Friday, November 21, 2008

The Warriors embrace their own madness

Word is out that a trade between the Warriors and Knicks is official, with the W's sending Al Harrington to the Knicks and receiving Jamal Crawford in return. The Knicks are just shaving salary in preparation for a free agent run in a couple of offseasons. But the Warriors?

The Warriors.

The NBA is a beautiful thing. I have read a lot of arguments about why the NBA should shorten the regular season, and what the Warriors just did emphasizes exactly why the regular season should remain as long as ever.

See, the NBA gives us three leagues, in three seasons. There is the winter league, when we get to watch the most intriguing of the non-contending teams come together. This involves close readings of rookies and projections of their games into the future, and analysis of new combinations of players and coaches to further our understanding of basketball. And the winter gives us our most memorable and unnoticed highlights. Every now and then, a winter team will slip into relevance in the spring, getting hot and remaining in the playoff race through the last quarter of the season. The Portland Trailblazers did that last year.

Then there's the springtime league, where exciting but flawed teams battle it out for the seventh or eighth playoff spot. They'll convince us all that they are contenders, only to be quickly swept away early in the playoffs, when we make room for the summertime -- the second round of the playoffs and onward.

Two years ago, the Warriors went from being a winter league team to, shockingly, competing for a playoff spot in the spring. And then, out of nowhere, they stumbled their way into the second round of the playoffs. It was a brilliant moment.

And now, just 11 games into the season, the Warriors have given us:
  • Anthony Morrow, NBA star
  • Demarcus Nelson and C.J. Watson as starting point guards
  • 48 minutes of Stephen Jackson in a single game
  • Corey Maggette as a power forward
  • Kelenna Azubuike as a dependable vet
And now, we add Jamal Crawford to a team already overflowing with scoring guards. Sure, why not? This team is completely beyond analysis, which is why they are THE team to watch this season.

Other teams that are in for this season: Grizzlies, Hawks, Bucks, Lottomatica Roma (Brandon Jennings!), Olympiacos (Josh Childress!). Perhaps also the Bulls and the Blazers, although something tells me we'll be paying a lot of attention to those two teams in February, March, and April.

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