N.B.A. Finals Round Table: Does LeBron James Have a Chance?

N.B.A. Finals Round Table: Does LeBron James Have a Chance?


The league has also seen its television ratings and popularity grow during the Warriors’ rise. Superteams in this sport are usually a blessing. And even if the basketball world tires of Curry’s shimmy and dangling mouth guard, the Celtics are coming. Or maybe LeBron’s going to Houston. Or to Philadelphia’s Social Media Sixers.

OGWUMIKE: The Warriors have had the answers to the pop quiz that you didn’t know was happening in class today. In other words, the Warriors knew the game was heading in the direction of two very important things: positionless basketball and points. At an early stage, Golden State started grooming talent that was highly skilled at various positions and could mold seamlessly together on both ends of the floor. In less than 10 years, the Warriors’ staff took a group of misfit, underappreciated draft talent and turned them into All-Stars, All-N.B.A. performers and even defensive players of the year.

Golden State also foresaw, à la Miss Cleo, that there would be stricter enforcement to rules that would enable “freer movement for guards,” which means “more protection for shooters,” which means “more points.” And “more points” means “more fun,” which means “more fans,” which means “more money.” So the Warriors’ gamble by going all-in on these dynamic changes to the game paid off. (Remember that new arena?)

Meanwhile, everyone else is playing catch-up, which is frustrating. Some people think it is unfair for the Warriors to be this good. Those people must not recall the ’90s Bulls era, because history in this case is likely to repeat itself.

PARKER: Every decade, this conversation is raised regarding dominance. The N.B.A. will adjust and continue to be exciting. Both conference finals went to Game 7, so I do not see this becoming a problem.

DEB: A resounding yes. It’s a problem when a fan base considers the conference finals to be the real championship. Two things can be true: The N.B.A. is providing its highest quality product in several decades, with the most likable and talented stars in its history. Also, a 73-win Warriors team adding a top-five player after coming within a minute of winning a second championship is problematic and causes fans to tune out.

Yes, I’m aware the ’90s Bulls won six championships. This feels different. Michael Jordan was older. There was some infallibility. I’m also aware that the Rockets just pushed the Warriors to seven games while missing their star point guard for two games. O.K., but I didn’t seriously believe the Rockets were going to win — and most of the games weren’t competitive.



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