The Golden State Warriors are so flush with talent they can unseat the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals even if they are not firing on all cylinders, TV pundits said on Tuesday.
Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, who are part of the ABC/ESPN broadcast team for the Finals that start on June 1, say twice reigning league MVP Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are so good that the Warriors will not unravel even if other players have an off night.
“Golden State has more margin of error so they can have guys maybe not shooting the ball particularly well because Curry and Durant are on such a roll that it may not matter,” former NBA coach Van Gundy said on a conference call.
“Cleveland … are going to have to have all their guys shooting the ball well and playing efficiently.”
The Warriors have already cruised into the NBA Finals opening in Oakland with an unprecedented 12-0 playoff record even though Klay Thompson has been far from his best and 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala has struggled to make open shots.
Thompson, arguably the best shooter in the NBA after Curry, has missed 42 of his 66 attempts behind the arc this postseason but has contributed in other areas.
“Klay Thompson … is still guarding the other team’s best perimeter guy and getting the job done on the defensive end,” said former coach and player Jackson. “So he’s finding ways to impact the game even when his shooting is not up to par.”
That is not a luxury the Cavs, who are powered by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, can afford if they hope to upset the Warriors.
Fortunately for the Cavaliers they are getting solid play from Kevin Love, who could be a difference maker.
“If Kevin Love plays the same way he’s been playing in the playoffs … that’s another threat to add to LeBron and Kyrie,” said Jackson.
So good are the Warriors, who have finished with the NBA’s best record in each of the last three seasons and added four-times scoring champion Durant last offseason, that Van Gundy referred to the 2015 NBA champions as a “dynasty.”
“They have their youth, they have their health. I see nothing preventing them from going to eight to 10 straight Finals,” said Van Gundy. “It will be a massive upset, I think, if they are not there each and every year.”