To quote famous, former pro wrestler, Ric Flair, “If you don’t like it, learn to love it.”
That quote couldn’t be more applicable to the Golden State Warriors, who just completed the sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night to win the NBA championship for a second straight year and a third time in the last four years. Some people like it, while a lot of others despise it.
This dynasty does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon as the core of this team, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all still relatively young. The eldest of the foursome is Curry, who is 30. Durant is 29 and Thompson and Green are both 28.
It will be quite pricy to keep this core in-tact, but owner Joe Lacob won’t mind spending money to ensure his nucleus stays together and continues to win championships.
Durant was named Finals MVP for the second time in as many years. He was sensational against the Cavs, even if he was critiqued after his Game 1 performance (he scored 26 points, but was not much of a factor in the fourth quarter.) He finished the series averaging 28.7, 10.7 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game. He exploded for 43 points and 13 rebounds in Game 3, to essentially put the series on ice. In the clinching game Friday night, Durant finished with a triple-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He shot 53% from the floor, 41% from three-point land and 96% from the free throw line.
The MVP Award could have been given to Curry, but a dud of a performance in Game 3. In that game, Curry finished with 11 points on 3-16 shooting, including 1-10 from deep. This is a game after he set a Finals record by knocking down nine triples. He led the way in Friday night’s series ender by going off for 37 points, hitting seven threes, giving him 22 for the series, the most in a four-game playoff series.
The voting for MVP was a close one with Durant edging out Curry 7-4. Regardless of who received the trophy, both players are glad to be champions yet again.
Klay Thompson averaged 16 points for the Finals and shot nearly 50 percent from the floor (24-50) and 43% from deep (12-28). Draymond Green averaged 9.3 points, 8.5 assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block and a half per game. These two will be key components to the success of this franchise. This offseason, Lacob plans to offer contract extensions in order to keep the two in the Bay Area. They don’t have to sign, and could test the free agent waters after next season, but Lacob is at least going to offer.
The bench, which has been key to the Warriors success over the last four seasons, was a bit shaky during the regular and postseason. In the Finals, Shaun Livingston, JaVale McGee and Jordan Bell played well and the trio combined to shoot 39-49. McGee even started a couple games and took advantage when his number was called. Andre Iguodala, last year’s Finals MVP, missed six games in a row with a leg injury, but he was able to play in Games 3 and 4 of the Finals, scoring 19 total points in two games.
The biggest obstacle head coach Steve Kerr had to navigate his team past was themselves. At different points throughout the season, the team seemed lethargic and without energy and it felt like a chore for them to show up on certain nights. This drew the question of whether or not Kerr could press the right buttons and get his team to play the way everyone has grown accustomed too. Well, Kerr showed why he is the best coach for this team and the team responded with a third title in four years.
This offseason, the focal point will be where LeBron James decides to play basketball next year and beyond. He has a player option and it’s likely he won’t exercise and will leave Cleveland yet again. This will have a domino effect on the league, as teams will try and figure out how to blueprint a team that can dethrone the Warriors, especially if they have a legitimate shot at landing James.
For Golden State, Lacob will focus on how to get this team better than it already is. He has said he wants to offer Thompson and Green and continue to build through the draft, a specialty of this team. If all goes according to plan, this team will continue to win championships and the dynasty will continue to grow stronger than ever.