In anticipation of tonight’s NBA Finals tip-off, One-Bid Wonders’ Noah Perkins and I’m Sorry Mark Jackson’s Quinten Rosborough sat down and chopped it up to preview the Finals.
Noah Perkins, One-Bid Wonders – Pick: Golden State
Thirty-one years ago, in a club rumpus, David Thompson, the ‘Skywalker’, remembered in NBA lore a rung just below icon, was thrown down a flight of stairs at Studio 54. Of course, by 1984 Studio 54 had transitioned from Warhol and coke to Ron Jeremy and, well, lesser quality coke; explaining why one of the biggest fiends in NBA history might have been there in the first place. The knee injury effectively ended Thompson’s career, which had already bottomed out long before.
In the 50 years since Wilt Chamberlin popularized NBA players getting after it at the club, Thompson’s assault is the closest parallel to the NYPD beating of Thabo Sefolosha this past April.
To recap, Sefolosha suffered a leg fracture while out late in Manhattan, ending his season and any hopes that the Atlanta Hawks had of besting the Cavs. Without Thabo’s elite perimeter defense, Lebron was unchecked and could, in the words of Conan, “crush his enemies – see them driven before him and hear the lamentation of their women.”
Given police brutality rates and the general quality of New York City law enforcement, it was only a matter of time before a professional basketball playing Swiss national with no criminal record was flogged by cops at an active crime scene while not being suspected of any wrong doing.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert owes former mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg an eclectic floral arraignment for their impact on the current state of the NYC police department.
Coming from the Eastern Conference, and playing a weakened Hawks team, Cleveland’s path to the finals couldn’t have been made any easier.
Not that it matters. The odds of the Warriors losing the series are somewhere around Iman Shumpert winning a Grammy, Stephen Baldwin winning an Oscar and Roger Clinton winning a presidential election.
Simply put it’s not going to happen.
Golden State is the most complete team since the 96 Bulls. Over the course of Steph Curry’s lifetime maybe five teams have been better – Only definitively The ‘03 Spurs, ‘01 Lakers, and ‘96 Bulls.
The Warriors play the league’s best offense, and most efficient defense. They volume score without match, close out games and have depth not seen since before the merger. The team is deep enough to be afforded the luxury of having Brandon Rush and David Lee on the end of the bench. Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingtson, Festus Ezeli, Mo Speights and Leandro Barbosa make up a second unit capable of beating up on many teams starting five.
The Warriors’ all-to-often unheralded defense is anchored by an elite post defender (Andrew Bogut) an elite perimeter defender (Iggy) and Draymond Green, the runner up for Defensive Player of the Year.
Green is perhaps among the seven or eight most valuable components of any team in the NBA. Golden State only allows 97 points per 100 possessions when Draymond is on the floor. Not surprisingly, he closed the season near the top of the VORP (Value over replacement player) rankings, finishing the year as the second best screen-and-roll defender in the league.
Lest we forget about Bogut, the association’s second most highly rated post defender and rim protector.
Should I even talk about Steph Curry’s historic 3- point shooting?
In the year 2000, Reggie Miller set the previous playoff record with 58 threes made. Steph is on pace to nearly double that. For the full scope of how insane Curry has been – compare his performance in this year’s postseason to playoff snipers from around the basketball universe over the past 30 years:
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State (2015)
Projected threes hit: 103
Threes hit per game: 4.9
Shooting Percentage: 43.7%
2. Reggie Miller, Indiana Pacers (2000)
Threes hit: 58
Threes hit per game: 2.6
Shooting Percentage: 39.5%
NCAA Division I
1. Glen Rice, Michigan (1989)
Threes hit: 27
Threes hit per game: 4.5
Shooting Percentage: 55.1%
2. Freddie Banks, UNLV (1987)
Threes hit: 26
Threes hit per game: 5.2
Shooting Percentage: 40%
Liga ACB (Top league Spain)
1. Mark Simpson (1992)
Threes hit: 42
Threes hit per game: 3
Shooting Percentage: 50.6%
2. Jordi Villacampa (1993)
Threes Hit: 40
Threes hit per game: 2.5
Shooting Percentage: 44.9%
1. Juan Carlos Navarro, FC Barcelona Regal (2013)
Threes hit: 23
Threes hit per game: 3.29
Shooting Percentage: 41.8%
2. Sergio Llull, Real Madrid (2013)
Threes hit: 18
Threes hit per game: 3.6
Shooting Percentage: 56.3%
I’d mention Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes but I’m worried about pulling a Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller.
