Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Inevitable Outcome

Here we are. I didn't write much this season. It all seemed so inevitable at the start of the season that we would end up with a Warriors Cavaliers final and sure enough it came to fruition. Was the season boring? Certainly if knowing the end of a story ahead of time bothers you. Some shows or stories surprise you and that's great and other stories are just great stories told well regardless of whether they are predictable. Which kind of story was this season? There were about 25 minutes this season in which a third straight finals between Golden State and Cleveland was in question. And then Zaza Pachulia's big foot and questionable tactics put any chance of a team stopping the Warriors in the rear view mirror. Was it a dirty play by Zaza? Definitely. Does that make him a dirty player? Not necessarily. I don't think he had any intention of hurting Kawhi but the move he made to slide under him on that jump shot was totally excessive. Was this payback for years of Bruce Bowen's questionable defense?
If there was any doubt how good a player Kawhi is then those doubts were clearly put to rest. The Spurs were probably not going to win that series anyway, but they went into that series with a plan and they executed that plan and when Kawhi went down for good their entire team was deflated and exposed for their lack of talent. I love Jonathon Simmons but when he's your best player you're in a lot of trouble. When David Lee getting hurt matters you've got a major talent deficit. For the future of the Spurs I am hoping that Aldridge was nursing some sort of injury because not only did he look old and slow but his mid-range jump shot, once one of the most effective shots in the game, never felt like it was going to go in the basket.
I happen to love basketball so I still enjoyed the season, but it is not a good thing when you cannot picture a scenario that doesn't end in a repeat finals. Yes, the Warriors are great and greatness should be celebrated but it kind of sucks that a team can have the greatest regular season in history and then add the second best player in the game to their roster. Not only did this stack the deck for Golden State but it eliminated the team that was their greatest rival to make the finals from contention. Teams not named Cleveland and Golden State need to start thinking long term. I know things can change fast in sports due to injury and salary caps but the Warriors have a bunch more prime basketball years in them.
This brings me to my prediction. I will be very surprised if Golden State doesn't win in five games or so. I don't really see anything but Mike Brown coming between them and the championship but really this team doesn't need that much coaching at this point. I wouldn't be totally shocked if Cleveland pulled off an upset though. They do have Lebron James who is still clearly the best player in the world. Kyrie looks like he is potentially poised to make the leap and Kevin Love is finally looking like the Kevin Love of Minnesota that Cleveland thought they were getting. But unless those two play out of their minds and all the various role players step up and play well (Deron Williams, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson etc...) Golden State is just overwhelmingly talented. Cleveland had to get a bit lucky last year in order to win and even so it was so close a series. And then you throw Kevin Durant in the mix and it just seems preordained. Let's hope for an upset and settle for a competitive series but I'm afraid this series may be neither.

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