The Golden State Warriors were about to start the most anticipated game of the young NBA season, so why was the main topic of conversation at Oracle Arena the Oakland Raiders?
Did no one care that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were about to start a blood feud or that Stephen Curry was warming up on the court? Why was the topic of conversation in the lower and upper levels about Derek Carr — “my man is balling out right now” — Khalil Mack — “anyone who doesn’t think he’s as good as [Von] Miller needs to be checked” — and Amari Cooper — “man, he’s smooth … like a young Jerry Rice”.
It’s been a while since the Raiders were discussed in such glowing terms around the East Bay — the general estimation is that the last time anyone in Oakland was feeling like this was in 2011 and 2012, when the team went 8-8 in back-to-back seasons but failed to make the playoffs. But the good times are back again — for the time being, at least.
At 6-2, the playoffs seem like a lock for the Raiders this year — that’s no small feat, considering the team hasn’t made the postseason since 2002 — but there’s an undercurrent to the near-ubiquitous conversation: no one knows if this team has what it takes to go deep in those playoffs. They’re going to get something resembling an answer Sunday night, though, only a few feet away from Oracle Arena.