Why GSW Will Win The Next 2 NBA Championships, Guaranteed
Sports |  Source: L. Smith, San Francisco Chronicle

Why GSW Will Win The Next 2 NBA Championships, Guaranteed

It isn't far fetched by any means.

Let me just start by stating some facts:

  • LeBron James had an absolutely incredible performance during this year's final - he averaged a triple-double. Still, the Cavaliers weren't even close to winning the series.
  • Kevin Durant is arguably the second greatest player in the league right now and will only continue to get better (Kawhi Leonard comes very close).
  • The Warriors core 4 (Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green) are all in their prime and will be for the next 2+ years.
  • The Western Conference is much tougher than the Eastern Conference. Even so, no other team in the West can truly compete with the Warriors in a 7 Game series.
  • The Eastern Conference just went from weak to even weaker with all the recent trades (although there have been some pretty solid draft pickups).

Let's be honest here. There is no current team that can genuinely compete with the Warriors. While the league as a whole is getting much stronger, the Warriors are at their highest level. In fact, they haven't even reached their true potential yet. Kevin Durant had a tremendous season this year but he's been on the Warriors for only a year. Team chemistry only improves over time and I am sure that KD's performance for the 2018 season will even be better than last years (I know, it's crazy). Curry has proven that he can perform well in the finals and Draymond will facilitate the ball and continue being the foundation of the team.

The Doubters: "Oh, but what about Klay? Klay doesn't like it with the Warriors because KD has taken his spotlight!"

Uhhh, I don't think so. Klay knows his role. His role is to make the other team design plays to contain him. Because if you allow Klay to get hot and get in his shooting rhythm, it's over.

Klay is a winner and he wants to continue winning. In fact, Klay played an underrated yet incredibly important role for this year's finals - DEFENSE. You got to give credit where its due. Kyrie went off but he had to work, and he had to work hard. And when you work real hard, you get tired.

The dominance of the Warriors has completely changed the landscape of the NBA. You can't just play smart basketball and expect to win (look what happened to the Spurs). Now, you need to play smart basketball and also have multiple all-star caliber players to even think of winning a championship. Teams across the league are trying to create their own super-teams to hopefully compete with the Warriors. Well, as of now, the Warriors have 4 future Hall of Famers in their starting lineup and it doesn't look like their performance will diminish for at least a minimum of two years.

Sorry guys, the facts are the facts. No team is going to beat the Warriors any time soon.

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Sports |  Source: info-europa.com

5 Things I Learned From the Western Conference Finals

So close yet so far away, OKC.

Well that was intense. Though the rematch in the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will probably be a good series, like the Rolling Stones at the T.A.M.I Show (ask your parents), it has a tough act to follow. The Oklahoma City Thunder pushed the champs to the edge of the cliff, only for Golden State to get off the mat and push the Thunder over the edge. Here are five points that stood out in the series.

5. Steph can get hot, but Klay gets supernova.
There is a reason why Klay Thompson was the only shooting guard to be named to an All-NBA team, even over last year's MVP runner up James Harden. We forget with all the Steph Curry highlights that it was Klay that scored 37 points in a quarter last year and it was Klay whose playoff record 11 three pointers in Game 6 pushed the Warriors back from the brink of elimination. It's time to stop looking at Curry and Thompson as Batman and Robin and more like Batman and Superman.

4. Basketball players need to start thinking about wearing cups against Golden State.
Cups are uncomfortable. I stopped wearing a cup as soon as it stopped being required. I never wore a cup for my high school baseball team. Still, the two painful times I took a ball to the balls tempted me to go into the basement and pull out my old protector. For any team going against Golden State, just remember that a little discomfort is worth the ability to procreate in the future.

3. Back to the Future: OKC wishes it had a time machine.
This team should be in the Finals. They have two of the best five players in the league, a young but proven coach, the runner up for sixth man, and one of the most athletic rosters in the league. Yet, their point guard looks more like Kobe than Stockton and they do not have the ability to constantly hit the three-point shot in a three-point shooting league, putting them a decade behind everyone. If the year was 2006, I don't doubt this team would dominate the game. But it's 2016. Our President is black and our MVP is unanimous. Those are the breaks.

2. The Clippers are the best matchup against the Warriors.
To beat the Golden State Warriors, you need to have a team that can match them athletically, shoot enough threes to keep themselves in the game, and be able to close out in the fourth. The only team that does all three in the West is the second most popular team in Los Angeles. A healthy Los Angeles Clipper team has the players and coaching that gives them a perfect matchup against the Splash Brothers.

