After Chris Webber-Don Nelson feud, Warriors descended into decade-long bleakness; DeClercq, Welsch, Gatling, LaRue, Farmer, Owes, Delk, Jimmy Jackson …

Guess I’ll call this unwritten book. I’ve been putting some old Warriors’ stories here — along with all my other usual type stuff. If not here, then where …

Back in 1995-96, Warriors fans had no idea what they were about to endure. They were still in the immediate aftermath of the Chris Webber-Don Nelson selfishness-fest that had completely sabotaged the previous season. Sure, they missed the playoffs after Webber had been traded and then Nelson had been fired in ’94-95, but it wasn’t like the franchise was going to miss the playoffs for the next 11 seasons, right?

Nelson and Webber had just set the franchise back a decade, but nobody knew it at the time. Dave Twardzik was the new GM and Rick Adelman was the coach of the Warriors in 1995-96, fresh of a successful stint in Portland, where he guided two teams to the NBA Finals.

Owner Chris Cohan’s new ownership was in its infancy, a deer-in-the-headlights period that would last far past Y2K. …

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The Warriors went 36-46 in ’95-96, with Latrell Sprewell and rookie Joe Smith leading the way. The following year the Warriors would go 30-52, but after that it was a five-year period of staggering bleakness — when the Warriors won 19, 21, 19, 17 and 21 games, respectively.

In other words, long before Stephen Curry ever arrived on the scene.

Here are a few notes on some players back then:

–Chris Gatling: What I remember about Chris Gatling, in addition to making one NBA All-Star team, was that once on defense, when he couldn’t find his man and was worried about an illegal defense call, he sprinted to the baseline corner, where nobody stood.

Andrew DeClercq: He was a limited big man from Florida. But he worked hard, knew his role as an 11th man and wound up playing a decade in the NBA. But he was overmatched frequently, particularly early in his career — which was when he was with the Warriors.

I remember calling Elias Sports Bureau to find out if he led the NBA in fouls that led to three-point plays. He was at the time of that call.

Jimmy Jackson: Jimmy Jackson probably has some decent numbers if you look at his career statistics. I don’t care. I remember him for combing his hair. lifting weights and spending a lot of time in front of the mirror before warmups.

Jiri Welsch: He was a player who came a little later on and was sold to Warriors’ fans as a sleeper possibility. I remember Skip Bayless writing that Welsch was going to be better than Mike Dunleavy and that if the Warriors drafted DeSagana Diop, he’d be a game-changer.

Tony Delk: On my First Team All-Good Guy team.

 

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About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz currently co-hosts the "Warriors WrapUp" show and "NBA This Week" on 95.7-FM The Game, the franchise's flagship station, in San Francisco. He also co-hosts the Sal and Steiny podcast.
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2 Responses to After Chris Webber-Don Nelson feud, Warriors descended into decade-long bleakness; DeClercq, Welsch, Gatling, LaRue, Farmer, Owes, Delk, Jimmy Jackson …

  1. Steinmetz says:

    What I meant was this: That nobody knew the year after Webber-Nelson that the team would embark on what would become a 12-year drought. Did fans at the time think the Warriors had a chance to be a great team when it was Webber-Nelson? Absolutely. But nobody knew how bad it would get and for how long. Thanks for reading!

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  2. joeksnuffy says:

    Nobody knew it at the time? Really? The warriors had a real team that year with everyone healthy, including finally getting a center, Rony Seikaly. Then that baby Chris Webber refused to play because Nelson yelled at him. Boo Hoo. In fact, during the 8 games that Webber held out, the warriors went 7-1. You could taste the excitement. The warriors gave away the farm to get Webber and they got Tom Gugliotta in return. It was pretty clear at the time this would hurt the warriors for a long, long time. I still have nightmares about it, and it sickens me every time I see Chris Webber on Open Court or see him broadcasting a game.

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