The NBA Finals are officially set and for a fourth straight year, we’ll see a Golden State Warriors-Cleveland Cavaliers showdown for the title.
While fans of the league let out a collective yawn at yet another championship rematch, the Sixers should be paying close attention to the participants.
Sure, the Sixers know both the Warriors and Cavaliers have all the ingredients that make up true contenders — great players, veteran leadership, strong coaching, positive culture, etc. But the biggest takeaway should be that there is no specific way to climb the NBA mountaintop.
With an important summer ahead of them, the Sixers have the ability to keep adding to their young core with more draft picks to grow organically or shake up their roster with superstar talent through free agency/trade.
Loyal supporters of “the process” would prefer the first model, one perfected by the Warriors. The Dubs have eight players on their current roster drafted by the club, including perennial All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. That group has blossomed together to reach incredible heights and will now go for a third crown in four years.
It’s a prototype the Sixers could definitely continue to follow with young studs Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric already making their mark in the league.
“We have to figure out what’s the best way that we can continue to develop our core, supplement that core with good veteran experience and players that are going to help them grow and develop, and exercise patience along the way,” Sixers president Bryan Colangelo said earlier this month.
Or … the Sixers could throw that patience right out the window and make a splash for big-name talent. The top target, of course, being LeBron James, who stars for a Cavs squad that features 12 players acquired via free agency or a trade.
“With respect to adding — I’m going to say talent, not free agent — because talent comes in many forms,” Colangelo said. “Talent comes in a possible trade, possible free agency. Both options loom with cap space and flexibility. If the right deal comes along, we’ll certainly pursue it. We will explore any and all options to add that talent.
“But to say that this group can do it now, they obviously proved they couldn’t.”
And proving it is all that matters in the end.
Whether it’s the Warriors or Cavaliers that finish the Finals hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy while splashing champagne all around, neither side will be worrying about how their roster was constructed to reach that point.
If the Sixers want to have that feeling again for the first time since 1983, they won’t concern themselves with what people think about their plan to assemble the best team either.