Logan is joined by Warriors connoisseur Cyrus Hoda to discuss the major storylines concerning the Warriors and Cavaliers. From the incredible offseason Golden State had, to the (low key) disastrous summer for Cleveland, the duo breaks down whether it will bare any impact on who will play in June, the best and worse case scenarios for the Dubs, Logan drops a new KD theory and much more.
Tag: Cleveland Cavaliers (Page 1 of 2)
Logan, Michael Swander, and Kyle Brown break down the NBA Finals from top to bottom, including Warriors Twitter exposing the cold takes, our experiences watching Game 5, Kerr’s insistence on ‘Strength in Numbers’, what the Cavaliers have to do moving forward, how the Warriors stack up against the ’80’s NBA legends, the lack of leadership in the Cavs front office, and how LeBron concocted the situation around him. Also, Nick gets Wrong.
The rubber match between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors begins Thursday, June 1 at 6 PST on ABC. Here are 25 predictions for what to expect from the Three-Match.
1. Klay will break out and have 2 games hitting at least 7 three’s.
2. LeBron James will, once again, be the overall stats leader for the series (PPG, MPG, RPG, APG, SPG) and average just shy of a triple double, but…
3. Stephen Curry will win Finals MVP.
4. Mike Brown will exercise his LBJ demons and be a factor in the series.
5. LeBron James will upstage Tyronn Lue more than once.
Logan is joined by the Swander Brothers of Useless Comparisons fame to discuss Warriors fandom, the Kevin Durant injury, the Cavs moves, Javale vs Shaq, which front office is the worst in the league, and of course we touch on ‘The Process’. Logan destroys the NFL for its’ use of non-guaranteed contracts and the pod ends with the Swanders take on MVP.
Cate joins Logan to discuss the Rockets formula for success in the Harden/D’Antoni era, how Harden has thrust himself to the forefront of the MVP discussion, and GM Daryl Morey having a home run offseason bringing in wings Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon to help their superstar. Other topics include LeBron being upset with his roster construction, the Warriors tearing through the league (minus the Dion Waiters career game), and what could have been with Harden/Durant/Westbrook in OKC.
I couldn’t have possibly seen that correctly, could I? Seriously, did Cleveland Cavaliers’ J.R Smith really go over to the Milwaukee Bucks’ Jason Terry to give him a handshake and hug while the game was in progress?
What the hell is wrong with him? He wins one championship and suddenly thinks his god’s gift to man and the basketball community. I’ll admit, he was funny during the parade when he refused to wear a shirt for a week straight, it was even funnier when the Cavs visited the White House and President Obama thanked his shirt for making an appearance, but this is just pushing it.
In case you missed it, The Bucks were taking the ball out on the other side of the court and Smith was guarding Tony Snell in front of the Bucks bench. Instead of worrying about the game, Smith walks off the court to literally shake Terry’s hand and surrenders a wide open dunk to Snell.
I couldn’t possibly make this stuff up. And props to the JET for playing Smith like a fiddle. To make things worse, the Bucks beat the Cavs 118-101.
I mean this isn’t the first kind of shenanigans we’ve seen from J.R. He was fined $15k by the league for untying multiple players’ shoes during free throws. Again, as funny as all this is, really dude?
Then there was the post game interview, and I don’t even know if this is the best part or the worst. So there’s Smith, sitting in front of his locker when he was asked about the incident and this is what came out of his mouth, “I didn’t even know I was in the game. My bad.”
You didn’t even know you were in the game?!?!? Bro! Were you high or something? Or are you clearly that dumb or naïve? You didn’t know you were in the game? Come on man. You absolutely knew you were in the game. You were 94-ft away from your bench. Just own up to it and admit you made a bonehead mistake.
I really hope the Cavs fine him for this. That is unacceptable!
Remember the movie Miracle? The one about the 1980 USA hockey team that defeated the Russians in the Olympics? Well, there’s a scene in the movie where the players are more focused on the women in the stands then the game itself and coach Herb Brooks, played by Kurt Russell, keeps them on the ice after the game to run wind-sprints for what seems like hours until they understand that “the name on the front of the jersey is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back.”
I really hope Lebron James pulled the same move on J.R and made him run suicides because there is no excuse for a professional athlete to pull a stunt like that in a game.
J.R, you are a good player, a great shooter, and you have a hilarious personality, but that s#!* has got to stop. Just play ball.
