December 30, 2009

Lost Decade, Part 1: The Warriors' Record, '00-'09

Tuesday night's loss to the Lakers represented not only a heartening sign, but a closing chapter... the Warriors have completed their Aughts assignments. A grotesque decade's worth of basketball, spanning from a 1-3-00 loss in DC to a 12-29-09 loss in LA, is now in the books. And while many will wait till season's end to view NBA teams through an "end of the decade" lens, we Worriers will not hold off our reckoning any longer. Let's take a look at the damage here, starting with the overall performance of the team.

(Warning: this series will mention many names, games and moments you have tried very hard to forget. Proceed with caution, if not outright dread.)

The Warriors played 822 regular-season games in the Aughts, and a mere eleven playoff games, all of which you probably remember. Our final regular-season record for the decade is 322-500... Tuesday night's loss, in other words, was quite a milestone. Our .392 winning percentage was the lowest in franchise history for any decade, topping the previous .405 low of the '80s. No matter how you count it, in fact, this was the Warriors' worst decade: most losses, worst record, fewest playoff appearances, fewest playoff wins. Our feeble record also extended a cold streak that reaches back to Truman: we've registered a losing record in five of the last six decades.

We were the fifth-worst NBA team of the Aughts, behind only the Bobcats, the Grizzlies, the Clippers and (how things change) the Hawks. The Bobcats have not made the playoffs in their five-year existence... every other NBA team made the playoffs at least once in the decade. The only two teams to make the playoffs only once were the Clippers and Warriors, and the Clippers stretched their second-round playoff appearance to seven games, while we only stretched ours to five. It could be argued that nobody made less of an impact on the '00-'09 NBA landscape than we did.

Our finest team of the decade was clearly the '07-'08 edition, which won more games than their "We Believe predecessors" even if you count playoff wins; the '07-'08ers were the only Warriors team in the Aughts to outscore their opponents overall. The worst Warriors team of the decade was, just as clearly, the odious '00-'01 version. "Coached" by Dave Cowens and "led" by Antawn Jamison, Mookie Blaylock and Larry Hughes, that team went 17-65, lost 23 of its last 24 and was outscored by a horrific nine points a night. The worst Warriors team of all time is either this one or the '52-'53 version, which went 12-57 in Philadelphia. (That team included George Senesky, Don Lofgran, Frank Kudelka, Ralph Polson and Bill Mlkvy. Oh, NBA... you used to be different.)

The Warriors had six official head coaches in the decade, none of whom were Keith Smart. All six -- Garry St. Jean (.245), Dave Cowens (.238), Brian Winters (.220), Eric Musselman (.457), Mike Montgomery (.414) and Don Nelson (.465) -- had losing records. Nellie's Aughts struggles have in fact outweighed his Run-TMC and Webber successes; his career record as Warriors coach is now below .500.

The most incredible aspect of the Warriors' Awful Aughts? We finished the decade with a winning record at home, going a respectable 210-198 in Oracle and a cringe-inducing 112-302 on the road.

As the day continues, we will delve deeper. Warriors fans, This Was Your Life. We are so, so sorry.

3 comments:

Matt said...

Great blog! I always looked for your GSoM posts and it's nice to see you have an outlet to expand on some of the frequently addressed topics. I'm curious, since his name came up in this entry, what your thoughts are on Musselman? He worked with a very below-average lineup in 2003-04 and still won 37 games. I was looking for big things from him – also, he had (has?) a column that I used to read frequently and was very impressed by.

Owen said...

Thanks for reading, and for the kind words! Will be addressing Musselman a bit later today, but briefly: I thought he was really good. He seemed to burn the team out quickly, as some coaches are wont to do, but the results he got with that limited talent were damn impressive... he deserved, and deserves, more credit than he got.

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