Not the Rockets.
I have no idea who will win this series, but I suspect it will be Boston. Golden State just appears to run out of steam as often as it goes on incredible runs. Even with arguably the best small-ball lineup in NBA history, it’s hard to play up against a team that’s bigger, younger, more athletic all the time. The lack of any real defensive weakness on the part of Boston makes it hard for the Warriors to target anyone, or anything. The fact the Warriors nowhere enjoy a size advantage is problematic for them.
If Golden State wins this Finals nothing much will change in terms of NBA thinking, they’ll be considered a one-off sort of team. This is probably correct thinking. It’s unlikely a team will be drafted and assembled in just the same fortunate and effective way again.
One of the secrets of Golden State’s success is of course Curry, Thompson and Green, and this has been rightfully lauded by many. Another brilliant strategy might be their astonishing payroll – nearly $184 million this season in total cap (for those playing along at home, the cap level is $121 million, the tax level is $136 million). The Warriors are looking at some incredible tax payments this year, and if I’m correct, the repeater tax next season. (At least they aren’t the Clippers, looking at much the same, but sitting at home. Ballz can afford it, fortunately.)
It’s also nice that Draymond Green has seen fit to police the language and behavior of others. No one better to arbitrate morality than Draymond.
If Boston wins, I’d assume we’ll hear a lot about defense, and rightfully so. I just hope it’s the correct conversation about defense, and in the Rockets case, defense and the draft.
Anyhow, the Finals are going forward, though we all know what’s important – the draft, and summer league. This is not a pivotal game for the Rockets in any sense.