The NBA Season is a mini-marathon, highlighted by timed milestones (Christmas day games, All-Star Break, Post-trade deadline, etc.). As this 2015-16 campaign winds down, we NBA fans find ourselves looking forward to episode 2 of this Warriors Cavs epic series. The first episode ended last year with fresh-faced champions, Steph Curry's fame and popularity only scratching the surface of the earth's atmosphere, before going galactic this past regular season. LeBron James losing his 4th trip to the NBA finals and looking around at a Cleveland team that looked a lot like the one he left in 2010. A lot has changed since their meeting last year, Golden State making history and Cleveland returning a stronger cast than the year before, meaning the 2016 NBA finals are must-watch TV.
But, aside from the drama, #hottakes, and crippling basketball addiction, why should you as a Pistons fan watch this series? After all, this is the same Cleveland team that swept us in the first round. And Golden State making it back isn't exactly an earth-shattering surprise. Haven't we seen this movie before? Can't I go back to watching the Bachelorette now?
Bear with me for a moment because this series can have a lot of implications for our team's future and future success in both the conference and the league as a whole. There are a handful of reasons as to why you would/should want either team to win, which is why we're going to break this down into two camps. Before we jump in, please be warned that a lot of this thinking is jaded by the gallons of kool-aid I've been drinking since Reggie trolled OKC.
Why Pistons Fans Should Want Cleveland to Win
There's a case to be made for wanting to say your team was beat by the NBA champions in the first round. Especially after seeing the way Atlanta and Toronto (don't even try to sell me on those Games 3 and 4) got steamrolled. Dare I say our Pistons put up the most competitive front out of all their Eastern Conference opponents. One telling stat is that LeBron averaged 41.2 minutes per game in the series against Detroit, compared to only 36.4 against the Hawks and 36.6 against the Raptors. The logic here is that we gave the potential champs their toughest test, and should they win it all, it shows the potential ceiling for this young Pistons team, a gauge on where we stack up so to speak.
From a free agency standpoint, a Cleveland win could mean a major potential upgrade for the Pistons at backup PG. That's right I am talking about Matthew Dellavadova. Our favorite Aussie has been leading the charge on this on DBB Slack but the math certainly points to Cleveland not having much flexibility.
Based on a $92M 2016-17 team cap,— Spotrac (@spotrac) June 2, 2016
LeBron ($30.2M), K. Irving ($17.6M), & K. Love ($21.1M) project to account for 75% of the #Cavaliers cap.
Is Delly going to be okay with taking a pay cut after winning an NBA championship and effectively achieving their team goal? My guess is no chance. We’ve seen mid-tier PGs get paid after an NBA finals run (that’s right, I am looking at you JJ Barea) and I think Delly will do the same should Cleveland bring home the championship. After looking at the backup PGs available this offseason, Delly would be a dream to land on the Pistons and fulfill all the hopes and wishes of our very own Ben Quagliata.
Furthermore, and brace yourselves here for the biggest stretch of the piece, if LeBron wins in Cleveland it would be mission accomplished. The rumors have already been floating this year as to him potentially leaving for another "superfriends reunion" of sorts. Would it be in his best financial interest to leave and become an NBA championship mercenary of sorts? Possibly. And if that means leaving the Eastern Conference, every single Pistons fan and their families should be on board with that plan. No LeBron in the East means more NBA finals for the rest of us. (I'm not fully bought in to this idea BUT you never know with this dude, he sends a lot of cryptic tweets and plays those type of games).
Why Pistons Fans Should Want Golden State to Repeat
Similar to the case with the Cavs, Detroit can feel equally as good about getting a win against Golden State this year, a feat only 9 teams managed to lay claim to during the 2015-16 season. To me, the Pistons drudging of Golden State didn’t get enough attention at the time. Maybe it was because the Warriors started to show signs of weakness, were mid-road trip, and it was a Saturday night in January when the rest of the world was focused on football. BUT the way the Pistons whooped the Warriors was a premonition of sorts for how OKC would dominate them in three games during their epic seven-game Western Conference finals (AKA, length, athleticism, defense, this kool-aid is so delicious you guys).
Not to mention, think of the potential fallout from Cleveland losing to the Warriors two years in a row, and this year being at full strength no less. This was a Cavs team that LeBron has been trying to control from the second he came back. Pushing out Blatt, bringing in former Heat teammates, calling out Love on social media, unfollowing the team on Twitter, the list goes on and on. If he can’t beat the Warriors with this team, it may be time for the band to break up. Do Kevin and Kyrie really want to keep dealing with Dad Bron’s rules? Couldn’t they go out to the Western Conference and have some fun like Steph and the guys? Same as the last time, a weak Cavs team does wonders for the rest of the East and competitiveness of the conference.
Plus, if you’re looking for a likable team, Golden State is hard to beat. Especially when you have guys like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson doing ridiculous things behind the three-point line. Cheering for Golden State is like cheering for Superman, it’s obvious to the point of making you think twice, but then you remember how god damn patriotic it is.
For the Pistons fans looking for local ties, Draymond is a local kid from Saginaw, went to MSU...
[DUCKS UNDER KEYBOARD]
No one kicked me in the nuts did they? Phew, thank god.
[Editor's Note: And Packey went to school with Curry!]
What’s the pick?
Sure a championship in the East would be nice to see, and it would feel good to say the Pistons played the NBA champs tough in the playoffs, but in the end, the East needs chaos.
A weaker Cleveland team in 2016-17 is better for the Pistons, the Celtics, the Wizards, Hawks, etc. Our conference went through a competitive renaissance of sorts last season, only to end up proving the rest of NBA Twitter right when it ultimately got steamrolled by the Cavs. I say we keep the competitiveness rolling, and we root for a new era of NBA stardom. That’s why I’m saying Warriors in 6.
What’s your pick DBB?