NBA Finals Preview and Why I think Klay Thompson HATES Steph Curry
Klay and Steph
Lets start with Klay and Steph because its a theory I have come up with the last couple months now that every game is on TV and I can watch the Warriors play every night.
So here it is. Steph gets all the love all the shine and all the endorsements. Klay gets to guard the best player on the other team. If you watch them play together, it is like night and day. Steph runs around smiling, laughing, dancing, celebrating, having the kind of fun kids in toy stores do, and then pan over to where Klay is just standing there. Stephen Curry is the back to back league MVP. Steph has the ball in his hands for most of the possessions and he decides who shoots the ball. And many times he spends the entire shot clock dribbling around trying to get himself an open shot. And there is Klay, relying almost completely on someone, usually Steph, to get him the ball when he is open for a shot. I think Klay Thompson takes some of the most terrible shots of any player in the league. But he knows if he doesn't shoot he isn't going to see it again. So it goes up almost every time he touches it. And he is a hell of a shooter. Possibly the best pure shooter in the league, as evidenced by the fact that he outshot Curry in the three point contest. But, for the most part, he can't create his own shot, and therefore relies on Curry to get him the ball.
And now the worst part. He has to guard the best guard on the other team, while Curry is put on someone who isn't doing as much. So while Curry is resting on defense, saving his energy to put on a show on offense, Klay is forced to work his butt off on defense on every possession. And then they go down and Steph makes an amazing 3 and everyone goes crazy....and then its back to work for Klay.
And now lets talk off the court. Every single publication has Steph as the most marketable player in the NBA. He is good looking, disarming, and charming. And he is taking full advantage. He has his own shoe with Under Armour, and in addition to the money he is making with them, he owns a part of the company. And let me tell you Under Armour is on the rise. He has deals with State Farm, Degree, Chase bank, and many others. He is in the top 3 in NBA in money made off the court this year.
Want to know who Klay has endorsements with? Well first off he has his own shoe. Its with a company called ANTA, which is a Chinese company. And when he flew all the wat to China to see the unveiling of his shoe, he wasn't real excited. He also has endorsements with Body Armour sports drink, Shottracker, and a new sock company called Stance. Not quite the national brands that Steph is working with. And for a guy who is making good NBA money, is an all star, is an NBA champ, and is on a team where all they do is laugh and have fun, why does he always look like its no fun? Because in his head he thinks it should be him who is the star of the team, him who should be getting all the accolades, and most of all, because he hates that mother f---er Stephen Curry!
NBA Finals Preview
So before I talk about the match-ups and whatnot, lets talk about the loser. I mentioned this in my last blog but here it is again. For a basketball lover you want to see greatness, and greatness must fall short in this Finals. Lebron will lose or the Warriors will lose and the sheep of the world will utterly crush the loser. Scenario 1- Warriors Lose. If this happens they will never be seen as one of the greatest teams of all time, and they are. I have watched all the games and they have everything. They can play big, they can play small, they have depth, they play together and they defend. And if they lose, they will lose all the respect of the basketball world. Everyone will say, "See, we told you they weren't that good. They didn't even win the ring how can they be one of the best teams ever." And its hard to argue that point. But I believe they are that good, and if they lose 4 of 7 games to another really good team, I don't think that should ruin a two year run of amazing play. Scenario 2- Lebron loses. If Lebron loses he will be 2-5 in the Finals. Which is also 2 out of 7 which sounds worse. I would love to sidebar on how people say stats to make them sound better or worse based on their argument but it would take too long. And how could Lebron be better than Kobe or Jordan if he has lost so much in the Finals? Again, the sheep say he can't. They will put his numbers next to Jordan's and Kobe's and the only ones they will highlight will be the Finals records and wins. It won't talk about the teammates anyone had, it won't talk about the competition they played, it will just look at results. And one of these two scenarios has to happen. It can't just be two really good teams played each other and one won and one lost and let's just celebrate the winner. Its always lets dump on the loser.
But on to the preview.
Steph vs Kyrie- This is a massive advantage for the Warriors and even though Kryie seems to be more locked in on defense this year, he is still a liability and the kind of liability Steph seems to take advantage of. And even on ball screens, if he rushed back to Steph or fought hard through screens, he could stop a lot of the penetration which is what OKC did a great job of, but he isn't that type of player. He is gonna have to be good offensively to make Steph work on the defensive end because I actually think they will start Steph on him and Klay on JR Smith. But he can't try and go bucket for bucket with Steph, he isn't as good of a scorer. He needs to take his opportunities but make sure he gets his teammates involved.
