So, we are just two games into the NBA finals, and it seems like the series is already over.
Congrats LeBron here is ring number 4, its going to do bits for your legacy.
That is all I have to say.
Wait, wait, wait.
Surely this can’t be it right?
Some people are writing this series off before it has even finished.
Yet there are so many storylines still to look over, its not a foregone conclusion at all.
The first and quite obviously the largest question is this;
How much money has LeBron spent on trying not to go bald?
Surely its millions, right? You can see his hairline recede and then magically it comes back every couple of weeks. I don’t know its just always intrigued me, maybe he should get in touch with Warnie?
The actual biggest question however is still realistically, will the Lakers win?
Of course, you can’t celebrate until the fat lady sings, I mean, LeBron himself led the greatest comeback in NBA history so it would be silly to get complacent now.
Who knows? Jimmy might be able to drag this Heat team back.
In reality though, I think its very unlikely. I think the question is really when the Lakers will win?
Will it be in 4, 5, 6 or 7?
At the moment it looks like in 4 and my prediction of Lakers in 6 looks ropey at best, but stranger things have happened, I guess.
If the Lakers win, which they look very likely to do the next question is then, who wins Finals MVP?
Of course, this is a two horse race between LeBron and AD.
LBJ is averaging 31, 11 and 9.
AD is averaging 33, 11.5 and 3.
Stats wise it is very very close.
Using my very rudimentary metrics, where instead of looking at the advanced stats I just add their PTS, REB and AST the totals are 51 for LeBron and 47.5 for AD.
This by no means shows LeBron is FMVP but it demonstrates that LeBron does have a bit of a lead despite the close stat lines.
On the defensive end both are pretty close and fall into their traditional position roles here, AD has more blocks and LeBron has more steals, nothing much to look at here.
The big revealing factor for me is that assist category.
You can look at this in a shallow way and see that LeBron averages 6 more assists than AD, but it is so much deeper than that.
It shows who has control of every aspect of this team.
Obviously LeBron generates buckets for everyone on the team, but especially for AD. This in no way means that AD isn’t a player who can thrive by himself and score at ease but LBJ makes it infinitely easier for him.
I’ve written it before and I stand by my call that LBJ is the greatest basketball mind of all-time and he can almost physically mold a game to his liking. If you have watched either of these first two games, the difference when LeBron is on and off the court is staggering.
I mean you can see it statistically when looking at Box Plus/Minus and aggregate on/off stats but it is also visibly tangible too.
Watch how in particular role players like Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma and KCP have their shots generated when LBJ is on and off. When he is on, its almost like they are given a gift wrapped pass with a bow, where all they have to do is hit a fairly open shot. When he is off you can see the battle, sure AD is banging in shots down low, but he isn’t making life easier for his teammates. This goes back to New Orleans too, AD is excellent but doesn’t necessarily makes those around him better.
So in my opinion LBJ has just edged ahead in the FMVP race.
I do have a theory on how this will play out though, I think LeBron is saving himself for the closeout game.
As soon as they get up 3 games I guarantee in the very next LeBron goes off for one of his trademark 40pt nights.
Why you may ask?
Well it’s all got to do with recency bias. The voters will submit their choices that night and if they see in front of their eyes that LBJ has had an outstanding game, a choice which was once splitting hairs becomes a little bit easier.
Don’t put it past the man, he definitely has the wherewithal to consider this.
The next question I want to canvas is, where to next with Miami?
When the season started almost a year ago, Miami had championship odds of +6000 and an over/under prediction of 43.5 wins.
Its safe to say that nobody saw this coming, and of course 2020 has been a year of unpredictability, a global pandemic headlines this. So with all of this being said, can they even do it again?
Was it too much of a fluke for a number 5 seed to make the finals?
Well, let's break it down.
All of the young guns on their team including Bam are bound to get better right?
So we can expect improvements from Herro, Robinson, Nunn and Bam.
But with this youth comes aging and next year Jimmy Butler will be 32 and towards the end of his prime.
It is worrying that his game is pretty much purely based on his athleticism and that his outside shot is shaky at the best of times.
So lets call that a slight trend upwards with the youth, because I don’t envisage Butler falling off a cliff but perhaps a steady decrease in output over the next few years.
What about the teams they came up against this year?
Well they didn’t take the easy path at all.
They faced the Pacers in the 1st round and Jimmy played exceptionally.
In Round 2 they had the Bucks, who were championship favourites with the now 2x MVP Greek Freak.
In Round 3, they had the well-rounded Celtics who can come at you from a variety of angles.
In the two later rounds they were absolutely the underdogs and I think that is where they thrive, they feed off of the energy that says they aren’t good enough. They like being “Those Motherfuckers” as Jimmy puts it.
I have no doubt they can come around next year and compete in the East but will they make the finals again?
I don’t think so.
Giannis and the Bucks.
Tatum and the Celtics.
The 76ers with Doc Rivers as the new coach.
Toronto running it back.
The Pacers with a healthy roster.
The Nets with KD AND Kyrie?
I don’t know it just looks really tough for the Heat in the long run.
At the end of the day though, like I said at the beginning of this article, it isn’t over yet.
Miami can comeback, they can still win this no matter how unlikely it may seem.
I want to see them put up a fight as a fan but at the end of the day the Lakers will probably wrap this up sooner rather than later.
So yeah, how about them Lakers huh?