To say that the Golden State Warriors fan base has been tortured over the years would be a huge understatement. It would be like calling Jackie Robinson important to baseball. He’s far more. There’s not a word to describe Jackie’s meaning to baseball. The Warriors fans have been beyond tortured, to the point where, again, there is no word to describe it. They watch movies like Saw and Hostel and can relate to the torture. I wish I was joking.
For what the consensus considers the best fan base in professional basketball, they deserve much better than what they’ve received in years past, set aside from the famous 2006-07 “We Believe” season (knocking off the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks) and this 2012-13 run.
In 1975, the Warriors won the NBA Finals. In ’76 and ’77, they made the playoffs, winning just their first-round series in each of those two seasons. What proceeded? Nine straight seasons where they failed to make it back to the tournament. And oh yeah, they started that stretch by drafting someone named Purvis Short in the 1978 NBA Draft. The very next selection? Larry Bird.
That Purvis Short pick would set the precedent for a long stretch of blown draft picks and poor trades that would prevent the franchise from ever getting back to where they were during Rick Barry‘s prime.
During the 1989 NBA Draft, they acquired the Seattle Supersonics 1990 first-round pick for Dana Barros, before flipping it back to them only weeks later. That pick wound up being the second pick in the 1990 NBA Draft, someone who went by the nickname The Glove.
Everyone knows about the C-Webb debacle in 1993-94.
In 1995, they selected Joe Smith first overall. Jerry Stackhouse, Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace were three of the next four selected.
In 1996, in a pick acquired from the Chris Webber trade, Golden State chose someone named Todd Fuller No. 11 overall. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash were two of the next four. It goes on and on… trading Antawn Jamison for Vince Carter in ’98, selecting Brandan Knight one spot ahead of Joakim Noah in 2007, and so on. For Warriors fans it feels like when your boss breaks out a list of all the things you’ve done wrong over your time there when you enter his office in search of a raise. It seems impossible, until you think for a moment, “Wait, did all of that really happen? Did I do anything right?”
Everything culminated in the Golden State faithful booing new owner Joe Lacob on Chris Mullin night last season. Actually calling it booing would be another understatement. I haven’t seen a more uncomfortable moment in basketball since Ron Artest ran into the stands at The Palace in 2004.
With the exception of the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons, the Warriors failed to make consecutive playoff appearances since that ’75-’77 run. This season marks just the seventh time the franchise has made the playoffs since being ousted in the 1977 playoffs. Seventh. By comparison, their second-round counterpart, the San Antonio Spurs, have made the playoffs each of the last 16 seasons, a time where they also won four Larry O’Brien Trophies. By the way, the last place Gregg Popovich coached before heading to San Antonio? Golden State. True story.
The Warriors, however, have done an excellent job in their efforts to turn around the franchise over the past few years.