The 2017 NBA Finals is over with the Golden State Warriors as the 2017 NBA Champions. There’s some things I noticed. Check it out!
2017 NBA Champions – Golden State Warriors
Golden State was Too Much Even for LeBron
The Warriors were too much even for LeBron. The King had no answer for a team that had acquired yet another Top 5 player in Kevin Durant. Last season, LeBron’s will was too much for the Warriors because they didn’t have Kevin Durant.
In 2016, Steph Curry couldn’t match LeBron’s will by himself. It was impossible. The King singlehandedly pushed his troops to an NBA Championship victory because he wanted to bring one to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. That’s how great of a player LeBron is.
KD just wanted to win one for himself. That’s how great of a player Durant is. Personal motivation, at first, is the single cause for any great athlete. Heck, it’s the single cause for great writers, painters, politicians (if they exist!), cooks, mothers, fathers, etc.
Don’t let anybody fool you. Through individual greatness comes collective greatness. All the best athletes know this.
How good was Durant in this series? He scored over 30 points in every single game. His two best games were Game 1, when he set the tone for the entire series, and Game 5, when he closed the door on the Cavaliers. Durant’s stat line in Game 1 was 38 points, 9 boards, and 8 assists. In Game 5, his stat line was 39, 7 boards, and 5 assists.
Steph wasn’t great enough to get past LeBron by himself in 2016. LeBron wasn’t great enough to get past KD and Steph by himself in 2017.
Parity is Dead in the NBA
Remember when David Stern attempted to create parity by disallowing the Lakers from acquiring Chris Paul? Impossible.
Parity is dead in the NBA. When it came down to it, 2 teams dominated. The Cavs dominated in the East. The Warriors dominated in the West. Cleveland was just getting warmed up while Boston won home court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
The Cavaliers were in no danger of losing to Boston ala Boston losing to the Detroit Pistons in the late 1980’s. Cleveland decided to take it easy up until the playoffs where they ransacked every team in their wake.
Golden State? They were crowned the 2017 NBA Champions the moment they signed Kevin Durant. Vegas set the odds on the Warriors at a ridiculously low -125 before the season started. That’s crazy. Think about it. -125 and not a single game of an 82-regular season has been played yet? That’s as massive of a favorite as you’re going to find in Sin City.
Personally, I thought the Warriors were underlays before the season began. It didn’t seem possible that Durant and Golden State could traverse an entire NBA Season, all 82 games, unscathed. I also, unbelievably, thought that Durant might not play defense while with the Warriors.
I was wrong. Golden State’s defense held opponents to 43.5% from the field. The Warriors’ opponents shot 32.4% from three. The Warriors’ offense averaged 115.9 points per game. It shot 49.5% from the field. What happens when you outshoot your opponents from the field in every game? You win almost all your games.
A Few More Words on Parity in the NBA
Parity has never existed in the NBA. The Minneapolis Lakers won 4 of the first 5 NBA Championships from 1950 to 1955. Ever heard of the Fort Wayne Pistons? They won the NBA Championship in 1955 and 1956.
Let’s not forget the Lakers and Celtics in the 1980’s. Or, the Lakers in the early 2000’s. The magnificent Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan ruled the entire 1990’s. There’s never been parity in the NBA, ever.
Yes, I’m aware that the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Championship in 2011. But unlike NHL where a back-to-back winner is rare, back-to-back winners in the NBA happens all the time. For every 2011 Mavericks team, or 1951 Rochester Royals, there’s an MJ led Bulls, a Magic led Lakers, a Larry led Celtics, or, now, a Steph and KD led Warriors.
Parity’s never existed in the NBA. Part of the hard court professional league’s charm is watching how many championships the great teams can win.
Who’s Getting Paid?
After every Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, or NBA Finals, there’s someone who’s getting paid. After becoming the 2017 NBA Champions, the person getting paid is, no doubt, Kevin Durant. Durant signed a 2-year, over $54 million contract. The Warriors should pay him whatever he wants. Heck, Durant might take a pay cut to stay with the Warriors. Where else is he going to have as much fun playing basketball?
Another person who should get paid is Warriors’ assistant coach Mike Brown. Brown is the perfect NBA coach. Before getting into why, we must understand that without great players, no coach has success on the hard court. It doesn’t matter whether you’re coaching at the college level, the high school level, or the pro level.
You need great players to be successful in the NBA. The reason is simple. Like baseball and soccer, basketball is a game we start playing when we’re kids. Football isn’t a game many Americans start playing until high school.
Plus, strategy is different in football. There’s aren’t as many solo acts in football as they are in basketball and baseball.
Brown’s the perfect NBA coach because he understands what to do with NBA stars. You won’t win an NBA Championship unless you’ve got an NBA star. That’s the nature of the league. Brown knew that what he needed to do was direct the Warriors’ motivation while Steve Kerr recovered from back surgery.
He didn’t need to motivate. He just needed to direct already existing motivation. Direct he did. Don’t believe for a moment that Brown didn’t direct some of that motivation towards the Warriors playing amazing defense throughout the NBA Finals.
If I’m the Houston Rockets, I’m talking to Mike D’Antoni about Brown’s ability to motivate stars to play defense. Then, I’m talking about hiring Mike Brown. Defense might be the only thing Houston needs to turn the cement ceiling into a glass ceiling.
What happens to the Cavs and Warriors?
The Cleveland Cavaliers are ready for some changes. LeBron is ready for some changes. He might stay with Cleveland. I’m not sure he does because in its current state, the Cavaliers will never beat the Golden State Warriors. At least, the Cavs won’t beat the Warriors for the foreseeable future.
Not only that, but Boston is precariously close to becoming the best team in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have the number 1 pick in this coming NBA Draft. They can draft whomever they want, which gives them power.
If LeBron remains with Cleveland, I think they do what’s needed to become the anti-Warriors. What I mean by that, is Cleveland should slow the game down. They should go out and find a great big man ala Bill Cartwright. I’d even consider instituting a triangle offense.
Running everything through LeBron won’t be a problem. Kyrie is impossible to keep from scoring when he runs off screens. Love, when allowed to settle on the blocks is almost impossible to stop as well.
The only way to beat Golden State is to do the opposite of what they do. You can’t fight fire with fire in the NBA. You must show a contrast to beat a team like Golden State.
For Golden State, they must do nothing. If Steve Kerr wants to retire, no worries. Promote Brown. Talk to your stars and let them know that they’re never going to find the same situation with any team ever in their lives.
If the Warriors can keep Steph and KD together, who knows how many championships they can win? Golden State is so good that if nobody else in the NBA makes any changes, 4, maybe, even 6 golden statues in a row isn’t out of the question.
That’s how dominant the Golden State Warriors are.