Is San Francisco the New “TitleTown”?
by Randy Shaw, 2012-12-14
The San Francisco Giants have won two of the last three World Series. The 49ers went to the NFC title game last year and are now favored to reach the Super Bowl. The long dismal Golden State Warriors are undergoing a stunning revival--- soon after announcing the team’s relocation to San Francisco. After beating both the Heat and Nets on the road, the Warriors are for real. It seems that ever since the Warriors announced their new arena in the city where the Giants and the 49ers are role models for winning, an NBA title could actually be on the horizon. The other championships are sufficient to earn the honor, but a Warriors championship would mark San Francisco as America’s new TitleTown.
Cities often enjoy winning sports teams in bunches. New York City saw the Mets, Jets, and Knicks all win titles in 1969-70, Boston had a great run with the Patriots and Red Sox winning titles in 2004 and the Red Sox and Celtics in 2007-08, and the Steelers and Pirates brought titles to Pittsburgh in 1979.
San Francisco is on track to be the next TitleTown.
Three Bright Futures
The Giants won the World Series despite Tin Lincecum’s worst year, the loss of closer Brian Wilson’s in the season’s first week, Melky Cabrera’s suspension, two months missed to injury by Pablo Sandoval, projected starting second baseman Freddy Sanchez missing the entire season, and projected starting first baseman Aubrey Huff experiencing a mental and physical breakdown.
The Giants enter 2013 stronger than ever. The team is clearly a World Series candidate in 2013 and beyond.
The only team standing in the 49ers path to the Super Bowl this year is the same team that beat them last year: the New York Giants. The Giants thrashing of the 49ers earlier this year explains Coach Harbaugh’s shift to a more mobile quarterback who can escape the Giants pass rush.
The 49ers will reach the NFC championship game, and will find a way to win it. Winning the Super Bowl will be tougher, but even reaching the game boosts San Francisco’s standing as TitleTown.
The Warriors have not had a championship quality roster since 1976, a season that infamously ended with a playoff loss to the Phoenix Suns. For all the nostalgia for the “TMC” years (Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin), those teams never were title contenders. Nor was the “We Believe” unit led by Baron Davis.
Thanks to Jerry West’s genius at talent evaluation, the Warriors---to the utter amazement of most fans---actually have put together an athletic team that plays defense, rebounds and can shoot threes. If these young players develop as projected, the Warriors---hard as it is to believe and to even write---will be title contenders when their San Francisco arena opens, if not a year before.
Harrison Barnes, who many did not want the Warriors to draft, is a budding star. He is a young Jamaal Wilkes, whose great rookie season in 1975 brought the Warriors their last title. Barnes’ success shows that we should not pay so much attention to how players perform in the NCAA playoffs, as West was clearly not dissuaded by Barnes’ disappointing performance.
I did not expect great things from Draymond Green because I felt that if a Michigan State player were any good he would not have lasted until the second round. Fortunately, West knew better (I may be giving insufficient credit to GM Bob Myers, who clearly had to sign off on all of the draft choices).
Stephan Curry is not quite Chris Paul, but he’s close enough. If he stays healthy, he can carry a team a long way.
The Warriors have finally gotten away from “small ball” and no-defense lineups to put together a roster that can compete for a title. And that could not have been said about this team anytime in the past 35 years.
Only two championships are necessary to make San Francisco the nation’s “TitleTown,” but the city will soon have three teams capable of winning it all every year.
Beyond Chron Editor Randy Shaw gave up on the Warriors when they traded Chris Webber and refused to support the team under Chris Cohan’s ownership.