What a series we just witnessed! The series we saw was quite entertaining, however the offensive talent level was much lower than in years past. Nonetheless, the Golden State Warriors are the new NBA Champions!
Although LeBron James was phenomenal in this series, averaging an historic 36 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists (approximately), he did not have the appropriate pieces around him to get the job done. Kevin Love going down in round one, and Kyrie Irving going down in game one hurt the Cavs much on the offensive, however not so much on the defensive. This was a different LeBron than we have seen before. His usage rate went through the roof as he was carrying this minimally talented team consisting of Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova. The fact that Lebron was able to win two games was a miracle in and of itself considering the players who surrounded him. Not to throw shade at Mozgov or Thompson because they are legitimate NBA starters, but J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova are reserves- and they certainly played like it. As we saw in game six, Lebron ran out of gas and gave up because he knew he couldn’t carry these bums past the sharpshooting Warriors.
It certainly didn’t help the injury-ridden Cavaliers that the MVP Steph Curry was on the other side of the ball. The play of Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Harrison Barnes was inconsistent. However, Andre Iguodala was the unsung hero of this series, at least until he was awarded finals MVP. Iggy is clearly the third best player on the Warriors besides the splash bros. He won the MVP not just because of what he did offensively, but because of his immaculate performance on the best player in the world. Lebron’s production dramatically changed when Iggy was covering him. He shot 38% while the Cavs were a -55 when he was on the court. When Iggy was off the court, the Cavs were a +30 while Lebron shot 44%. When Steve Kerr made the adjustment to put Iggy into the starting lineup, David Blatt left big man Mozgov in the game, daring Iggy to shoot from the perimeter- and he did so. He averaged a pedestrian 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists a game, but his impact was far more than pedestrian, and his consistency and indirect and direct impact allowed the Warriors to capture the title. Steph Curry was very good, but choked in game two and did not play well in game three until the 4th quarter, so this vote was based on consistent dominance, something only Iggy showed.
What does this mean for Lebron’s legacy? Well, if you scratch the surface, it looks like another finals loss for the King. But if you actually take the time to look at his stats, you’ll realize he had no help and willed his team to two games versus the best team in basketball- pretty unheard of. This series does not really propel him upward on the “top 10 players of all time” list, however it certainly does not drop him down. He played a great series and ran out of mental and physical gas against this deep, cohesive Warriors attack. Lebron will be back to the finals, maybe even against Golden State again next year- who knows?
Image via theguardian.com
About Me: I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).