When publicly calling out the Warriors franchise early in the 2009-2010 season for what he thought was a clear lack of direction for the future with their lack of off-season acquisitions to improve, Stephen Jackson directly sent a message to his teammates that they were as not good enough for the "playoff" team he felt he deserved to be on because of his age and the point in his career where he wanted a chance to win.
The turmoil began and quickly spiralled as Monta Ellis felt similarly and also a lack of respect from a management that at one point kept threatening to void his recently signed contract due to his moped incident. The Warriors were in a bad state.
But the camaraderie seems to be there so far, as we've witnessed these first few games. How much do these players love each other? Apparently a lot.
SLAM Online reports that the Warriors are hanging out as much as possible off the court, which is something they did not do on a regular basis. Veterans in newcomers Charlie Bell and David Lee have brought a new personality that is borderline bromance:
"We go out whenever possible," says Charlie Bell, the 31-year-old guard who has emerged as a team leader. "On the road, if guys don't want to come out we make them go out. This is the closest team I've ever been on as far as the whole group sticking together."
But the most important addition to the 2010-2011 Petri dish has been David Lee.
"He's brought a lot of leadership," says Warriors assistant coach Calbert Cheaney, who formerly played for the team. "We have a lot of quiet guys here, but he is very engaged and very vocal."
That was evident during Friday night's win over the Clippers, during which Lee gave Warriors center Andris Biedrins a hug during a timeout. Revitalizing Biedrins, who went into a multi-year tailspin during the Don Nelson era, is crucial for the Warriors, and Lee wanted to keep him positive after he got into foul trouble. So he gave Biedrins a hug - not a "Let's put our forearms between our chests and sort of hug" hug, but more of an "I've got your back, bro, so I'm going to throw an arm around you until we're borderline verklempt" kind of hug.
"He's helping Andris and getting him back to where he was two or three years ago," says Cheaney. "They're always lovey-dovey. It's great to see."
This is shocking news to me but I'm definitely encouraged by it. SLAM Online also tells us where they went out to dinner, as a team, for Ellis birthday: 1300 on Fillmore. Classy!