The champs are here! After a phenomenal regular season and classic postseason run, the Golden State Warriors are your new NBA champions. After going toe-to-toe with the best player on the planet, LeBron James, for six games the most complete team in the league capped off a season the Bay Area will never forget as the Dubs knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. Here are the five biggest takeaways from the instant classic that was the 2015 NBA Finals.
It always seems like one player always ends up tilting the series and this year that player was Andre Iguodala. Not only did he make’ IGGY’ a good term again, he won Finals MVP while facing LeBron James the majority of his time in the game. Having not started a single game all season Iguodala was inserted into the starting lineup with the Warriors down 2-1. The Dubs never lost a game after Steve Kerr made the move. Well deserved Iggy.
4. What Can’t He Do?
If you just read the title you would assume I’m talking about Stephen Curry or LeBron James. I’m talking about neither—I’m talking about Steve Kerr. The Warriors coach becomes only the seventh rookie head coach to win a championship and adds to a quietly legendary resume. With this ring Kerr now has six rings (five as a player and one as a ring) and he made the best decision of the decade by deciding to coach the Dubs instead of the New York Knicks. Pour one out Knicks fans.
3. Stepped Up
Through three games the world was ready to call Stephen Curry a choke. He had been (relatively) shut down by super-sub Matthew Dellavedova (where did “Delly” go after Game 3?) and was missing everything he threw up. After Game 3 I remembered telling myself that Game 4 Curry would prove to be cut from the same cloth as Kobe Bryant (come back and win the series) or Allen Iverson (lose series despite good performances).
Curry proved to be Mamba material as he realized he’s facing Dellavedova and not Kyrie Irving and blew Delly out of the building and back to his native Australia. Now the question is how many more rings can Curry get? This Warriors core is very young and with a ring under their belt the confidence is going to be through the roof at Oracle Arena.
2. Strength In Numbers
The x-factor in this series was each team’s supporting cast. The Warriors’ role players that made an impact ran ten deep in comparison to the Cavs zero. After the Kyrie injury in Game 1 LeBron had little to no help the rest of the way. Aside from Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov the Cavs’ role players failed to show up.
After making Carmelo Anthony look like an idiot who cannot lead, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert morphed back into Knicks at a time LeBron and the Cavs needed them most. Both showed exactly why a player less talented than LeBron James cannot win with two erratic players. The Warriors supporting cast on the other hand showed that you need ten players to win a championship not three. Whether it was Iguodala, Draymond, Barnes, or even David Lee, whenever the Warriors needed big minutes or a big shot from someone not named Curry they seemed to get them.
1. The King & the Court Jesters
It’s become a running theme in the Finals that LeBron James’ supporting cast collapses like a deck of cards. Despite putting on one of the greatest Finals performances of all time (35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, 8.8 assist) LeBron only has two wins to show for it. Lord only knows what happened to Knicks castoffs J.R. and Shump, but when Mozgov is the second biggest scoring threat on the floor for your team you’re in trouble.
With ten players set to come off the books it will be interesting to see what GM LeBron puts around him. After that trade sending Andrew Wiggins out of town for Kevin Love LeBron needs to make sure Love is around at least one more year to try and make this work. Outside of that I wouldn’t rule out a reunion with Dwyane Wade only this time in the gray skies of Cleveland. Both have hinted at a reunion and LeBron leaving Cleveland for South Beach again is just too unlikely.