What do the Philadelphia 76ers have in common with the Golden State Warriors?
Both of them have over $13 million in dead center stinking up their benches. Both of them have GMs who were suckered like amateurs into giving away valuable trade assets for corpses.
Fortunately for the Sixers, they have the option to call in the undertaker this offseason. Bynum’s contract is up. The Warriors’ amateur GM, Joe Lacob, by contrast, committed to TWO YEARS of displaying Bogut’s corpse in state.
And not just Bogut’s corpse, of course, but also Richard Jefferson’s. That’s $23 million of corpse stinking up the Warriors bench. For TWO YEARS. (I mean no disrespect to Jefferson. I believe he can still play. But Joe Lacob quite clearly doesn’t want him to. Lacob has $300 new-fangled jerseys to sell, and tickets to sell on Authentic Fan Fridays, and a spanking new, good-looking lottery pick to sell them for him.)
And we shouldn’t forget the $9 million corpse of Andris Biedrins, whom Joe Lacob refused to amnesty, despite knowing that he contracted a chronic case of osteitis pubis back in 2009. Biedrins, by the way, sat out this game dealing with an “abdominal injury,” according to Rusty Simmons. Wink, wink. (Am I the only one who is amazed that the Warriors beat writers have conspired with Lacob to hush up the truth about Biedrins’ chronic “abdominal injury” for three years? It makes you wonder who signs their paychecks.)
OK, so let’s get out the abacus. That’s $22 million of dead center plus $10 million of dead small forward, equals $32 million of dead contracts on the Warriors roster, for TWO YEARS.
How much is Jarrett Jack asking for again?
The Sixers Game: Oh, was there a basketball game tonight? I’m sorry, I got distracted.
I don’t make a great deal out of this game. It might have looked like a win on the schedule to most, but never to me. This was the Warriors 4th game in five nights, and their fifth road game in a row. Even the Spurs play like this, in games like this, as we just saw in the Oracle. Even championship teams play like this, on the road, in meaningless playoff games.
You can pick apart this game as much as you like, and whine and moan about this turnover or that player or this substitution, but it’s all meaningless. This was a game that the exhausted Warriors didn’t need, and they played like they didn’t need it.
I’m reminded of something Keith Smart once said. Perhaps the only thing he ever said that’s stuck with me.
“They played like a horse headed back to the barn.”
Remember that? He said it after a road loss in Philadelphia just like this one, on the last game of a brutal road trip. It’s stuck with me because I went to horse camp a couple of times growing up, and I’ve been on that horse.
What he meant to say, but couldn’t, was: Forget about it.
The Playoff Picture: This loss leaves the Warriors still in 6th place, a mere half game ahead of Utah, one game ahead of Houston, and 3.5 ahead of the Lakers. Three of these four teams will make the playoffs.
Forget about Memphis and the 5 seed. The Warriors are not reeling in that great team. I believe they just won 8 straight, before losing a close game to the Heat in Miami. Rudy who?
I’m not at all worried about what the Warriors’ performance on this road trip did to their playoff chances. They were never meant to win these games, and don’t need them. As far as I’m concerned, they took care of business with those 3 straight wins coming into the trip. Now they’re headed home for the final stretch of the season, in which they’ll play 16 of their remaining 22 games at home.
Barring a complete collapse, that schedule should guarantee them a playoff spot in the radically weakened West. And they just caught a nice break at the trading deadline. (Yes, I know Joe Lacob stripped their bench for the third straight season, but that’s not what I’m talking about.) Houston, which was clearly a better team than the Warriors before the deadline, may have just blown their team up. They are not the team they were before the trades, and I sincerely doubt that Thomas Robinson will help them this season, if ever. The wild card is Donatas Motiejunas, the sweet-shooting 7 footer (drafted 9 picks below Klay Thompson, if that kind of thing interests you), who has been installed at the spread four in place of Patrick Patterson. He doesn’t defend like Patterson did though.
Which is not to say I have no worries about the Warriors making the playoffs. There are two things right now that are actually worrying me quite a bit:
1) I’m worried that David Lee is banged up. I’m worried about his shoulder, that clearly bothered him tonight for the second straight game. And I’m worried about his abdomen, that I thought he might have tweaked in the Memphis game; and
2) I’m worried that the Andrew Bogut Myth might return.