There will be countless essays and analysis on the 2016 NBA Finals, so here are my quick-hit thoughts:
- I’ve been watching basketball religiously for over 30 years and Game 7 was one of the greatest single games I’ve ever seen.
- I’ve been a LeBron fan/stan/supporter/defender for years and it’s nice to finally see him fulfill his destiny. He had two rings already, but this is different. Bigger.
- He’s been famous and scrutinized since he was a teenager, constantly undermined and ridiculed – all the old white sportswriters that gravitate toward Steph Curry scoffed at his “best player in the world” comment last year – and the fact that he carried a Cleveland team back from 3 – 1 in the Finals against a 73-win team with two 41-point games and then a triple double in Game 7 on the road is otherworldly. It’s astonishing.
- Curry is the greatest shooter ever, but he was exposed in this series, proving he’s only an (admittedly great) offensive player. The Cavaliers repeatedly picked on him. And watch him on that final LeBron almost-dunk. He played James Harden-level D on the most important defensive possession of the season, if not his career.
- Anyone still think he’s an underrated defender?
- I think Kyrie Irving has the best handle I’ve ever seen.
- Klay Thompson was the Warriors’ best player throughout the playoffs, but disappeared in the final game.
- I don’t think the Warriors could beat the Showtime Lakers.
- Draymond had a great Game 7, but I still contend that you put him on any other team and you barely notice him. Let’s not forget that it took a David Lee injury for him to even be a starter.
- His suspension changed the series, but it wasn’t the reason Golden State lost.
- Even if they had won the title, I’m not sure about the “greatest team ever” title, if only because of how many times they were blown out. I don’t recall the ’83 Sixers, ’86 Celtics, ’96 Bulls, ’01 Lakers, etc. getting run out of the gym so many times like this year’s Warriors squad.
- Had he never gotten injured, Shaun Livingston would have been one of the greatest point guards ever. 6’9, silky smooth with a deadly handle, wonderful court vision, and almost automatic in the paint. I love watching him play.
- I can’t believe how well Richard Jefferson played in this series.
- I watched J.R. Smith’s press conference live last night and was also moved to tears. If it weren’t so late, I would’ve called my father.
- Kevin Love, famous defensive liability who admitted to being told to “go to the corner and get out of the way,” played a great Game 7, particularly the final smothering of Curry. He should probably be traded – it would be best for both parties – but Cleveland won because of his presence, not in spite of it.
- LeBron garnered four votes for Finals MVP last year. After this play, they should take it back from last year’s winner Andre Iguodala and give it to him anyway. He should’ve won last year, dragging a CYO squad to within two games of a ring.
- I have worshiped at the altar of Michael Jordan my entire life, but strictly going by the eye test, LeBron is the single greatest player I’ve ever witnessed.
Christopher Pierznik’s eight books are available in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, Medium, and many more. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.