Looking ahead at the NBA Finals it is hard for anyone not to be objective. Both teams have a need and a want to achieve the elusive title that rankles and ails each franchise. Cavs and Warriors have MVPs, rookie coaches, each have beaten the other at home and have squads made up of inexperienced players except for one. And that one player may just be the variable in tipping the nearly equally balanced scales going into the NBA Finals.
LeBron James will be a major factor heading to the Oracle Arena. One reason is that he did not play against the Warriors at the Oracle. The rumor and record state how hard it is as a visitor to win there but the same can be said about the Q. Home court advantage proved to have little impact on the Cavs against the Hawks taking both Games in Phillips Arena, and truthfully I have the impression the Cavs would rather travel first and then come home. On the road is where LeBron makes the bigger difference.
His ability to keep the rest of the Cavaliers on point and the eye on the prize is something that the coaches, and players on both teams truly lack. Take LeBron out of the equation and another team faces the Warriors in the Finals. To be fair Steve Kerr has played on the big stage but he is now on the side lines. The Warriors are pack jammed with talent but championship experience is a valuable asset they don’t have. LeBron is the Field Commander of the hardwood and he will carry out the game plan designed by Blatt and his coaching staff, with excellence and use his basketball IQ to adjust on the court of battle. This edge changes the dynamics in a point percentage way. His weakened jump shot has transferred over to his assists and has led to an increase in points there. Come game time on June 4th the jumpshot may start landing again, and in addition to that his Magic Johnson and Larry Bird like skills will be more ammunition in his already packed arsenal, which gives an added advantage to be combined with his championship wisdom.
He is not just the best player in the world, he is the complete player. You can not compare him to Jordan, Kobe, Magic, or Bird because he possess all of their abilities. He also coaches, teaches, encourages, and cheers the team on. He has realized over the years his natural abilities like Peyton Manning did, isn’t enough. Study the film, study the game plan, first one in, last one out, be dedicated and lead by example. He had to open his eyes to view the whole court, train his mind to trust lesser skilled players, play decoy to attract a double team and pass it to the open man all while instilling his confidence in each teammate. When they miss a pass given with pin point precision they now have the ability to adjust and as sure as it can snow in May in Cleveland they won’t miss it again.
This all leads to why he is the greatest player who ever played the game.
The Warriors will bring the finesse of the Splash Brothers and the lightening quick ball movement. Steph Curry has floor presents, the crown prince of the 3 pointers, but in grand comparison his build is slight, and his IQ on the court as high as it is, may not be enough for a King and his Knights who are on a mission greater and bigger then the game itself.
It is the very reason that LeBron left the sunny beaches for the hardcore, Alberta Clipping frozen winds of Northeast Ohio. Anyone who doesn’t believe that makes a difference has never felt the 50 year stigma or the pain of going somewhere and answering the question “where are you from?” only to hear a resounding laugh. Followed by the harsh words of ‘even LeBron bailed on Cleveland.’ He knows this and like a great leader he has come back and admitted he missed his old stomping grounds and returned wanting this for the area he calls home, without making any promises of a championship. His action let it be known from the home opener to the dramtic overtime conclusion of game game 3 in the Eastern Conference Finals how deeply he is immersed and dedicated to doing whatever it takes to bring a championship home.
Should anyone have doubt if this a real factor or just a great way to spin a bias. Then I present into argument a powerful example; what did coming home do for Urban Meyers, he quit coaching altogether because of his heart and the stress of coaching. He returned back to the place he loved brought his collective wisdom and made history and perhaps one of the most amazing stories in college football.
The Cavaliers and Warriors both sit on that edge. Their journeys are very similar right down to Kerr having David Griffin with him in Arizona and wanting Blatt as his assistant head coach. Griffin is GM in Cleveland and hired Blatt.
It goes with out saying the Golden State fans have the deep rooted passion like Clevelanders but they simply don’t have players with that deep of passion well not yet any ways. Warriors are fun to watch, easy to cheer for and who couldn’t just hug Steph’s daughter to pieces!! Yet, they are predictable and are starting to show signs of wear. If your the Field Commander of the hardwood with his avid film watching, he is already aware of this.
Still this is going to be (at least we all hope) one adrenalin packed, heart pounding series with two teams that earned their way in and did it with their own brand of style and skill.
The real championship however, will come down to basketball fundamentals and will be won on the boards. The team with the most rebounds on both sides of the court will win the NBA Championship. This advantage goes to the Cavs.
Prediction: Cavs in 6.