This could be the most compelling NBA Finals in recent history. It certainly sets up that way. Look at the components and you’ve got more storylines than a desperate pool reporter at a SUPER BOWL Media Day. The ARMY of King James advancing westward to finally acquire the one parcel they have not owned. Standing between them and the GRAIL they so desperately desire? Only the anointed one, Stephen Curry, who seems to many, to have already snatched the torch and set up shop in the office of the NBA’s very best player and the most talented aggregate of players since the San Antonio Spurs of the late 90’s. Deep, smart and athletic as anyone could want this Warriors team can excel in so many facets of the game that they win when not running on “all pistons” simply because the ones are functioning to their expectations and limits are just that much more efficient and lethal than anywhere else in the National Basketball Association.
The Finals have though seemingly gone the way of the World Series and Super Bowl. It has become such a big show that the games seem tertiary to the spectacle around them….it seems that just as in Major League Baseball, the conference finals have become the battles to survive and you can almost see the two teams exhale when they accomplish their trip to the Finals.
Like it or not if you’re LeBron James and you’ve now been in the NBA Finals 6 consecutive years, win or lose, how much damage can a loss do to his legacy…..there are always going be people like me who will pile on simply any reason but NOTHING he can do will change that. We just don’t, for a myriad of reasons like LeBron James. He could fly to Mars and back we all would still have something critical to say.
Having said all of that, flip the script.
The Warrriors come into these 2016 NBA FINALS with a mandate to win. We’ve all listened (me with total disbelief) and watched as the regular season became a marchilto “all time” greatness ceremony for Curry as his team obliterated opponents with what is simply, the deepest, most talented roster in the league. After rebounding from a seemingly fatal 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals, are they emotionally prepared to hit the reset button against a healthier Cavaliers team then they’ve ever faced off against? A Cleveland squad that is most definitely on a crusade to cap and validate the return of their basketball child and savior. Do the Warriors have to win to avoid having their historic 73 win season invalidated and used as an asterisk and a tavern joke? What becomes of their legacy and is this record breaking season forever tarnished beyond repair is the question? I believe that answer is yes, yes and of course they have to win. Problem is? I don’t think they have the gas and if the Cavaliers get a split at Golden State this series is in over in 5……either way, I believe the Cavaliers win a game 7 leaving the Warriors damaged but respected for their fortitude under fire. LeBron wins. Cleveland dances. #Finally
P.S. Congratulations to my Philadelphia 76ers on the acquisition of the #1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA DRAFT. Don’t do anything silly. You have picks 1 and then both 24 and 26…..don’t screw it up. Take Ben Simmons. Combine those two late picks and move up if necessary to grab Thon Maker. Finally, the next “fan” who suggests signing Derozan to a max deal of 107 million dollars I promise you’re getting the West Philly Lariat and a BrainBuster. You’ve been warned.
THE KING HAS SPOKEN…OF MT. AIRY THAT IS.
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Just before Thanksgiving, I want to give one big sports rant and say what I’m thinking on this blog before you enjoy your turkey and stuffing.
Ladies and gentlemen,
THE A-TRAIN RANT 10.0!
- Jameis Winston should be the Heisman Trophy winner regardless of the outcome on if he’s charged with sexual assault. A.J. McCarron is good The Heisman Trophy award is for accomplishments done ON THE FIELD, not off of it. Now, I can see a person saying something like…”Well, what about Pete Rose?” Pete Rose STILL SHOULD NOT be in the Hall Of Fame. Why? Because the dirt he did was in baseball and during baseball. I hope this doesn’t become a race issue. I hope not.
- As much as I dislike Kobe Bryant, he put some truth on his social media followers about his “selfishness.” I hate to say it, but he’s the most loyal athlete. One team…17 seasons (although injured this season). He was right about the billions that the front office receives more than the players/athletes receive. Everybody wants a piece of the pie. Remember that. EVERYONE! He really is trying to be better than Jordan though, something about passing him in scoring is all he wants to do. He got the rings, MVPs, what else does he need to do?
