I Think I Love Lavar Ball Now

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Last night was a big TV night. The NFL crowned Tom Brady number 1 in their annual “Top 100 Players” list, a stupid, contrived device that exists solely to fuel the #debate. The NBA Awards show finally aired almost two weeks after the season ended, an NHL-level scheduling decision. I don’t even remember anything about the regular season anymore. I can barely recall who won the title. The Celtics won, right? Anyway, I’ve spent enough words on MVP, so I’ll just say I didn’t fully agree with every award, but I’m not going to get upset about them. Through all that, though, one five minute segment on Monday Night Raw is all anyone can talk about. Lavar Ball finally fulfilled his destiny and entered the squared circle. The results were predictably amazing.

I’ve been on record as being a Lavar h8tr, but I can’t deny my true feelings anymore: I love Lavar Ball. I think it happened sometime before the draft, maybe even earlier. I never wanted to admit it to myself, but once he gave his show-stopping draft interview

I knew I had fully shifted to #teamBigBaller. Now, I say I’m only #teamBigBaller because I don’t have the available resources to become a full fledged Big Baller. I, unfortunately, can’t afford a fresh pair of ZO2s. But those $50 t-shirts? They’re a siren on the rocks and I don’t know how long I can resist the call. I need a taste of the Big Baller life. Even if only for an instant, I need to see how the Baller side lives. I need a piece of that power. You put on some BBB gear and the world opens up to you. Your self-confidence goes through the roof. You can will anything into existence. I would have to imagine it’s how God feels.

Listen, I still don’t like his kids. Lonzo seems like a good dude but I’m not sold on his skills. I hate LaMelo. I feel bad for the middle one, but not really since he’s going to be rich either way. But the longer all this goes on, the clearer it’s becoming that Lavar is a legitimate genius. He knows exactly what he’s doing at all times. He knows how to keep his name in the news 24/7. He’s a master of marketing. Even if he hasn’t, he’s made it seem like he’s been manipulating everything from the start. He can spin absolutely anything into a positive for BBB. He has that Kardashian gene for self-promotion that I thought we’d never see again. He’s turned himself into the most cartoonish, most easily hatable heel of all time, which has only made him more popular and in vogue. His sons’ success almost doesn’t even matter anymore. If Lonzo turns out to be an All-Star, then Lavar can just keep on being Lavar. If he doesn’t? Well, he’ll still just keep on being Lavar. He needs to have a recurring role in WWE, especially if his sons don’t pan out. He was born to be hated. And that might be his greatest gift of all.

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NBA Draft Thoughts

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So, anything happen last night? Besides the draft, can’t think of much. Pretty quiet night in terms of the NBA. Everything went according to plan, no real excitement. Wait, what’s that? The Bulls finally traded Jimmy Butler? And not to the Celtics? I almost couldn’t believe it.

Honestly, this trade really annoyed me. Not that someone else got Jimmy Butler. As anyone who has read any of my thoughts on the NBA could tell you, I was not overly eager for the Celtics to get Jimmy Butler. But mostly because the Bulls were asking for every single draft pick the Celtics had until 2075 and half the roster. Then they turn around and give Butler to the Timberwolves, who were still run by Bulls’ front office arch-nemesis Tom Thibodeau last time I checked, for two players and a pick swap? Are you kidding me? Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn? Seriously? That’s all it takes? I love LaVine, but who knows what he’s gonna look like next year after his knee injury. Kris Dunn is trrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssshhhhhhhhhhh. Then they give up the 16th pick to thank the TWolves for taking their best player off their hands? And then they take Lauri Markkanen 7th overall? How can these people run an NBA team? To think the biggest display of idiocy by a front office last night didn’t involve Phil Jackson is dumbfounding. Even the Kings made good moves last night! Were the Bulls asleep? Were they drugged? Have they ever watched basketball before? Honestly, no profession in the world has more accepted incompetence than NBA GM. The morons that 90% of teams have running their billion-dollar franchises shouldn’t be trusted to manage a Bruegger’s Bagels. How can you go from asking the Celtics for absolutely everything to accepting the TWovles table scraps? And if you’re now committed to a rebuild, how do you not take someone with a higher ceiling than Lauri Markkanen? Dennis Smith, Malik Monk, OG Anunoby, even Donovan Mitchell were still there. Or, I don’t know, don’t give up your own first round pick, too and take someone like Harry Giles at 16. I just can’t believe how poorly they handled this trade. Now I’m pissed that Butler’s not on the Celtics, because apparently all they would have had to give up was Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier then swap picks. So annoying. Hey, Bulls, you stink!

