“NBA Finals–Real Teams”
They tip it off on Thursday…the two best in the NBA..
A team of stars, Golden State against an individual star in Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard.
The Warriors back for their 5th straight finals, searching to actually get the respect of being a dynasty, in the tradition we used to honor greatness, the old Lakers and the Red Auerbach-Celtics.
So where does Golden State fit in?
Even the superb run San Antonio had during the David Robinson-Tim Duncan eras was never equated to Jerry West-Elgin Baylor-or Showtime. Not equal to Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen and the Bulls. Surely not the same of the teams led by KC-Sam-the Jones Boys, Bill Russell or even the Larry Bird-Dave Cowens era in Boston.
The quality of the NBA has dropped off greatly. Oh there’s no doubt about the skill level of the individual young phenolm of the game, from James Harden thru Giannis Antetokoumpo. But what is lacking is the concept of great teams.
It’s all offense most every night, not much defense. It becomes a game of highlife reel individuality but not much beyond that.
Some of it attributed to the quality of the young guns coming out of college. Some of it to be blamed on the NCAA’s 1-and-done rule, that allows individual skill to oversee completeness of the player.
But this series will be different.
As explosive and dynamic at Golden State is, it’s a team built on sharing the ball among Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and the unsung contributions of bruisers like Draymond Green and Andre Iguodola.
They can score, they can light you up, they can run and they can shoot from the next area code. But they also rebound, play gritty defense, and get everyone involved.
In Toronto, the super stardom that Kawhi Leonard has evolved into, is a credit to his amazing work ethic, his fanaticism to practice and become a complete player. He might be the best player at both ends of the NBA court these days.
What he has become on the offensive end is stunning, considering he showed no signs of that being a wing player forward at San Diego State. His 3-point shooting is superb. His ability to beat people with his dribble-drive is greater than we ever saw here. And his culture and quickness in learning how to defend players of all skill level, is a credit to his basketball intellect.
And as good as his stats are, he is not afraid to give up the ball to the supporting cast, who have helped Toronto get to where they never went before. The NBA finals.
Lots of NBA teams are disappointments, noting the Lakers-LeBron failure in every which way.
Lots of teams are floundering, see the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns.
Lots of NBA games are unwatchable; anyone watch a Sacramento-Washington game ever?
Lots of teams seem to be forever down, unable to come back, like the Bulls and Miami.
A bunch of teams just don’t have enough quality around good players, like in Portland and Utah.
But starting Thursday, this will be worth watching, not just the superstars, but the team work.
Golden State-vs-Toronto….Warriors-vs-Raptors…..The City-vs-True North.
NBA Finals…finally real ‘teams’ playing for the championship.