Everyone continues to believe the Warriors will blow out the Cavaliers, they won’t
The long awaited three-peat of the Cavs-Warriors saga is finally here. The stars will align again Thursday for game one of the NBA Finals. We have had a week without basketball come Thursday, but we have already seen many popular faces start giving predictions and opinions as to how long the series will last. The bandwagon opinion right now is to call the Warriors in four or five games. “They had a 3–1 lead without Durant and Durant will be able to close out the series because he is great” — the boiled down, hypothetical Warrior opinion of the masses.
LeBron James will not go quietly. For the record, I was always taking the Cavs (in six or seven) but with all of the talk focusing on a potential sweep, my opinion on the series has grown.
Take Colin Cowherd’s take from May 30th and consider what he said. To paraphrase: If you draft the eight best players in this series, you would end up with four Warriors and four Cavaliers. LeBron, Durant, Curry, Kyrie, Thompson, Thompson, Green, Love. It is not as lopsided as people think.
Colin hit the nail on the head. If the Warriors are that great of a team, they should have four of the top five or six picks in that draft. The media has been hard-pressed to anoint Golden State champions because they love the prospect of the team ending up 16–0 this playoffs. That my friends, is not happening. LeBron and Kyrie will have signature games and will win one or two games at least. Factor in a Golden State right-side-of-the-barn game, and you have two or three.
Let us switch to the bench and start with the head guys. Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr, is not expected to coach game one and his availability for the series is in question. Mike Brown, who has filled in during these playoffs, is a decent coach but he does not have the impact of a Steve Kerr. Kerr gives Golden State an edge, a stabilizing force and the winning pedigree. Mike Brown does not provide the difference making ability on the sideline like Kerr. This means one thing, the Cavs now have the best player on the court and the better coach in Ty Lue for the series.
Bench play will be a huge difference maker by series end but coming into the series, we still would favor the Cavaliers. The Cavs can throw out the following plays who can catch fire or play lock down defense; Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and Richard Jefferson. The Warriors will have to bank on Matt Barnes, Ian Clark, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Patrick McCaw, and JAVALE MCGEE doing something in this series. Quick side note — I am a Wizards fan who always had to laugh at McGee’s incompetence because of what he was and now, somehow by the graces of the basketball gods, is doing magical things in spurts; yet all I can do still is laugh #AnyoneCanBeAGoodWarrior. In that match-up of benches, I will take the reliable bench scorers over the defense-laden Warrior bench. This NBA Finals will be not be a defensive juggernaut match-up where games end up with final scores in the 80’s and 90’s so players that give you valuable minutes off the bench must be able to supplement the scoring of the star players.
If somehow the Warriors are still winning in four or five games after the reasons above, the world will be hyper-reactive after the series. It won’t happen though. The Cavaliers will prove to be the toughest match-up yet for the Warriors this year and will win their second straight championship in six or seven games.
This post was originally posted on Medium.com/Section240 by John Amoroso on June 1st, 2017