Game 1 of the NBA Finals has not yet begun, and yet the nation is already speaking about its unsustainability.
At least the part of the nation that needs a little extra incentive in its entertainment options.
The Golden State Warriors have been bet so aggressively in Game 1 of these NBA Finals that the line has risen from 11 (10½) in some places) to 13, which is the highest spread in Finals history, and are now minus-900 for the entire series. And this despite the fact that Andre Iguodala, the man most credited with bringing down LeBron James in 2015, is still out with a bone bruise that might keep out of the entire series if it ends a week from tomorrow.
In other words, the series is being pre-considered one of the least interesting in recent history (you have to go back to 2001, when the Shaq/Kobe Lakers faced Allen Iverson and the pre-Colangelo Philadelphia 76ers and pummeled them in five games) to find a similarly declared mismatch.
And therein lies the reason people didn’t want this series – because nothing kills fun like a feeling inevitability. Not because it’s Warriors-Cavs again, but because it’s Lakers-Sixers again.
But there is good news for those of you dissatisfied by this series’ competitive aspect – it will all end soon, and sooner than you think.
And why? Because Bob Myers, the architect of so much of the Warriors dynastette, says it will.
“I definitely know this is ending,” Myers said to a gaggle of reporters Wednesday on the traditional end of the pre-hype period. “I don’t need any reminders. I know a lot of people in the Bay Area think this is going to go on forever. On the record, it won’t. It can’t. Nothing does.”
He foretells the end of the Warrior dynasty the way everyone does – age, money, what he calls “personalities” – but he does foretell it, as if to say, “You need to appreciate this no matter how anticlimactic it might be, because our time on the throne of skulls is as finite as LeBron’s.”
But nobody likes being told what to enjoy and what not to enjoy. That is an organic development left to each individual beholder, and if your view is to evaluate every title run as a separate entity, you are entitled to make faces as the series begins.
If, on the other hand, you want it to be some new chapter of a larger book, well, it is the least inspiring Warriors team and one of James’ worst championship-level teams, if that helps. The Warriors are playing the 2015, 2016 and 2017 versions of themselves, not the Cavaliers, and they have almost certainly lost that match. Their stretches of disengagement have continued throughout the season, and for all their mea culpas, what they say with their body of work this year is that they have come to tolerate that disengagement, may have even built that disengagement into their preseason planning, and decided not to chase themselves on the very reasonable position that they can’t beat the first title, or the 16-1 run, or the 73-win season.
And a team that can win while fighting boredom is both mighty, and bored. That may be what Myers sees – a longer term position where the boredom ultimately wins. The Warriors crushed the field with their first win in 40 years, came within Draymond Green’s we’ve-had-enough-of-you suspension of outdoing 2015, and the 16-1 playoff run of 2017.
The only external achievement that can drive them as a unit now is to sweep the Cavs while being a 9-1 favorite with the largest point spreads in NBA Finals history. And we don’t know if that is sufficient to drive them either, because it is like so many other things Michael Corleone referred to in Godfather II when his father talked about him being a governor or senator rather than a Mafia don – by dismissing those honors as “another pezzonovante,” a title that is of no consequence.
In other words, the Warriors have only a short time left to build on a resume they may already have decided is sufficiently constructed, or is unimportant. They may have decided that the act of winning the games together without tearing themselves apart with ego or unfilled ambitions is better than the run of legacy arguments in which the outside world loves to engage.
And maybe Draymond Green, who would probably say it best anyway, thinks, “13-point favorite don’t mean nothin’ to me.” And he’s right, because the Warriors themselves aren’t necessarily in it for what you want them to be in it for, and they will decide when enough is enough.
You just have to decide if you’re ready for when they, including Bob Myers, make that decision.