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golden state warriors

2017 NBA Finals Snap Judgment

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals 129-120, for their second championship in three years. This series featured an amazing amount of star power, including three of the best players in the NBA. Several aspects of the NBA are affected by this outcome, and it may change how the future of the NBA will look.

Warriors: From the outside, this team looks as if they could stay together for a long time to run the West. However, there are only three contributing players that have guaranteed contracts next year: Draymond, Klay, and McCaw. Durant has a contract for next year, but there is a player option in which he could decline it. Curry is an unrestricted free agent and has the freedom to sign with anyone. While it would be surprising to see Curry or Durant go anywhere, expect to see several different role players on the 2017-2018 Warriors. Also, Steve Kerr’s health will be a big deciding factor whether or not he is the head coach next year.

Cavaliers: The Cavs, on the other handhave guaranteed contracts with 7 of 9 contributing players. They are locked into their core, much to do with Lebron’s influence on the front office. Barring a trade, which is very likely, the Cavs roster will look eerily similar, just one year older. Ty Lue seemed to be outmatched in the coaching battle in the Finals this year, so don’t be surprised if Lebron has a new coach for the 2017-2018 season.

Lebron: Lebron is now 3-5 in the Finals. He saved face by not getting swept, but all G.O.A.T. discussions have been stopped in their tracks. While this Finals outcome may not have hurt his legacy, it definitely did not help it. Lebron seemed nonchalant throughout a good portion of the Finals, almost as if he had given in that the Cavs were not going to win. He had great series stats (averaging a triple double), but actually watching him was frustrating at times. From not stopping the ball on Warriors’ fast breaks to taking covered 3s with plenty of time left on the shot clock so as to not exert energy for that play, Lebron seemed content with losing this series. He seemed almost giddy to welcome Durant back to the Finals before game one, and to wish Kerr well before game two. He really didn’t seem locked in, and that is an ominous look for Cavs fans when Lebron can exercise his own player option after next season.

Durant: Durant was the Finals MVP, and no one in their right mind would question that. He played an unbelievable series, on both sides of the ball. Did he join a 73 win team to get a ring? Yes, but he was also the best player on that team. Would it have been more impressive to win a championship in OKC? Yes, but KD did not back his way into this championship, he went out and took it. 16-1 in the playoffs is nothing to laugh at. KD  could exercise his player option, take less money, and allow the Warriors more cap flexibility to sign Steph and role players. He could also, however unlikely this may sound, exercise his player option to leave the Warriors. For now, KD will enjoy his championship and leave those decisions to July.

Steph: Steph still does not have a Finals MVP, but it is obvious he is as important a piece to these championship teams as anyone else, if not more. Steph is an unrestricted free agent, but him leaving the Warriors for another team would be one of the most surprising decisions in NBA history. He was drafted by the Warriors in 2009, and became the franchise player shortly thereafter. Steph is still the best shooter that has ever lived, but next on his list has to be a Finals MVP trophy.

NBA: The stacked class for this year’s Draft and the abundance of players available in free agency will change the look of the league, but Adam Silver better hope for more competition. While seeing the Warriors and Cavs duke it out for three straight Finals has been entertaining, fans may check out if the playoffs are foregone conclusions with no parity. The Cavs may not have been the number one seed, but going 12-1 in the East is nothing short of a snoozefest. Missing Kawhi for the West Finals hurt the competitiveness of the Spurs, but the Warriors were undefeated through the first 15 games of the playoffs.

The Golden State Social Justice Warriors

Less than one year from acquiring Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors have transitioned from a team that was almost impossible not to love, to a team that is almost impossible not to hate. Not because they are now becoming the ‘villains’ that superteam of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh became in Miami, but more so because they have become a group of whiny bit…babies.

Steph was the baby face of the league that every kid idolized, and now he would be more easily compared to an annoying little sibling that just learned how to tattle to mom and dad. Draymond was becoming one of the most unique and versatile players in the NBA, and now he grabs and kicks more male genitalia than a porn star during a weekend long filming. Steve Kerr was the genius coach who never had issues with any of his players, and now he is the ridiculous parent that believes their children can do no wrong. After listening to these three for more than a minute, one would start to believe that the entire universe is out to get the Warriors.

