There are some wagers you take because of logic and some because of emotion. I know this to be true because many of my friends are gambling addicts.
The Warriors are supposed to be unstoppable, logic suggests, because they had the best record in the NBA. They almost won the title last year and upgraded the team during the offseason by landing the top prize of free agency in Kevin Durant. This season, four of them made the all-star team.
Put it all together and it sounds as if Oracle Arena sits atop Mount Olympus.
I can’t buy into that. Here’s why:
Emotion. Not my emotions. Theirs. I’m not convinced the Warriors are mentally tough enough to withstand adversity. If they were, they would not have tanked a 3-1 lead in last year’s NBA Finals when they lost to Cleveland.
In that series, Warriors forward Draymond Green was suspended in part because, despite numerous requests by the league and repeated “bro, that’s not cool” complaints from men across the planet, he couldn’t stop punching opponents in the nuts. Granted, he didn’t punch LeBron “King” James in the Crown Jewels, but when you’re on notice that one more flagrant foul will kick you out of the game you have to use your head. Green didn’t.
Have the Warriors matured since then? I can’t say so. Starting center JaVale McGee was frustrated by jokes about his bonehead plays on “Shaqtin’ A Fool,” the popular bloopers segment on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” He complained so much that the team reportedly protested to the network about Shaquille O’Neal. Dude, what is this, junior high? You’re a grown man on a blooper reel. Maybe you have to take the joke. At least, you should bring up your beef with O’Neal in private.
In my opinion, you can’t rely on the mental toughness of 40 percent of the Warriors starting lineup.
Not to mention the fact that head coach Steve Kerr hasn’t been on the bench since the first round of the playoffs due to complications from spinal surgery. As for the afore-mentioned Durant, last year his Oklahoma City Thunder blew a 3-1 playoff lead.
Fine. Steph Curry makes 3-pointers look like layups, but overall this isn’t a group that should be linked to the phrase “indomitable will to win.”
True, the Cavs didn’t have four all-stars on the roster. They sent a mere three to the All-Star Game, including the current reigning best player in the planet in James. Cleveland has lost one game in the postseason and should the series stretch to a Game 7, the Cavs took out Golden State in Oracle last year.
There are reasons to believe the Warriors are better with Durant.
There is no reason to believe the Cavs got any worse since last offseason.
I’m taking the champs to successfully defend the title.
Fortunately, though, I don’t gamble.