The bottom line is this: The Cavs just don’t match up well with the Warriors. Golden State scores too much, takes away dribble penetration, makes you settle for bad shots and locks down the paint.
No disrespect to LeBron, but King James isn’t a good enough jump shooter to win this on his own.
Kevin Love is out, Kyrie Irving is hurt and J.R. Smith, the guy with the Yelawolf, ‘I knowingly or maybe (benefit of the doubt) unknowingly spread VD’ vibe, is their third option. Things are bleak enough that the team is talking about activating Anderson Varejao (dude hasn’t played a single game this entire season).
Who do you go to if LeBron can’t get going and J.R. is cold? Timofey Mozgov? Iman Shumpert with Klay Thompson defending him? What about defensively, who do you put on Steph? On Klay? Matthew Delevadova? How does David Blatt get the Smash Brothers out of rhythm?
It’s not like we haven’t already seen a supporting-cast-less Lebron fall in the finals before.
Warriors in six, winter is coming!
Quentin Rosborough, I’m Sorry Mark Jackson – Pick: Cleveland
First and foremost, I take offense to your bestowing of the nickname “The Smash Brothers” to an NBA duo that is not at least 50% Earl James “You Trying to Get the Pipe” Smith. He’s earned that title.
Second, and erm… secondmost, yes the Golden State Warriors are good, damn good, and having finally faced a real playoff test in the James Harden’s Houston Rockets, are primed to establish themselves as one of the greatest teams in NBA History. Steph Curry has become everyone’s favorite player, Draymond Green has become everyone’s favorite trash-talker, and Klay Thompson, well…looks alot like Ben Savage.
Lets be real here. The Warriors look unstoppable, as they have all season, and I can’t blame anyone for thinking they’ll make light work of the Cavs on their way to one of the greatest playoff records of all time. But you know which other Warriors looked unstoppable? The Eden Hall Varsity Warriors. And we all know how that turned out.
Look, I’m not saying that the Bash Brothers are going to come out at halftime or anything, but stranger things have happened.
Like the Eden Hall Junior Varsity ducks however, LeBron James will be attempting to do the impossible against improbable odds; he is their Charlie Conway, David Blatt is their Gordon Bombay, and Matthew Dellavedova is their Greg Goldberg, metaphorically speaking that is. All I’m saying is it is not entirely outside of the the realm of the possibility that the Cavaliers shock the warriors and win LeBron James his third title in five years, and force the Warriors into a much-deserved name change.
Over-extended metaphors aside, the Warriors have a real problem they’ll need to address if they want to beat the Cavaliers, and his name is Harrison Barnes. Barnes can not guard LeBron James, particularly once LeBron decides to start operating in the post (which he most certainly will given that he’s ice cold from about everywhere else during the playoffs)
This leaves Steve Kerr in quite the the coaching conundrum then, once LeBron starts to take advantage of Harrison Barnes in the post, what does he do to slow him down? The smart money goes against the Warriors choosing to double team, because that will just lead to open 3s. The more likely option would be switching Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Draymond Green onto him, which would slow LeBron down to a certain extent, but would also make Barnes responsible for keeping Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson off the offensive glass, which as we’ve seen in the playoffs thus far, is quite the challenge. He’s averaging 11 boards per game over his last 10 appearances, and if he can put up those numbers against Pau Gasol and Paul Milsap, just imagine what he’ll do to the 209 lb Barnes.
For the first time in this years playoffs, the Golden State Warriors are going to find themselves on the wrong end of a mismatch; a mismatch that could just cost them a championship. Cavs in 6. Quack Quack motherf****r.