Immediately prior to Game 1 of what many expect to be a hotly-contested NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, commissioner Adam Silver opened up about what has been a playoffs filled with blowouts.
For Silver, it’s all about looking to “celebrate excellence” while turning away from the non-competitive games that have defined the postseason thus far.
“From a league standpoint, you always want to see great competition,” Silver said, via CBS Sports. “It’s what our fans want to see, it’s what we provide in this league. But having said that, this is real life. It’s not scripted, and it happens. So, sure, the fan in me would love to see more competition at times, but on the other hand, I’ve said it before, I think we should also celebrate excellence.”
Trying to find the balance between competition and excellence has not been easy for the NBA recently. This year’s NBA Finals represents the third consecutive time Golden State and Cleveland have met.
One could easily conclude that both teams have shown a level of excellence we have not seen since the Michael Jordan-era Bulls. But with that comes a lack of competition that has sent the rest of NBA fans into a period in which they simply lack interest.
Unfortunately, any idea that excellence and competitiveness would meet in Game 1 of the Finals was thrown out the window relatively early. Golden State earned its 13th consecutive win to open the playoffs, absolutely dominating LeBron James and the Cavaliers by the score of 113-91.
One could say the Warriors’ otherworldly level of play in the postseason should be something for us to marvel at. Here’s a team that’s now 13-0 and winning by an average of 17-plus points per game. On the other hand, taking the drama out of the playoffs can’t be a good thing.
“I think that people are also inspired, as I said earlier, by seeing such tremendous play, by seeing teams come together the way they have,” Silver continued. “I think their play has been inspiring. I think they have done it in the right way, and I also think these things have a way of working themselves out.”
Again, that might be true. Some will conclude that Golden State signing Kevin Durant impacted the competitive balance in the NBA. That is was bad for the league. But we also have to realize this team earned an NBA title back in 2015 with pretty much a homegrown core that included Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
The good news here for fans looking for a more competitive remainder of the Finals is that James and Co. will not go down without a fight. Remember, Cleveland lost the first two games of last year’s Finals by a combined 48 points before coming back to win the series.
Even then, if we’re going to continue to watch the Warriors and Cavs go up against one another in the Finals, it pretty much makes the regular season moot. That’s the larger problem, and one that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.