• In this nasty business of writing about two teams — one the winner and one the loser — it’s hard to convey reasons why one team won and one team lost without diminishing the greatness of the losing squad.

    The Warriors flirted with being history’s greatest team, possessing unworldly gifts and a flair for the dramatic to go with those record-breaking 73 wins.

    But the warning signs were there.  The Blazers played them tough and the Warriors just sort of did their thing and we wrote it off as being related to Curry’s knee injury, the rust and the assimilation period.

    Then Oklahoma City showed up to an increasingly quiet Oracle Arena and punched them in the mouth in a game they ultimately lost.  The Thunder appeared to have more athleticism and more importantly it looked like they held a god key, being able to switch everything the Warriors ran and hang tough.

    The Warriors ran their normal stuff with their normal lineups and found themselves in a 3-1 hole.  Draymond Green was in the crosshairs as he continually lost his cool, and the Warriors looked somewhat shook.  Steve Kerr was no longer being lauded for his lineup decisions and adjustments.  Kerr and his players constantly got caught up in the refereeing.  They escaped against the Thunder and again — we wrote their problems off and declared them the prohibitive favorites in the Finals.

    Across the court stood a Cavs team with no answers for the superior roster that the Warriors have.

    Kevin Love would be rendered a non-factor because he isn’t a great fit for the series any way one slices it.  Draymond Green, who ran into multiple Thunder players that matched up well with him, was now in a series in which he could flourish.  Tristan Thompson wouldn’t be able to handle the Warriors’ switches on the perimeter, let alone Love, and players like Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes would make J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Richard Jefferson look silly.  Kyrie Irving would be blanketed by Klay and Curry would not be covered by anybody that the Cavs could throw at him.

    Early on it appeared that way.

    But as the Warriors were putting the finishing touches on Cleveland in Game 4, and LeBron and Draymond ignored crunch-time action to have a war of words, it became clear that Green had once again struck the family jewels in a dirty manner.  As it sunk in that he wasn’t going to get another pass and a suspension was on the way, the cumulative effect of the Warriors’ journey to that point finally set in.

    Draymond, for all of his positives, didn’t care if he was more valuable to the team than his ego was to himself.  The Cavs, who had seen LeBron misplace his jumpshot and most of their players lose their confidence, suddenly felt like they were playing with house money.

    Get a win in Game 5 with no Draymond. Come home. Get a win in Game 6 and now we’re on to something.

    Playing at their best now, the Cavs were locked in and like the Thunder did before them, they decided to switch almost everything and take away what the Warriors do best in their flow offense.  And just like the Warriors did for the duration of these playoffs, they kept running their normal stuff and tried to do things their way.  Steve Kerr continued to use lineups that clearly didn’t work, in particular with Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varejao — and continued to demand that the Warriors move the ball rather than isolate their best players in winning matchups.

    They wanted to play the Warriors way.  The way that got them to 73 wins.  As if changing would somehow invalidate their stranglehold on greatness.

    Maybe they set themselves up for it by aiming for the title of ‘best ever.’  Maybe the egos of the players involved wouldn’t allow for them to hunker down, take good shots and find winning matchups.  Maybe they were too caught up in the refereeing and the ‘us against the world’ mentality that can be both empowering and intoxicating.  Maybe they simply did not know how to change.

    Ultimately we all believe in ourselves and the things that we do and we do so at our own peril.  It’s when we test those beliefs that we truly become the best that we can be.  The Warriors have all summer to do exactly that.

Fantasy News

  • Anthony Davis
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    When asked by Chicago Tribune reporter K.C Johnson on how he'd feel about wearing a Bulls jersey someday, Anthony Davis said that "If the opportunity ever presents itself and when that time comes, I’d definitely consider it.”

    The chances of that time coming is more likely for 2025 than 2020, but still, until Davis is firmly committed to the Lakers long-term speculation of his future will remain. It's nice to know if you're a Bulls fan that he imagines playing for his home town at some point, but don't expect him bolting LA for them after one season.

    Source: Chicago Tribune

  • Kenny Wooten
    PF, New York Knicks

    The Knicks have signed Kenny Wooten to an Exhibit 10 contract.

