ESPN’s John Hollinger wrote about the teams he considers winners in this NBA offseason. It’s an Insider article, so you may not be able to access it, but I’ll provide a link to the story just in case.
Grouped in with the teams you’d expect to populate such a list (the Heat, the Bulls, etc.) are the Warriors. The team has had a pretty good month, trading for David Lee and locking up a potential starter at small forward (Dorell Wright) for a reasonable sum (three years, $11 million). But Hollinger considers the Warriors winners this offseason primarily because of the changes at the top of the organization:
Forget about anything that happened on the court. They’ve got new owners! It doesn’t even matter who the new owners are, just that the reviled Chris Cohan is now the old one. The Warriors’ phenomenal history under Cohan includes 15 lottery appearances in 16 seasons and an unrivaled track record of building up and then shredding to pieces any talented young player that came through. The sooner the new guys clean house, the sooner the Warriors can start acting like a real NBA franchise again. Golden State’s slavishly loyal fans still pack the arena despite all the losing; one can only imagine the local support if the team started winning consistently. The new owners (Joe Lacob and Peter Guber) did receive some lovely parting gifts from the Cohan gang. I don’t like the David Lee deal, but he’ll be a heck of a pick-and-roll partner with Stephen Curry. If the Warriors can find some defensive players to put around those two, especially a tough center, and convince a dumb franchise that Monta Ellis is really good (look at his scoring average!), the rebuilding period may be brief.
Hollinger’s appraisal kind of seems like a backhanded compliment, but “positive” coverage from the national media isn’t common for this team, so it’s nice to get a pat on the back. I think we can all share in the enthusiasm surrounding the possibilities of new ownership. I also agree with Hollinger that the rebuilding period for this team could be brief. This team isn’t ready to challenge for a playoff spot in the West right now, but if they can make a few smart moves in the next couple years, I think the Warriors could be a playoff team in 2012.
The other teams on Hollinger’s list are the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers.