Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson had a better seat than most of us during the NBA Finals. Granted, he was parked at the end of the Cavs’ bench but he had the best seat nonetheless.
The only thing that was more impressive than Jefferson’s seat for five games was his vivid imagination. Since riding the coattails of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and modeling the freshest in officially licensed gear can be monotonous, I understand Jefferson’s need to keep himself occupied. But I don’t think anyone expected that he would conjure up an alternate reality.
Jefferson recently let Bill Simmons into his alternate reality, suggesting that the Finals were closer than what the fans saw. Jefferson’s logic was in the Warriors’ 118-113 Game 3 victory. In the podcast, Jefferson mentioned Kyle Korver’s missed shot as a reason. Then he brought up other missed opportunities.
“People don’t understand. ‘Oh 4-1, they killed you!’ It’s literally one shot here, one shot there, then you go 2-2” Jefferson said. “If it’s 2-2, you go there, it’s Game 5. I still stand there. There is zero chance-very similar to the year before, we do not lose on your home court in a Game 6 situation right?”
If you want to talk about hypotheticals, the same case could have been said about 2016. If we’re playing ‘coulda woulda shoulda’ games here, the Warriors were an ill-advised turnover and missed shots in the closing minutes of Game 7 away from going back-to-back. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for a momentum-shifting suspension, the Warriors would have won that series 4-1.
I don’t know what Finals Jefferson watched, but I along with other fans watched a Finals where the Warriors won by 22 and 19 points in Games 1 and 2 respectively. We saw a Finals where Cleveland’s defense was so focused on stopping Stephen Curry with double and sometimes triple teams in attempts to trap the pick and roll that they let Kevin Durant destroy them with wide open drives to the lane and open shots around the key. We saw a Finals with a healthy Curry nearly averaging a triple-double despite the constant double teams. We saw a Finals where it took 24 threes and copious trips to the free throw line in Game 4 to avoid a sweep. Other than Game 3, there was nothing close about the 2017 NBA Finals.
Jefferson could throw around all the hypotheticals to whoever that would listen to give him attention but the fact of the matter is that the Warriors’ win in the Finals was an emphatic 4 games to 1. It doesn’t matter how long the Cavs were able to hang with the Warriors because it doesn’t change the routs of Games 1 and 2. It doesn’t change the fact that Cleveland blew a lead in Game 3. It doesn’t change the fact that Durant and Curry balled out and there was no answer for them. It changes none of the circumstances for his team.
For Jefferson and the Cavs, their 2016 “four touchdowns for Polk High” moment is at this point, all that they have. But I’ll give this to Jefferson, he’s trying to use that momentum, his imagination, and his delusions to set up a potential post hoops career in the media. Sadly, at this point in his basketball career, this is all he can do.