Back To The NBA Journey, Week Three: What We’re Up Against

Steph Curry isn’t even Golden State’s best player. That is intimidating in its own right. They’re truly worthy of the status of final boss. (Sky Sports)

The 2018-19 NBA season has begun. The Association still believes that its destination will be another championship for the Golden State Warriors. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the season as a whole. Last year was wonderful, so let’s return to the path. Let’s go back on the Journey.

Song of The Week: Pink Floyd – “Us And Them”

Goals and obstacles are linked together like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. No truly desirable goal comes without challenge and usually we are aware of the biggest challenge early on in the journey to our goals. For example, if one wanted to become a homeowner, he can see the market value for houses of interest before beginning to save money for a house. This is also similar to adventure games like Sonic the Hedgehog, where the blue hero’s archnemesis Dr. Robotnik is presented in the beginning levels before you traverse the game to ultimately defeat him. Video games have done this as a way to make you further invested in conquering the game. Oftentimes, what amounts to the eventual final boss soundly defeating your character and stripping you of power, only to set up a final battle after acquiring the skills and abilities previously bestowed upon the protagonist.

Klay Thompson broke the record for most threes in a game, surpassing his teammate Steph Curry’s total of 13. This is just one of the many powerful things about the Warriors the rest of the NBA is up against. (Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)

The NBA has developed its own version of a final boss: the Golden State Warriors. Depending on your viewpoint, the Warriors are either a group of superheroes or supervillains, resulting in the similar effect of negatively shifting the landscape of The Association. Everything is changing for the worse according to a good number of inhabitants of the NBA realm, and we need a group of heroes to put the Warriors in check. Golden State has absconded with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and it’s up to the remaining 29 teams to try to take it back and restore order to the NBA.

This idea is one reason why this iteration of the Warriors is good for the NBA. Whether they’re viewed as villainous or just too good, the franchise has become a sublime version of dominant that we’ve never seen before. Their innovation with basketball strategy mixed with the luck bestowed upon them when we did see them as underdog protagonists have helped the Warriors reach their most optimal form. Liken it to the moment the hero discovers his true power. The fight with the last boss tends to become severely one-sided in his favor, securing that happy ending we have sought since the beginning of the game. What is rarely shown in the denouement is what happens in the ever after.

Sports adapts the line from The Dark Knight, where a team is so good for so long we go from rooting for them to staunchly rooting against them. We now generally root against the Warriors. We know that they are atop the basketball realm, and surely there is someone to put an end to their terror. And by them starting the season with one loss as of Monday, they’re showing us just how powerful they are. We know the level we must reach. It’s up to us to get there.

But here’s what the Warriors have. They have the two best shooters ever. Kevin Durant is the NBA’s deadliest scorer. Draymond Green has All-Star level intangibles and holds the team together on both ends of the floor. Steve Kerr is a progressive head coach. And with all that, DeMarcus Cousins will be available at some point this season. This is a tall task for any team. But the Warriors have lost a game this year, so though they are very good and intimidating, they are not invincible. It’s important for the NBA to believe the Warriors can be beaten.

Week Three Blurbs!

  • Derrick Rose scored his career high of 50 points. Rose was emotional after the game, and it was obvious because he was thinking about his personal journey from injuring his knee in 2012 to the struggles that landed him on his fourth team in three years. While his legal troubles have dampened the overall perception of him as a person, it is good to see that he is still playing and can still be effective. He has still yet to turn 30, so I wish him good health until he decides to retire.
  • The Cavaliers fired Tyronn Lue after Cleveland started the season 0-6. Former assistant Jim Boylan is suing the team, citing discrimination against his age. Interim head coach Larry Drew wants a long-term commitment from the Cavaliers. And as of Sunday, the team has the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 1-8. The point of this blurb is to applaud Kyrie Irving for understanding what may occur if and when LeBron James left Cleveland again. Do not stay where it does not benefit.
  • This week’s Hooper Appreciation Blurb goes to Knicks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. Early in the second year of his second stint, he’s averaging 25.1 points per game as of Sunday, albeit the Knicks are just 3-6. I must give praise to any player who improves, even one for the Knicks. Of course, as I praise him, he scored just 7 points on 3/10 shooting, helping the lowly Wizards get just their second win of the season. This dropped his season points per game average to 23.3, but Sunday’s poor outing does not take away from the fact that he has improved as a player.

That’s Week Three in the books. The Journey continues. Happy NBA, folks.

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