I’m not really the type of person that says “I told you so” so I won’t start now, but I am felling pretty good about myself right now. Obviously, not as good as King James himself, who exploded on Boston for 38 points. I made it a point to tell as many people that I can that Cleveland was going to win, and I wanted to know their choice as well, beforehand. Of course, I was the idiot everywhere I went but who’s the idiot now?
Why did I know Cleveland would win? Well, should I start at the top of the list or at the bottom? I don’t think it really matter because my list starts and finishes with Lebron, and amazingly enough has a lot of Lebron in the middle. For starters, Cleveland lost last year in the play-offs were a dagger to Lebron’s hopes of returning to the Finals for a second consecutive season…and if you don’t mind me saying, that downright pissed Lebron off. The last thing you want to do in the NBA is to get on the bad side of a superstar, especially one with such a large understanding of basketball. Jordan, Kobe, Lebron…they will figure out how to beat you if given time to reflect. I wonder how many times Lebron watched last year’s play-off series against Boston this past summer. I’m sure he knows those guys like the back of his hand. That’s not the bad news for Boston though, the bad news is that they will never beat Cleveland again. Maybe a few times here and there, but a full series…forget about it. The key factor between this game and the playoffs is as simple as age and knowledge. Cleveland has always been a talented team, and just like the Lakers, they are a year older and wiser as a unit. Also the addition of Mo Williams is huge. Cleveland is famous for having good shooters, but no one besides Lebron was able to put the ball on the floor last year and really make things happen. Mo can because he draws so much attention when he drives. Granted his average is not as high as last year in Milwaukee, we all know that the potential to explode is still there. How do you stop someone from exploding? Don’t allow them to catch fire. So, you have to keep someone monitoring Mo Williams at all times. That’s one less defender helping on Lebron. All the rest need to do, is do what they do. No one of Cleveland’s team is being asked to do anything other they what they can do well. Gibson and Szerbiak knocks down open shot when their man helps on Lebron. Check. Ben Wallace and Varejao rebounds, contest shots and try to make bigs work harder than they normally do. Check. And the defense is insane! Basically, Cleveland can stop you, but you can’t stop them. It’s role basketball to the max and Cleveland does it like no other team since the Bulls. This may appear to be the same team as last year when you read the names on the back of their Jerseys, but every single player on the roster is better now. Even Ben Wallace is better just because he has a full season and he understands more. Last year he, West and Szerbiak came in a trade in February and had to learn on the fly. Now with the full training camp and a bit of knowledge of their teammates, coaches and Cleveland’s philosophies and playing style, they’ve been able to adapt and really see where and what they can do within this system to help it excel. Everyone knows what they have to do and they do it, no discussion. A lot of credit has to be given to Coach Brown, but even more to the players for accepting and executing perfectly and professionally. I think they will win it all this year and begin a dynasty. Wally Szerbiak’s contract is over in July, and from what I remember, he’s making somewhere around 12mill per year. Also Big Z and Big Ben’s contract is over in the summer of 2010. I figure Cleveland to be one of the top choices for free agents if Lebron stay (which I predict he will). Who wouldn’t want to play beside Lebron for the next 5 or 6 years? I think it’s going to happen this year though because Cleveland wants to resign Lebron in 2009 and avoid all of the drama in the “2010 Franchise Player Sweepstakes”. But before that happens they have to prove to Lebron that not only are they winning championships now, but they will continue to compete for years to come. I think they will do it and I think Lebron will stay and I think Cleveland will be a dynasty and I think Lebron will retire with 5 or 6 rings and celebrated the best of all time. Remember, I said there is a greatest of all time in every generation, and Lebron is the “Chosen One”…for now.