When the Golden State Warriors put away the Cavs 129-120 last night, it capped off a playoff run that felt damn near inevitable ever since last July – when the league’s best team avenged their crushing Game 7 loss by going out and adding one of the league’s best players, on the heels of a record-setting 73-win season.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, the move worked, giving Golden State their second title in three years, and making an already dominant super-team even more dominant. It took the best player in the NBA averaging a triple-double, Kyrie Irving playing out of his damn mind, and more than a few “questionable” Game 4 calls to prevent the Warriors from sweeping their way through the playoffs. Instead, they ended up going “only” 16-1.
So if LeBron and the Cavs can’t do it, how can the rest of the league possible hope to stop this Bay Area juggernaut over the next few years? I tried to come up with a few ideas.
Focus on acquiring two-way players.
Trying to hold serve in a shootout with the Warriors is basically an exercise in futility. Instead, teams should be chasing 3-and-D types who can force stops and get the Warriors’ lights-out shooters out of rhythm, without being a total black hole on offence (looking at you, Kevin Love).
Sign – or trade for – a top ten player.
After the Durant signing, the NBA’s turned into a superstar arms race, and without a second (or, now, third) option come crunch time, you’re essentially destined to also-ran status. …Paul George, anyone?
Three words: Team Banana Boat.
Make it happen, LeBron.
Build an actual bench with actual NBA players.
No offence to the ageless Richard Jefferson, but the problem with building around two or three max contracts means having to fill out a rotation with reclamation projects and aging vets. The Warriors bench scored 35 points in Game 5. The Cavs? A whopping 7. That’s not going to cut it.
Find your unicorn.
The Warriors already had a Lineup of Death, but once they unleash Durant and his 7’5” wingspan at center, they go from unstoppable to downright unfair. Golden State’s at the bleeding edge of the NBA’s small ball movement, and you have to have your own freak of nature if you don’t want to get run out of the gym.
Draft well, and make smart decisions in free agency.
(Also, it helps if you’re already a top five team in the league to begin with.)
Just build your own super-team.
Start by drafting two future superstars, unearth a diamond in the rough in the second-round, sign one star to a team-friendly deal, then carve out enough cap space to sign the league’s top free agent. Easy, right?
Create a division between Durant and Curry.
Sure, the Warriors’ Big Two were all smiles last night, but if I’m the rest of the NBA, forget working on jumpers or your low-post game. I’m spending the offseason sending Curry regular reminders about how the face of the Warriors franchise now has two rings and zero Finals MVP awards.
Text Klay Thompson pictures of Durant and Curry hanging out without him.
Thompson spent the season saying all the right things about putting team over individual stats, but if you’re looking to sow discontent amongst the Golden State ranks, start by making Klay feel like the Splash Brothers’ overlooked middle child.
Set a Kardashian up with each one of the Warriors’ starting five.
Jeff Van Gundy vehemently denied the existence of the Kardashian curse, but let’s not rule anything out just yet.
Pray to the Based God.
This depends on how much credit you want to give Lil B (just ask James Harden how that’s going…). But it’s hard to argue with the facts: as soon as Durant signed with the Oakland rapper’s hometown team, the Based God lifted his five-year curse. Now KD’s an NBA champion.
Petition the league for a rule change.
Just spitballing here, but what about amending the collective bargaining agreement so games are no longer about winning, but “just doing your best” and having fun out there?
Grow team rat-tails.
Hey, Javale McGee has a ring now. There’s no arguing with that.
Clone LeBron, Orphan Black-style.
Boom. Your very own instant Lineup of Death.
Sell your starting five’s souls to the Devil.
Maybe you can get a good group rate.
Hit them with a jelly-leg jinx.
I’m told this is something from Harry Potter. Worth investigating.
Forget installing a new offensive system; teach your team the dark arts instead.
You’ve all heard of the triangle offence. But how about the pentagram offence?
Wish upon a shooting star, or four-leaf clover.
Cons: difficult to find, probably won’t work. Pros: still easier than filling a starting lineup with two former league MVPs in the prime of their careers.
Replace those “De-Fence!” chants with ancient incantations.
Let’s be real, it’s not like those chants were stopping the Splash Brothers anyway.
Throw leeches into a fire while reciting the names of the Warriors’ starting five.
“The usurper Steph Curry, the usurper Kevin Durant, the usurper Klay Thompson…” You get the idea.
Whisper into the woods at the stroke of midnight during a blood moon.
It’s worth a shot, at least.
Disband the league and just let everyone join the Warriors.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.