Anyway, there was an actual draft last night. Most of it kind of went according to plan. No big shockers, besides maybe Malik Monk falling to number 11. Still, there’s plenty to talk about. I guess I should get used to Jayson Tatum now that a potential trade is probably off the board (I know, I can’t believe it, either). After throwing up multiple times thinking about the abomination that is St. Louis-style pizza, I was able to listen to him talk for a bit. If nothing else, at least he seems like a good guy who’s going to commit to the team. That shouldn’t be taken for granted, but I still have concerns. It doesn’t help that he’s the internet’s least favorite player.

Oh, well. Guess the Celtics are just going to punt on this year again, possibly get multiple picks in the top five, and trade both of them for future picks and take guys with no ceiling again. Sweet. Love Danny Ainge, man. Best in the business. On to what I liked and didn’t like.

Things I Liked

  • Markelle Fultz to Philadelphia
  • Dennis Smith to Dallas
  • Josh Jackson to Phoenix
  • Lavar Ball’s interviews
  • Malik Monk to Charlotte
  • All the old tweets that were dug up
  • OG Anunoby to Toronto
  • All the Kings picks (De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, Frank Mason)
  • All the Lakers picks besides Lonzo (Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Thomas Bryant)
  • Jordan Bell to Golden State
  • The huge number of random picks that were in the stands
  • Frank Jackson to New Orleans
  • John Calipari continuing to stay ten steps ahead of every other coach

Things I Didn’t Like

  • Celtics not getting Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson, or Jonathan Isaac
  • Jonathan Isaac going to the barren wasteland of Orlando
  • The Bulls. Literally everything they did
  • Bam Adebayo at 14
  • John Collins to Atlanta
  • Derrick White to San Antonio (I just wanted to be the only guy not praising them for this pick)
  • Devin Robinson going undrafted
  • Anyone mentally weak enough to stop watching before all 60 picks have been announced
  • Not enough Fran Fraschilla
  • Everyone’s suit is too conservative and classy now. Nothing to make fun of

NBA Draft Preview

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There’s nothing quite like the NBA offseason. The crazy trades. The traitorous free agency decisions. The emoji wars on Twitter. In the week since the Finals ended, every day has had more drama than a Daniel Day-Lewis movie (R.I.P), and we haven’t even hit free agency yet! Dwight Howard was traded for a Plumlee, completing one of the most self-inflicted falls from grace in human history. The Lakers decided to give up on D’Angelo Russell after two years because…….? and traded him to the Nets in a move that somehow screwed the Celtics over twice. Phil Jackson has mysteriously put Kristaps Porzingis on the trading block (I doubt he’ll be traded), leading every fan base to rush to Photoshop to see what he’d look like in their jersey. But tonight is my favorite part of the NBA offseason, draft night. I’ve got my DiGiorno. I’ve got my spot on the couch picked out. I’m ready to be disappointed. Is it possible to go from all in on someone to all out on someone in a few days? Because that’s what I’m feeling now. Look at this:

??????????????????? What the hell is St. Louis-style pizza? Why would he pick a fake food over all the other quality foods that have a right to go number one overall? Now I’m seeing him in a new light. Now all his flaws clearly counteract his strengths. Now he’s just the exact same prospect we’ve seen in every single draft that does absolutely nothing. I can’t believe the Celtics are seriously going to take an un-athletic Tobias Harris number three overall. Hey Danny, draft Josh Jackson please!

You can go anywhere on the internet and find a mock draft, so I decided I’d just say which prospects I like and who I don’t like. That way, the only thing I can be wrong about is if they’re good or not, not if they’re good or not and what team takes them.