1. The East is DC. The West is Marvel
Aside from the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, there has not been a great DC movie since the turn of the century, while Marvel movies have been graded on the scale of really good to really great. The Conference Finals illustrate this point to a tee. The second best team in the East was not even close to the level of Cleveland, while the West is dominated by four different teams and has at least six more that can hold their own against the big four. The best of each make a great head-to-head, but there is a clear divide in quality between the conferences.

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Sports |  Source: nba.com

All's Quiet at the Finals

There were no fireworks to be had in Game 1.

The opening game of the Finals proceeded as if it was a midseason contest, not the start of a series that features the sport's ultimate prize. Warrior's coach Steve Kerr felt the indifference. When asked how he could spark his team he responded, "Remind them it's June" during his courtside interview. Remind them he did.

The role players showed respect for Kerr's wrath and it was reflected in buckets. Barbosa's magic potion was in full effect tonight as he pitched in with 11 points. The max money version of Harrison Barnes came to play notching double digits in the scoring column. The Cavaliers were once again acquainted with Iguodala's soon to be patented swipe block.

Quick question, what are the odds on Shaun Livingston winning the Finals MVP? The answer is a rather resounding Not Available for most venues. After his performance in Game 1, expect that to change. It felt like every single of his 20 points came off a lackadaisical (in appearance only) pull-up.

The Dub's big three weren't the forefront tonight. Draymond Green was a presence again after ghosting through the last series. His shenanigans are one thing that carried over from the conference semifinals with a nice bicycle kick to Kyrie Irving early in the fourth.

The splash brothers took a backseat to the role players, scoring the fewest combined points during any game this season with just 20 on 8-for-27 shooting. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be back, but it was nice to see some wily vets shoulder the burden to take home the victory.

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Sports |  Source: gannett-cdn.com

What If The Warriors And Cavs Don't Meet In The Finals

What the Finals could look like.

It is almost universally accepted that the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors will meet each other for the third straight year in the NBA Finals. They have yet to lose a game yet this postseason, even when playing without valuable players because of injury. Hell, Golden State is winning even without their head coach!

That being said, the two teams still make up only 33 percent of the remaining NBA teams in the playoffs. Let's look at what the NBA Finals could look like if Cleveland and Golden State don't face off again.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Aside from Golden State and Cleveland, this is the best series we could get and the one that could go seven games. Even without Tony Parker, the Spurs' depth and history against LeBron in the Finals prevents me from calling them underdogs and Cleveland's dominance so far prevents me from calling them underdogs.

With a gun to my head, I'll say Cavs in seven, but this is definitely a coin flip series, just like the Warriors/Cavs.

Golden State Warriors vs. Washington Wizards
This is not a coin flip series. This is a lion vs. baby series.

Forget the best of seven standard, Warriors in three games. Adam Silver will make a mercy rule just to end this series.

Combine a scoring team like Golden State with a defensively challenged team like Washington in what we've seen this postseason, it'll be bad, sad, and we'll be glad once it's over.

Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics
Boston really should have gone after Paul George or Jimmy Butler this past February. Maybe then, they'll have a much better chance in this match-up.

But a 5-foot-9 point guard cannot be the best player on a championship team, especially when squaring up against a team like Golden State. Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green will all exhaust Isiah Thomas, and their size will force him to take longer, contested jumpers. Boston might take a game at home, but no more than one.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Washington Wizards
Out of all the teams, Washington would be the weakest, lacking experiences, depth, and multiple scorers. However, John Wall at times plays like a smarter Russell Westbrook, combining his athleticism with intelligent decision making at the point guard position.

But if this match up appears in June, it'll probably go to five games with San Antonio winning their first non-Tim Duncan title. Even without Tony Parker at the point, there is a reason San Antonio might be the only team in the West that could beat the Warriors and the Cavs in seven games. More experience, a better (and younger) roster than in previous seasons, and a top three player in Kawhi Leonard.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Boston Celtics
This would be the most fun, non Cavs/Warriors series. Boston was the top team in the Eastern Conference in the regular season and has a MVP point guard in Isiah Thomas who has become the sympathetic hero in the postseason. Boston also has players in Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley whose play and personality seem perfect for the spotlight.

Still, this series would come down to six or seven games, and I go to experience and overall talent in long series, giving the Texans the edge.

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Sports |  Source: youtube.com

Another Superteam Could Be Brewing In The NBA

Two of the NBA's top players just became free agents.

Los Angeles Clippers' point guard Chris Paul and power forward Blake Griffin have notified the team that they will opt out of their contracts and not pick up their player options, thus becoming free agents on Saturday, July 1st. While the Clippers themselves never got further than the second round of the NBA playoffs with these two players, the impact of these two players becoming free agents stretches far beyond the well-being of the Clippers as a franchise.