    Wooten posted 10 blocks in only 52 minutes during Summer League and possesses some serious leaping ability. He will spend most of his time in the G-League and should not be on the radar in drafts.

    Source: Marc Berman of The New York Post

  • Oshae Brissett
    SG-SF, Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors have signed Oshae Brissett to an Exhibit 10 contract.

    Brissett, a Toronto native, went undrafted after two seasons at Syracuse and played with the Clippers at Summer League, where he averaged 6.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 17.6 minutes a night across five games. This puts Toronto's roster at 20 for the time being, so barring any further transactions the Raptors have their camp group set.

    Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter

  • Jordan McLaughlin
    G, Minnesota Timberwolves

    The Wolves have inked point guard Jordan McLaughlin to a two-way contract.

    McLaughlin went undrafted in 2018 after a four-year USC career where he averaged 12.8 points, 7.8 assists and 2.0 steals in his senior season. After his strong play for the G-League's Long Island Nets last season, he earned a spot on this years Wolves summer league roster where he continued to impress, leading his team to a 6-1 record. He is unlikely to get many NBA minutes this season with Jeff Teague, Shabazz Napier and Tyrone Wallace on the roster.

    Source: Jon Krawczynski on Twitter

  • Emmanuel Mudiay
    PG, Utah Jazz

    The Jazz have officially announced the signing of Emmanuel Mudiay, Jeff Green and Ed Davis.

    All three project to come off the bench this season with Green and Davis part of the frontcourt second string while it is unclear if Mudiay or Dante Exum will assume the backup point guard duties. Davis is coming off a career-high 8.6 rebounds per game in only 17.9 minutes last season while Mudiay enjoyed his best year as a pro with the Knicks but all three players can be left undrafted in standard leagues for the time being.

    Source: NBA.com

  • CJ McCollum
    SG, Trail Blazers

    C.J. McCollum has withdrawn his name from the Team USA training camp and 2019 FIBA World Cup.

    Following the trend, McCollumn is the fourth player to withdraw his name this week in order to focus on the upcoming season. The original 20 invites are now down to 16 with the final 12-man roster expected to be announced on August 17.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Frank Mason
    PG, Milwaukee Bucks

    The Bucks have agreed on a two-way contract with Frank Mason III.

    Mason did not get much opportunity with the Kings last year and sat out all of Summer League with a sore hip. He projects to spend most of his time in the G-League and called up only if Eric Bledsoe or George Hill need to miss time. The Bucks recently signed Cameron Reynolds to a two-way deal and still have Bonzie Colson on one from last season so they are one over the limit. They still have an empty roster spot even after signing Kyle Korver so maybe one of their two-ways gets a standard deal instead. Otherwise, one of them will need to be waived.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Kyle Korver
    SF, Milwaukee Bucks

    Kyle Korver has agreed to a one-year deal with the Bucks per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

    This is not the worst landing spot for Korver but he will strictly be a backup and entering his 17th season, he should not be relevant in standard leagues. He was able to knock down 2.1 triples per game in only 20.1 minutes last season so he may have value as a specialist in super-deep leagues however.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Chris Paul
    PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Chris Paul has reportedly settled on the idea of starting the season for the Thunder.

    Although Oklahoma City and Miami did not have formal discussions regarding a Chris Paul trade according to Brian Windhorst, the Thunder were willing to discuss giving back the Heat some picks but the Heat would have also wanted Paul to decline his $44 million player option in 2021-2022, which is not going to happen. The Heat want to remain flexible in the next big free agent class of 2021 and adding Paul on his current deal would take that away. Paul's usage rate will likely increase on the Thunder but keep in mind that he has missed at least 21 games in each of the three seasons before drafting him as the 9-time All-Star enters his 15th season in the league.

    Source: ESPN.com

  • Eric Gordon
    SG, Houston Rockets

    Eric Gordon withdraws from Team USA training camp for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

    Gordon is the third player to withdraw this week after James Harden and Anthony Davis. The original training camp list of 20 is now down to 17 and the official 12-team roster will be announced on August 17.

    Source: Shams Charanis on Twitter