Klay vs JR Smith- Another massive advantage for Golden State. JR Smith is the super poor-man's version, maybe homeless man's version of Klay Thompson. They do all the same things offensively except that Klay does them way better, and is an elite defender.
Lebron vs Harrison Barnes- Obviously a massive advantage for Cleveland and where they need to expose the Warriors. Lebron usually plays facilitator early and hopes to get his teammates going. I think he should get a couple hoops early, get the defense sucking into him, which will open up everyone else.
Kevin Love vs Draymond Green- This match-up may decide the series. Kevin Love is a horrible defender and can be inconsistent on the offensive end. I can see the Warriors putting him in a lot of ball screens to make him guard small guys on the perimeter. I also don't think he can stay in front of Draymond. I thought Dray was exposed by the Thunder. I think he is such an overrated player because all he does is play really really hard which is nice, but he is undersized and not a great shooter. So when he goes up against the Serge Ibaka's and Steven Adams' of the world, he gets exposed because he can't just out-hustle them and he doesn't have an advantage on them anywhere on the court. But its a different story against Love and I think he will be able to do whatever he wants and he will run around flexing like an idiot and hope people forget how average he looked in the last round. Kevin Love will need to work hard on defense and make some shots on the offensive end to counteract what Green will do to him.
Tristan Thompson vs Andrew Bogut- To me this is a wash but it will be interesting to see how they match up. Bogut is definitely bigger and stronger but struggles to finish and is really just a passer in the offense. Thompson is much smaller but moves better and is really active on the glass. Bogut is a good help defender which could open Thompson up for more offensive rebounding opportunities.
Bench- Big advantage to the Warriors and this is the other point where I think they take control of the series. They have guys like Igodala, Barbosa, Ezili, and Livingston coming off the bench who could easily start for other teams. The Cavs have Delavadova, Frye, Jefferson, and Shumpart. These guys are not starting anywhere and are barely on rosters. Lebron is going to have to play heavy minutes with them to keep them from being crushed during second unit play.
Coaching- I give a definite coaching advantage to Warriors. Lue is trying to do what the Warriors do, and it has worked to some degree, but the Warriors just do it better. I don't think he does a great job making adjustments in game or from game to game, but he hasn't had to a whole lot so far.
For the Warriors to win- Play their game and don't panic if they get behind. I noticed several times in the OKC series where when they got behind in the 4th quarter they started taking terrible quick shots. Everyone put it on themselves to make the shot to bring them back and start the rally and they didn't go in and they didn't have guys to rebound. And then the next possession the same thing, and the same thing. They play so free and loose that they haven't had to play any other way. So when things aren't going well, they take the same shots they would take in an open game. And those are the times they need to run offense and execute. And they need to expose the defensive weaknesses of the Cavs by putting them in pick and rolls every possession and letting their guards take advantage of the slow bigs on the Cavs.
For the Cavs to win- Obviously they are going to have to shoot the ball really well and Lebron is going to have to have a huge series. They also have to switch all screens and take their chances with their bigs on the guards and make sure they push out and contest the 3's. Steven Adams did a great job when he switched onto Curry and blocked his shot several times. He basically decided he wasn't going to let Steph shoot in this face and pushed out hoping he wouldn't drive. And most of the time he didn't and Adams was right there.
I don't think it will happen but I think the Cavs need to go small. This means moving Lebron to the 4 and not starting either Thompson or Love. I would say Love but that is a hard sell that the third member of your big 3 comes off the bench. So you start Shumpart on Barnes, start Lebron on Draymond Green, and now you can switch much more easily, you completely take away Draymond's advantage over Love and make the game into small vs small. I really think this can be effective and then bring Love in to strengthen the bench.
My Prediction- Warriors in 5 or 6. I really think 5 but I also think its stupid to underestimate what Lebron can do. Hell he won two games by himself last year. If the Cavs can win one of the first two in Golden State, then we got a series. Because I think Cleveland can split at home and make it a 3 game series. But if Golden State wins the first two at home, I don't see Cleveland winning both at home and 4 of 5 to win it. Warriors win it, Steph gets MVP, and the Lebron losing meme's and gif's start all over again.