So we’re down to the finals and it’s time to say goodbye to two teams.
Toronto (Lost 4-2 to Cleveland). Toronto surprised the heck out of me and a lot of NBA watchers. For them to go this far and push Cleveland this hard tells me that this is a team on the rise.
In this draft first round, Toronto holds two picks (#9 and #27). Yet another reason for optimism – flexibility in the draft if they so desire.
After the draft, they have to address free agency, where they are committed to $69 mil against the cap ($23 mil remaining). Bismack Biyombo, he of the breakout series, is the only consequential member of the team going into free agency, though DeMar DeRozan is going into his final year with a player option and Toronto will have to work to lock him up for the future. So they have some key decisions to make this Summer.
While Basketball is pretty much ranked #3 in Toronto to hockey and baseball, I think the fans up there are gonna have a lot to cheer about in the future on the hardwood, and that only helps the NBA brand.
Oklahoma City (Lost 4-3 to Golden State). The question rages, is Golden State better or did OKC choke? There will be those who wanna blast OKC for Game Six and that would be fair, but can I just say that for OKC to get as far as they did considering all the distractions, injuries, and rookie head coach that they should be commended.
OKC doesn’t have a pick in the first round of the draft, but their priorities are elsewhere.
OKC is committed to $66 mil in contracts, and that’s without Kevin Durant. OKC is facing a major challenge here. Do they pay Durant and go over the luxury tax? But if they do, they can’t go out and get anybody else. And then there’s the end of next season when Westbrook’s contract expires…
And here’s the bigger problem for small market OKC, it would seem that everybody and their brother wants to move Kevin Durant. Stephen A. Smith desperately wants him in a Laker uniform. Many talking heads are begging for him to come to Boston, and still others are thinking Washington or Miami for various reasons. It will be the same for Westbrook next June.
I know the NBA can’t stop it, but the media is in and of itself tampering with players, and to the OKC franchise and it’s fans, that’s not fair. But then again, when has fair ever come into the equation in terms of big time sports?
NBA Finals. Well, to the surprise of almost no one, here we are again, the same place we were last June with a Cleveland/Golden State final. The fact is that Golden State should be sitting at home scheduling tee times right now, and the only reason they aren’t is because they woke up just in time in Game 6.
Let’s leave it at this – Golden State’s ego is writing checks their heroics eventually won’t be able to cash. OKC exposed them to their weakness, rebounding and inability to check a player driving to the rim. Golden State needs much more from Bogut, and I actually am beginning to wonder if Curry isn’t as healthy as we are being led to believe.
There is one other weakness that Cleveland can exploit – officiating. Golden State for some reason gets taken out of their game when they don’t think it’s going right, particularly Draymond Green, and remember, he’s close to earning a suspension, his lack of restraint could also have an effect on this series.
Golden State might have homecourt advantage and a ton of people picking them, but I give Cleveland more than a punchers chance in this one – you just know that LBJ’s eyes got WIDE OPEN when he was watching the Western finals. You’d best believe that Cleveland is gonna go hard to the rim and get Green in foul trouble, and while GSW makes the adjustments to that, Kevin Love is gonna be sitting on the 3 point line throwing em up and in. One more big being taken out of the paint is only gonna make that rebounding issue even worse.
I’m gonna go with Cleveland in Six and will say that two games will come down to officiating controversies.