By Maury Jackson, For The African-American Athlete
Game 1 has concluded for the 2017 NBA Finals with a convincing, 113-91 victory by the Golden State Warriors over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors are now a perfect 13-0 in this year’s playoffs, and are averaging nearly 118 points per game.
However, it’s important not to take too much from Game 1, and this series is certainly far from over. Despite the numerous weapons on the Warriors, you can never count out the greatest player in the game on the other side, in LeBron James.
Win or lose, the Warriors are making the case for the best, most prolific team of all-time.
They are simply loaded. MVP and four-time scoring champ, Kevin Durant. Two-time MVP, Steph Curry. Draymond Green is a Defensive Player of the Year Candidate, and Klay Thompson is a player who’s dropped 60 points in 29 minutes, and 37 in a quarter.
Add Andre Iguodala, the versatile, athletic, former Finals’ MVP Iguodala, and starting-caliber guards Ian Clark and Shaun Livingston coming off the bench, and you have a power-house. And let’s not forget the contributions big man in Javale McGee down low.
The Warriors have what looks to be the perfect team: Coaching, balance, and blend of personalities make the Warriors’ front office look like masterminds.
Consider that last season they broke the Bulls’ regular season record victory record (73-9), despite coming up short due to the miraculous play of James and Kyrie Irving.
From that team they added Durant, who almost beat them in the Conference Finals the year prior. No matter what your feelings are towards the Golden State Warriors, they are making a case for the most talented team in NBA history.
The evolution of the game today is adding on to their dominance. Over the years big men have turned into stretch forwards for the most part. There are no unstoppable forces like Shaquille O’Neal in the paint. Now, the NBA is all about spacing the floor, and either getting to the rack, or kicking it out for 3s.
The perfect team needs nifty, quick ball handlers who can hit the 3. Curry, check. You need smart, reliable point guards who have the ability to score. Livingston and Clark, check. How about prolific 3-point shooting? The Splash Brothers, check. You also need versatile, athletic players. Iguodala and Green, Check. How about tough, hard-nosed big men who get the job done down low? McGee, Zaza Pachulia, and David West, check. And last but not least, a do-it all 6-11 forward, who is one of the most talented scorers in NBA history.
That would be Kevin Durant, check.
The Warriors are not only making the case for best offensive team ever, but best team in general. Their length, versatility, and athleticism have caused throughout these playoffs are off the charts.
In this new age of the NBA, they have perfected what is considered to be an unstoppable offense. If LeBron and the Cavs were to somehow find a way to overcome this all and defeat the Warriors, this could be the greatest feat in sports history.
What do they not have? Shooting, ball handling, passing, athleticism, defensive prowess, shot blocking, driving ability, and execution. The Warriors excel in each and every area. Would Jordan, and the ‘96 Bulls, be able to stop this many weapons?
Would Kobe and Shaq stand a chance to this Warriors team? Would Magic, Worthy, and Kareem be enough to defeat these 2017 Warriors? With a 140-24, the regular season record over the past two seasons, if they win the championship they will arguably be the most prolific team in NBA history.