Culbreath: Championship is comingWritten by Matt 'Shaggy' Culbreath | | firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s a cycle of Internet trends. Cat stuff, a dumb song or dance, and something related to Game of Thrones. You can make that round in a week online nowadays.
And as much as I’m a fan of Thrones, it is admittedly getting tiresome to see a hackneyed list of comparing one group of something… whether it be politicians, universities, or desserts… to the massive cast of the epic fantasy TV series. (On an unrelated note… if it’s a book, I can call it a fantasy epic. If it’s video, though, it’s epic fantasy. Weird.)
And so it was earlier this week where an animated video was released comparing NBA teams in the playoffs to the various houses and characters of Westeros. I won’t list them here, but you can rightfully assume that the Miami Heat were the rich and powerful Lannisters, and the Chicago Bulls were the noble, perhaps too naive Starks (complete with Carlos Boozer sitting in for Hodor, the simple brute who can only speak his own name. BOOZER).
There was one comparison, though, that made all of the sense in the world: The San Antonio Spurs were pictured at the end of the video as the White Walkers: the undead army of ice that lives in the North and is a threat to the entire nation. Portrayed in the video by Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Greg Popovich, as ghastly white demons. The video closes with Coach Popovich holding up a whiteboard while howling: the whiteboard reads “CHAMPIONSHIP IS COMING.”
Ain’t that the truth.
True facts: with their 112-77 whoopin’ on Oklahoma City in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, the trio of Parker, Duncan, and Manu Ginobli have 111 playoff wins, the most by any group of three players playing together in NBA history. They don’t get a whole lot of love, simply because of their style of play. But it seems like it’s just around playoff time where suddenly everyone says “Oh, right, they’re pretty good.” They have a commanding two game lead on the Thunder going into Sunday’s Game 3, and unless something wacky happens, you can expect to see them in the finals again.
I look at that trio of guys, and I think back over to Cleveland. The Cavaliers got some interesting news this week when they won the NBA Draft Lottery. And I love that they got it: the Cavs certainly didn’t tank going down the stretch of the regular season. In fact, I’d say Kyrie Irving played a little too much at the end there, simply risking injury. With Tuesday’s lottery, the Cavs will be taking home the first overall pick for the 3rd time in 4 years, meaning that they’re officially better playing with ping pong balls than they are playing with basketballs. (By the way, if New York or LA had won the lottery that often? You’d never hear the end of how the fix was in.)
Now, San Antonio’s trio all came out of the draft: Tony Parker was the first overall in 1997, Manu was a second round pick in 1999 (and spent a few years playing in Italy before joining the team in 2001), and Tony Parker was the 28th pick in 2001. Looking at what Cleveland has, they could put together something similar: Kyrie Irving has been the franchise since you-know-who took his talents to you-know where. Anthony Bennett last year was… an abberation. But hey, 2012 first round pick Dion Waiters had a decent year, and the opportunity to add another stud out of this class is a gift.
That is, of course, assuming that there isn’t another…. aberration. And I don’t mean in the draft (though, when it comes to the Cavs, who knows.) No, I’m talking about the juicy piece of meat known as Kevin Love that’s hanging out in the wind. Stuck in Minnesota, with nowhere to go but down (Kevin Garnett knows that feeling, bro), Love has told the T-Wolves that he’s not signing an extension, and it’s in their best interest to trade him somewhere where he can win. The Cavs have made a push for him before, and now they have this first overall draft pick in their back pocket. It seems like a nice idea, but I’m not sold on it. When you have Andrew Wiggins staring at you from Kentucky (or even Joel Embiid right next to him), you gotta go in on him. If you get these guys together through the draft, get them to buy into Cleveland as a whole, and get them winning, you could end up in a Spurs-like situation. I’m not saying they’ll win as much, but succeed enough, and you’ll see them want to stay with the franchise that put them together.
(And don’t give me that “Lebron is coming back” garbage. He’s not.)
Model the team after San Antonio. Get a core. Get them winning. And they’ll stick with the franchise until the end.
Tags: Andrew Wiggins, cat videos, Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland, Game of Thrones, Greg Popovich, Hodor, Internet, Joel Embiid, Kentucky, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, LA, Lannisters, Lebron, Miami Heat, Minnesota, NBA, NBA Draft Lottery, New York, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Starks Carlos Boozer, T-Wolves, Tim Duncan, Timberwolves, Tony Parker, Westeros