It’s here. Finally. The historically charged rubber match (I’ve heard that term a bunch....not really a fan). Not only does this have significance for both sides, as it should for any NBA Finals, it also seems ripe for helping foment discussions for any number of players’ legacies: is LeBron James finally going to really, really be in discussion for challenging Michael Jordan for the GOAT? Is Kevin Durant’s decision going to be seen as a success, a failure or even if Golden State wins, an open question? Will any of the players not named LeBron or Steph Curry or Durant see fit to want to have a team not in the shadow of the guys I mentioned?
I mean, there is a real chance that whether or not the Cavs or Golden State win the Kyrie Irvings, the Klay Thompsons, the Draymond Greens, the Kevin Loves or even the Tristan Thompsons will want to finally find themselves out out the shadows of the top dogs. Wouldn’t you?
We asked our writers here to shed light on their own opinions about the Finals.
Here we go.
1. Who do you have and in how many?
Ben Gulker: Warriors in six. LeBron is good enough to make it a valiant fight, but the Warriors will be honed in after last year's Finals performance.
Mike Snyder: LeBron in seven. Home team wins out until game seven; the postgame press conference includes the burial of the GOAT debate.
Justin Lambregtse: Cavs in 6. LeBron is going to single-handedly stop a Warriors dynasty from forming.
Ryan Pravato: Warriors in 7, Durant makes the difference. But I'm rooting for the Cavs.
Jamie Delaney: WARRIORS IN 4. CAVS NEVER EVEN COME WITHIN 5 POINTS OF A FINAL SCORE. MIKE BROWN REVENGE TOUR BEGINS NOW. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Jacob Kuyvenhoven: Warriors take it in six. They are pretty clearly the best team in basketball and I don't think I would ever 'pick' a team over them at full strength. Doesn't mean they're invincible, though.
Kenneth Wallace (revken): Warriors in 7.
Lazarus Jackson: I have no earthly idea, so I'm going to do the safest thing possible and pick the home team in 7 games. Warriors in 7.
Steve Hinson: I've been a skeptic of the Cavs all season and they've proved me wrong all along the way. I can learn from that or be bitter. I choose bitter. Warriors in four.
David Fernandez: My head says Warriors, but my gut says Cavs. I'm going with my gut. There's something about an angry LeBron James, that feels slighted that his team is once again underdogs, that makes me not want to pick against the Cavaliers. Additionally, Kevin Love was basically a non-factor last year and he's playing his best basketball for CLE yet. And let's not forget Kyrie, he's playing out of his mind and may just outshine Curry once again.
2. In order for the team you didn't pick to win what would have to happen?
Ben Gulker: Historic collapse... which of course happened last season.
Mike Snyder: The talent discrepancy isn’t as big as people make it out to be so I wouldn’t be shocked either way. It could get ugly if the Cavs’ shooting goes ice cold or the Warriors’ shooting is smoking hot. Both are realistically in play.
Justin Lambregtse: LeBron, Kyrie, or Kevin Love getting hurt.
Ryan Pravato: Cavs' bench outplays the Warriors' bench big time. Not far-fetched for that to happen either.
Jamie Delaney: CURRY, DURANT AND DRAYMOND ALL TEAR THEIR ACLS MILLY ROCKING TO MAGNOLIA DURING PREGAME WARMUPS.
Jacob Kuyvenhoven: The Cavs will need to get at least four games where one of LeBron/Kyrie is just unstoppable in isolation. I don't think they will be able to get the open looks they're accustomed to, but they have some great individual scorers to potentially steal it. Also, look out if Golden State struggles to score in crunch time again.
Kenneth Wallace (revken): I expect a hard-fought series, because the Cavs are one of the few teams that can duke it out from three with the Warriors. While and injury or suspension (here's looking at you Draymond!) could easily affect the outcome, I think if Cleveland can consistently play defense like they did most nights versus the Celtics they have a real chance.
Lazarus Jackson: If the Cavs won, it'd be because LeBron James slowly ground Steph Curry into paste, running PNR after PNR after PNR after PNR after PNR at him until Steph disintegrated.
Steve Hinson: Cleveland just keeps on shooting the lights out. They have nine guys shooting over 40 percent in the playoffs. They stay hot and anything goes wrong with Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant, the Cavs can absolutely pull this off.
David Fernandez: If Klay is resuscitated, and Draymond hit's jumpers (assuming Durant's doing Durant, and Steph isn't a shell of himself) then the Warriors should be able to win this thing.
3. If the Cavs lose is LeBron gone?
Ben Gulker: No. He'll retire in Cleveland. His legacy is too intimately connected to the Cavs after his return.
Mike Snyder: No way he would ever do that to Cleveland. I mean, at least not again.
Justin Lambregtse: Gone as in going to a new team? No, the only way he has a better chance at beating the Warriors by going to a new team would be if he joined the Warriors. That is not possible.
Ryan Pravato: Hadn't thought of that. No, probably not.
Jamie Delaney: LEBRON WILL BE IN A CAVS UNIFORM FOREVER. PROBABLY GONNA BE CRYOGENICALLY FROZEN IN ONE HAN SOLO STYLE
Jacob Kuyvenhoven: LeBron still has another year left on his deal before he can become a free agent. Really don't see him forcing his way out of there. It's not like he really can find a better supporting cast elsewhere, anyway.
Kenneth Wallace (revken): I expect LeBron to retire as a Cavalier.
Lazarus Jackson: ...Gone? From where? From Cleveland? LOOOOOOOOOL.
Steve Hinson: As much as I would love to see this happen to the state of Ohio, I doubt it. Where would he be heading?
David Fernandez: No. I don't know where else LBJ would go that would give him a better shot at winning the title. He's made it to the Finals three straight years with the Cavs (7 overall), and has a death-grip on the Eastern Conference. Unless of course Detroit is able to free some cap space....
Who do you all have? Any takers on LeBron and Co beating the odds? Let us know below