Posts tagged Klay Thompson
Ball Don't Lie EP 57 - AD Is On The Way

The NBA Finals are over, but the NBA is a year-long league. Scott Flows and Pierce weigh in on the Lakers trading for Anthony Davis before diving into the Raptors' championship win, the Warriors' dynasty and a spirited debate on whether Kawhi Leonard is a top five player of his era.

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ball Don't Lie EP 56 - Durant Strong

Scott and Flows break down the NBA Finals as the Warriors force a Game 6 and one final game at Oracle. More on Kevin Durant's injury and how it effects the series and the entire NBA. Can Kawhi's Raptors get it done and bring a title north of the border, or will the Warriors complete a miraculous comeback?

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ball Don't Lie EP 54 - KD Doesn't Have a Hive

Wos of Count The Dings and The Athletic join Scott and Pierce to break down the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. Then, Sporting News’ rankings of the current quarterbacks in the NFL, how we’re coping without Game of Thrones, and Goofy Mog of the Week!

Follow Scott on Twitter: @BarbersChairNet
Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Wos on Twitter: @BigWos

CHICAGO! Come out and hang with The Barber's Chair Thursday, May 30th for Game One of the NBA Finals! The Golden State Warriors will face off against the Eastern Conference Champion at 8:00 p.m. Fall through for drinks and the big game and meet Scott, Flows and Pierce. 3439 N. Sheffield

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

Becky might no longer have two belts but you can still get your #FreeTheMan tee on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ball Don't Lie EP 52 - Dany The GD Queen

Scott Flows and Pierce wrap about the divisive penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, the pacing of season 8, what's gone right, what's gone wrong, and where GOT ranks among the best television shows in history. Plus, Bulls anger after losing the Zion sweepstakes, and predictions for the NBA conference finals.

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

2018-19 NBA Season preview: High stakes in Golden State
Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

Well that summer went by fast… Maybe it felt fast because instead of spending the summer months recruiting free agents to add to their already-Murderers Row of All-Stars, the Dubs let the big fish come to them. I guess that’s how things go when you’re on top.

Now the 2018-19 season feels like a countdown to the NBA Finals and an inevitable 3-peat and fourth title in five years… at least, that’s how fans outside of Laker-land feel.

That sense of inevitability runs in the back of the Warriors minds, no doubt. It’s still unclear whether they were mentally checked before Houston pushed them to the brink of elimination in the Conference Finals, but it never felt like the Dubs were being outplayed.

When looking forward to the looming free agency of Kevin Durant, I often think back to that Rocket series, and the front office must too. While Bob Myers and Joe Lacob are more than prepared to give Durant the deal of his choice, they’d much rather sign him long term. Durant, though, has remained steadfast in keeping his options open, as he should. What’s most interesting about the situation is the divide between the franchise and the fanbase. I can’t see fans being angry at a Durant departure, and KD could see it as an opportunity for a cleaner exit than his move from Oklahoma City.

While the front office will spend most of the season convincing Durant to stay, the Warriors are still in the midst of an opportunity to three-peat. LeBron’s departure from Cleveland increases the Dubs’ chance of winning the Finals, but his arrival in Los Angeles, along with other improvements in the West, makes the field tougher than previous years. The only teams sure to miss the postseason: Dallas, Phoenix and Sacramento. The Warriors can’t afford to sleepwalk into the first round.

Ezra Shaw // NBA

Ezra Shaw // NBA

Without a clear cut starting center until DeMarcus Cousins returns from his achilles injury last season, this season will serve as year-long tryouts for the playoff rotation. Kevon Looney will likely start opening night at the 5 for his low risk, but he boasts high rewards as well. Jordan Bell, on the other hand, has high risk but still aims to be the Dubs’ center of the future. Even Damion Jones will see substantial minutes, as head coach Steve Kerr continues to shoehorn him into a key role.

Cousins will answer to some of those issues upon his return, but more importantly, he’ll keep spirits high. His presence is already being felt, as he’s been in the ears of young big’s during training camp and pre-season. So long as he does and says the right things, the rest of the team is going to battle for him. He can be the fulcrum that keeps the team focused on the mission, and in turn, he can make the other All-Stars lives a lot easier.

If nothing else, the season will be one to appreciate the present and embrace the past. This is a team with the greatest collection of talent in NBA history, and it happened in a place like Oakland.

