It’s a bit dusty in the NBA but that could all be swept up should the Golden State Warriors run away with the Larry O’Brien trophy after Game 4. The Warriors have swept every series leading up to the Finals and currently sitting 15-0 with a 3-0 against the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers.
The question will arise if the NBA is any competitive outside of the Warriors or Cavaliers. Both teams have at least two series sweeps in this postseason which flexes their dominance in their respective conferences. The notion of a “weak” and “noncompetitive” league will be argued this summer as the fear of Golden State becoming too great is almost a reality.
In the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NBA Players Union felt victorious as there was a settlement to finally receive a significant amount of money from the NBA’s TV deals. This also would help increase the salary cap at an aggressive rate. Take this for data, in the 2011-2012 season the Salary Cap was $54,044,000. In the current 2016-2017 season the salary cap is $94,143,000. That is a difference of 40,099,000 between the six seasons. Never before has there been such a bigger increase in the NBA’s salary cap.
The summer of 2016 was also one of the biggest yearly increases for the Salary Cap. The 2015-2016 season’s Salary Cap stood at a then high 70,000,000. As soon as July 1st, 2016 struck the $94,143,000 Salary Cap took effect. A $24,143,000 increase that has never before happened in NBA history. So what can a significant jump in Salary cap do for the NBA? It was significant enough to allow a 73-win team to sign arguably the second best player in the NBA in Kevin Durant. Cap smoothing was proposed to avoid the rapid growth over the past couple of seasons, however, declined by the players. The deal was done, the Salary Cap money high in demand would come sooner and faster to keep the players happy.
To Golden State’s benefit, they also did their homework well. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were both available to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings in their respective draft years. Instead in the 2009 Draft, the Kings took Tyreke Evans with the fourth pick. The Timberwolves passed up on Curry twice for Ricky Rubio with the fifth pick and selected Jonny Flynn with the sixth pick. In the 2011 Draft, the Kings passed up on Klay Thompson for Bismack Biyombo with the seventh pick and the Timberwolves selected Derrick Williams with the second pick.
Call it luck or maybe it’s just Golden State and their management taking advantage of the greatest scenario at the best of times. Kevin Durant will feel the heat from media, fans, peers, and some old retired Hall of Fame players. It clearly has not distracted KD as he averages 34 points (56-percent from the field, 52-percent from three), 10 rebounds and six assists in the Warriors three Finals games so far.
The three-point dagger over LeBron James in Game 3 was one of the most defining moments of Durant’s career in taking a step towards greatness.
“Well KD is great but he’ll impact the rest.”
Stephen Curry is having the best NBA Finals of his career with Durant by his side. The two-time MVP is averaging 28.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.0 assists in the Warriors three games in the Finals thus far. Curry is also connecting on five threes a game while attempting 10 per game in the 2017 NBA Finals.
While it has been a rough postseason for Klay Thompson his NBA Finals has become his brightest moments in these three games. Thompson scored 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting in Game 2. Game 3 was a hot start for Thompson as he rose to the occasion with 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field. Six of the 11 shots made were all from the three-point line.
The average age of Golden State’s four All-Stars is 28. A young prime and enough years left to create a dynasty without competition in sight. The concern of another Salary Cap jump like last Summer’s will be the least of the Warriors worries as it may be once in a generation’s scenario.
The confetti is awaiting its descent to the floor and Golden State fans are eagerly waiting with their brooms to clear the path to a dynasty.