Guys I Like

  • Markelle Fultz- Oh, what might have been
  • Josh Jackson- Come on, Danny, think of him and Jaylen Brown on defense together! I’m aroused, aren’t you?
  • De’Aaron Fox- Completely dominated Lonzo twice. A sign of things to come for one of them
  • Jonathan Isaac- Anthony Randolph with a jumper. Guy could be the best player in the draft or be out of the league in four years
  • Dennis Smith- I like him a lot, especially if you can get him outside the top 10
  • Malik Monk- Don’t know if you’ve heard this before, but the NBA is all about 3-point shooting these days
  • OG Anunoby- People are acting like he’s dead. It’s just a torn ACL. It’s 2017, he’s probably already fully healthy. He’ll the best defensive player in the draft, just take him
  • Harry Giles- Speaking of not dead yet. His injuries are considerably worse than OG’s, but if you’re not in the lottery, absolutely no reason not to roll the dice
  • Bam Adebayo- Mostly because he’s projected to go so low

Guys I Don’t Like

  • Lonzo Ball- As I’ve said before, I don’t think he’s that good
  • Jayson Tatum- This is appalling
  • Lauri Markkanen- I watched him play a lot. He never had a good game
  • Zach Collins- Taking college backups highly in the draft works out every time!
  • Luke Kennard- I actually like him as a role player in the NBA, but lottery feels way too high for him
  • John Collins- I don’t know, I just don’t see it with him. He’s like a less-refined version of Caleb Swanigan that you have to take 30 picks earlier
  • Justin Patton- He’s a wallflower. Don’t pick
  • Justin Jackson- At best an 8th man in the league
  • Tyler Lydon- I just hate his face

Random Stuff I’m Looking Forward To

  • The one guy who gets old tweets bashing the team that drafts him exposed
  • How awkward every white guy that gets drafted makes the handshake with Silver
  • John Calipari somehow having a better seat than Markelle Fultz
  • The one girlfriend the internet loses its mind over
  • Some foreign guy who gets drafted in the second round but came to the draft and is sitting in the stands

Late First/Second Round Guys I Like

  • D.J. Wilson
  • Caleb Swanigan
  • Thomas Bryant
  • Frank Jackson
  • Frank Mason
  • Monte Morris
  • Kyle Kuzma
  • Derrick White
  • Cam Oliver
  • Jordan Bell
  • Jawun Evans
  • Terrance Ferguson
  • Semi Ojeleye
  • Devin Robinson
  • Alec Peters

Celtics trade the number one overall pick

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Unbelievable. That’s really all I have to say. Unbelievable. In the back of my head, I knew this would happen, but my heart wanted to believe. I wanted to live in a world where the years of planning and trading and positioning and rumors would finally lead to something. A tangible result. A sign that, yeah, there’s a clear direction here and everyone knows what they’re doing. But now? I don’t really know anymore.

You’re going to tell me that all you got for the number one pick was a swap this year and a pick next year that they can only get if it falls between 2 and 5? Seriously? One additional draft pick? For the number one pick? And to a team in your own division? The Sixers were demanding Brooklyn picks, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin McHale’s retired jersey, and a lifetime of free meals from Union Oyster House for Nerlens Noel last year. And you give them the number one pick for pretty much nothing? Now, this trade technically won’t be official until tomorrow, so I’m hoping there’s more to it. But if it’s just for next year’s pick/2019’s pick? Then what was the point?

Now, maybe they just needed to get another top pick in order to make the long sought after big trade and still have something for the future. But if that player is Jimmy Butler or, God forbid, one season of Paul George I’ll lose my mind. I’m in Denver now, maybe I’ll just become a Nuggets fan. Or just go full heel and jump on the Warriors. JIMMY BUTLER, AL HORFORD, AND ISAIAH THOMAS AREN’T ENOUGH TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP. I’m just assuming Danny Ainge knows that, too. Celtics trade rumors are literally never true. This trade pretty much came out of nowhere. Maybe Ainge has something unexpected in the works. Or, maybe he doesn’t. Then, I ask again, what was the point?

Perhaps the most logical explanation is that they just didn’t think Markelle Fultz was The Guy. I did, but I’m just some schmo. If they didn’t think Fultz was their man, and knew the Lakers would get suckered into taking Lonzo Ball, moving down to three to get the guy they actually want makes some sense. It’s also going to free up some cap space in case they wanted to make any big signings in the offseason. In the immediate aftermath of the trade, all the pundits were saying Josh Jackson was going to be the pick. But why, though? He’s an athletic wing and tough defender who competes hard on both ends despite a less-than-refined skill set. So, Jae Crowder? Celtics already have that, and they have it for cheap. Unless they just want to flip Crowder for something to get a younger version with more upside, I don’t really see why they would take him. And, assuming the fact that they already have a million guards factored in to the decision to trade the number one pick, I’m hoping and praying that means Lonzo Ball is out of the question, too. Not because of his dad or anything. I just don’t think he’s going to be all that good. That pretty much leaves Jayson Tatum as the logical pick, which I’d be fine with, even with the annoying y in the middle of his name. He reminds me a lot of young Carmelo Anthony. He’s a smooth, if un-explosive, athlete with great size, a very advanced offensive game, and has some good defensive potential. I think he’d fit perfectly at the Celtics’ barren power forward position. He won’t be there defensively in the first few years (what young player is?), but he’ll be able to score right away. After watching some highlights, I’m all in on him now. Give me Tatum, don’t give me Jimmy Butler. Of course, all of this means the Celtics will take Luke Kennard number three and I’m going to want to run into oncoming traffic.

