The Warriors are heading back to the hardwood, and to help celebrate the 1975 team that won the NBA title, they're showing games from that playoff run on CSN Bay Area (we're giving away 12 cool "Warriors Classic Games" posters on BASG). If you weren't alive during that title run (I was still over a couple years away from my earthly debut), it's hard to imagine.
The Golden State Warriors, NBA champs. It's like hearing the phrase, "and the Academy Award goes to ... Justin Timberlake." Surreal. But, Rick Barry went off, the Warriors got hot and they swept the Washington Bullets to pull off one of the most impressive and shocking upsets ever.
Sometimes, even in the harsh, unfair world of professional sports, crazy stuff happens. Real insanity, like the San Francisco Giants squeaking into the playoffs, narrowly escaping a 2-1 deficit in the NLDS and soaring to their first title since moving to The City just a year ago. Who would have thought at the beginning of 2010 that Brian Wilson would strike out the final batter of the season? Even now it's hard to believe, especially after watching certain fast food commercials.
One championship should be enough, at least theoretically. All these leagues have around 30 times, so the best one could reasonably expect is a title every two or three decades per team, right? But we're an impatient lot. Life is short, and all of us want to rack up as many "titles witnessed" as possible. If we're rationally looking at the teams with the best chance to win the next championship around here, how would they rank? Or better yet, how about if we're irrationally looking at things? Because that's how I prefer to operate...
Why they'll win the next title: The Niners play in an embarrassingly bad division and their defense is already championship-level. Plus if they hold onto the No. 2 seed they'll only have to win three games to earn the franchise's sixth Super Bowl win.
Why they'll have to wait: It's tough to watch the Green Bay Packers and envision the 49ers winning a title with this offense.
Why they'll win the next title: They've been knocking on the door for years.
Why they'll have to wait: The Sharks are getting into 1990s Atlanta Braves territory with how often they're making the playoffs without claiming the ultimate prize. The Braves broke through in 1995; will the Sharks ever hoist the Stanley Cup during the Joe Thornton/Patrick Marleau era?
3. San Francisco Giants
Why they'll win the next title: Most of the core from the 2010 team is still there, including one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.
Why they'll have to wait: After getting burned on long-term contracts to Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand, the Giants are prohibiting themselves from spending outside their self-imposed budget. As a result they're relying on hope and their training staff to improve an offense that was historically bad in 2011.
Why they'll win the next title: Pretty tough to remember a team handling adversity this well around here. The Raiders are an excellent road team and, when healthy, feature one of the deepest groups of skill-position guys in the NFL.
Why they'll have to wait: If they don't shock the world and win a Super Bowl this year, it's not going to get any easier without any picks higher than the end of the third round (at best, if they get some good compensatory picks) in the 2012 NFL Draft.
5. Golden State Warriors
Why they'll win the next title: The new owners have expressed a desire to spend what it takes to bring a second NBA title to the Bay, and they have some young pieces that could allow them to make the "bold moves" Joe Lacob referenced when taking over.
Why they'll have to wait: The NBA's Western Conference is still a monster until proven otherwise; until they start playing defense it'll be tough enough to simply make the playoffs, let alone win a title.
Why they'll win the next title: Maybe all the other teams will continually fall short for the next 5-to-10 years?
Why they'll have to wait: You can't win if you don't even try. Until MLB gives the A's a direct answer as to where they'll be playing in the future, they're going to continue running this team as if to prove they're at a competitive disadvantage.