Alright so the Warriors did what everyone expected them to do and won a Championship last night. In case you were wondering. It turns out, adding the second-best player in the world to a 73-win team is a foolproof way to waltz to a title. Now we know. Alert: all league GMs take note.
But I’m not here to simply bash the super-team that is the Warriors for ruining the NBA or to call Kevin Durant a bitch. I want to discuss the future, which has become a large part of my mental fabric as a Sixers fan. So, let’s get in our DeLorean and take it to three years in the future, to the start of the 2019-2020 season.
The morale of the league is low. The Warriors have now won 3 straight titles because the core has stayed in tact. Durant has cemented himself as the most unguardable player in league history. Steph continues to be the weather in the city of Seattle (rainy). Klay continues to be a thundercloud that is constantly on the verge of a monsoon (scary and explosive). Dray continues to be… well, Dray.
In the west, they are just way better than everyone else. For the Spurs, DeJounte Murray has fit very nicely into Pop’s system and he is one of the best guards in the Western Conference. The Claw is firmly in the middle of his prime and is playing the best two-way ball of his career. Pop has shuffled in some more talent that every other scout in the world passed on, but they simply aren’t enough. Harden continues to impress and the Rockets are still allergic to midrange jump shots, creating an explosively efficient offense, but they have not made it past the Western Conference Semifinals yet. Russ has racked up a third consecutive triple-double average, but continues to be surrounded by a high school JV team.
In the east, there is hope.
The Celtics have finally acquired a wing, Markelle Fultz and Isaiah are coexisting brilliantly, everything Ainge worked for has come to fruition. No more one seeds, no finals appearances yet, but they are there.
John Wall is the Human Torch and Bradley Beal has managed to stay healthy. The Wizards have even finally found players to put on their bench!
The Process has worked in Philly and Simmons is running the point with brilliance, Embiid is a savage animal, and they have acquired perimeter shooting.
And for the Cavs, well, Lebron is old. He is 35 now, and he is finally showing signs of that decline we have waited for for so long. They have still made the Finals each of the last three seasons, but they have won no more titles and it seems as if Lebron is done.
So this is where I pose a question:
Is Lebron James, the greatest of all time, the most dominating force to ever step on a basketball court, the King, never going to win a title again in his career?
Assuming the above situations all occur (which is bold simply because sports are of course quite fickle), how would he? Lebron played some of the best basketball of his career this year. He averaged a triple double in the finals. He had a healthy cast. And he lost in five.
For the next two seasons, it really isn’t that crazy to assume the Warriors waltz to two more titles over the Cavaliers. When that occurs, Lebron will be old, and the promising squads coming up in the east will be old enough to begin to touch NBA success. So that puts Lebron at 3-8 in his career in the Finals.