Because it is. This is what happened with Nelson and Webber back in '94, when the Warriors last barrel-rolled into the murky depths of the Western Conference. Webber and Nelson clashed. Webber and Nelson were both excised. The Warriors went into more than a decade of stasis.
Now you might be wondering why it has to be this way at all. In fact, you might be looking for a benign explanation for it all so that neither Nelson nor Davis ends up the bad guy. But you're betting badly, because there is no scenario in which someone isn't very angry -- Davis, Nelson, owner Chris Cohan.
And the amazing thing is, the team is going to become the winningest team to miss the playoffs since Phoenix went 49-33 in 1972; only eight teams made the playoffs back then, so you can see that it was easier to be so outraged. Hell, Phoenix went 48-34 the year before and missed the playoffs then, too. Maybe the Suns should have cheated in the coin flip to get Kareem Abdul-Jabbar instead of Neal Walk.
Now we are not among those who think the system is flawed. One, we don't care. Two, why shouldn't the Atlanta Hawks have some fun, too? Three, if the Warriors wanted in so bad, they shouldn't have blown that 16-point lead at home to Denver last week.
In other words, they knew what they had to do, and they didn't do it. Tough darts, Thelma. That's life.
But the delicious part is that the Warriors weren't satisfied with simply being the best team in 35 years not to get an 83rd game. They had to turn it into a tire fire. And instead of plotting for ways to draft a big man to complement Andris Biedrins, or deal for one, or do something to tweak the team's makeup, it has chosen instead to go full diva.
Now the easy answer is probably to let Davis go and declare Monta Ellis the new linchpin of the offense, but the Warriors don't do easy answers. Because Ellis grew up in this mutant offense, he could do it, but the Warriors still had to go to extraordinary lengths to finish eighth one year and ninth the next. This can't be the franchise's goal, it simply can't.
Who should the Warriors part with?
Both of them
Neither of them
Total Votes: 5,748
The harder answer is to let Nelson go, because it is hard to imagine anyone else wanting to run this when-in-doubt-shoot-a-jumper offense, especially with a roster of men who are never in doubt about shooting jumpers. No other coach we know can do this much with this style and this team, meaning that a new guy comes in with an extraordinary handicap.
In other words, this has that damned-if-you-do-damned-when-you-don't feel to it -- the logical end to a 13-month party. The two principal hosts are mad because someone didn't pay for his share of the beer, or hit on the other guy's date, or broke the coffee table. And while the evidence suggests they need each other, the egos scream that they won't give in to acknowledge that need.
Just like 1994.
Now I kind of feel bad they missed the playoffs. This would have been a great promo for the league -- "Amazing is mutually assured cannibalism."
On the other hand, let's see Atlanta top this. I mean, anyone can go a long time without playoffs, but you don't always get teams setting themselves on fire.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.