The NBA finals are here. The King returned home and led Cleveland Cavaliers to the final. Against them is a new look Golden State Warriors led by arguably the best shooter in the league right now, Stephen Curry. For the first time in NBA history, both finalists are led by rookie coaches.
Let’s take a detailed look into each of the finalists.
Golden State Warriors
Number 1 seed in the Western Conference. Won the Pacific Division and have home court advantage for the entire playoffs after finishing the regular season with a personal best 67-15 record.
The Warriors make their first NBA finals appearance in 40 years. The last time they were in the finals, they won the title in 1975. Coach Kerr, in his rookie season as a coach, led the warriors to their best regular season finish in franchise history with a 67-15 record. It’s the first time they crossed 60 wins in a season.
Here are some positives for the Warriors, heading into the final.
1. Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson
The Warriors hold the Splash Brothers. Together, the 2 of them scored over 500 3-point field goals between themselves (Curry broke regular season and post season record for most 3-pointers in a single season). They scored more than 15 other teams. This gives the Warriors the long range shooting ability. Not only that, the two are very accurate shooters and solid defenders. Curry is also the offensive focal point of the team, leading them in points and assists.
2. Squad Depth
The Warriors have a strong squad. Their bench is reliable with the likes of Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Leandro Barbosa and Festus Ezeli. They have pulled their weight in the playoffs. While the Cavalier’s bench has been improving, the bench of the Warriors has been reliable all season and has performed well when inserted in the starting squad.
3. Home Court Advantage
Finishing with the best record this season, the Warriors have home court advantage for the entire playoffs. Their home Oracle Arena has been turned into a fortress. They enter the finals with a combined regular and post season record of 46-3. The Cavaliers have not won at Oracle Arena in quite a while. With regular sell outs, the atmosphere is electric for the warriors, who are energized by its Oakland fans.
Coach Kerr, in his playing career, played under 2 of the best coaches in NBA, Phil Jackson and Greg Popovich. He has combined their coaching elements to create a fusion of their offensive and defensive plays. He has molded the warriors into an effective unit, which is why they are leaders in points per game and fewest points conceded per game. He has also effectively rotated his squad throughout the season, ensuring they are fresh for the playoffs.