This annoyance has been building up since the tail end of the 2015-2016 season when Golden State was going for the record for most wins in a regular season. At that time, some of it was understandable from all of the daily pressure and the constant and inane questions from anyone and everyone. Where it really started to get out of control was when it seemed as if the Warriors thought that they could do no wrong, they were always right, and they should be treated special since they are the NBA’s hottest and most expensive ticket.

Neat the end of February after the All Star game, several Warriors start publicly complaining and borderline protesting for Shaq to stop making fun of JaVale McGee on his ‘Shaqtin a Fool’ bit. Kerr suggested that Shaq is picking on JaVale and making fun of him too much and it is negatively affecting JaVale. Seriously, watch this video and see if that sounds like a NBA coach talking about a NBA player, or, more like a parent in the principal’s office of an elementary school. JaVale McGee is a 29 year old man, if he wants Shaq to stop making fun of him for bonehead plays, he needs to stop playing as he is a six year old with ADHD in a church basketball league.

Less than two weeks later, the Warriors were in New York City for a game against the Knicks in which the home team was trying a new in game experience. The Knicks were going to have no in-game music or videos for the first half. Draymond called the experiment, “Pathetic”, “Ridiculous”, and “Disrespectful”. He also complained that it “changed the flow of the game”. I’m sorry Draymond, I forgot that the home team was supposed to make sure everything was hunky-dory for the visiting team. In no way should the home team ever use anything that could possibly create a, dare I say, home-court advantage. I think it was just last week that I went to go play basketball at the gym, but there was no pump up music as I brought the ball up the court or a kiss cam during long breaks. I was so appalled that I turned around and went right back home. Who do they think that I am, some degenerate that can just play a basketball without the sound of Mario collecting gold coins every time I hit a three? That honestly has to be one of the stupidest complaints I have ever heard from an athlete.

To round out the months of incessant crying, the Golden State Warriors are calling out the entire Oklahoma City Thunder organization for the way they handled Kevin Durant’s return to OKC on February 11, 2017. The Warriors were upset that their star player was “emotionally drained” after the game. They say the Thunder should have done more to ease tension before and during the game so that Durant would not have entered such a hostile environment. Really? The franchise player that an organization drafted leaves for the team that beat them in the playoffs and the Thunder are supposed to tell the fans to play nice? That’s insane! No organization or owner should act the way Dan Gilbert did when LeBron ‘took his talents to South Beach’, but they definitely do not owe former players warm welcomes when competing against them. Especially a player that did not even win a championship. The Thunder may have a warmer welcome for Durant a few years down the line, but the year after a franchise player leaves, do not expect the organization to be happy to see him coming through the doors with enemy colors on.

Kevin Durant may be the worst of all of them, constantly complaining about former players criticizing the current generation. Especially, when these players are being asked for their opinions by reporters, or are analysts themselves. This may come as a shock to KD, but even though millennials are used to getting participation trophies and being told they are the greatest thing that has ever happened to the world, that is not the job of an NBA analyst. While praise should be given out by anyone dissecting the game of basketball, so to should critique. Watching almost any sports program, it is obvious there is more positive than negative doled out from analysts, everyone wants to only focus on the negative. Maybe Kevin just wants to fit in as the new guy in town, and decides that since he has the largest media voice, he will defend everyone, no matter what, instead of looking at the situation and going back to his teammate with some constructive criticism.

All in all, the Warriors need to understand that they are just like any other team in the NBA. They are great players, great people, and extremely entertaining to watch play basketball, but hopefully the whining can decrease to a more manageable level. Pick your battles. “Disrespectful” may be an overstatement for, no music being played during the first half of a basketball. There is no special treatment, especially on the road, that the Warriors will receive for being a good. Perhaps Joe Lacob needs to invest in ‘safe spaces’ for the Warriors, so they do not get their feelings hurt on road trips.

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