As I mentioned after Game 1, this series is without question already over so I am ready to wrap up my thoughts on the series and the NBA season as a whole.  Topics below in order include:

1. Congrats the Golden State Warriors
2. LeBron bashing needs to stop
3. Thanks to my Spurs for another fun season
4. KD needs to give OKC at least one more year
5. Dear Eastern conference, please show up next year
6. Happy Retirement Kobe

1. Congrats to the Golden State Warriors

People were questioning if the Warriors deserved last year’s NBA title all season because they did not have to face the full strength of Cleveland.  Well they sure as heck proved that they did and then some this season.  I have been rooting against them in the final two postseason series only because they won last year and I wanted to see Durant and Westbrook finally get a title or Lebron to get one for Cleveland mainly so people can shut up about denying the greatness status of these players because their lack of rings and/or finals record.  The Warriors were an exciting team to watch this season and here is why:  they play team basketball.  I am a big time fan of team over individual, hence me being lifetime Spurs fan.

2. LeBron bashing needs to stop

Soon to be 2-5 in his NBA finals career, everyone likes to say LeBron is overrated, or LeBron is not clutch because he can’t win in the NBA finals.  Sorry people, I have got some news for you, you are wrong.  LeBron could score 60 points a game the rest of this NBA finals and the Cavs would still lose.  Heck he could score 80 and they would still lose.  Why?  No one else on this team can step up on the big stage.  Yes a 2-5 NBA finals record is not ideal for a player at this caliber, but that does not take away from how good of a player he is.  The good ole “Well he had to go to Miami to even win titles” argument is getting really old too.  I never here people saying Shaq was not that good even though he won 4 NBA Titles, 3 Finals MVPs because he left Orlando to join the Lakers for 3 of them and then joined Dwayne Wade in Miami for the other.  Also no one gives Chris Bosh any crap for leaving Toronto to win titles, or Kevin Garnett leaving Minnesota to go to Boston, or while we are on the Boston topic, Ray Allen leaving Boston to join Miami for another ring.  My point is there are many players that go elsewhere to win titles, it’s what they do so give it a rest.

Additionally, look at the teams he has had to face when he made it to the NBA.  Of his five losses, two are to the San Antonio Spurs and the two are to the Golden State Warriors.  This loss will be to a Warriors team that will always be compared to the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls as the best teams ever, not to mention he was only 22 when he first took Cleveland to the finals against the Spurs when Duncan, Parker and Ginobli were all in their prime at the same time.  Yes, I do think they should have won against the Mavericks, but that is really the only real blemish that could count against his five NBA finals losses.

People like to make the Jordan comparison that oh Jordan went 6 for 6 in NBA finals, well here’s a stat for you:  Jordan played 15 seasons and made the NBA finals six times, LeBron has played 13 seasons and made the finals seven times.  If that needs clarification, LeBron has made the NBA finals more seasons than he has missed them.  I find that pretty impressive testament to his abilities than the fact that he will only be 2-5 in the NBA finals.  Even though the East has made it pretty easy for Cleveland the last two years, they have done their business and made the NBA finals without stumbling to the weaker teams.  It’s just unfortunate that the East has not been able to prepare Cleveland for the ridiculously stacked Western Conference these last few seasons.  LeBron is only 31 years old, I can’t imagine if he stays in Cleveland that he would finish his career anytime soon and definitely be going out without having won a title for Cleveland at some point.  They just need to somehow get the right pieces around him because basketball is a team sport.

Do I think this makes LeBron better than Michael Jordan, no absolutely not, I just don’t agree with the rings comparisons and finals record comparison.  By that argument every player on the Celtics in the 1960s that won more than 6 championships would be the best players of all time and the only player I can name that I know was on the Celtics back then was Bill Russell so clearly that is a flawed argument.  Championships are simply another means to compare greats, not a defining test on whether or not someone is great player.

3.  Thanks to my Spurs for another fun season

One of my favorite sayings comes from the NBA 2K video games:  “They say there’s three things you can count on in life:  death, taxes, and the San Antonio Spurs winning 50 games.”  Well they did it again this year for the 17th straight season, and they did it in dramatic fashion setting a franchise record of 67 wins and tying the best all-time home record at 40-1 at home this season.  I have been watching the Spurs since I learned what the NBA was back in 2001.  Somehow at the mere age of 8 I was able to see how great of a franchise the Spurs were becoming, just kidding it was all happen stance that I had three little books on Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and David Robinson and the admiral was the only one left playing at the time, thus my Spurs fandom began.  In all my years of watching the Spurs this was definitely the most exciting and I would say best Spurs team I have witnessed even though we fell short of a title because of the Thunder and Warriors were at their absolute best as well this season.

Being from Indiana I had never made it San Antonio for a game at the AT&T center.  It was something I always dreamed of doing before the end of the Duncan, Ginobli, and Parker era.  The best I could do was catch them in Indianapolis for a Pacers game back in 2014 in the midst of their franchise longest winning streak.  This March I was finally able to make it to San Antonio and this was definitely the season to go considering they were so dominate at home.  I was 99% certain I was going to see them win.  It was my first of what I hope to be many future trips to the AT&T center, but none will be as special as this first one in which I got to witness the best Spurs team in person (as an added bonus I got to see a fellow Hoosier, Noah Vonleh, play against them).

4.  KD needs to give OKC at least one more year

Kevin Durant should wait to test free agency and sign a one year contract with the OKC Thunder so Westbrook and Durant will be on the free agency market at the same time following this season.  There are multiple advantages to this, the first being that the Thunder were one win away from reaching the NBA Finals against arguably the best team the NBA has ever seen.  They may have the best chance of knocking off the Warriors in the West next season even assuming no drastic losses in personnel for either team.  I don’t see anywhere that Durant could go where he would have a better shot unless perhaps San Antonio or Cleveland which I think are pretty unlikely moves.

Another possible advantage is money.  I have no idea if Durant is out for the most money, loyal to OKC, or about going somewhere else to definitely win a title (Watch out for all those haters, or maybe you won’t get them since your name is not LeBron).  If he is somewhat interested in more money, a one year deal putting him and Westbrook on the market at the same time could potentially lead to more money available from OKC if Westbrook should decide to move on.  Or if Durant and Westbrook take any sort of lessons from my Spurs, they can coordinate taking less money to open up more cap space for the Thunder to bring in even better players to surround themselves with to even better their chances at winning a title in OKC.

5. Dear Eastern conference, please show up next year

It has been pretty clear the last two years that the Eastern Conference has been very, very diluted when it comes to championship caliber teams.  I will give them credit for sporting six teams in the playoffs that were only separated by four games, four of them having the same record.  This did make the first round of the postseason more exciting, but it was still very clear that Cleveland was going to dominate and no team in the East was going to be able to match the top three teams in the West.  Toronto did give Cleveland a run for their money at securing home court as well, but again, Cleveland made it clear that Toronto just was not quite ready to make an NBA finals.  If the East can get out of these rebuilding years for pretty much every team in the conference, we can at least begin to see some competitive NBA finals matchups again.

6. Happy Retirement Kobe

I really thought Kobe should have retired years ago instead of costing the Lakers big bucks to keep him around when they could have completed rebuilding long ago.  But he finally did retire and I wish him well in his retirement and do have to congratulate him on a very very impressive going out game with his 60 point performance.  Never saw that coming but can only hope to see that from Tim Duncan when he retires in a few years.

 

If you made it this far, please comment below with your thoughts on whether you agree/disagree or have thoughts of your own!

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