On this weeks episode of the Points from the Key Podcast we discuss how Curry has begun to transcend his human form and is now reaching levels of basketball nirvana never previously recorded, the questionable decisions made by Billy Donovan in the Warriors-Thunder matchup, the philosophy of trying to contain Curry’s game, the Big O and Phil Jackson comments and how they motivate the MVP, and we do a deep dive on the Amare-Carmelo beef (and whether or not this bodes poorly for his relationship with Porzingis). Also on this pod: the impact of the buyout candidates and looking ahead to the 2016 NBA Draft.
As much as James Harden and Kevin Durant would like to say otherwise, LeBron James and Stephen Curry have ascended above the rest of the league and have become both the most popular stars in the sport, along with being ambassadors for the league. But each players rise to superstardom could not have been more different. LeBron James was the most highly touted/recruited prospect in the history of sports. He has been nationally hyped since he was 16 years old when he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and was universally viewed as a can’t miss player.
Stephen Curry, however, never got any national recognition until his sophomore year in college at Davidson, and it took until 3/4 years ago until the general public took him seriously at the NBA level. As a prospect, Curry was seen as a one dimensional player, and many thought he could never succeed at the professional level. His frame was too slight, he was a gimmicky player, and could never be the best player on a relevant team, Curry heard it all when it came to criticism.
Below are each players’ high school scouting report (Courtesy of NBADraft.net):
Curry faced adversity and doubters at every level. He was not recruited by any Division 1 programs, and wanted to attend his fathers alma mater, Virginia Tech, but ended up at a small school near his hometown, in Davidson, North Carolina. During his tenure at Davison College, the nation got a little taste of the magic that was to come:
In 2002, college coaches nationwide gushed over LeBron James’ potential, hoping they would be the one to convince him to wait at least 1 year before jumping into the NBA, but the allure of turning pro was too much, and after the Nike contract controversy, LBJ had lost his eligibility as an amateur athlete.
LeBron would have gone number one overall in nearly any NBA draft, even in retrospect, his upside and ceiling were seen as limitless. With his frame and skill set, there was absolutely no reason that LBJ wouldn’t succeed at the NBA level. He was viewed as a grand slam prospect and the 2003 draft lottery was nothing more than the LBJ sweepstakes.
Curry was viewed as a potential top 10 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, but still 4 guards were taken ahead of him, including the T’Wolves taking both Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio directly before him. There were questions about whether he could defend/stay on the floor in the NBA because of his slight frame, but to their credit, most GM’s knew his floor wouldn’t be atrocious because his shooting would immediately translate. At the very least, he could be a pretty solid spot up shooter.
Upon turning pro, all the pressure was on LeBron to live up to the lofty expectation set by pundits nationwide. To his credit, he essentially single handedly brought the 2007 Cavaliers to the Finals, a team which consisted of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao, and Sasha Pavlovic. This early Finals trip, however, may have not beneficial to the ultimate trajectory of his career because of how early it came. Going into that Finals, the pundits were going INSANE with the Michael Jordan comparisons because of how much earlier LBJ was, potentially, carrying a team to the promised land than Jordan did. If he won, especially with this roster, then went on to win 5 more Finals (which seemed plausible at the time) there was no doubt we would be witnessing the greatest basketball player of all time. Of course, the Cavs ended up getting swept by the Spurs, so that quieted the comparisons for the time being. The point is that while it was impressive that LBJ carried a C+ roster to the Finals, it might have been the worst thing to happen to him 4 years into his illustrious career because it set the bar so high that any following season that didn’t end up with a Finals victory was widely viewed as a failure.
This idea would plague him until summer 2010, when he decided he was fed up with the lackluster rosters surrounding him in Cleveland, and took his talents to South Beach to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh under the tutelage of Pat Riley and Eric Spoelstra. While the superficial reading of the move was to get away from the incomplete rosters in Cleveland for the insane super-roster in Miami, the faults of the Cavs construction can greatly be attributed to LBJ himself.
There is an epidemic in the NBA, especially when superstars are nearing free agency, that owners and GM’s will give their star player too much front office power in player personnel decisions. Never has there been a player this more applied to than LBJ. Between the Cavs ’07 Finals run and his departure in 2010, James had more influence on personnel decisions than any other player in the history of the league. Not Magic, not Jordan, not Bird, not West, not Chamberlain ever got to wield the type of power that LBJ held over ‘Comic Sans’ Dan Gilbert. James continued to hold the franchise hostage, subtly showing his displeasure with the roster, and behind closed doors threatening to leave the team unless he was given the players he desired to play with.
This is the biggest difference between LeBron and Stephen Curry. Not their physical attributes, not their styles of play, not their public personas, but their attitude towards their respective front offices.
The only time Curry has ever expressed any distaste for a front office decision was after the Mark Jackson firing, because of how tightly knit of a group Jackson had created and nurtured within the 2013 Warriors. Of course the ownership consulted their star player when deciding who to hire as their next head coach, but unlike LBJ, Curry didn’t have final say on who would become the Warriors head coach.
