- The Cavs and Warriors collision course is set (and has honestly been that way for the entire season). The Cavs made it through the Eastern conference playoffs managing to lose only one game, while the Warriors cruised through the West unscathed. Sure, I could sit here and break down the entire series, who matches up on who the best, and whether this is the greatest NBA Finals rivalry in history (It’s close, I’d say, but you can’t top 1980s Celtics/Lakers) but I won’t. I’ll leave that for the talking heads (and by that, I mean Justin and myself during our podcast, Faces for Radio). What I do know is that the Eastern Conference Finals ended on the 25th of May, and we have to wait until the first day of June for the first game. It feels like any momentum that has been built up in the beginning of the playoffs should be capitalized on. Instead, we have to wait a week for the Finals matchup we have waited all season for.
Can we, for a moment please discuss how little the coach means in the star-driven NBA? This NBA Finals is a perfect illumination of that statement as we have one coach (the Warriors’ Steve Kerr) who is not even with the team as he deals with health issues. This is not to say that his replacement, Mike Brown, is a bad guy, or a bad coach. But an extended absence of a head coach, like we have seen with Kerr, in the past would have led to a multitude of issues during the game. Aside from a bad game one against the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals (a game they won anyway) I have yet to see any real effect on the Warriors on the court. Then we get to Ty Lue. Oh, poor Ty Lue. Listen, he sounds like a great guy, and he definitely has the basketball knowledge to be a head coach, and he seems like an okay motivator (hell, he got LeBron to take over the series last year in the Finals by calling him out in front of his teammates unlike anything LeBron has ever faced before) but if you think Lue is anything but a puppet coach for LeBron, you’re crazy. Now, I’ll be honest, I think any coach LeBron hand-picked after getting David Blatt run out of town last season would have been a puppet, and it just happens to be Lue. But that goes right to my point. On one side you have an absentee coach (replaced by career flameout Mike Brown) and on the other you have a puppet. What more evidence do you need that this league is not just driven by the players, but run by the players?