After watching three straight unbelievable games in the Western Conference Finals, I didn’t think the headlines leading into the NBA Finals could get any better. How can you beat the fact that the Oklahoma City Thunder were just one game away from this Finals series, and then completely imploded to give up 3 straight games? How can we get past the Thunder’s horrific shooting in a critical must-win game 6 at home? I still don’t know how they blew that one, but that was then. This is now. The NBA Finals have been set and the Warriors are already favorites to win their second in a row. I mean the Warriors aren’t going to lose at home – that crowd is just too good. It showed with a win in Game 1 that never looked bad for the Warriors.
The world has been more positive about this Golden State team than I’ve seen in a while, and it seems to be fueling them to a second straight championship. While this is great for the bay area, how are the Cavs feeling? If you’ve read some of my earlier stuff, you know that I’m high on LeBron. And while I support him, I have little to stand on when opposing arguments like The Decision, 2-4 (about to be 2-5) record in the NBA Finals, Lack of Leadership, 4th Quarter Performance get thrown at me. I get it – there’s a lot of arguments against him. Until today.
First off, thanks FiveThirtyEight.com for the data. Let’s take a look back on the six NBA Finals series that featured LeBron.
|2012||Oklahoma City Thunder||Win|
|2013||San Antonio Spurs*||Loss|
|2014||San Antonio Spurs||Win|
|2015||Golden State Warriors||Loss|
|2016||Golden State Warriors||TBD|
The star denotes whether or not LeBron’s teams were favorites (or, for simplicity sake, had the better record) to win the Finals series. Essentially, LeBron’s teams in the Finals only had an expectation to win 2 out of the 6. What might be surprising is that he won his expected two when he was an underdog and not as the favorite. Other players like Curry, Jordan, Russell have different fortunes.
Thanks to FiveThirtyEight again, but Curry will be the favorite in his second straight championship (and will probably be 2-0). Jordan was only expected to win 4 out of his 6, but went 6-0. And Bill Russell went 11 for 12, while only expecting to win 9. Out of those superstars, LeBron was expected to win the fewest percentage of his Finals appearances, so him winning two isn’t all that bad in my mind.
About Matt Strobel
Matt Strobel is the editor and lead writer for LebortsReport.com. He works in marketing analytics and has been writing for the last five years. Inspired by the likes of Bill Simmons and Nate Silver, he wanted to create a site to share his knowledge on just about everything. Enjoy the site! @mdstrobe