Against all odds LeBron and the Cavaliers got one for The Land.
How impressive was it? Cleveland became first team to comeback from a 3-1 hole in the NBA Finals, and happened to do it against a 73-9 team.
LeBron led both teams in points (29.7), rebounds (11.3), assists (8.9), steals (2.6), and blocks (2.3) while playing 42 minutes a night.
Kyrie was fantastic, but there’s no argument to be made that King James shouldn’t have been the unanimous MVP.
Simply put, the outcome of this series changed how we view the NBA.
Here’s seven things we learned during the epic seven-game duel:
Starters > Depth
A lot was made of Golden State’s depth. However, the Warriors had a chance to prove just how valuable that depth was and failed. Working through Draymond’s suspension, Bogut’s injury and other key players getting beat up, “Strength In Numbers” still fell short. The Warriors tried to disprove that the NBA is a stars league, but ultimately their 11-man rotation fell to Cleveland’s 7-man rotation.
Don’t Try To Replicate The Splash Brothers
Not that Steph and Klay aren’t terrific, but no team can replicate what the Warriors do. Golden State has the two best shooters in the league, and that’s not debatable. They have fantastic chemistry, other decent shooters, and players that know where to get their two moneymakers the ball. No other team is going to be able to build anything close to that. And if they wanted to, remember, GSW already has all that and still lost. Small ball will remain popular, but hoisting triples like the Dubs might have to take a step back.
This Might Make The Warriors Better
They also didn’t go 73-9 and make it to Game 7 of the NBA Finals by accident. I’m not telling you anything new when I say the Warriors are crazy talented. Obviously they wanted to win this season, but the type of motivation this loss potentially provides the Warriors for the future is scary. No matter how many or few regular season wins the Warriors pile up over the next several seasons, they’re going to be back in the NBA Finals plenty. And they’ll always remember that they have to earn all four wins once they get there.
LeBron’s Killer Instinct Exists
The argument about LeBron not having that killer instinct is gone. He doesn’t do it the same exact way as MJ or Kobe, but it’s there. The greats before him typically did it with scoring and at times LeBron has too — his 109 points in the final three games are the most ever in the last three games of a NBA Finals series. But the real play that showed LeBron’s will to win was the block. I’m pretty confident no other player of all-time can make that play. Does that mean Jordan didn’t want to win as badly as LeBron does? No. But it means they share similar passion to win, even if they show it by doing different things on the court. Aside from his greatness, that’s how you describe LeBron — different.
Why Would LeBron Leave?
So now that he’s fulfilled his promise and won one for The Land, LeBron has an out. He’d be absolutely crushed for leaving again, but in the end he did do what he said he would. Winning ONE for Cleveland has always meant more to him than any amount of rings anywhere else, and that’s according to the man himself. But after what we saw from Kyrie Irving, why would he leave? Mind you, Irving is just 24-years old. If James is the best player in the world for another four years, the Cavs will have a chance at a title in each of those seasons. But looking even further down the road, will Irving be a top-5 player in the world by then? Even if LeBron is no longer at the peak of his powers, you don’t think he could win with that?
LeBron’s Legacy Gets A HUGE Bump
What was on the line for both teams in this series provided more entertainment than we needed, but the most compelling aspect by far was the impact on LeBron’s legacy. It meant everything. The difference between 2-5 in the finals vs. 3-4 with a victory over the 73-9 Warriors is career changing. MJ is still the greatest, but now LeBron instantly jumps into Bird-territory. And with the time he potentially has left in the league, he’s got a shot at hunting down guys like Magic and Kobe. Winning this series has LeBron in the conversation for top-5 all-time right now, and keeps his ceiling alive to become the second greatest player to ever do it.