The Golden State Warriors: A True Underdog Story

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Take a second and think of the greatest upsets of all time. The single game David vs. Goliaths like the 2001 Patriots or 2007 Giants. The season-long triumph of an out-of-nowhere team like Leicester City. The improbable comebacks like the 2004 Red Sox or 2016 Cavaliers. The rare seven game series where an on-paper inferior roster overcomes overwhelming odds to defeat the Super Team across from them, think 2007 Warriors, 2011 Mavericks, and, out newest entry, the 2017 Golden State Warriors.

Against all odds, the team that won 73 games last year and added Kevin Durant has won the championship. But honestly, I think most people saw this coming. They reduced the Cavs, last year’s champion and a Super Team in their own right, to scrappy underdogs who were happy to win one game. In a weird way, this series was both closer than it seemed and not as close as it seemed. The Cavs played well! At least, they did in games 3-5. LeBron was ridiculous, Kyrie got out of his funk and started painting an oeuvre of layups and crazy finishes that I’m not sure anyone who has ever played can match, and Iman Shumpert only hit the side of the backboard once a game. And they lost two out of three. Outside of game 3, the Warriors wins were wins. They completely wiped the floor with them in games 1, 2, and 5. No contest. The scores don’t even come close to reflecting how dominant they were. When the Cavs completely gagged game 3, I thought the Cavs would roll over. But, to their credit, they blew out the Warriors in game 4, then turned around an predictably lost in game 5. Now, of course, as with all things NBA and LeBron, the next question is what does this all mean?

LeBron should get out of this relatively unscathed. While he can’t blow his nose without someone questioning what it means for his legacy, he was amazing again this series. Did everything short of actually shooting the ball in clutch moments. First guy to ever lead both teams in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in a seven game series. That’s insane. LeBron is still LeBron, no matter who you think holds the fictional torch. In my mind, Kyrie didn’t really change his place in the league, either. He had a perfect Kyrie series: absolutely no defense whatsoever (except when he knows everyone is watching him guard Steph, so he actually tries a little), long stretches where he stinks, but the same number of stretches of utter brilliance. I don’t think anyone’s opinion of him really changed after this series. All the fools who think he’s a top ten player or the second best point guard in the league or better than Steph will stubbornly hold on to that until the day they die. The h8trs, like me (I think I might like him better if he was named, like, Robert or something), still will find places to criticize him. Like on defense. The truth is somewhere in between: offensively, he’s (just a disclaimer here: if you’re in the “80s/90s were better and basketball was real then and this new generation sucks and is watered down” crowd, you should probably stop reading this right now. It’s only going to get worse for you) pretty much the upgraded Allen Iverson: immaculate handles, best finishing around the rim for a little guy ever, much better shooting. Defensively, he’s worse than Steph, who everyone loves to point and laugh at. He is what he is at this point, which is obviously a great player. But unless he suddenly starts caring about defense, I don’t know how much better he can get. Then I gained a lot of respect for Kevin Love this series. His shot wasn’t always falling, but he was battling for his life on the glass and was playing the best defense of his career. He never quit, even when nothing was going down and he was stuck on island after island guarding Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, mostly because Ty Lue is a moron who doesn’t know what he’s doing. He was what Tristan Thompson is advertised as being. Everyone else on the Cavs SUCKED. J.R. got hot the last two games but was nothing before. Shumpert shouldn’t be in the league anymore. Deron Williams has made the “DWill or CP3?” debate seem like it was in another lifetime. Tristan Thompson should get a Depends sponsorship. Richard Jefferson was okay, but you need to use carbon dating to find his age. Kyle Korver was bad. In typical LeBron fashion, he threw subtle shade at his teammates during every postgame press conference. He seems to forget he’s acting GM of the team. And, of course, the classic quote:

But, like I said, LeBron is still LeBron.

