With Cleveland’s win in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the sense of unease is growing here in the Bay Area. There is surely an undercurrent running through the heads and hearts of Golden State Warriors fans wherein they are telling themselves that it will be OK if the Dubs ultimately lose this series to the Cavs–because with that young, talented roster the Warriors will have many more opportunities in the coming years to compete for the championship again.
The problem with that train of thought is that it is almost certainly wrong.
The series is not lost yet; if the Warriors come back and win Game 4 and make it a three game series–with two at home–they’ll be in the same position they were in against Memphis, albeit still faced with playing against the best player in the game (something the Grizzlies could not come close to mustering in their ultimately losing effort). But with each passing game, it is becoming more and more apparent that the Warriors are not adjusting to what the Cavaliers are dishing out. After tonight’s game, there’s little more reason to believe that Golden State will win Game 4 than there was reason to believe they’d win Game 3.
So the consolations may be in order, and Warriors fans are surely telling themselves that their team, with young stars like Curry, Thompson, Green, and Barnes, will be set up for many a run to the Finals in the future, even if they come up short now. Perhaps–but it isn’t necessarily so.
To cite one example, the Thunder made one trip to the Finals, in 2011, and they have remained a team of young stars despite losing James Harden, but they haven’t sniffed the Finals since, even with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the team (including the seasons when both were healthy). No one in Oklahoma City would have believed that they wouldn’t even get close again after 2011, but the Thunder have underperformed for four years in a row now.
A future Friday Feature post (tentatively scheduled for June 19) will explore the question of Golden State’s future chances in greater depth; suffice it to say for now that the Warriors had better figure it out really soon if they’re going to take advantage of what may be their one shot at a title–or they may spend many a future postseason with a lot of time on their hands thinking about what they didn’t figure out now.