The city has some credit to take for this too. Here in Oakland you put on for those who put on for you, and the team has always embraced that culture, with the city returning the love right back. Sure, moving to San Francisco is an upgrade in almost every fashion, but there will always be a special feeling in Oakland, and this season will be a proper send off to the town.

It’s hard to really know what to expect this season. Sure the fans expect the Warriors to win another title, but there’s more at stake than in years past. This isn’t just another title; it’s a means of truly becoming a dynasty.

But for this team, it’s just another day at the gym.

Ball Don't Lie ep. 20 - The Season Finale ft. @Al_Patron

It's the season finale of Ball Don't Lie! Author & creator Al Patron (@Al_Patron) joins the crew to wrap up the NBA season. Are the Warriors a dynasty, and how long will their window be open for? We also talk about the ridiculous of LeBron James stans and has the GOAT debate finally been laid to rest? Also what's our overall grade on the NBA, did Drake catch the biggest L in Hip-Hop history, and our final Goofy Mogs of the season.

Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Joe: @FlowsAndolini
Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega

Barber's Chair Live - the Funeral of LeBron James
Barber's Chair Live - Uncle Drew in Theaters June 29th
Barber's Chair Live after Game Two of the NBA Finals

Check out Barber's Chair Live after Game 2 of the NBA Finals! Pierce and Scott are joined by Rico (@PLAYBOIRICO), the host of Rico's Playhouse, to discuss the Warriors' blowout of the Cavs, Steph Curry staking his claim to Finals MVP, and our predictions for Game 3. Plus a little Power, Game of Thrones and The Wire talk. This game was so bad we couldn't help ourselves.

We do not own any footage used in this video. All footage is owned by ESPN and the National Basketball Association.

Music by Hooksounds.com

Barber's Chair Live after Game One of the NBA Finals (feat. @Mariannoo)

Check out Barber's Chair Live after every game of the NBA Finals on YouTube! Scott (@Scott_CEOofSUH), Joe (@Flowsandolini), Pierce (@HennyOmega) and special guests will talk about the game once the final whistle blows!

Tonight, it's Game One of the NBA Finals. Mariano Bivens (@Mariannoo) joins the boys to dissect Game One, including JR Smith's bonehead play at the end of regulation, Steph's magnificent game, LeBron's first 50-point playoff performance, Kevin Durant's struggles, and whatever the hell LeBron and co. showed up to the game wearing.

Ball Don't Lie: The Commute ft. @readjack

It's a Ball Don't Lie extra! Scott and Pierce are joined by author & historian Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) to talk about the NBA Finals. The trio also remember the Bulls championship run in the 90s, and Jack challenges Scott's take on LeBron James making eight consecutive Finals appearances.

The Warriors are going to their fourth straight Finals, but what the hell is wrong with them?
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year, but not without overcoming the Houston Rockets in a 7 game series for the ages. We saw the best assembly of singular talent, against a group that was built perfectly combat it. And though everything had seemed to turn to Houston's favor, talent eventually won out. But despite the Warriors innate dominance and the legitimate talent in Houston, there’s still something awry in Golden State.

The Dubs flash there brilliance most every game, but rarely do it for the span of entire games. It’s not always been this way though, it’s seemed to have started just this season. Though it’s counter intuitive to how we think of dynastic teams, the Warriors are just content to play below their standard until change is necessary. Luckily for them, most teams peaks don’t reach Golden States standards.

Similarly, their lack of respect for their opponents has also troubled them throughout the season. There isn’t “appropriate fear,” a concept that head coach Steve Kerr has harped on constantly, like there was in their last three seasons. Sure they may go over strategy before the game, but the players often size up their opponents as they’re playing, which so often leads to evaluations at halftime and thus their dominant third quarters.

These issues damn near bit the Warriors in the ass against the Rockets, though. After a game 1 of relatively great focus, and a solid offensive game plan, the Warriors cruised in game 2. Though stealing home court advantage kept out the criticism for the moment, their lack of urgency stayed the same. Even as their playoff starter, Andre Iguodala, was sidelined with injury through games 4 through 7, the effort continued to wane.

On the brink of taking a 3-1 lead in game 4 at home, the Dubs lost their 10 point lead at the start of the 4th quarter. The 3rd quarter of game 4 saw an offensive explosion from Steph Curry, but his 17 points would become overshadowed by the mere 12-point quarter the team had to follow it up. The Dubs were caught sleeping, refusing to realize that these games aren’t sure things. Had they made any more of an effort for those 12 minutes, they could’ve dodged a game 7, but it’s a hard thing to change at this point in the season.

I don’t think the players are the only ones to blame for the close call though, some of the onus has to be given to Kerr. They made a big effort in game 1 to hunt switches and let Kevin Durant attack; an uncharacteristic style for Golden State to play but one that was effective. Houston was able to make adjustments though. They let KD attack on isolation plays, and played as physical as possible on the splash brothers, thereby decapitating ⅔ of their 3 headed snake. KD was more than happy to get his buckets, scoring 38 points, as the Rockets beat the Warriors at their own egalitarian game.

ESPN/NBA

ESPN/NBA

It's not that surprising to see Kerr make his adjustments after a game though, rarely do they happen mid game. Occasionally a speech to spark the engine, but he likes to play it game by game. It’s just infuriating when he chooses to go down with the ship, especially when his most infamous blunder came in game 7 of the 2016 Finals. But Kerr finally showed his urgency in games 6 & 7. He cut the rotation down to 8 players, the starters with Kevin Looney, Jordan Bell, Nick Young, and Shaun Livingston off the bench. Maybe going to that rotation earlier could’ve ended the series quicker, or maybe playing the last card early could’ve given Houston a mental edge.

Regardless of the issues surrounding this team, they’re manageable, and aren’t systemic. It’s a matter of circumstance that the players can play without serious consequence or concern. The key to their problems is making sure they don’t become sewed into the fabric of the teams culture.

Ball Don't Lie ep. 19 - All that for a drop of blood?

The NBA Finals are set, and the Cavs and Warriors are ready for round 4. Pierce and Scott discuss the Conference Finals, whether LeBron making eight straight NBA Finals matters, and who wins the NBA Finals!

Don't forget to check out Barber's Chair Live on YouTube after every NBA Finals game!

Western Conference Finals preview
USATSI

USATSI

The Houston Rockets fulfilled their destiny by finding their way to the Western Conference Finals. It seemed like this was bound to happen since the trade sent Chris Paul to Houston, but along the way they exceeded expectations by winning the west, and getting James Harden to play at an MVP level with an all-time point guard beside him.

Now they face the Golden State Warriors with the NBA Finals on the line, and unlike past playoff matchups, the Rockets expect to win.

They’ve been targeting Golden State for years, this season especially. In their opening night matchup, the Rockets came back from down 14 in the fourth quarter to steal the win on ring night, and when a KD jumper was called no good on replay, the Rockets did all but pop the champagne. But now they’re ready for the real bubbly, at least they believe they are, and that’s a huge part of being a title contender.

The Rockets have a vastly different mindset as a team, and that’s a credit to their player development and coaching. Harden doesn’t get caught sleeping on defense anymore, CP3 has smoothly transitioned into a secondary ball-handler, and Clint Capela is playing his role the way Dwight Howard never did during his time in Houston. It’s reminiscent of the Warriors when they play hard every night. It’s the focus of a team that’s finding out they have some chops. Unfortunately for them, they’ll have to go through the big dogs.

The Warriors are looking at this series quite different than Houston is. They’ve gone to hell and back in the playoffs, but they’ve also got a lot more chemistry than the Rockets. They’ll probably end up screwing around and start Javale to match up with Capela because they know their margin of error is the highest in the league. It really comes down to the talent, and Golden State wins that battle.

With Klay Thompson most likely guarding Harden, it sets up for a CP3-Steph match-up, conjuring up memories and emotions from when the Clipper-Warriors rivalry was at its peak. CP3’s instinct may take over where he’ll feel the need to go at Steph, but I think he can be much more effective in the rhythm of their offense. Steph has added muscle to be able to hold his own in defensive switches in the pick and roll, but Paul comes into this series as a much healthier player, and with some momentum after that crazy 40/10 closeout performance vs. Utah in the semifinal. He’s going to try to get Steph out of the game whenever he can, goating him into making mistakes in 1 on 1 defense, but in the end, Curry’s output on offense should win the individual match-up.

