SPANISH HARLEM – On the eve of the NBA Finals, I wanted to write about the two teams who will be matched up tonight. The Golden State Warriors will be making their 4th straight appearance and looking for their 3rd championships in a row. The Toronto Raptors will be making their first appearance ever in the NBA Finals and are hoping to win that elusive championship that everyone expects to go to the betting favorite, Warriors. It will be an interesting finals, to say the least, so let’s get started.
What a difference a year makes for this team. Last season this team lost to Lebron James for the third year in a row. For some reason, they could never beat James in a playoff series, it didn’t matter that the Raptors had the better team because every year Lebron was the obstacle they could never conquer. Dwayne Casey was fired the same year he would win the coach of the year award because the organization felt they needed a new voice. While it left many people shaking their heads, the front office made the unpopular move for the betterment of the team.
It sure did help to trade for Kawhi Leonard but even that in hindsight was a gamble. They traded away their most popular player in Demar DeRozan for a player that had sat out the whole season due to injuries and would not sign an extension. That took some cojones because they traded away one of the best players in franchise history for a one-year rental. Yet, here they are in the finals for the first time ever and it seems every gamble they took actually worked out for them. Regardless of what Leonard decides to do it paid off in a big way.
Golden State Warriors
The team to beat and the perennial favorite every year, the Warriors come into this series with some questions about Kevin Durant’s health and how they managed to win without their best player. Steph Curry is no slouch and he showed how important he can be as the focal point of their offense but no expected them to play with THAT good without Durant. While Curry is looking like MVP Curry, the Warriors haven’t missed a beat with many pundits believing they’re playing a better brand of basketball without their star. It’s been weird to hear people knock Durant because no matter how you look at it, he makes your team better just be being on the court.
I’m sure all of the anger still comes from people that hated when Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors and that’s truly not fair to him. As a Knicks fan, it may give him more reason to leave the Warriors so I’m happy that people are saying the Warriors don’t need him. Continue to say that he stagnates that offense and that the ball is shared more when he is out of the lineup. Chew him up and shit him out, anything that makes him want the leave, the better my is at landing him this off-season.