Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors who last night defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 to win their second NBA championship in the last 3 years. Kevin Durant won the NBA Finals MVP, becoming the first player since Shaq in 2001 to score 30 or more points in the first 5 games on an NBA Finals. Steph Curry also finished up a fantastic Finals run, nearly averaging a triple double. LeBron James, on the other hand, actually did average a triple double for the Finals, becoming the first player to ever do so over the course of a Finals series.
For the final Let’s Talk of this NBA series, here are some of the talking points your fans will be talking about going into the offseason.
1. Is this Warriors team the greatest team of all time?
This is certainly one of the most successful 3 year runs of any team. They finished the playoffs with a record best 16-1 record overall and sandwiched 2 NBA titles around a record setting 73 regular season wins last year. They have 2 former league MVPs about to hit their prime, and the favorite for this year’s Defensive Player of the Year. So yeah, people are going to be debating it. Some of the other teams in the debate are the 96 Bulls, the 86 Celtics, and the 87 Lakers. Maybe some of those old time Bill Russell led Celtics teams are included too. Anyways, ask your fan what they think. They’ve probably got an opinion.
2. Kevin Durant’s decision
With his first NBA Finals win, and an NBA Finals MVP, it seems like Durant’s decision last year to join an already historically great NBA team has paid off. And the fact that in a series of MVPs, he was the best player on the floor has put him into the discussion for best player in the league and also dampened some of the talk that he took the easy way out for his title.
3. LeBron’s legacy
A victory over the Warriors this year would have probably made the LeBron vs. Jordan debate for greatest of all time an actual debate. As it is, he will have to settle for being universally regarded as the second greatest of all time for the time being.
4. The Warriors offseason
The question now turns to what the Warriors will do this offseason. Steph Curry is due for a massive pay raise, which is a no-brainer obviously. The real question will be what does Kevin Durant do with his contract. He will presumably opt out of his current contract in order to get a well-deserved raise, but how much of a raise he takes will determine how much of the team the Warriors will be able to resign. Essentially, if he wants the maximum amount of money he can sign for, the Warriors will have to let 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala and key bench player Shaun Livingston go, for starters. Unless, of course, they are both willing to sign for the minimum. However, if KD agrees to re-sign using something called his mini Bird rights, he’ll make about $3 million dollars less for next year, but the Warriors will be able to re-sign both Iguodala and Livingston for however much money it takes.
5. The Cavs offseason
The Cavs competed hard during the Finals, but realistically seems like they need to make some changes if they want to come back and beat the Warriors next year. Sure, things can happen like injuries or what not, but it’s hard to see the Cavs beating them next year if both teams are at full strength given their current roster. Sadly, the Cavs don’t have any obvious good ways to improve their roster as they don’t any salary cap space to bring in new players. They will be relegated to trying to sign aging veterans who want a shot at a championship to the veteran’s minimum. It will be interesting to see if they explore trading Kevin Love for someone who would allow for the Cavs to match up better with the Warriors next year. A Kevin Love for Paul George trade has been rumored, and would certainly qualify as one such move.
6. The rest of the NBA’s offseason
With the rest of the league clearly a tier below the Cavs and Warriors, it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the league deals with it this offseason. The Celtics are in a position where they could make some moves and compete with the Cavs, but are also in a position to be patient and build their team to take advantage of when the Cavs start to get older in a couple seasons (or LeBron leaves). The Spurs were easily the second-best team in the West this year and could make some moves that might put them in position to challenge the Warriors next year. For example, it has been rumored that perennial All-Star Chris Paul is giving them serious consideration.
Anyways, thanks for joining us this year for our Finals coverage. I hope this has helped you talk to your NBA fan the last couple of weeks!
Image: Courtesy of aol.com