The moment we have all been waiting for is finally here- the rematch that we’ve anticipated since last June. We’ve all heard the glorious “the Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit” jokes and the criticism of Kevin Durant becoming a Warrior, but now, it will all be put to the test.
As we prepare for this year’s NBA Finals, I have five questions that need answers.
How much has each roster changed since last year?
Both teams have made some obvious roster changes:
Cleveland picked up Deron Williams and Derrick Williams off waivers from Dallas and Miami along with 3-ball shooter Kyle Korver in a mid-season trade with Atlanta. These moves were smart in the sense that there are more veterans coming off the bench.
During the offseason, the Warriors made a huge splash by adding free agent Kevin Durant to their roster. The move was controversial to say the least since Golden State had just defeated Oklahoma City months prior. Another interesting addition was that of Zaza Pachulia from Dallas. Months later, Matt Barnes was signed to provide some buckets off the bench.
Will Kevin Durant get the ring he set out for?
Oklahoma City Thunder has been a playoff contender for the last few seasons, including a trip to the Finals back in 2012. Durant and Westbrook were the undisputed leaders of the team, but that was not enough for Durant. Free agency came along and he chose to go to the best team he felt could win him a championship– and that came with some anger. Fans were enraged to the point where jerseys were burned and the hate spewed into February of this year. At the end of the day, Kevin Durant wants a ring and this is his opportunity to prove that his decision was a strategic one.
Will we see Steve Kerr on the sidelines…at all?
As most of you know, Golden State coach Steve Kerr has been experiencing recurring back pain as a result of back surgery two years ago. This pain stems from a cerebrospinal fluid leak and is known to be pretty painful. Although he has confirmed that he will not be coaching for Game 1, he didn’t totally rule out the possibility of returning later in the series. If he does return, the concern is whether or not he’ll be at 100 percent. If not, many would say that interim coach Mike Brown has his work cut out for him, but that is not the case. For those who didn’t know, Brown was Lebron’s coach for five seasons during his first stint in Cleveland. This could end up working in his advantage this series.
Will JaVale McGee prove that he is, indeed, ‘smart enough’ to play in the Finals?
JaVale McGee is known to ‘Shaqt a Fool’ and compete in dunk contests, but is that enough to question his intelligence? Just yesterday, ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin that a Cavs player doesn’t believe that McGee is ‘smart enough’ to be able to play in this series. Clearly this is just the beginning of the inevitable, savage trash-talking that has already commenced. Richard Jefferson and Tristan Thompson kicked if off with an Instagram video and it will not slow down anytime soon.
Although the name of the player has not been released, you can expect it to be a topic of discussion as the Finals begin. Everyone will be watching McGee to see if he will be able to disprove the comment or if he falls right into formation. Who knows, we might even find out the identity of the person who made this comment. *shrugs*
Will we be blessed with another 7-game series?
Last year, we watched in shock as the Cavaliers did the impossible and came back with three consecutive wins to take the series. It was a thrilling series to watch regardless of which team you wanted to win (but if you bet on the Warriors, disappointed was probably an understatement). It will come down to how the superstars will perform. Steph, Kevin, and Lebron haven’t always had the best Finals performances, but with their legacies under a microscope more than ever, it will be interesting to see how they handle the pressure.
I don’t know about you all, but I am beyond ready for a good series. Before you ask what my prediction is, let me just say that I am 1-1 thus far, rooting for the Warriors both times. I am honestly still on the fence about who I want to win this year because both teams have something to prove. Is it bad if I say that I care more about how electrifying the series is than who actually wins?
But anyways… let the mind games begin!
I’m Kayla Nyree, and whatever will be, will be!
Photo via SI.com.