Ray Ratto

Warriors complete draft without fans cringing


Warriors complete draft without fans cringing

If Harrison Barnes is a Warrior when the draft-pick trading season ends sometime tomorrow, the first thing on his list is to get a hat that fits or the will to pull it down so that it doesnt sit atop his head like a brimmed fez.

Hey, if big-event runway fashion shows are the new thing in the NBA, everythings in play, right?

Fortunately, they arent, at least not at the Warriors end of the food chain. Barnes will be asked to become an impact player on a team that has always run short on them. And he could be that, though his shooting gifts are those the Warriors have had in abundance for years.

NEWS: Warriors draft Barnes

Barnes came to North Carolina as one of the most ballyhooed players of 2010, which meant that in the remorselessly over-analyzed world of ACC basketball he was regarded as not quite all that. That says more about the ACC than it does Barnes, though, and most analysts employed the phrase solid pick. And frankly, the Warriors could use all the solid they can get.

If there is a problem, it is this: Barnes does not give them anything they actually lack. He is not a strong defender, certainly not as strong as even Dorell Wright, and he is not a traffic rebounder.

Enter Festus Ezeli, the second first-rounder, a 6-11, 255-pound basilisk from Vanderbilt who gives them some bulk and presence in a place where they have had precious little of either. He is considered the long shadow in the middle that the Warriors have assiduously avoided lo these many years.
NEWS: Warriors draft Ezeli

In that way, Ezeli as a backup to and adjunct with Andrew Bogut may have a greater impact than Barnes. The Warriors have dealt only infrequently with need-first draft picks, and Barnes was by no means a bad pick given what had already been taken. But the Warriors need to stop being the Warriors at some point, and if Ezeli is what he could be, he might be the bigger splash.

The first second round pick, smallish power forward Draymond Green of Michigan State, will fit in as needed, and seven-foot Bosnian center Ognjen Kuzmic, looks like a long-term project. But the Warriors need immediate changes to find a new version of national credibility. Barnes could be that, even if his skills are duplicative; Ezeli could be more of that, because he brings what the Warriors lack.

NEWS: Warriors draft Green, Kuzmic

And if you want to look past the draft itself, you must conclude that the Bogut trade makes this team radically different than it has been.

Whether that means that they are radically better remains very much to be seen.

But since immediate analysis is demanded in all things at all times, we can say with some confidence that this was not a Warrior draft that makes a fan cringe. There will be a lot of knowing nods, the international acknowledgment of Well, I get that.

But the long-term prognosis? Check back in the long term. The hat thing, though? We should know by the start of training camp.

If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team


If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team

If the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe is right and the total eclipse of the sun is actually a harbinger of the end of life on earth . . .

- It’s good news for the Giants, who have been eliminated from the National League West race for less than 24 hours, or that they will not have to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers put their feet up on baseball for the first time in 28 years.

Besides, there won’t be any more years, so time becomes meaningless.

- It’s good news for the 49ers, who won’t have to endure a harsh week of practice from freshly irked head coach Kyle Shanahan, who finally saw exactly why the job came open for him in the first place.

- It’s good news for Raiders’ fans, who won’t see their team move to Las Vegas, and because they won't be soul-crushed if they can't beat the Patriots -- who will also die en masse despite Bill Belichick's entreaties to ignore the noise of seven billion terrorized shrieks.

- It’s bad news for A’s fans, who will never learn in what location their fabulous new franchise-saving stadium will not be built.

- It’s good news for the Warriors, who can say in their death throes that they were the last NBA champions ever, and that the Lakers will never get LeBron James.

- It’s good news for the Lakers because they cannot be found guilty of tampering with Paul George. It’s also good news for Jimmy Kimmel because he can’t lose a draft choice (some faceless F-list actor as a guest) as a result.

- It’s good news for the Kings, because they’ll never have to have the difficult meeting about Zach Randolph.

- It’s good news for the Chargers, because they won’t have to answer any more questions about why only 21,000 people were announced as the crowd for their second practice game, or to confront the very real possibility that they could become the NFL’s Washington Generals.

- It’s good news for the Jets, Mets, Nets and Knicks because the end of the planet is the only just solution for them all.

- It’s good news for Cal because it can stick its middle finger to the sky and say, “Here’s your $400 million debt. Try to collect it while we’re all dying.”

- It’s good news for Kevin Durant because he doesn’t have to slalom through the Internet trolls any more.

- It’s bad news for Roger Goodell, because he sure left a boatload of money on the table as he was hurtled into space like the rest of us.

- It’s bad news for Nick Saban because he will have never seen it coming. On the other hand, it’s good news for the people who cover Alabama football because they’ve endured their last journalism lecture from Prof. Nick on why they do their jobs so poorly.

- It’s bad luck for Jim Harbaugh because he will feel like a complete nitwit as he learns just what “an enthusiasm unknown to mankind” really means – the end of mankind.

- It’s bad news for all the sixth graders in America who are being offered scholarships that they will never be used by college coaches they will never meet. Of course, that would have been true even  if the world doesn’t end.

- It’s bad news for the hackers who have been spoiling Game Of Thrones because this is Game Of Thrones, only the dragon is the sun incinerating us all.

- It’s bad news for Kyrie Irving, because he will have died a Cleveland Cavalier.

- It’s good news for America, for the obvious reason that the planet will expire before our current political class can murder it.

- And finally, it’s good news for dignity, because the Mayweather-McGregor “thing” will never happen, and that alone means that even as we are torn asunder, we will know that the deity loves us all because both McGrogor and Mayweather are being torn asunder too.

Of course, if you’re reading this Tuesday, you’ll know the world didn’t end, and we’re just as screwed as we ever were. Oh well. Try to find your happy place, and drink like there’s no Wednesday.

Phrase that Matt Joyce left out of his apology is key to talking the talk

Phrase that Matt Joyce left out of his apology is key to talking the talk

Matt Joyce said the word, he did the apology, he’ll do the time, and then we’ll see if he’ll get the forgiveness he asks.
Joyce’s two-game suspension by Major League Baseball for using a gay slur at a fan during Friday’s Athletics-Angels game in Anaheim is well within industry norms (though it might have been more tactically impressive if the club itself had issued the suspension), and his apology did not deflect blame or contain the always-insincere caveat “if I offended anyone.” He did offend people and he knew it, so he didn’t couch it in the phraseology of “I don’t think what I said was improper, but I’ll do the perp walk just to get this over with.”
He even offered to do work with PFLAG, the support group that supports the LGBTQ community, thereby putting his time (which is more meaningful than money) where his mouth was.
In other words, he seems to have taken his transgression properly to heart, which is all you can really hope for, and now we’ll see if he is granted the absolution he seeks.
You see, we’re a funny old country in that we talk forgiveness all the time but grant it only sparingly, and only after a full mental vetting of important things like “Do we like this guy?” and “Is he playing for my favorite team?” and “Do I feel like letting him up at all?”
In other words, forgiveness is very conditional indeed.
Joyce said what he said, but his apology seemed to be given freely and unreservedly rather than crafted to meet a minimal standard of corporate knee-taking/arse-covering. If he follows through on his offer to do face-to-face work with PFLAG or an associated group and absorbs the lesson of not using other people as a weapon for his own frustration, then he ought to be acknowledged for doing so. That’s what forgiveness is.
But if the principle you adhere to is “once guilty, forever doomed,” then you’ve succeeded at giving in to the mode of the day, which is jumping to a conclusion and never jumping back because it’s just easier and more convenient to do so.
It’s up to him. But it’s also up to you.