On the Warriors side, obviously it’s all good for everyone, except, of course, the haters. This was a perfect playoffs for my newly re-adopted favorite player, Steph Curry. I withdrew during the popularity and backlash, but now that he’s Back, so am I. He was great in pretty much every facet of the game. He’s never played better, and, more importantly, he’s never played better in the postseason. He proved once again that he’s a top 4 player in the league, and (hopefully, but probably not) shut up the people who are very vocal with their belief that Kyrie is better. All the tough guys always love to say “He doesn’t guard the other team’s point guard.” Honestly, who cares? He’s not a strong defender. He’s become underrated because the likes of Russell Westbrook (who will never make another NBA Finals, let alone win his second in three years) love to openly mock him, but he’s still not great. Klay Thompson is. If the other team’s backcourt is Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith, and one of your guards is an elite perimeter defender, why the hell would you not have him guard the opponent’s best player? The Warriors are smart. They aren’t coached by Ty Lue, so typical positional matchups don’t dictate who is going to guard who. Kyrie guarded Steph every time in the early games because they were point guards. Steph dominated and Kyrie got tired out. LeBron guarded Kevin Durant. Durant dominated and LeBron, despite what he says, got tired out. You’d have to be a complete idiot to keep those defensive matchups more than you need to. Why should Steph be penalized for having a great defensive teammate? I really don’t get it. As for my man Klay, like Kyrie he stayed pretty much the same. Once he got hot, he was the same old Klay. Draymond could never get it going offensively, but he did so many little things on defense that lead to multiple blowouts. Somehow Zaza and Javale McGee are now champions. Somehow James Michael McAdoo is a two-time champion. David West’s insatiable thirst may finally be quenched. Iguodala showed why he’s the sixth man of the year. The fact that Shaun Livingston can even walk, let alone be a contributing member of multiple championship teams, is an accomplishment. Patrick McCaw and Ian Clark were there.

But, obviously, there’s only going to be one man’s name on everyone’s lips: Kevin Durant. What does this mean for his legacy? Did he ruin basketball? Is this title lessened because he had the gall to join an already stacked team? No, it really isn’t. Listen, you can feel however you want to feel about him. The hatred people feel is so deeply ingrained I don’t think there’s anything I can do to sway people. Seriously, you’d think he murdered everyone’s family or something. People call him a coward because he was a free agent. He’s soft, he’s a bitch, whatever. One guy I follow on Twitter tweeted, completely unprovoked and not replying to anything, to Kevin Durant that he was weak. At like, 3 pm today. As if saying that will make him feel bad about himself. You think he cares now? This was a business decision. He used the Warriors just like the Warriors used him. The accomplished their mission. He doesn’t give a damn what you say about him. Would people have been happier if he signed with the Nets? Why are you so mad that he left Oklahoma City? Because they had a good team? Well, the Warriors are good, too. Better, in fact. The whole point of free agency is that players should have some say in where they play. He didn’t want to be in Oklahoma City anymore. He spent nine years there, that’s way more time than anyone needs to spend there. Ever think he was just tired of it? That maybe, just maaaaaaaaaybe, he didn’t want to play with Russell Westbrook? Think about how awful it is to be a Thunder role player. You’re held hostage every game and have to bend over backwards to accommodate the world’s biggest temper tantrum throwing toddler. Now imagine you’re one of the five most naturally gifted players to ever play basketball and you have to do the same thing. Sounds pretty horrible to me. So, he left for an all time great team that knocked him out of the playoffs the year before. Who cares? It’s his choice. What if someone told you you weren’t allowed to leave a job you hate because a bunch of hardos on the Internet would yell at you? If you’re really that upset about him, get up, go outside, and take a nice long walk. Clear your head. Calm your nerves. Then come back and start firing off your tweets. Just don’t you dare say he’s just riding the bandwagon. He was the best player on the floor for either team. It was shocking when he missed a shot. All of a sudden, he’s Theo Ratliff on defense, too. The did more than pull his own weight. He dragged the Warriors over the finish line with his play. This didn’t “ruin basketball.” The Warriors are playing at a level few teams ever can match. Appreciate it while it’s here. The way these things work out, it won’t be permanent. Someone will get hurt, someone will want more money, someone will want their own team. The NBA isn’t closing up shop anytime soon, don’t worry. The Celtics and Bucks are rising in the East. The Spurs, Twolves, and Rockets are coming in the West. LeBron is getting older, and, assuming he gets his wish, the Banana Boat Super Team that comes together in a few years is going to stink. Now isn’t forever. The sun will still rise. The draft is next week. Even more incredibly talented players will join the league, making the “the league is watered down” crowd look worse by the day. The NBA has never been in a better spot. But maybe I’m just more optimistic than most. Maybe I can just look past my own outrage and see the bright future ahead. Maybe I can just see what other people can’t see: a home grown Celtics Super Team on the horizon. So, please, if you’re one of the people who are Mad Online, take a breath. Think happy thoughts. Think of whatever inferior era of basketball your nostalgia is telling you is the best. And listen to the official anthem of the Boston Celtics, the 2018-19 NBA Champions.

