Thanks for the response, Jonathan.
I read your article at the time you wrote it, and disagreed with it for exactly the same ones I wrote in the comment above. Your article about Game 6 did remind me to add one more to list: make sure the refs ignore the times Curry gets knocked down while shooting a three, while fouling him out for the first time since October 2014.
I think the big problem here is how often people confuse correlation and causality.
How valid is the “let’s ignore a 38% 3-pt shooter for the Finals,” when viewed over an entire season? Cleveland did not find a weakness in Golden State, other than benefitting from Barnes and Iggy shooting well below their season averages from behind the 3-point line. This is completely different from not guarding Tony Allen, whose range is questionable outside the paint.
If you get the shots you want throughout a series — wide open 3’s, short Livingston jumpers over much smaller defenders, and Curry layups — and miss them in a way you never did for the past two seasons, I don’t attribute that to the opponent. Did the Warriors choke? Absolutely. But we assume that championship teams work that stuff out of their systems and come back even stronger.
I look at basketball on the basis of performance expectations based on large sample sizes. Before Curry started his other worldly shooting, I was convinced this could never happen because no one had done this since the NBA began. But after three years of breaking the record for 3’s, while being in the 40–50–90 club, now I say, “Okay, he’s the one guy who can do it, so I’ll assume he will continue to do it.”
Only the Cavs and the Thunder had the personnel to even make life difficult for the Warriors. The idea that a team with the greatest all-around player since Jordan has to play 45 minutes a game while doing everything on both ends of the floor, and then shooting twice as good as his career 3-point percentage to barely win a couple of games just does not constitute a formula the rest of the league can copy. (Yes, every team will try to play Curry as physcially as the Cavs did, but during the regular season, that will court disaster. The league will not allow a new era of mugging their most marketable player.)
There is no system that is unbeatable. The triangle ruled because of Jordan and Pippen and a third HOF power forward (the underrated Horace Grant, and Dennis Rodman), followed by the Shaq-Kobe Lakers.
Spreading the floor only works when you don’t have a horrible shooter on the floor. If Barnes and Iggy couldn’t shoot threes the last two seasons, the Warriors offense grinds to a halt. Just look at the game where they got hammered by my 17–65 Lakers.
Speaking of which, trying to build a system around less than other worldly players is as absurd as thinking Luke Walton will craft my Lakers into the next Golden State Warriors without having the impossible-to-reproduce talents of Curry, Thompson and Green.