There has been a steady dose of complaining about the 2017 NBA Playoffs. Many are saying the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are making the playoffs too predictable.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith along with many fans and sports reporters have complained that the success of Golden State and Cleveland have made it a forgone conclusion that those two teams are headed to the NBA Finals for the third season in a row making the playoffs less exciting.
However, that is false.
The Warriors and Cavaliers are making the Playoffs more exciting, not less. The idea that two amazingly well-built teams with some of the NBA’s best players could meet for a third straight year on basketball’s biggest stage should have everyone salivating in excitement.
First off, there were some great series in the Playoffs starting in the first round.
The two biggest MVP candidates, James Harden and Russell Westbrook squared off in a thrilling series in which the Beard took the glory, helping the Rockets beat down the Thunder in five games.
The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers met up in the first round and had a hard-fought series that went to a full seven games. The Jazz led by Gordon Hayward won a game seven on the road stunning Los Angeles.
The Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs slugged it out in a series that featured fantastic defense by Tony Allen and Kawhi Leonard. It also produced exciting front court matchups with LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol battling against Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
In the East, the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls played a physical first-round series that resulted in the Celtics winning four straight games after losing the first two.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors series was highly-competitive with Toronto winning in six games.
The Atlanta Hawks gave John Wall and the Wizards a tough first test in the first round.
Even the Pacers gave LeBron James a few tough games as the seven seed in Round 1 of the Playoffs.
The first round of the Playoffs was exciting series by series.
The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards just wrapped up a fantastic seven-game series that looked like it could go either way.
Within the series fans saw two of the NBA’s best point guards face off as John Wall and Isaiah Thomas played some great basketball in the seven-game series.
John Wall saved the Wizards from elimination in Game 6 with a clutch go-ahead three-pointer to give his team a chance to win a Game 7 in Boston at the TD Garden.
Game 7 was a thriller coming down to the final minutes as Kelly Olynyk was the hero for the Celtics scoring 12 points in a three and a half-minute period of the fourth quarter to finish with 26 overall in the game.
While the Rockets and James Harden looked horrible in Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs, the series was competitive with the Rockets forcing the Spurs to play some great basketball to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
The Spurs and Warriors will be an entertaining matchup as long as Greg Popovich is the head coach of San Antonio because he has had the Warriors number over the majority of his career.
Yes, losing Kawhi in Game 1 over a questionable foul by Zaza Pachulia is not what the NBA fans wanted, but the highly intelligent and defensive-minded Spurs against the offensive juggernaut that is the Warriors should entertain any NBA fan.
The Celtics and the Cavs will be exciting. Watching Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics use the grit that has gotten them to this point will at least force LeBron James and the rest of Cavaliers to play a very high level of basketball.
So, yes, it looks like it will most likely be Golden State and Cleveland facing off with a chance to win the Larry O’Brien trophy for the third time in as many years, but what’s wrong with that?
NBA fans are saying that there is no point of watching the other series when it’s so obvious that the Dubs and Cavs are on a collision-course that will see them meet in a third straight NBA Finals.
What is possibly boring about seeing a trilogy of two all-time great teams battling for a second title in three seasons?
NBA fans should want to see history unfold in the shape of two all-time great teams battling yet again, driving this rivalry further.
The discussion about if LeBron James is the greatest player in the history of the NBA is rising and rising and if he could take down a superteam like Golden State, it seems that many people would crown the King and say he has passed Michael Jordan as the greatest of all-time.
Stephen Curry and Co. are looking for redemption after failing to win last year’s championship after having the greatest regular season in NBA history.
Kevin Durant would get to face off against the King! KD, who it seems like everyone called out for trying to chase a ring and hopping on the Golden State bandwagon, would get to try to win the title that has long eluded him.
Kyrie against Steph another time would be about as exciting a point guard matchup as any in the NBA today.
Listen to Fox Sport’s Colin Cowherd talk about why the Warriors and Cavs would not be bad for the NBA at all, but rather very good.
If the Warriors and Cavaliers meet in the NBA Finals for a third straight year, it will be history.
NBA fans shouldn’t be unhappy or be complaining about the predictable NBA Finals matchup. It will be the most exciting and anticipated basketball played this whole season and there isn’t anyone who should be complaining that it will be the Warriors and Cavs once again.
For whatever reason, the Clippers can’t get over the hump. It isn’t the championship hump, but a hump to just win enough playoff series to make at least to the Western Conference Finals.
Nonetheless, it is time for this team to be broken up. They are a good team, who will win 50 plus games in the regular season, but they won’t ever win an NBA championship.
They can’t get by teams in the first few rounds, so there is no chance they would ever get by a San Antonio or a Golden State.
Los Angeles would forever be stuck in purgatory. Not good enough to win a championship, but not bad enough to get a meaningful draft pick.
The Clippers should immediately re-sign guard Chris Paul. He is the identity and the makeup of the team. He provides immense toughness and is still one of the best players in all of the NBA. There is not much of a question here.
In addition, they should keep DeAndre Jordan. He is a game-changing center with immense talent on the defensive end. There are still many issues on offense, like free throws, but he and CP3 have great chemistry that shouldn’t be broken up.
Nevertheless, they should look to get rid of forward Blake Griffin. Yes, he improved this year shooting the basketball and had better assist numbers, but the man has not helped them win basketball games. Whenever he gets hurt the team doesn’t lose any more games, but the same can’t be said for when Paul gets hurt.
They shouldn’t let him walk in free agency, but they should look to trade him. Trade him for some high draft picks and then use the money that would have gone to Griffin to attract another free agent.
The team would get better by using Griffin’s max contract on someone else. In 2018, there are many big name free agents. Therefore, they should re-sign Griffin, but look to trade him over next season to then cash in big time on the 2018 free agent class.
Maybe, things will work out next season and magically get better. If they do, then keep Griffin, but if they don’t, as expected, it will be time to trade Griffin.
With the trade, they can bring in a talented draft pick and another max player. The team will automatically be better. If the draft pick becomes a star, then they can compete with the Warriors and Spurs come June.
In addition, coach Doc Rivers has to be on his last legs. If not this season, but definitely by next season, it will be time to move on from Rivers. He was overrated during his time in Boston because he got lucky to coach three future Hall of Famers.
Now with the talent of the Clippers, he can’t even get by the Utah Jazz.
Los Angeles should also take a look at getting rid of guard Jamal Crawford. He provides a nice spark on offense, but his defensive production is lacking, which shows itself during the playoffs.
As far as guard JJ Reddick is concerned, LAC should look to keep him. He fills a nice role for the Clippers and is a solid player. Every team needs their knock down three-point shooter to advance in the playoffs.
Ultimately, it is time for the Clippers to think hard about Doc Rivers and Blake Griffin. It might not be the time to get rid of them, yet, but the window is closing. Remember, the Warriors seemed to make a crazy move to fire Mark Jackson and hire Steve Kerr, but look at them now.