In fact, it could actually change the complexion of the entire league.

The NBA has been known for its predictability as of late, with the superteam Golden State Warriors of the Western Conference meeting the Cleveland Cavaliers of the Eastern Conference in the past three NBA Finals matchups, with the Warriors winning the championship twice. But what if the NBA had more legitimate threats to win the championship, even if it means sacrificing half decent teams?

That is just what Chris Paul and Blake Griffin could do. The Clippers have been a well-above average team for sure, but they've never been true title contenders, and without those two players, they may not even be a playoff team. But instead of the Clippers being simply above average, Paul and Griffin have the potential to give one team a legitimate chance at matching up with the Warriors, a team that no one can seem to beat anymore, if they go to the same team.

Even though the Warriors have lost just one game, Game 4 of the NBA Finals, since February when Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green were all in the rotation, Paul and Griffin going to this particular team could totally change the league. Those two players going to this particular team isn't a far-fetched idea either.

In fact, this team is all set to pursue not only Paul and Griffin, but Atlanta Hawks' power forward Paul Millsap and Toronto Raptors' point guard Kyle Lowry among others as well. The team? The Houston Rockets, a team that is already among the NBA's best.

Even without Paul and Griffin, the Rockets finished one seed and four games higher in the standings than the Clippers did. They had the second ranked scoring offense in the league behind only the Warriors with 10 players averaging 9.1 points per game or more despite only one of those players, MVP finalist shooting guard James Harden, averaging more than 16.2 points per game with an average of 29.1.

Paul and Griffin averaged 18.1 and 21.6 points per game, respectively, so they could essentially turn a team that Harden has carried on his back into a "Big Three" that is loaded with depth, including two of the three Sixth Man of the Year award finalists even now with shooting guards Eric Gordon and Lou Williams. You'd be looking at not only one of the best starting rotations in the NBA, but one of the league's deepest teams that quite possibly contains all three Sixth Man of the Year award finalists.

If that team wouldn't give the Warriors a run for their money, I'm not quite sure what team could. If Chris Paul and Blake Griffin stay together and sign with the Houston Rockets, the currently predictable NBA could become a decent bit more unpredictable.

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Sports |  Source: oregonlive.com

Western Conference Finals: Legacies on the Line

The winners, the losers, and everyone in between.

Monday night's win for the Warriors will have serious fallout for a number of NBA faces. With legacies on the line, lets check out some of our winners and losers.

Winners
73-9
The record is safe for a few more days. In fact this comeback could be a winning card for the 2016 Warriors in "greatest team ever" bar arguments for decades to come. The warriors still need to win the finals to ensure that unofficial asterisk never ends up next to their record.

The Splash Brothers
The MVP silenced haters tonight with a rock solid 31 points. The early series struggles will be forgotten or chalked up to lingering injury when the history books are written. The big winner here is Klay. Curry maintained his status quo, but Klay's ceiling gained another couple of floors. The splash brothers used to be Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Now they look like Magic Johnson and Kareem.

Draymond Green
Draymond started pretty close to the loser column in this one. The nut shots and takedowns gained more attention than his play in this series. Green has a rare opportunity to save face by impressing in the Finals. Even if he never plays another minute of professional basketball, his second career as a wrestling heel should pay the bills. In fact, Steven Adams should go along with it. This idea smells like money.

LeBron and the NBA
LeBron gets another run at the Warriors. This is great, but the better storyline is that LeBron now has the chance to end the Warriors' run as the greatest team ever and add to his legacy. Even a loss in the Finals looks better against the Warriors (record holders) than from the hands of OKC. The NBA also gets a nice storyline and bigger markets to exploit for the finals.

Losers
KD and Russ
It's a shame that depending on how this offseason shakes out, we may remember this dynamic duo as the odd couple who never came together.

Rather than the moments like this

The Thunder
OKC's feel good run transformed into a cringe worthy failure that may leave permanent scars. It's too early to tell, but this sour taste of defeat could be the final straw that leads to Westbrook and Kevin Durant to leaving in in their upcoming free agencies. For a small market team, that could prove detrimental for years to come.

The Spurs
The Spurs looked were about to save face after a short playoff runs, thanks to the rise of the Thunder. After OKC's collapse, San Antonio has fewer excuses and their age problems seem even more glaring.

The Thunder gave fans an entertaining semifinals, and their sacrifice will not be forgotten. However, now it's time to focus on the Finals. The Warriors and Cavaliers know this is what it's all about. Both teams have some serious storylines to fulfill, and with only one trophy that can do so. Should make for a pretty good show.