On Thursday, a buddy who shall remain nameless proclaimed to me that the Warriors “were done.”
It was a day after the Warriors had lost a home game to the Detroit Pistons, dropping their record to 0-6. My NBA guru pal also said something about the Warriors not being a very good basketball team. I answered the only way I knew how, mumbling something about it being a long season.
This column has nothing to do with that guy. Seriously. All right — a little.
But, really, this column is only meant as a reminder that you shouldn’t draw sweeping generalizations about an NBA team only a few games into a season or after a particularly rough patch.
You do that, you risk looking foolish and sometimes it doesn’t take long.
» A week ago at Madison Square Garden, the Warriors beat the Knicks by 20 amid chants of “Fire Isiah” from the crowd. The next night, the Knicks fell to Detroit for their eighth straight loss.
More than one media outlet reported Thomas, the team’s coach and president, was done. Today, the Knicks are riding consecutive wins over two playoff teams from a year ago: Chicago and Utah. Now, there’s talk of coming together in the Big Apple.
» Early in the season, everyone’s favorite Midwestern darlings, the Indiana Pacers, were off to a 3-0 start, and new coach Jim O’Brien was talking about how Indiana’s trade with the Warriors in January would be seen very differently in a couple of years.
Indiana has proceeded to lose eight of 11 and the Warriors are now 6-7 after an 0-6 start. Let me know when that trade pays off for the Pacers.
» The New Orleans Hornets got off to a franchise-best 9-2 start, prompting some observers (myself included) to suggest that this team was for real. New Orleans still may be for real, but it has lost four of five, including the last one at home to Minnesota, quite possibly the worst team in the league.
» Or how about the Cleveland Cavaliers? They looked horrible in their opener, scoring just 74 points in a loss to Dallas. They were said to be under-talented and distracted by the prolonged contract impasse between the organization and Anderson Varejao.
By the time they lost to Orlando in mid-November, it was fashionable to suggest they might not make the playoffs, even in the marginal Eastern Conference. But a closer look now tells you the Cavs are a very respectable 8-6 (with a 5-4 record on the road), and general manager Danny Ferry is looking like a genius for not caving to Varejao’s ludicrous demands.
I’m only offering these as cautionary tales to fans of the Boston Celtics and Magic, the flavors of the month in the NBA right now. They might look like Finals candidates right now, but then again, so did the Mavericks during last year’s regular season.
Matt Steinmetz is the NBA insider for Warriors telecasts on Fox Sports Net.