The Golden State Warriors are so dominant, their contemporaries’ only resort is to call them out.
But the old heads? They’re becoming more vocal that these Warriors, who are on pace to break the Chicago Bulls’ record for regular-season wins (72) set 20 years ago, are simply the byproduct of the bad basketball of this generation.
Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson told ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show that today’s coaches “don’t know anything about defenses.”
Stephen Jackson, part of the “We Believe” Warriors who upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the 2007 playoffs, said his Golden State team would beat these Warriors.
And former All-Star Cedric Ceballos favored his 1993-94 Phoenix Suns team over the Warriors.
Stop it. Please.
The sniping at the Warriors comes off as petty at best and screams of jealousy, especially when you consider Ceballos’ Phoenix team did not win the NBA title that season (the Houston Rockets did) and Jackson’s Warriors fell to the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals in five games.
Besides Robertson, many other former players point to the lack of defense in today’s game. Defenders cannot be as physical as in years past, but Stephen Curry’s shooting transcends eras.
Ceballos told Steve Gorman of Fox Sports Radio that Charles Barkley would have been a force against Draymond Green and Kevin Johnson would have posed a challenge for Curry.
“Steph Curry, unbelievable shooter, but (Johnson) was a point guard’s nightmare because he was so strong and he loved going to the basket,” Ceballos said. “That’s one thing these teams do not do: They do not expose Steph and the way he plays defense. They do hide him a lot; they have a great shot blocker in (Andrew) Bogut back there.
“But in the situation with KJ, he used to climb Hot Rod Williams, Mark Eaton – he even climbed Hakeem Olajuwon – all those guys and get dunks. I don’t think we would’ve had a problem with this Golden State team.”
Let’s remember that Curry reigns in an era of stellar point guards that includes Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Tony Parker, John Wall, Kyle Lowry and Kyrie Irving. And they do go after Curry; Lillard scored 51 against the Warriors.
And Golden State did not make today’s rules. It’s just playing superbly under them.
Still, discrediting the Warriors seemingly is trendy as former players sound like parents upset that their children listen to different music.
“It’s starting to get a little annoying just because it’s kind of unwarranted from across the board,” Curry said on the “Warriors Plus/Minus” podcast by the Bay Area News Group on Friday. “We have a very competent group, and we have fun when we’re out there on the floor, and it shows, obviously.
“We enjoy what we do. But for the most part, you don’t hear us talking about, you know, comparing ourselves to other great teams and ‘We could beat this team; we’re better than this team.’ We’re living in the moment.”
And it’s a great moment for the Warriors.
Joe Johnson will move up in the standings after agreeing to a buyout with the Brooklyn Nets. Several teams reportedly wanted to add the former All-Star, including the Cleveland Cavaliers. But Johnson is expected to opt for nice weather and a chance to have an impact by joining the Miami Heat.
The path to a championship might have been easier with Cleveland, but Johnson appears to want a bigger role.
Ty Lawson, once among the league’s top point guards, continues to decline amid reports Houston is exploring buyout options.
Lawson is only 28, but he has flopped since the Denver Nuggets traded him last July. He’s averaging 6.0 points, a career low, and 3.5 assists this season. Last season, he averaged 15.2 points and 9.6 assists.
If the Rockets waive Lawson, a contender might give him a chance for redemption.
“My under 14 team in Melbourne Australia would have beat these @warriors 109-99. Fat Jimmy would have locked down @StephenCurry30 !!!!
Warriors center Andrew Bogut responding on Twitter to former players who declared their team would beat this season’s Warriors.