The Fact that Cleveland thinks it gets a nickname gets me all Fired Up

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As is usually the case, during the eon-long downtime in between NBA Finals games (which, as LeBron James will tell you, are just basketball games. They aren’t the end of the world. When he wakes up tomorrow, he’ll still have more money and fame than you’ll ever have. But, no, he’s not bitter that someone out-Super Teamed him), we’ve been pelted with teasers and previews for Wednesday night’s game 3. And, as the game is being played in Cleveland, they keep repeating the now-tired phrase “Defend The Land.” The Land meaning Cleveland. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a particularly new nickname. Unsurprisingly, LeBron created it in an effort so seem cool to all his friends in hip hop. It makes sense, too. You can’t spell Cleveland without Land. You can certainly see where people are coming from when they say it. But take a second to really think about it.

The Land. How much land is there in the world? A lot, right? So, something that called The Land must be pretty important, right? Maybe some kind of mystical, sacred ground that ancient people travelled to for worship. Or a booming economic or cultural center that dictates trends throughout the world. Or, at the very least, it has to have some kind of political importance. It has to be something, right? Nope, it’s Cleveland. The arrogance of LeBron to think that anyone outside the state of Ohio thinks of Cleveland as anything but a giant dump. I’ve been to Cleveland, so I’m speaking from experience here: Cleveland sucks. Everything about it is bad. The food stinks. The city is ugly. It’s always so hazy. Their sports teams outside the Cavs are horrible, and since there’s nothing else to do in town, the people are so beaten down and defensive about everything. In fact, the nickname The Land is the perfect snapshot of the people of Cleveland: they have such an inferiority complex they latch on to anything that shows it’s “us-against-the-world” and makes anyone outside the 216 area code notice them and acknowledge that they even exist. Cleveland is nothing. Cleveland is irrelevant. Cleveland isn’t The Land. You can’t Defend it. There’s nothing to defend! What, are people going to steal the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame? Not that! What culture does Cleveland have? What contributions has Cleveland ever made to America? LeBron and Drew Carey? Is that it? And you want to call that place The Land? Why? Not every city gets a nickname. What if, in an alternate reality, I was famous enough to create nicknames and I called my hometown of Rutland, Vermont The Land? Or The City? Or if I called Vermont The State? I hope would get mocked endlessly. You can’t just give something of such little importance a nickname like The Land. I don’t know what place in the world most deserves to be called The Land, but I know for a fact it isn’t a sad-sack place like Cleveland. I pray to God that the good people of Cleveland read this and make me public enemy number one, because that would mean I never have to go there again. Hey, Cleveland, you aren’t The Land, you’re The Dump. Boom, roasted. Rant over.

I’m finally ready to give my take on the matter: the Warriors are Good

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Last night was the exact reason I was fine with the Celtics losing in the Conference Finals. The Cavs played well the majority of the night, and lost by 20. It wasn’t that close. Celtics would have lost by 60. This series is #done. It’s over. There’s not many teams in NBA history that could beat this Warriors team four out of five games, and this year’s Cavs team sure as hell ain’t one of them.