In an effort to retain King James prior to losing him in free agency, Pat Riley (the man who gives in to no superstar) even drafted Shabazz Napier because LeBron tweeted about him a few months prior. LeBron keeps himself in such a position of power that traditionally staunch teams bend over backwards just to try and please him.
Currently, James is in the first year of a two year deal, with a second year player option. He is expected to opt out of that second year come next summer, and continually hold the Cavs front office hostage/accountable until he see’s fit to sign a long term deal. There are multiple reasons he would do this. The salary cap is expected to jump up to over $100 million after next season, so there’s no financial incetive to sign a max (5 year) deal at this time, but he also wants the Cavs to actively feel the threat of him potentially leaving every offseason, so the front office does their best to construct a championship caliber roster (or one that James sees fit, because sometimes, as we’ve seen in the past, those ideas aren’t mutually exclusive). It’s difficult to say whether LeBron’s contract hardball is helping or hurting the Cavs overall, because it does keep the FO on their toes and never allows them to feel complacent with their roster, but then again, as we’ve seen over the last 16 months, there is so much roster turnover, that it’s hard for the core group to find any kind of rhythm on the court because of how much the roster is constantly changing.
This overuse of power has never been more apparent than during the David Blatt era for the Cavaliers. From Day 1 the relationship between James and Blatt had been rocky, and James’ distaste for this coach was never more apparent than when James called an audible in the playoffs against the Bulls.
That is not the play that Blatt drew up. James pulled the authority card and elected for an iso fadeaway in the corner, putting all the pressure on himself, instead of an actual drawn up play by his head coach. It was at this exact moment that the general public learned how toxic the relationship was between star and coach. Had the jump shot not fallen, and the Cavs ended up losing in OT, this would have been a much bigger story, but because James hit the shot, Blatt had to keep his head down and not make a fuss that he didn’t even have final say on play-calling on his own team.
The Blatt tenured lasted longer than it ever should have. It was doomed from the start purely due to timing. Dan Gilbert acquired David Blatt weeks before LeBron announced his decision to return to the Cavaliers, and Blatt was seen as a developmental type coach. GM David Griffin expected Blatt to help Kyrie Irving, Anthony Bennett, and Andrew Wiggins foster their talent and potentially develop into superstars down the line. The LeBron thing was thrust upon them and they couldn’t back out of the Blatt deal, so for him to last more than a full season was a miracle.
Curry, on the other hand, has never actively threatened the Warriors front office to make moves to please him, the team has been allowed to flourish with the same core group for the last 3 years now. The only vague threat that Curry has held over the Warriors is him potentially signing with his hometown Charlotte Hornets come free agency. While Curry has assured Warriors fans that he plans on playing in the Bay Area for his whole career, the allure of playing in the city he grew up, where his father played much of his NBA career and is the color commentator for Hornets games, continues to haunt the Warriors front office.
It is difficult to say why LeBron feels the need to pull the strings of his franchise from behind the scenes, but it is likely because of the immense pressure that’d been placed on him by the Cleveland, Heat and NBA fans in general. It took him 8 years to win his first title, and it took creating a superteam for that to occur. Before leaving Cleveland for warmer pastures, LeBron was already having the critics breathing heavily down his neck, and he must feel like if all the pressure is on him, he ought to be the one to call the shots as to who he gets to play with.
LeBron has publicly stated that going to Miami for four seasons was akin to a college experience for him, He got to leave his home state, and was finally not fully in control of his own destiny, he was trusting Bosh, Wade and Riley to educate him and enlighten him in how to trust his teammates, but upon moving back to Cleveland, he has seemingly fallen back into his old habits of running the franchise from the inside. And what can Dan Gilbert do about it? As recently as this week rumors have leaked that LeBron will evaluate if leaving the Cavaliers again will make for the best business decision of his career, so what is Gilbert to do but constantly give into the demands of the greatest superstar of his generation?
Stephen Curry and LeBron James have had polar opposite journeys to NBA dominance. One has been humbled at every level of play, while the other had the world handed to him on a silver platter. Expectations have been vastly different, but now that Curry has caught up to James in skill and popularity, any result outside of a title will be viewed as a failure.
Dave and Logan discuss the latest Woj-bomb regarding the steps the Warriors must take to land Kevin Durant this summer, the Warriors chemistry rankings, how the Cavs have improved under Lue while slowing down the pace, and Dave introduces a new segment, ‘Hate Comments’.
