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Warriors: NBA version of Giants?

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From page B1 | December 11, 2012 | Leave Comment

Want to be considered an early adopter? Get on the Golden State Warriors’ bandwagon.

The Warriors, previously known for their passionate fans and inability to make the postseason, are off to a brilliant start. And it’s only December, so you can be among those who enjoy the regular season, not just a playoff series or two.

Playoffs? Warriors?

Maybe.

Golden State is 14-7 after Monday night’s win over the Charlotte Bobcats – making it 4-0 on the season-long seven-game road trip. That’s five games ahead than the Los Angeles Lakers in the standings.

Yes. Those Lakers.

The ones with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

They’re five games behind the Warriors.

Sure, it’s December.

And sure, the Warriors have one playoff appearance  in 18 seasons.

But this could be magical. Or surprising.

Or mildly entertaining. Or soul-crushing.

But if you squint your eyes hard enough, you can almost see an NBA version of the San Francisco Giants.

Almost.

Consider this: The Warriors are led by Stephen Curry, the Buster Posey of Bay Area pro basketball. He’s young, smart, tough and resourceful. He’s also among the best point guards in the NBA, assuming his ankle holds up (much like Posey’s knee).

Their two key scorers, Klay Thompson and David Lee, are the Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain of Bay Area basketball. Youngsters Festus Ezeli and Harrison Barnes, the Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt of NBA basketball.

They’re coached by Mark  Jackson, who is charming and calm and likeable. And cool, in a Dusty Baker way – he’s no Bruce Bochy, but who is?

The Warriors are playing as well as they have since the “We Believe” team of 2007-08, but this year’s roster is different from that one. The players are more likeable. Curry, Thompson, and the rookies are home-grown talents. One of the franchise cornerstones, center Andrew Bogut – without whom it was suspected they would struggle – hasn’t played much, but they’ve still won and Bogut will return at some point.

And here’s the best part: If the Warriors somehow make the playoffs (and there’s plenty of time left, as any fan will tell you), it will be a celebration.

There’s no pressure to win a championship, since teams don’t come out of nowhere to win NBA titles. This season will be successful if Golden State wins 45 games. It will be extraordinary if the Warriors make the playoffs.

That they’re seven games over .500 in mid-December is a minor miracle – one that could easily fall apart with an injury to Curry or Lee.

Most Warriors fans will tell you it doesn’t get much better than this.

They say that because it’s true: For the Warriors, it doesn’t get much better than having a winning record in December.

Maybe this is the year it goes beyond that. If so, maybe this is the year to jump on the bandwagon.

Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or bstanhope@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope is the Daily Republic's news editor. He began his career at the DR in the last millennium. He spent 17 years as a sports editor and three years as the associate editor before spending three years away from the newspaper (though continuing as a columnist). He returned in December 2010 as news editor. Brad lives in Suisun City with his wife, Mrs. Brad, and two sons. He enjoys cheese.
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