With just a few more days to wait before the action starts, let’s take a trip around the NBA news circuit.
As always with our news links, there are not default links inserted, so every live link you see will send you to an article or video that I found interesting or insightful - so click away!
- Zaza Pachulia back to practice, appears healthy and good to go versus the Cavs
As Anthony Slater notes, Pachulia was a key factor in containing Tristan Thompson earlier in the year so we definitely want him available, even if you assume the series eventually devolves into a small ball battle as it has in previous years.
After sitting out, and even getting a precautionary MRI, a lot of fans are eyeing Iguodala as a key player in this upcoming series. Out of all the factors that could swing this series, Iguodala’s knee (and general health) may be the most under-covered.
At first, when I saw ESPN’s 538 blog predicting a 90% chance of the Warriors winning the series, it made me nervous. But then I saw something pointing out that Klay Thompson and Kevin Love have the same chance of Finals MVP (40-1). Did you know Iguodala was 125-1 to win the MVP in 2015? I guess my point is that I’m not comforted by the strong predictions here. It’s nice to see the Warriors favored, but as we saw last year (and with Iguodala the season prior) – nothing is certain. These are all just guesses. I’m extremely ready for these games to just start already!
- If you want to look at all the MVP guesses from ESPN, have a look here.
The fans and ESPN staff both strongly think Kevin Durant is the most likely MVP.
Steph Curry gave some good responses regarding his perspective on his post season play, keeping turnovers down, and whether or not people notice his excellent play. The media sound byte from that article is probably Curry giving props to Kyrie Irving for making his shot, but the rest of his quotes are worth a read.
- Also, while you are over on ESPN, be sure to check out their treatise on Steph making the pull up three pointer “the most important shot in the NBA.”
This harkens to the current distaste for mid-range shots – if the circumstances are right, you should be willing to take an “unwise” shot. As long as it goes in, you have a pretty good argument for it not being such a bad shot after all.
- I can’t believe that I’m actually linking a Bleacher Report article
… just another sign of the crazy times we live in, I guess!? Anyways, I found this “Complete Guide to the NBA Finals” to be pretty darn solid. It reads like an extended preview, with lots of statistics and a well-organized list of X factors and key advantages. Our GSoM preview doesn’t come out for another couple of days, so hopefully this holds you over till then.
(or just want to read a whimsical take on the NBA), the SB Nation mothership did a fun exercise where they put Lebron James on every NBA team in exchange for their worst rotation player (Ian Clark, in the Warriors’ case).
- Another good one from SB Nation – a history of how the Warriors and Cavs grew to become a rivalry.
Bram wrote on this the other day, building off Draymond’s Green comments about not appreciating greatness until it passes. We are living through history right now, people! Embrace it!
- While we are on the subject of history, I found this article by Connor Letourneau to be a quick and informative romp through Durant’s past, with an eye on his end goals (ringz, Erneh!)
- And in case there was any doubt about it
This Redditor did the math and can confirm that both Durant and Curry are world-class NBA beaters when they log over 31 minutes per game.
Durant is on a tear: 32/10/4 on 70 % TS.
Steph is averaging 29/5/5 on 64 TS.
Not bad, boys!
- Klay Thompson is still looking for his shot, but more concerned about his upcoming defensive assignment against Kyrie Irving.
I think the Warriors have a lot of respect for Irving, especially since that game clinching shot in game 7 last year. Thompson says we have a gameplan for Irving this year, but even so, I expect him to cause some problems regardless.
Kyrie, for his part, has been going OFF in this postseason so this will be a taller task than usual.
- Our blog buddy for this next round came up with a proposed game plan for the finals
Justin Rowan did a great job with this. Even if you disagree with the conclusions, the supporting arguments are there, and well supported by stats. If you comment, please be respectful and remember that we are guests in their house – in other words, take off your shoes …err… I mean, don’t use the subject line!
- Some video previews are out now as well!