- Chicago Bulls DO NOT NEED to tank for Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins…I wish people would stop saying that. Even if they did, the chances of them getting one of those guys are 1 in 4. Don’t believe me, look up the 2008 NBA Draft or check out the 1993 NBA Draft, and then read the 1985 NBA Draft when this whole lottery crap got started. Damn ping-pong balls. That’s why I hate David Stern. Come on February 1st (Stern’s last day as commissioner).
- LeBron James, as much as I dislike him too, should not go back to Cleveland. Anderson Varejao needs to shut his trap. What for? The fans dissed him, burned his jerseys and now they so desperate to win again, they want him back. If I’m LeBron, I’d tell ’em, “Kiss my ass. I love Miami.” Hypocrites.
- Alex Rodriguez is a jerk and I love it. The reason for that is because the good guy image (he’s been bad before this) in front of the camera is going south. From him going crazy in judicial hearings to him speaking out Mike Francesa’s radio show…where have you been crazy A-Rod? Let the madness continue. Trust me, it will. Definitely before 2014 spring training.
- After seeing some Monday Night Football and seeing Robert Griffin III get decimated by the 49ers…it’s still not a clear indicator that he should be the guy for the Redskins. Usually with 2nd year QBs, they get a 3rd year to indicate that. Same goes for Russell Wilson (even though he’s winning), Andrew Luck, and I’ll even be nice and say Brandon Weeden. The hell with that, Weeden stinks. Even on a good team, his best would be a backup role. Don’t like it, take it to the judge.
- Speaking of 1st-round QBs, Sam Bradford as a franchise QB has me wondering for the life of me…do the Rams really want to put their chips in him or find another potential franchise player but in a different round. I know it’s his 4th season and this was supposed to be THE YEAR for him. He got hurt against Carolina and ended all the dreams. Kellen Clemens is definitely NOT the answer but over the past couple of weeks has been solid enough to get quality wins. Still pissed about that Seattle game though, it was a clear game-changing moment wasted.
- The Missouri Tigers could be the greatest underdog to make the national championship. Yes, I understand they have a test this week in Texas A&M and a much bigger test in Alabama (if they make it to the SEC championship). We’ll see what happens come Saturday.
- I can’t see why Lee Smith and Jack Morris are NOT in the Hall of Fame. They were by far the most dominant at their positions in the 1980s and early ’90s (closer and starter, respectively). What is the problem here? Next year’s class will have Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine headlining the class for sure. Lee Smith had 478 saves in his career and Morris had 254 wins in his career. But guys like Bruce Sutter and Jim Palmer are in the Hall of Fame. Sutter had 300 saves but Palmer had more wins than Morris at 268. WHAT IS THE FIGURE TO MAKE THE HALL OF FAME? I don’t get it.
- Jason Kidd should have never been a head coach in the NBA.
- What the hell is a clean tackle in the NFL? I’ll leave it at that.
After all of this, my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims that were lost in the construction of the new stadium being built for the 2014 World Cup of soccer.
Even though it wasn’t the biggest shock of that night…it still is worthy to note that two Missouri players were drafted in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. BIG UPS to guards Kim English and Marcus Denmon, as both were selected in the second round. English was chosen as the 44th pick by the Detroit Pistons. Denmon was chosen 59th by the San Antonio Spurs.
English should be a good fit for the Pistons, I think he can be a great role player turned to an eventual starter. Remembering how he came off terrible in his junior season, he (for the most part) redeemed himself in his senior season averaging close to 15 points/game and knocking down 46% of his 3-point shots. If he is able to create his own shot, he will have a great future in this league, even if it doesn’t work out in Detroit. The last Mizzou player to be selected by Detroit was Rickey Paulding back in 2004 when Paulding was selected 54th by the Pistons.
Denmon, on the other hand could be like Ben Gordon of the Charlotte Bobcats. The former 1st teamer of the Big 12, averaged close to 18 points and 5 rebounds a night for Mizzou in his senior season. It may be tougher for Denmon to make the squad as San Antonio that’s crowded with shooters like Stephen Jackson, Danny Green, Gary Neal, Matt Bonner and super reserve Manu GINOBLI!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (In my Charles Barkley voice).
My hope is that both Mizzou players can make their respective rosters and be dynamic players in the NBA.