Another intriguing match-up is Harden vs. Kevin Durant. While they won't be guarding each other much this series, they’re the best scoring options on their respective teams. Houston simply cannot guard KD 1 on 1. Durant can shoot over, dribble past, and finish on anyone, Trevor Ariza included, and while Harden lacks the height that KD brings to the table, he’s gotten into peak physical shape which has elevated his game to MVP levels. Most likely, we’ll see various actions to get Harden running downhill off the pick and roll. The Rockets love their pick-and-roll sets where Capela immediately uses a downscreen from a shooter (Eric Gordon, for ex.) who can pop out for three. The Warriors defense will formulate a gameplan, preemptively switching the defenders involved, but it’ll require a series long focus. If Harden runs the Dubs tired, it could mean a game to the Rockets.

There's no question that the Rockets give the Warriors the best challenge they've seen in the playoffs. For the first time in the Steve Kerr era, the Warriors won’t have home court advantage, and will have to play a Game 7 on the road if the series stretches that far. Game one could be the closest of them all, as the Warriors come in looking to steal home court & Houston's momentum. One thing I'm sure of is this: the winner of this series will win the NBA title.

Dubs in Fo’

Ball Don't Lie Ep 17 - Bring David Stern Back ft. @Mariannoo
Warriors-Pelicans Western conference semifinal preview

At first glance the seeding of this years playoffs, it seemed as though the Warriors had an easy road to the Finals. They had swept the Pelicans, Blazers, and Spurs in the playoffs before, but with the utter dominance New Orleans displayed against the Blazers, there’s still some concern in Golden State.

Looking back at the first time these teams matched up, the first round in 2015, the Pels put up a pretty good fight. Anthony Davis had his national coming out party. He averaged 30 for the series, and made it look easy over a prime defensive Draymond Green, and a still capable Andrew Bogut.

But the Pelicans came as close to winning game 3 as they possibly could have, if it weren’t for a miraculous three by Steph Curry to send it to overtime where Golden State took control of the game and the series. Since then these teams have changed dramatically.

Some news of Golden State came out of practice Thursday though. Marcus Thompson of The Athletic reported that Kerr put Curry down as “questionable” for Game 1 of the series. We could see this as the payoff of letting Curry rest through the first round, but I’m not falling for that. I think there’s some internal concern about what this Pelicans squad poses to the Warriors without #30.

Anthony Davis has become a truly brilliant NBA player. There’s no doubt that he’s a superstar, the best big man, and arguably the highest ceiling in the years to come (he’s only 25!). Put aside all of his in game accolades though and you’re left with an admirable young man. He’s had to put up with an inordinate amount of organizational incompetency, more than any young Star should have to. It’s a mark of a selfless player to endure that much strife without much more than an interview with Woj.

That aspect of AD is one the reasons his team has seen so much success, being the kind of guy you can rally behind. But his style of play is just as vital to his his teammates success. He commands defenses at all spots on the court, too quick for big men and too strong for guards and wings. That willingness to move the ball is why players like Holiday, Niko Mirotic, and E’Twaun Moore have been getting buckets from three. With an easier scheme they can rely on for offense, it’s allowed the Pelicans the stamina to compete harder on defense.

Against the Warriors though, the defensive game plan they showed against the Blazers might not be as effective. The Dubs just don’t work off the pick and roll as much as Portland, so the aggressive trap the Pels used against the Blazers won’t be as much of a factor. In fact if NOLA does resort to the trap against Steph, GSW is more than prepaid to create out of the 4-on-3 situation it presents. I think that it will still come down to outside shooting for the Dubs though. Davis is so good at protecting the rim that most of the Warriors’ offense should come off inside-out offense, whether that be drive and kicks or triangle actions initiated from the post.

(Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

(Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

My concern for GSW isn’t necessarily on offense, it’s how they handle NOLA on the defensive end. If they run a traditional 5 the whole game, Davis can eat the whole game. Nobody other than Draymond really stands a chance, and Kerr’s shown how tentative he is to run Green at the 5. Just look at their 4th quarter minutes game 5, Kevon Looney played almost the whole quarter, and they paid the price by blowing a huge lead. But if they’re willing to give Draymond the most minutes at center, it will certainly save them on defense, but then will also make for a more potent offense.

Though the talent gap is clearly in Golden State’s favor, the Pelicans are going to come out with as much energy as they can muster. Other than Rajon Rondo, they have a bunch of young, energized players who’ll be willing to sell out on defense, even if it means a screwed up rotation. But the Dubs have also had trouble with tight defenses plenty, as it tends to muck up the ball-movement that GSW’s offense predicates on. It’ll also be interesting to see how well Jrue Holiday can play Curry. He’s given him trouble in the past, being 6’4” and all, but Holiday is so calm and physical on defense.

