Brian Windhorst Had a Horrible Take About the Warriors After Game 5 Win
The Golden State Warriors prevailed over the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Finals. Andrew Wiggins turned in an excellent performance with 26 points and 13 rebounds. In the postgame wrap-up on Scott Van Pelt’s night show, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst gave his take on why the Dubs were able to win the game:
Andrew Wiggins is not an underdog. He makes $32 million. While the Warriors were down these last couple of years, winning no games, they kept spending money because they’ve got it. They re-signed Draymond Green, they re-signed Steph Curry, they re-signed Kevon Looney. They kept Andrew Wiggins and boy did he show up tonight. Andrew Wiggins with the supreme moment of his career. He was the throw-in in a trade. Other teams would have totally gotten rid of him. They stuck with him. They have a $340 million payroll when you consider taxes. You don’t just have to beat the Warriors on the court, you’ve got to beat their checkbook. Taking nothing away from Andrew Wiggins but this was a checkbook win for the Warriors.Brian Windhorst, to Scott Van Pelt on ESPN’s SportsCenter
The Warriors do indeed have a very expensive roster. The salaries themselves are around $170 million while the luxury tax for going over the salary cap is another $170 million. However, Windhorst makes it sound as though Golden State is getting away with something by having this roster. A few things need to be noted: 1) the NBA has a salary cap so spending is not unlimited, and 2) the Warriors are only able to spend above the salary cap because they are re-signing their own players. Golden State drafted Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, and Kevon Looney. They flipped Kevin Durant into D’Angelo Russell into Andrew Wiggins. The way Windhorst talks about them, you would think GSW was snagging every single max guy that hit free agency.
Not a “Checkbook Win”
If anything, it’s extremely impressive the Warriors have been able to sustain a dynasty for this long. Yes, some of that may be due to ownership having the cash on hand to go deep into the luxury tax and keep a core together, but it didn’t start there. It started with Golden State scouting and drafting those players and it didn’t hurt that they had the foresight to spend the money needed to keep them around.
Windhorst is completely oversimplifying the issue and also taking focus away from Andrew Wiggins’ career night. There is not a 1:1 correlation between money and winning. If it was all about how expensive the roster is, why did the Brooklyn Nets (~$170 million roster) get swept in the first round by Boston? It also seems contradictory to say that Wiggins is not an underdog while also claiming that most other teams would have totally gotten rid of him. Pick one, dude.
The national NBA media is on a hot streak of bad takes. A few weeks ago, Bob Ryan claimed basketball was better without three-pointers. Just brutal.
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