NBA Finals Lacking Drama
Although both NBA Finals teams took circuitous routes to their destination, they are predictably here for the fourth consecutive year. The Golden State Warriors battled a series of injuries and sheer boredom that caused them to lose the Western Conference top seed to the Houston Rockets. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers did NOT appear to be a shoo in for a return engagement with the Warriors. Near mid season trade deadline, the Cavs were struggling with a roster that was going nowhere fast.
In a series of moves, the Cavs made a deal with the Lakers that sent Larry Nance Jr., and Jordan Clarkson to Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and their own protected first-round draft pick next season. Then, Cleveland sent Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to Utah and Iman Shumpert to Sacramento in a three-team trade that brought back George Hill and Rodney Hood. The Jazz then would release Rose to give him a chance to sign with a playoff contender. Finally, they unloaded Dwyane Wade back to Miami for a protected second-round pick.The Cavs proceeded to end up fourth in the Western Conference after seemingly being out the playoff picture before their mid season makeover.
Fast forward to the finals. Golden State has home court advantage by having a better record than Cleveland. Also, the Warriors have four all stars – Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The decided underdog Cavaliers have the best player on the planet – LeBron James. The odds are definitely stacked against the Cavs in winning the series let alone winning a game.
The chance to steal a win and home court advantage went by the wayside when Cavs’ shooting guard JR Smith thinking the team had the won the game when it was actually tied, tried to run out the clock after getting a rebound with 4.7 left on the clock. That error may be the tipping point not only for the series but also for James remaining a Cleveland Cavalier. He is a free agent with rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers are the prime contenders for his services.
Each location has their positive points. Los Angeles can sign two free agents, e.g. Paul George and James, and have a young nucleus to get the Lakers back to relevance. Plus, James has a home in Los Angeles, where his post-basketball career in the entertainment career is well underway with several ongoing projects. Houston has point guard Chris Paul – a “banana boat friend” ( Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony are the other two) – lobbying him to come to Houston, where the State of Texas has no state income taxes. Finally, the 76ers has probably the best core of young talent in the league led by Ben Simmons and Joel Embid whom led their team to the playoffs after a long absence.
The drama in what team will win the NBA finals is simply not there despite James’s herculean efforts. His supporting cast does not pass muster for what it takes to compete against a dynastic team of all stars. Hence, James knows there are greener pastures for him He already has brought Cleveland a title that gives him a pass to leave “The Land.” The drama that should be in the finals is in the off season in waiting on LeBron to make his Decision Part III.