To Stephen A. Smith, that's preposterous. The Warriors' start, things of that nature.
Golden State is 0-2 for the first time in six seasons under coach Steve Kerr, with 19- and 28-point losses on its ledger and the NBA's worst defensive rating (124.3) as of Monday morning. The Warriors have been a far cry from their dynastic selves, and the ESPN commentator blasted the Dubs on Monday.
You know he has respect for Kerr, Steph Curry and Draymond Green. Absolutely. But ...
"Your name is the Warriors ... it ain't the Golden State Punks."
-@stephenasmith 😂😭😂 pic.twitter.com/NHHmCJ7zJi— First Take (@FirstTake) October 28, 2019
"It's just two games," Smith said of the Warriors' start on "First Take" on Monday. "I'm not getting on them like, 'Oh my god, your season is over, it's finished.' I'm putting them on notice. ... You're Draymond, you got $100 million. You're Steph Curry, you're the $200 million man. You're Steve Kerr, OK, who inherited Mark Jackson's squad but you have proven to be a great coach and that's undeniable.
"You don't get to sit back and go like this, 'Well, this is what you can expect from us.' No, the hell we won't expect that! You have enough to fight! That's all I'm saying! You can lose, fade in the fourth quarter. Fade because you're an inferior team, talent-wise. Fade because you don't have the same level of talent that others have, but to come out there and to just get straight punked on a Sunday afternoon by 40 in Oklahoma City? That's disgraceful! That's disgraceful!"
Smith's take dripped with the disdain normally reserved for wishing probable Hall of Fame pitchers a happy birthday. Although many -- including the Warriors themselves -- expected their defense to drop off after losing Kevin Durant in free agency, cutting Shaun Livingston and trading Andre Iguodala, Smith was having none of that.
When Max Kellerman argued that the Warriors "don't have a defense," Smith essentially interjected as if to say, "I don't care! Good luck!"
"It ain't that complicated to play defense," Smith opined. "At an NBA level, it's not that complicated if you know anything about basketball -- I'm talking about the players -- if you know anything about basketball, it's not that difficult to hunker down! And to say, 'Ah, we don't have the necessary skills.'
"Well, what we're gonna do is make sure you understand you're in a dogfight. Excuse me, your name is the Warriors for crying out loud. It ain't the 'Golden State Punks.' It's the Warriors! Go out there, and be a Warrior!"
The Warriors got their name from an American Basketball League team in Philadelphia, as the team's original owners wanted to pay tribute to their professional predecessors in Philly. It's fun to contemplate how Smith's conclusion would have changed had those owners named their team, say, anything else.
If the teams named after natural phenomena (Thunder, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns), sorcery (Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards), inanimate objects (Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs) or extinct animals (Toronto Raptors) were in the Warriors' shoes, Smith's conclusion doesn't pack the same punch.
[RELATED: Draymond to have his No. 23 Michigan State jersey retired]
Of course, the nature of Smith's criticism is by no means blasphemous. Though the Warriors experienced massive turnover this offseason and expected a subsequent decline, back-to-back blowout losses almost certainly weren't what Golden State had in mind to start the season.
In other words, the Warriors have more pressing concerns than living up to their name in Smith's eyes,
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