoring point guards. There's a shooting guard masquerading as a point guard in OKC. There's been great playmakers that can score, and great shooting point guards, but no one with the range, consistency, and vision that Curry has. If you like shooting and ball movement, watch Curry run the offense for others and himself.
If you like subtlety, watch the two-way point forward genius of Andre Iguodala. His shooting has slipped, but he rarely makes the wrong play or the wrong decision and he brings it on both ends of the floor. Watch how Shaun Livingston succeed in the NBA without the ability to shoot. It helps that he is 6'7 with a darn near 7 foot wingspan, but it still amazes me that he cannot shoot from beyond 10 feet. And of course, I will tune in waiting for that Leandro Barbosa throw back game. Those mid-millennium years went by to quickly, and I need the Brazilian Blur to escape DNP-CDs and take me back to 2006.
Paul Tee's Prognosis
There are eight teams in the Western Conference that can win the title, depending on match ups and injuries. Hence, I am not going to anoint the Warriors as the favorite to come out of the Western Conference. Instead, let's spin this around another way. (Doing a quick backspin on the turntable.) The following are the reasons why the Warriors could lose in the first or second round of the Playoffs: 1.) Andrew Bogut's injury woes, 2.) No consistent offensive production from the SF position, 3.) Draymond Green's shooting comes back down to earth, 4.) A team with defenders who can harass Curry into inefficient offensive games and turnovers, and 5.) A better offensive team who can outscore them and play just enough defense.
Bogut is the centerpiece of their defense and the most important player for this team. As we saw last year, without him, the Warriors were first round fodder and had to be aided by Donald Sterling to reach Game 7. Harrison Barnes can be a bit Jekyll and Hyde, and Andre Iguodala is having a career worse offensive season. Smart teams will play off Iguodala unless his production improves. Green's three point percentage has come back to a realistic 33.9 percent. He will have his 5 for 8 games, and also his 0 for 5 and 2 for 9 games. Green is a very good player, but not the shooter some people think he is. Memphis, San Antonio, and OKC have two or more decent defenders that they can throw at Curry to harass him and make him look mortal. When Curry is inefficient, the Warriors can and will be beaten. The Rockets can shoot more threes and free throws than the Warriors. The Spurs, when healthy, are a better version of the Warriors. The Blazers and the Clippers can outscore them and get enough stops, even if Curry has 40 points and 11 assists. Be cautious with those Championships aspirations Dubs fans, the Warriors are a great team, but the Western Conference has seven other great teams.