This was supposed to come out Thursday...last Thursday. But I missed that date and procrastination set it. That’s never happened to me before. Well. Yeah it happens all the time. But now it must end (at least for putting this together...I’ll actually work on being a procrastinator later).
The only thing to read through question #1 before watching game #4 is to see who has the correct number of games the Warriors win by. (Spoiler alert: everyone picks the Warriors).
But there are a couple of other questions that look more into the future, one being talk on the great LBJ v MJ debate of debates: the GOAT. bahhhh
And one peering into the crystal ball and imagining what finalists will be taking the court this time next year.
This might be the last night of NBA basketball for a long, dog day-filled summer so quit everything you have planned and watch the
Cavs get destroyed on their home court game.
1. Cavs vs Warriors. Who you got and how many?
Lazarus Jackson: Warriors in hopefully at least 6 games. Gotta up that BRI to help out the Pistons salary cap-wise, right? In all seriousness, though, Houston was playing far better than Cleveland during the conference finals, and the Warriors still won - I would love to see LeBron take another ring, but I don’t see it.
Sean Wheeler: Warriors in 7. There’s no good reason it should go that long, except for the fact that Lebron James is essentially The Terminator of the NBA.
Ben Gulker: On paper, the Warriors should have this wrapped up in 5. But... LeBron. Also, the Warriors are remarkably careless and nonchalant at times, so Warriors in 6.
Michael Snyder: “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”. What if the Warriors were put together to bring out the absolute best in LeBron James? He’s been nothing short of astonishing this postseason but does he have one more gear? All superheros need an equal (or superior) super-villain to push them to their limits. Last year, LeBron had Kyrie to absorb some pressure in the Finals but this year is ALL on LeBron. Strong is the only choice. Warriors in four.
Ryan Pravato: Even if JR Smith and Jordan Clarkson (or just enter any Cav here) have the series of their lives, it still may not be enough to help LeBron beat these Warriors. If the Cavs make this ugly and rough basketball and get great stuff from LeBron, then it could go 6. I’ll say it goes 6 knowing full well pretty much the only reason why I’m saying it is because I want to see at least 6 more NBA games this season instead of a measly 4.
Jordan Bellant: Just like in the preseason, I have Warriors over Cavs in 5. I think Cleveland wins Game 2, starts a conversation about a competitive series... only to be blown out at home and lose at the Oracle in Game 5.
Justin Lambregtse: I want to pick the Cavs just to say I was that guy, but there is no way I can see it happening. Warriors in 6.
Steve Hinson: I really don’t want to bet against LeBron, but I do think the Warriors are going to win it. So I’ll hedge it as much as possible by saying it’ll take them 7 to do it.
David Fernandez: Warriors in 5. I’ll watch. It won’t be exciting. But here we are...
2. Win or lose, how does this affect Lebron’s fight for GOAT?
Lazarus Jackson: LeBron’s overall playoff performance in year 15, at age 33, is just another mark in his favor. Playing 46 minutes in Game 6 and all 48 minutes of Game 7 of the conference finals - and doing everything needed in those max minutes - left me literally awestruck. His offensive progression these last six or so years has been remarkable, and I think he’s the most complete offensive player I have ever seen.
Sean Wheeler: He needs a couple more championships to match up with MJ’s six, but a win over this Warriors team, especially if he does it without Kevin Love, would likely convince a lot of skeptics.
Ben Gulker: I find the GOAT conversation interesting but ultimately unresolvable. Comparing players across generations just has too many variables given how the game has changed over time - from important rule changes like the shot clock, eliminating hand-checking, etc. to different strategies and emphases from one generation to another.
That said, LeBron is clearly the best player of his generation, and him carrying this Cavs roster to the Finals is an incredible achievement. He belongs in the conversation without question.
Michael Snyder: LeBron has been the GOAT for at least two years now.
Ryan Pravato: I never got into the GOAT debate. It doesn’t interest me. LeBron is a phenomenal basketball player and athlete, who more times than not makes me just sit there in awe when I watch him. That’s all I really need when watching hoops.
Jordan Bellant: In my mind, he’s about to break the barrier between him and Michael Jordan for GOAT. He’s one more title away and I think he would be the greatest of all time. The streak of Finals appearances is insane, but we have to remember Jordan walking away for two years. It easily could have been 8 in a row for MJ.
Justin Lambregtse: Nothing LeBron does throughout the rest of his career will effect his GOAT status. The people that think he is the GOAT are never going to be convinced otherwise and the people who think Jordan is are not going to be convinced otherwise. I am so tired of this argument.
Steve Hinson: There’s never been a player like LeBron James. As long as Michael Jordan has more rings, some folks will never be convinced. I think he’s the GOAT, sure, but he has certainly established himself as part of the Pantheon of all-time greats.
David Fernandez: Eight straight Finals is insane. Six Finals appearances, no losses, is also insane. I do think LBJ will hold down the GOAT title when it’s all said and done (via accumulation of individual records), but I’m biased since I watched his entire career.
3. 2019, same time of year. Who you got as Finalists?
Lazarus Jackson: LeBron could be a free agent July 1. Until that situation is resolved, this question can’t be answered.
Sean Wheeler: Warriors will likely be there again, unless Lebron joins the Rockets somehow. In the East, I think the Celtics are nearly a lock if healthy… and I’m 90% convinced Lebron will leave the Cavs, regardless of the outcome of this year’s finals.
Ben Gulker: Warriors and Celtics, unless LeBron goes to Philadelphia.
Michael Snyder: Too many variables and moving parts to formulate a decent guess but here it goes: LeBron and the 76ers vs. Golden State Warriors
Ryan Pravato: Pistons and their big three of Jackson, Griffin and Drummond. It’s going to be a sad time for whichever teams comes out of the West.
Jordan Bellant: Houston over Philadelphia in 6. Marcus Smart and Mikal Bridges make Philly a terror in the East next year.
Justin Lambregtse: Celtics vs. Warriors
Steve Hinson: LeBron breaks the Celtics’ heart, even with Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving healthy to make it a fifth straight Warriors-Cavs matchup.
David Fernandez: LBJ goes to Houston. Houston vs. Boston.
Please leave your comments below, GOAT, crystal ball, how many more games this might go if the Cavs pull this one out...