By TED SILLANPAA
On Twitter @TedSillanpa
Golden State Warriors fans got a little cocky in January. Remember? The team was playing so well, climbing so far up the NBA West playoff seedings, that folks insisted they didn’t need center Andrew Bogut to return to good health.
Bogut? The W’s didn’t need no stinking Bogut! The Warriors were having a great season without the veteran 7-footer.
Bogut did return to action. The Warriors started to play inconsistenly, sometimes very poorly.
Now, Bogut’s sidelined with back spasms. The Warriors are 3-7 in their last 10 games and carry a four-game losing streak into Monday’s game in Oakland against Toronto. Guess who fans are beginning to blame for the streak that leaves Golden State within a half-game of falling into a three-way tie for the final playoff spot in the West?
Apparently, folks who didn’t think the Warriors needed Bogut have determined that his being injured again accounts for the club’s demise.
The Warriors are an flawed, but over-achieving bunch. Before this season began, the idea of them fighting for the final Western Conference playoff spot would’ve seemed quite appealing to their fans. They were winning while relying on outstanding achievement by talented veterans who’d been role players for other teams and counting on David Lee having an MVP season. They won with Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins playing just enough in the middle to get to late-game situations where Lee could man the middle as the club played small … really small.
After a couple of months challenging the Memphis Grizzlies and, briefly, the Los Angeles Clippers in the upper echelon of the playoff seedings … the Warriors fooled their fans into thinking they were a talented club that would just get better and better and better. And, actually, the Warriors will get better … just not this season. It’ll be a year-by-year project.
It was clear in January that the Warriors need a healthy, productive Andrew Bogut healthy in the middle. All fans could see, though, are wins and losses. So, when the Warriors were winning, they saw no value in the center. Now that the club is really skidding, the same fans only need Bogut so that they’ll have someone to blame for what has officially become an unsettling slump.