I mean, I don’t even know what else the Cavs can do at this point. I guess they could start by slowing the game down. I have no idea why they’re insisting on playing a million miles and hour against the best fast-break team in 30 years. They just open themselves up to get gashed time and time again. If you’re playing so fast that the only chance you have of winning a single game in this series is gassed in the third quarter, you’re doing something wrong. They could also stop playing Iman Shumpert, like, at all. Everything about him was always overrated because he played in New York, but he’s arguably the worst player in the league. He’s a defensive specialist who can’t guard anybody, and his offense somehow gets worse every season. They could stop throwing lineups that include exactly zero (0) members of the LeBron-Kyrie-Love big 3. But, hey, LeBron likes Tyronn Lue, so who needs a real coach, right? It’s mostly seen as a joke of a question, but are the Cavs actually missing Matthew Dellavedova? He’s not Gary Payton, or anything, but at least he provided some resistance and tried the whole time. Kyrie, who everyone keeps telling me is better than Steph, was absolutely invisible all game. For all the talk of Steph not guarding him, Kyrie doesn’t guard Steph either, even though he “tries” to. Deron Williams might as well be a mannequin on defense. I don’t know what’s going on with J.R. Maybe last year’s carriage of a performance finally turned back into a pumpkin. And the aforementioned Shumpert is bad. Their guard defense is atrocious. LeBron attacks the rim every time, doesn’t get a call, then stands there berating the official as Kevin Durant comes down for an uncontested dunk. Why can’t the Celtics ever face this horrible version of Tristan Thompson? They always get the guy who dominates the boards and commits to defense. All non-LeBron Cavs have totally quit and I’ll be shocked if they win a game this series.

As for the Warriors, I’m still wrestling with how I feel about them. This is one of the greatest team ever, and probably the best since the ’96 Bulls. But they’re the most widely reviled team this side of the Patriots. People hate that Durant pulled the ultimate ring-chasing move. People hate their antics, lead by Steph and Draymond. People hate the new-fangled 3-point shot and how “soft” they are (despite the fact that they have the best defense in the league and the fact that they shoot just as well at the rim as from deep). I’ve mentioned this before, but the Warriors were always kind of my “second team” when they sucked. I loved their at-the-time quirky playing style (Al Harrington revolutionized the stretch-4 I don’t care what you say), I loved their raucous home crowd before it became a corporate, Silicon Valley wine and cheese, go there to be seen crowd, and, most of all, I loved Monta Ellis-era Steph Curry. The one who wasn’t a two time MVP. The one who wasn’t one of the two-or-three most popular players in the league. The one who no one knew about. It felt like being an exclusive club when you were watching and he got a random triple double or 40-point game. You just never knew what you were going to get. I didn’t have League Pass or anything, so watching the Warriors was a rare treat. Sometimes Steph would get hurt or have a crappy game. Sometimes C.J. Watson would take over. It was basketball-roulette. They were a bad team, but they were the most fun team in the league. Then they drafted Klay Thompson, adding another fun heat-check guy. Then Draymond Green developed. Then, in the blink of an eye, they won 73 games and were on the verge of back-to-back titles. They were a national obsession- both during their rise and during their fall. People looked for any excuse to discredit them. Steph Curry was suddenly overrated. Spend enough time on Twitter and you’ll find plenty of people who think he’s flat-out bad. Any time he wasn’t perfect of defense or had an off night shooting the eye emojis would come out in full force. Steph suddenly sucked because he wasn’t a Russell Westbrook level athlete. No matter if people loved him or hated him, they couldn’t keep his name out their mouths. His fame was so extreme I started to dislike him myself. Draymond started kicking and punching everyone in the nuts. And then Kevin Durant added an almost universal hatred. It’s become so extreme that if you don’t think the Warriors are singlehandedly ruining the sport of basketball (despite the fact that LeBron himself created the free-agency-created Super Team era), you’re an idiot and a social pariah. But, like, when I watch them play, I’m sorry but I kind of enjoy it. They play perfect basketball. They move the ball better and more unselfishly than any team in the league. They’re the best shooting team and have some of the best finishers in the NBA. They play some of the best defense in the last 20 years. I don’t really love that Durant signed there, but he’s so great, especially now that he’s blocking shots left and right. I’ve secretly held on to some of my Steph Curry stock, and nights like last night, when he dominated and Kyrie STINKS, make me happy. I love Klay, and wouldn’t mind seeing what he could do on a different team (Celtics?). I could do without the dick punching, but Draymond’s defense can’t be ignored. So, yeah. I guess I still like the Warriors. Sorry I can both appreciate LeBron’s greatness and the overwhelming greatness of the Warriors. I still feel a little dirty about it, but I’m going to love watching them celebrate.