It honestly feels like this season just began, and then 2016 swooped in like the Millennium Falcon traveling at light-speed and now almost half the season is over. This season has been filled with “Did you see that!?” kind of plays, record-setting starts, disappointments, and farewells, but within the rollercoaster of emotions, the only constant has been the teams making up the upper echelon of the NBA. It’s safe to say these teams deserve to be called elite.
1) Golden State Warriors: First off, if you are the defending champs, then you are automatically deemed the best team in the league. The Warriors have continued to put all doubters to bed, especially those who called last year’s championship run “lucky.” They came out and destroyed their opponents on their way to a record-setting start to the season, winning their first 24 games, all the while recording the second longest regular season winning streak with 28 (behind only the 71-72 Los Angeles Lakers at 33), dating back to last season. The scariest part is they’re better than last year. Their blistering start is due to their un-freaking-believable offense, led by last years MVP, Stephen Curry. Curry is simply unstoppable, averaging 29.5 ppg, 6.5 assists, 2.1 steals, while shooting 51 percent from the floor and just about 45 percent from behind the arc. However, it’s as a team where the Warriors excel, putting up 113.7 ppg, while making 12.6 three- pointers per game, both league bests. Their defense continues to remain elite, posting the 6th best defensive efficiency in the league at .988. The fact of the matter is no team has really come close to slowing them down, nor has a team showed that can hang with the Warriors for 48 minutes. At least none that we have seen thus far.
2) San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs are the only team in the West with a true shot at bringing down the champs. Some would even argue that they’re the best, but until they beat the Warriors, number two is where they’ll sit. There’s no question about it, the Spurs play the best team ball in the league. Even on a team that features a nucleus of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard, every player is willing to sacrifice individual success for team triumph. Each possession revolves around constant ball and player movement and making the extra pass. The same mentality is shown on the defensive end of the floor, and numbers don’t lie. The Spurs are the toughest team to score against, holding their opponents to a staggeringly low 89.5 ppg — five fewer point than the second best defensive team, Miami Heat (94.7). With the off- season signing of top free agents, All-Star power forward Lamarcus Aldridge, and David West, they have set themselves up to represent the West in the NBA Finals. All they have to do is make it through of the gauntlet of the Western Conference Playoffs.
3) Cleveland Cavaliers: Last year’s Eastern Conference Champions are back in the drivers seat. Riddled with injuries during last year’s playoff run, and spilling over to this season, the Cavs are finally healthy and ready to make a statement. Obviously the Cavs success revolves around superstar LeBron James, but the X-factor is Kyrie Irving. Irving gives the Cavs that extra firepower title contenders need. He takes a lot of pressure off of James’ shoulders, while remaining the only other player who can create for himself. If he is not on the floor, the Cavs will not be bringing a title to Cleveland. Regardless of injuries, Cleveland will represent the East again, and LeBron will likely make an astonishing sixth straight Finals appearance.
4) Chicago Bulls: The Bulls are the only team in the Eastern Conference that can spoil the Cavaliers championship aspirations, and if they want to succeed in that feat, they must learn to play consistently under new head coach Fred Hoiberg. The problem with the Bulls is that you never know which team will show up. One day they play like a real title contender, and then they turn around and lose to a sub-.500 team. Clearly, they need some time to fully comprehend Hoiberg’s system, but most importantly, the team needs to be healthy to build chemistry. Led by new superstar Jimmy Butler, the Bulls will go as far as their former MVP, Derrick Rose, takes them. Rose needs to be a consistent presence on the floor, driving fearlessly to the basket and putting stress on opponents defenses. That doesn’t mean he needs to be the primary scorer like he was when he won the MVP, but he must be an aggressive player to change the game. If he can get past these nagging injures, and Joakim Noah gets healthy, the Bulls’ recipe of Noah, Rose, Butler, Taj Gibson, and Pau Gasol will be successful come playoff time.
5) Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder narrowly missed the playoffs last year due to a season riddled with injuries. The 2014-15 season saw Kevin Durant play only 31 games due to a broken foot. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook put up possibly one of the greatest single-season performances ever by a single player. However, that season is over, coach Scott Brooks is long gone, Durant is back and healthy, and Billy Donovan, the former coach at the University of Florida, is in. Everyone knows what you get when you play the Thunder, tough defense, and a fierce Westbrook-Durant combo. It’s so venomous because, they strike in different ways. Durant is a sniper with his long-range shot, Westbrook hits hard like lightning trying to decapitate his enemies with earth-shattering dunks, while the supporting cast of OKC makes them a viable championship contender. We know Durant and Westbrook can lead a team to the Finals; the question is if the spurting cast can live up to expectations. The tenacity that this team plays with, especially Westbrook, makes the Thunder a team to fear in the playoffs.