If you're a die-hard Dubs fan, as I've been since my Dad started taking me and my two brothers across the San Mateo Bridge from Redwood City to Oakland every now and then to catch the Warriors in action, by now you've seen the various videos of the team chopping it up together to the sounds of O.T. Genasis' “CoCo.”
Get over the fact that the song is an ode to cocaine. It's the beat that the Dubs so clearly enjoy, and anyone up in arms over the fact that role-model athletes are celebrating to it need to get a life. To suggest that it's even remotely condoning the use of such a destructive, addictive drug is an insult to the Warriors' collective intelligence and character.
Focus instead on the enjoyment itself. On the team chemistry it underscores. On the fact that there isn't a single member of the team not participating in some way, from Draymond Green's uninhibited sing-along to David Lee's unusual hand-dancing.
Granted, it's easy for a team to be digging itself and each other while chillin' out on a luxury chartered jet after a road win. A's general manager Billy Beane is fond of saying that good team chemistry is a byproduct of winning, and there's certainly some truth to that stance. But it's also true — though undeniably damn near difficult to quantify — that winning can be the byproduct of good team chemistry.
The A's themselves are a great example of such. In many seasons since 2000, Oakland has performed a lot better than its collective talent has suggested it should, and if you asked every member of every one of those teams, they'd cite chemistry as a reason. A happy worker is generally a good, productive worker, and the A's have had a lot of happy workers over the years.
Need a more specific example? Try the 2014 A's, who were the best team in baseball through the All-Star break. They also were the happiest team in baseball, a group of mostly young, hungry and grateful men who loved and respected and defended and celebrated each other, making every day at work an absolute treat.
Yoenis Cespedes, they'll all tell you, was a big part of that. And then he was traded, out of the blue and with little in the way of an explanation that made sense to anyone in the clubhouse, and the aforementioned giddy, vibrant vibe was significantly affected. Sure, the absence of Cespedes the player was a big factor in the club's second-half death spiral, but the absence of Cespedes the teammate was just as significant. The trade created tension, unease, confusion and pressure — a recipe for disaster.
That's why the decision to not trade Klay Thompson and Lee (or Harrison Barnes) for Kevin Love over the summer was the wisest of the Warriors' Bob Myers' tenure with the team. The team's superstar and soul, Stephen Curry, was already disenchanted when his very publicly stated desire for the team to retain coach Mark Jackson went ignored, and had his equally — if not more vehement — public plea for management to hang onto his “Splash Brother” also been dismissed, the chemistry that had been building over the past couple of years likely would have taken a hit. No way Curry's a happy worker had that happened, and he makes it all go.
But the Dubs kept the “Splash Brothers” intact, and thanks in part to the breath of fresh air that's been new coach Steve Kerr, the chemistry has gotten even better. So has the team.
Coincidence? No. Some of the improvement, of course, can be attributed to continuity. The core of the team — Curry, Lee, Barnes, Green, Andrew Bogut — has been together for three years now, and Andre Iguodala seems infinitely more comfortable in his second season. That's huge.
Just as big, and maybe even bigger, is that the complementary players who Myers has brought in since taking over have almost all been character guys who foster great chemistry, too.
Chemistry is a science. But it's not rocket science, and neither is explaining the Dubs' success. They've got every piece a coach could want, from superstar to budding star to role player to the human victory cigar whose primary contribution is to push the other players in practice.
The Warriors have it all and they're having even more fun with it than those of us watching. If a drug-referencing rap song is part of what makes it all happen, hell, I'm in love with the coco, too.