And allow me to crow, at the start of the semifinals series between Golden State and Houston in the West and the Cleveland-Boston match-up in the East, I turned to my sometimes-it-works-most-of-the-times-it-does-not-work crystal ball, now seldomly used, and picked the Warriors and the Cavaliers to advance again to the finals, and they did.
Then at the start of the finals, I boldly predicted that the Warriors will win its third NBA crown in the last four years in five games or less, and it too came to pass. Actually, the question at the start of the finals was not who will win as the Warriors were the hands down pick. The question was whether it would be a sweep or not.
By now, everyone has seen how the finals series was, that except for the first game that many thought the Cavs could have won, the next three games went as predicted — the Warriors winning and hardly pressured going into the third and final quarters where their offense just goes up to the next level and the Cavs’ defense becomes theoretical and not actual.
It was evident too that the wear and tear of carrying the Cavs on his back game after game had taken its toll on Lebron James that in Game 4, he was not playing at his usual level already, physically exhausted and perhaps mentally admitting that his team just could not match up with the Warriors on a man to man comparison. Right from the first quarter, it was obvious to me that it was going to be a sweep that even when the Cavs tied and even led briefly in the game, the consistency of the Warriors was just unmatchable on both ends of the court.
In an interview after Game 3, Lebron admitted that with a team like the Warriors, who not only had the talents necessary but complemented it with the character of champion players, the margin of error playing against them should be very slim. You make an error, the Warriors make you pay, he said.
I see the Warriors as one of the best offensive teams ever in the NBA with the trio of Kevin Durant, now back-to-back MVP in the finals, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson just alternating at the hoop. Then you add the all around game of Draymond Green, the defense and offense, too, of one time finals MVP Andre Iguodala and a working bench like Shaun Livingston, Javale McGee and Nick Young, among others. In fact, with the players mostly in their late 20’s, the team can create its own dynasty.
But let us go to the unanswered question. Lebron will become a free agent by next month and definitely, a player of his proven caliber — eight straight finals — will not want for takers, that is, if he opts to become a free agent. He has admitted he has not decided on anything yet except for his desire to win more NBA titles, and for that to happen again in Cleveland, the team has to revamp to be able to match up with the Warriors, not to mention all the other NBA teams who will be tinkering with their own lineups.
And more than anything else, Lebron want to play for a team that can win a crown. The money is a given for this guy, not to say that Cleveland can make a very good offer financially, even up to $200M, while other teams being mentioned as possible takers for Lebron are the Lakers, 76ers and the Rockets.
Believe me, now that the finals are over, the questions will now revolve around who will be playing for what teams in the NBA.