clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Swift Decline of the Golden State Warriors

You want to know how a team falls apart fast? Look no further than the Golden State Warriors, only two seasons removed from their epic 2006-07 upset of Dallas, and a 2007-08 that, in any less stringent conference, would've landed them in the playoffs. ↵
↵In the San Jose Mercury News, Monte Poole asks the simple, but poignant question: "What happened to the Warriors?" Some of this is familiar: Baron Davis and then Stephen Jackson fell into Chris Mullin's lap, and then last summer, the organization failed to either re-sign Davis, bring Gilbert Arenas back to town, or nab Elton Brand -- all in a way that, with these players talking amongst themselves, pretty much guaranteed a lack of confidence. ↵
↵Poole details a power struggle between Mullin, Nellie, and team president Robert Rowell, all constantly jockeying for position; to make matters worse, this past summer's free agent debacle has undermined Mullin's standing within the team, making it easier for Nelson and Rowell to go behind his back. That's why you get Rowell suspending Monta Ellis, Nelson trying to kick Jamal Crawford to the curb, and oh yeah, Nellie's quizzical approach to developing big men Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph. ↵
↵It seems like Mullin's days are numbered, but you have to wonder, did he ever really do that much to engineer this motley crew of talents? Didn't most of them fall into his lap, with the resulting combination something that only Nelson could ever have coached? Then again, Nellie lets it go to his head, and confuses "genius coach" with "ruling figure." It's the way I think some people feel about Henry Kissinger. Rowell, well, he's just plain meddling. As Poole notes, Mullin still has a lot of residual popularity from his playing days. Maybe Nelson and Rowell see him as a shield, but if they're looking for a scapegoat, the strategy might backfire. ↵
↵But the bottom line is? ↵
↵⇥"There is no long-term plan," one NBA executive said. ↵⇥
↵⇥"There is no plan, period," one agent said. "They act like there is and they say there is, but there isn't." ↵
↵On paper, the Warriors should be in the enviable position of being able to compete a little while building for the future. Unfortunately, it's almost like, rather than take advantage of this tricky but felicitous situation, management (including the coach) are most concerned with spiting others and avoiding blame. Or maybe, as some have long suspected, Golden State's been a brief, brilliant fluke since Nellie returned, and they'd rather self-destruct than acknowledge that they don't know how to concoct a road toward the future.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.