Photo Credit: SB Nation
Over the past three seasons during which the NBA Finals matchup has been the same each season, with the Golden State having home court advantage out of the Western Conference against the Eastern Conference’s Cleveland Cavaliers, people have complained about a boring and predictable NBA. I recently touched on this subject with one key point to back up my argument that despite that predictability, the NBA really has been awesome.
That point was that we’ve had two great NBA Finals matchups prior to this season featuring the Warriors and the Cavaliers despite the predictability of the regular season, and the championship is what really matters. The Warriors won in 6 games in 2015, winning Game 6 on the road in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win Game 7 on Golden State’s home floor at Oracle Arena.
But both of those seasons were without one key piece to their 14-0 start in this year’s NBA playoffs and 2-0 start in this year’s NBA Finals. That piece was, is and will likely continue to be likely future Hall of Famer Kevin Durant, who the Warriors claimed in FREE AGENCY, not via trade, this past offseason.
I’m not a Warriors fan, but I’ve been openly rooting for them to win the championship over the past few seasons because I, unlike many, can appreciate greatness without spending all my waking hours bickering on social media trying to push an anti-greatness agenda that will never, ever work. So naturally, I’m enjoying the fact that they’re up 2-0 on the Cavaliers and in the process of getting redemption from last year’s epic collapse and currently quieting all of the haters. I’m not complaining about that whatsoever.
But most people would rather have a great competitive championship than one that is lopsided from the get-go, which this one has been with 22-point and 19-point wins by the Warriors in games 1 and 2, respectively. Sure, that may change, just as it did last season when the Warriors got up 2-0, but like I said, that key piece the Warriors added, Kevin Durant, has probably been the best player in the series thus far. So if you’ve been bashing the NBA for how predictable and boring it is, listen up.
Here’s the good part. Here’s why everyone who’s been complaining about how boring the NBA is should actually be rooting FOR a Golden State sweep and a perfect 16-0 NBA playoffs instead of against it. In 2011, a three-team trade that would have sent point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers to form a “super team” and give the Lakers a future much brighter than theirs currently appears was flat-out rejected by then-commissioner David Stern.
Yes, that’s a trade, and Durant was added in free agency. And yes, there’s currently a salary cap. But with how relatively little the Warriors’ stars are currently making compared to some of the other stars of the NBA, that salary cap didn’t matter much when they signed Durant this past offseason. With that trade having been rejected due to “basketball reasons“, is there absolutely no way to implement a rule similar to this in the future for free agency?
I’m not taking sides; I think Durant going to the Warriors was done in a fair and traditional manner and it should be respected as such. But millions of people out there who know and love the NBA will have to adjust to a new era of basketball because of how stacked the Warriors are and how stacked future teams could potentially be if players can just play for whichever team they want to play for.
The Cavaliers winning any games this series would show the NBA that there is still a sliver of parity, both among teams and conferences, and there would likely be no action taken by the NBA as a result of it. So if you REALLY want to get that point across about how boring the NBA is, you better make sure you root for the Warriors to sweep the Cavaliers in the coming days in blowout games. Otherwise, you better pray that the Cavaliers somehow come back to win the series, which they have just a 3% chance to do according to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who actually has been WAY wrong about the NBA Finals, World Series and Presidential Election all within the past year, to show that there really is still some parity in the NBA.