The series may just be the Dubs toughest, if only for the fact that they’ve not seen this Pelicans team. Only in their last matchup in April (with Curry out and an eye on the playoffs, they lost) did they actually see the Pels without Boogie in their lineup. Their first game while most likely be a feeler, but if the Pels can capitalize on the opportunity, they could steal an early one on the road. But regardless this round will most certainly be more interesting than the last.

Prediction: Warriors in six

Hoops N Brews Ep.71: Cedi Osman could check Klay

On episode 71 Pavy & TPJ are back to talk Cleveland Cavaliers new team, Cavs defeating Celtics, Rockets facing the Western Conference, are the Raptors the deepest team in the NBA. Pavy says Cedi Osman can check Klay Thompson and more

The most intriguing Finals matchups for the Warriors

In the last two weeks, the Warriors capped off their season series with the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference. Now comes the long wait until June to find out who’ll the Warriors will be facing. So in the meantime, here’s my subjective list of the most intriguing possible Finals Matchups.

Dubs in 3

(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Indiana Pacers

Indiana has been a pleasant surprise to the league. The Pacers seemed to have started a rebuild once they shipped out Paul George after another first round exit. Instead they've cracked the top 7 in the East, and the play of All-Star Victor Oladipo is a large reason why.

Their core has played well and they’re largely untested, but on the slim chance they make the Finals, they’ll have an even slimmer chance to beating the Warriors. While the everyday fan would hate the idea of Pacers-Warriors, Dubs fans would rejoice at Oladipo flourishing after Russell Westbrook conformed him into a dark skinned Alex Abrines.

Miami Heat

First of all, these dudes have all of my respect. Last season, they went 11-30 in the first half of the season, and completely flipped their season around going 30-11 in the second half of the season, just barely missing the playoffs.

Fortunately their late season success has continued on into this season, sitting at 4th place, with a 29-21 record. Spoelstra has worked his coaching magic to keep his guys in line and playing hard. He gets the most out of his talent, none of whom have even been an all-star (though Goran Dragic has played like one). At their best, they can make things uncomfortable for the Warriors (see Cavs-Pistons 2016, a hard fought 4 game sweep.)

You’ve got my attention

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Washington Wizards

John Wall will go under the knife for arthroscopic surgery on his knee, which may keep him out for 2 months, maybe more. With a 27-22 record, good for 6th in the East, they’re at risk of dropping out of playoff contention if Bradley Beal can’t carry the load. Beal has been their guy this season; partially because of how Wall’s injuries have inflicted his game, but also because Beal has avoided injuries of his own.

Nevertheless, the Wizards are always a pleasure to compete against because of the extracurriculars they bring to their games. Whether it's claiming the throne before they accomplish anything, being concerned with meaningless player rankings, or planning “funerals”, they're truly the hypebeast of the league.

Their last few matchups with the Dubs featured some theatrics. In 2016, Steph Curry and Wall exchanged 51 and 41 points in D.C. In 2017, Curry exploded for 42 points, holding Wall to just 20. And in the most recent matchup, Beal and Draymond Green got tangled up and brought the scrap into the first row. In a series, I’d give the Wizards a game, but for the most part, they’ll be too in their own heads to truly contend.

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis is just incredible. He’s one of the few players that the Warriors really respect the hell out of. However, the pieces around him are still shaky.

Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, and Jabari Parker (hoping he’s healthy) are all out matched by the Warriors counterparts, and the Bucks bench isn’t even worth talking about. There’s also the game within the game of Delly and Steph's Finals rematch (he isn’t well liked by the Warriors.)

But Giannis is amazing and at his best can make everyone's job easier. He’s also a matchup nightmare. He’s too tall to be guarded by a 3, but too shifty to keep a big man on him. The Warriors counter with KD, who mirrors Giannis’ body type, and can make things just as difficult for the Bucks. What’s most admirable about the Bucks is their demeanor, and it starts with Giannis. His rookie year, he ran through Milwaukee to get to a game because his car wouldn’t start. But for all young stars, the stage of the Finals can change their career trajectories, for better or for worse. So while it may hurt him in the short term to lose on the biggest stage, in the long term it’ll surely sharpen his iron.

