Top story lines in NBA are tied to the Warriors
When Steve Kerr recently said of his team and NBA people in general, “We’re all actors in a soap opera,” he was close to being correct.
More correctly, the Warriors are actors in the soap opera. The rest of the NBA, and the sports world in general, is off-Broadway.
It’s like in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” where Jaques says, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players, except for the Golden State Warriors, who
are such players that they make the rest of us look like slackjawed yokels in the top balcony, enthralled by the show.”
Before Sunday’s game against the Heat, Kerr was asked his opinion of the Giants’ pursuit of Bryce Harper.
“I’d love it if Bryce Harper came here,” Kerr said, enthusiastically. “Does my opinion matter? Bryce, come to the Giants!”
Shortly thereafter, MLB sent an official tweet, “We have fined Steve Kerr $50K for tampering.”
Cute, but I bet when MLB heard of Kerr’s comment, it actually said, “OMG, Steve Kerr is talking about us!”
Kerr’s comments fueled rumors that the head coach, an admitted Dodgers fan, is working to get Harper to the Giants in hopes that Harper’s temperament and huge contract will blow up the Giants and help the Dodgers.
Kerr doesn’t seem devious, but those are the people you have to watch out for.
The Warriors were quiet Sunday evening, although they had to scrape to beat the so-so Heat 120-118, coming back from a 19-point first-quarter deficit.
It got exciting when Kevin Durant hit a dramatic stepback 3-pointer with 44 seconds left to tie the game 118-118. That put the Warriors in position to win for the 15th time in their past 16 games, but more important, it pretty much assured that Durant, with his 39 points and that key 3, would appear at the postgame news conference.
Those postgame sessions can be pretty boilerplate and snoozy, but Durant’s appearance after the previous home game was high drama, as he criticized the prying media.
This time, it was mellow Durant, calmly answering questions about the game. No point in asking him where he will be next season.
But that’s inevitably the unspoken question, and right now, it’s at the heart of the soap opera, which is at the heart of the NBA.
It’s not just that the Warriors have stirred up things this season, with the Durant-Draymond Green contretemps, and now with the tension around Durant and his future.
It’s that the Warriors are so good, so important, that they star in every scene of the NBA soap opera, even when they are not directly involved.
When reports and rumors pop up, especially any buzz about stars and superstars changing teams, it all comes back to the Warriors. Any instant superteam formed before next season, be it the Lakers or Knicks or someone else, it’s all about attacking the Warriors’ dynasty.
The Warriors might prefer to march toward the playoffs with a minimum of fanfare and outside noise, but they don’t get to vote.
What they will not admit, though, is that all the clamor and buzz about where Durant might go, or whether this AllStar cast can achieve its personal nirvana, is good for the Warriors.
Boredom is the Warriors’ worst enemy (see: last season), and super-easy wins, a placid locker room and a touchy-feely media contribute to a climate of serenity that could spell doom.
Fortunately, when there are lulls in the Durant drama, the Warriors have DeMarcus Cousins, the Human No-Doz pill. Working Cousins into the team chemistry has become an ongoing story line, and it has energized the Warriors. Plus, it’s hard for the Warriors to go on cruise control when their big center plays like a runaway freight train.
Even when he still looks rusty, as he did Sunday (seven points, three rebounds, one assist), he doesn’t disappear.
Early in the game, Cousins had the assist of the year. Klay Thompson went up for a midrange jumper but saw Cousins rolling to the basket and passed to him. But Cousins wasn’t looking, the ball bounced off his head and back to Thompson, and he hit a jumper. Jose Canseco had to like that one.
Stephen Curry said after the game that the Warriors’ offense is still in “a feeling-out process,” as Cousins is blended into the mix. The whole league is watching that process, quietly hoping the Warriors don’t get it all figured out, because that would be disastrous for other teams.
Right now — referring back to that Shakespeare speech about the seven stages of man — the Warriors’ with Cousins are in their infancy, “mewling and puking.”
As they work toward a higher place, the league watches, hoping the for more mewling and puking.
Speaking of Cousins, where’s he going to wind up next season?
The addition of DeMarcus Cousins (headband) to their lineup makes the Warriors even more problematic for opponents.