Anyone else tired of the LeBron versus Michael Jordan debate? Have people finally had their say regarding the NBA superteams and how these superteams ruin the league? (Never mind that two superteams led by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird saved the NBA in the 80’s.) Superteams BAD! BAD! And BAD and shame on you, Kevin Durant, for joining a team that actually shares the ball; therefore, making it fun to play basketball. You know you were supposed to stay in OKC and watch Russell Westbrook make bad decisions in the fourth quarter again and again, and as the playoff losses piled up, we fans could take pleasure in bashing you for not winning riiiiiiiiiiiingggggggggggs. Yes, it’s true other players could chase rings, a la Shaq, who ran off to one of the most charmed franchises in professional sports, the LA Lakers, but you Durant, oh no… not you…
Before things get really dark, cue the “happy soundtrack music”….
The NBA Finals start today.
Finally! All is right in the world now. (Not really, but you get the point.) The main event is about to start, so it’s time to predict the winner.
I want to pick the Golden State Warriors. I love their style of basketball. They almost always make the extra pass to make sure they get a quality look at the basket. Adding Kevin Durant should provide stability when the outside shooting goes cold, which is something they did not have last year. Draymond Green is an incredible all-around player. Maybe he stays on the court for all the games this year. Maybe Steph Curry will stay healthy.
Yes, one can easily make the case that the Warriors will win, but we know that playoff basketball is a different breed of basketball than the regular season version. Referees allow a more physical game; as a result, this hurts Golden State and favors the Cavaliers. For example, any time the Warriors run some sort of pick-and-roll with Curry, Cleveland will just counter with Tristan Thompson, who will forearm-shiv Curry across the court, reducing Curry’s offensive output. (It’s kind of hard to score the basketball when someone’s delivering body blows.) The Warriors are still a great basketball team even with Curry putting up average numbers, but they definitely aren’t as dangerous. Plus, best player in the game, LeBron James, happens to be one of the most physically gifted basketball players, ever. No one can guard him. In the past, Andre Igoudala could make things difficult for LeBron at times; however, Igoudala doesn’t look like the same player these days. Playing Green on LeBron is a risky option — we only have to look back to last year when LeBron was able to frustrate Draymond into a one game suspension. The Cavaliers can score more than enough points to keep up with Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green; especially, if Thompson continues to struggle with his offensive game.
Bench play: Slight edge to Cleveland – not a real difference maker, though.
Prediction: Go with the more physical team who can also score points. Cleveland 4-3.
(Logos created by Michael Tipton, CC-BY SA 2.0)
(Photos by Keith Allison, CC-BY SA 2.0)