The 2016-17 NBA regular season wrapped up roughly 12 years ago, the playoffs finished about 137 days ago and now finally the Finals are about to begin. That’s how long it feels since the start of the season when the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers started their inevitable path towards meeting each other in the Finals for the third straight time. I’m writing this with a very specific audience in mind and that is to you, the non basketball watching person who is reading this right now. Maybe you haven’t watched a single game this season, or the last season, or the season before that. Maybe you don’t know anything about basketball other than “Michael Jordan”. Maybe you don’t even know that, the point is if you have any interest in being a witness to a major historical event, you should watch this Finals series.
The Golden State Warriors
The first reason you should watch is because the Warriors are good. Very good. There has never been a team like the Steph Curry led Golden State Warriors. Period.
Watching this team is watching the most exciting, most joyful, most selfless, intense, and most perfectly thought of team in the history of basketball. The Warriors pretty much changed the way basketball is played. Their team is so good that it changed the SIZE of players that are in the NBA now. The Warriors are a deep team with a bench of players that understand their role on the team and execute it perfectly. Most importantly though, the Warriors have 4 of the best players in the NBA right now including two of the historically best shooters in the history of the NBA. Stephen Curry who is the point guard and leader of the team, a two time MVP(most valuable player) of the league can make a shot from pretty much anywhere on the floor. He handles the ball better than almost anyone and is a great passer. Klay Thompson the starting shooting guard (and occasional toaster starer) on the team is also an exceptional shooter and can get radioactively hot where he can drop anywhere from 41-60 points in a single game. Actually Klay only needs 3 quarters to score 60 points. Aside from these two juggernauts the Warriors also have a defensive all star who can light it up offensively and lift the entire team emotionally in Draymond Green. Draymond can guard pretty much anyone, he’ll block a dunk, make a three and hype up the crowd in a span of one possession. Led by these three guys the Warriors were so good last year that they won an NBA record 73 wins, that’s the most all time. More than any other team ever. The Warriors only got better though, sure their record this year wasn’t better but they did add another player who is easily within the top 15 players in the NBA right now, Kevin Durant. Durant is the 2014 MVP, and was the all star who for years kept the Oklahoma City Thunder relevant. He is one of the most prolific scorers in the league and is a physical freak at 7 feet tall who can move and dribble the ball better than any player of his size. Imagine having statistically the best team of all time and adding one of the top 15 players in the NBA to it, that’s the Golden State Warriors.
The Cleveland Cavaliers
What if one of the smartest players to ever play the game could build a team pretty much exactly like he wanted? That team would be the 2016-17 Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James made this team, LeBron James pretty much coaches this team, LeBron James runs this team. James is this era’s most dominant player. He’s lead his team to the finals 7 straight times, and 8 times in total. He’s the most physically dominant player on the floor any time he’s on it and he’s incredibly unselfish with the ball. He prides himself not in being a leading scorer but in making those around him better, and he’s been carrying teams since he was about 16 years old. He’s this era’s Michael Jordan. The Cavaliers also have Kyrie Irving at point guard who is one of the most exciting young players around. He can handle the ball almost like a wizard, and makes the ugliest most impossible looking difficult shots easily. Irving can take over games and has, in fact he’s the record holder for most points in a playoff game for the Cavaliers. Rounding out Cleveland’s “big 3” is Kevin Love who is an exceptional offensive weapon and is a monster rebounder on offense. Lebron, Kyrie, and Kevin Love can all take over games. Add to the big three JR Smith who is a good shooter who can get hot, and Tristan Thompson who has been called “demoralizing” by opponents due to his offensive rebounding and defensive skills, Kyle Korver who is the best “white guy shooting threes” of the current era, and a serviceable bench, and this year’s version of the Cavaliers is better than the version that won the title last year.
Like I mentioned earlier these two teams have been on a collision course for each other since the beginning of the season. There’s never been two teams that have met in the finals three times in a row. There’s never been a team as talented as the Warriors, and there’s never been a player as talented as LeBron James. This is the rubber match for the two teams that have defined the “teens” of the 21st century(sadly no one will remember Dirk and the Mavericks winning in 2011) and the winning this Finals series could very well cement the narrative of both of these teams and the players involved for the rest of their careers. For Stephen Curry it’s a chance to prove he is REALLY worthy of being the only unanimous MVP of all time. For Kevin Durant it’s a chance to finally win a championship and start to come out of LeBron James’ shadow. For the Warriors it’s a chance to come up big after losing the finals despite having the best record in the history of the league. For the Cavaliers it’s a chance to win despite being underdogs from the moment Kevin Durant joined the Warriors at the end of last season. For LeBron James it’s a chance to undoubtedly take the crown from Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all time. This will be basketball in its highest form and no matter what we see, it’ll be historic. Watch these finals.