The Cleveland Cavaliers are the new champions of the NBA, vanquishing the Golden State Warriors in a classic series that was decided by a tightly contested game 7.
Lebron James, the hometown kid, brought a trophy back to The Land, which had been title-starved for the last fifty two years, while overcoming all the hate and negativity. On Monday, ESPN published a story about the odds for winning the championship next year, and even though they lost this year, Golden State is the favorite to win next year. Cleveland is second on the list a 5-2 odds.
And good news Brooklyn fans, the Nets are dead last at 500-1. (I’m sorry, but the only thing a Brooklyn Nets fan has left is sarcasm).
The Russian came here with all the big talk about championships in five years and then proceeded to mortgage the future of the team for three old guys from Boston whose window of opportunity was only open for thirty or forty minutes tops before slamming shut. But in that process of trying to build an overnight contender, Brooklyn traded away all its first-round draft picks, which is uber important in the NBA.
The Nets don’t control a natural, first-round draft pick until 2019 or to frame it with more clarity, the next first round pick of the Brooklyn Nets, right now, most likely can’t even get a driver’s license for another year. We’re talking early teens, severe acne and a body that’s still growing. That dude might not have even kissed a girl yet, and Obama might be the first president he actually remembers.
That’s not good when you consider that the finals featured teams whose first round picks are getting it done: Golden State has Steph Curry, Klay Thompason, Harison Barnes and Festus Ezeli making key contributions to the team and even got lucky with Draymond Green in the second round. Cleveland has Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson that they grabbed with first round draft picks.
But this Nets team looks nothing like that. Brook Lopez is good, but it always feels like he’s about to incur another foot injury. He shouldn’t do anything with his feet, other than play basketball. Keep him caged up like The Gimp in Pulp Fiction, and only let him out at game time, and for god’s sake, keep him away from the Running Man challenge! He actually needs a personal hovercraft to keep his walking to a minimum. Jarrett Jack has always been the dude who left the boy band, right before they blew up, having played for both Golden State and Cleveland in the last four years.
I do like Thaddeus Young, but he’s gonna get tired of losing in the next year or two and buck for a trade.
Other than that, the team has a core group of young players and reclamation projects, with a young coach in Kenny Atkinson, who I had vaguely heard of before his hire and whose name reminds me of a fad diet. He comes from Atlanta, which is based on the San Antonio model, and teams have been trying to echo that model for years now. So that could be a good hire and maybe he can bring the best out of Chris McCollough, Sean Kilpatrick and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, all good young players, but none of them young studs that instill hope in a franchise.
The Nets have about $40 million in cap space, to attract free agents, but all the teams are flush with cash with the new salary cap, thanks to the lucrative TV deals kicking in, so that’s really nothing special. Convincing a top player to come to Atlantic Avenue is going to take a lot more than money. Maybe Kevin Durant will lose his mind and do something incredibly irrational and sign with Brooklyn?
So yes, the season is over and a new champion has been crowned in Cleveland. Although every team starts off with the same record next season, I wonder how many games it will take Brooklyn to fall into the bottom of their division? Brooklyn fans have a bleak immediate future. But take solace in knowing that there’s always 2019 to look forward to!
…And hopefully, that year doesn’t feature Donald Trump as president.