Philadelphia 76ers

Much like the Bucks, the amount of young talent on the Sixers is entrancing. Ben Simmons has carved out a surprisingly effective role for the modern NBA, given his shooting woes, and Joel Embiid, if he can stay healthy, could be a generational player.

Trusting the process got them here but also credit some solid drafting & development of starters Dario Saric and Robert Covington. But there is serious concern with last year's #1 pick, Markelle Fultz. His shooting shoulder has been messed up since preseason, and from what recent footage has shown, his form just looks awful.

But the Dubs are the kind of competition that can teach these players a lot, whether or not they're playing (sorry Fultz). For now though, they just need to do as Embiid says and “Trust the Process”.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Ahhh, that’s pretty interesting!

Cleveland Cavaliers

There isn’t much intrigue left in a Dubs-Cavs Finals. I’m sure most people are expecting it, but I’m just not convinced. The Cavs just don’t have the same vigor and fire to compete that they had in the past three matchups. Lebron is planning his getaway, Kyrie already escaped, IT is cold snitchin’, and Kevin Love broke his finger and is out for two months.

There just isn’t enough focus and attention to detail in the game plan, and it starts with LeBron taking breaks on defense and being ambiguous about his future (which is his right, there’s no loyalty in this game, see Blake Griffin). It’s hard as a fan to really want to match-up with a team that’s half-assing it. There's more joy in beating someone who wants to win as badly as you do.

Still, while it may not be as fun a series as these last two teams, it’s still a nice feeling to beat Lebron in the Finals.

Toronto Raptors

(ERNEST DOROSZUK/Toronto Sun)

(ERNEST DOROSZUK/Toronto Sun)

So many factors go into my love of this matchup. For one, we’ll finally get to see Drake actually root against the Warriors. Also, the city of Toronto seriously deserves to host a few finals games, but the team could use it too. This is the best team the Raptors have ever had, and as the Cavs have become more vulnerable, they’ll have a shot at taking them out.

Demar Derozan, a pure-bred gym rat, has finally looked to have rounded out his game. He’s always had a smooth game, thanks to his excellent footwork, and he’s seemed to master the mid-range game. But as Steph and the Dubs have changed the direction of basketball, Derozan has just caught up to the party. He’s shooting a career high in 3PT% while putting up another career high 3.2 three’s a game. He’s also averaging a career-high 5.1 APG, another career high. While these numbers don't jump off the page, they're indicative of the pace, space, drive and kick offense that’s given the Raptors so much success.

Raptors fans are yearning to get to this stage, and while The Dubs may not think too much of this squad, this Raptors core has shown a serious ability to contend with the champs. It’ll all come down to Toronto's mindset when the playoffs return to the 6.

Anything less would be uncivilized

Boston Celtics

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Celtics are exactly the team I want to see come out of the East for the Finals. Kyrie Irving is in the prime of his career playing under Brad Stevens. Behind Steph, he’s the most offensively gifted and explosive scorer at point, and he does so with so much control.

Stevens, a basketball savant in his own right, has crafted Boston's offense much like Golden State's, just without all of the talent. He’s made Boston play above their talents, which is how the most talented team's function, sports or otherwise. Their foundation though is the defense, cemented on Al Horford's smarts and fundamentals, and once he returns from injury, Marcus Smart's tenacity and lack of shit-giving.

There’s also the byproduct of Gordon Hayward's injury, immediately forcing the team to overcome heartbreaking and scary adversity. While he's unlikely to return his season, the prospect of what Hayward's presence can contribute to the already top seed is an encouraging reminder throughout the season.

The Celtics are Golden State's biggest challenge towards a third title in four years, their close loss to the Dubs last Saturday as evidence. Kyrie responded to Curry's 49-point performance with 37 of his own, giving them the same problems on offense as he did in Cleveland. On the other end, the way every (competent) team defends Steph is the way the Warriors guard Kyrie, sending doubles on screen and rolls, and being quick to rotate on defense, which plays into both teams offenses.

Still, Boston's offense can't touch Golden State. They just don’t have the fire power, but, again, Irving’s control of pace and possession lowers the amount of opportunities for Golden State to score. However, this is the most exciting Finals matchup because it’s inevitable. The Celts have set themselves up so perfectly to flourish in near future, that I just want to get a real glimpse into how this new rivalry takes shape come June.