Game Of Thrones: The King Is Still The King

HBO messed up. They should have released their new season of GOT in June to coincide with the NBA Finals this year. Both are going to be absolutely epic. Winter is coming and, sorry Golden State, you're just not built for the snow; unlike the boy from Akron. There's too much value in what should be a coin toss series so I'm riding the Cleveland Cavaliers (+200) to take home the championship.

Outside of baseball, no team sport can be as dramatically impacted by an individual player as basketball. There is no doubt that Golden State boasts the all-around best team; just like there's no doubt that Cleveland possesses the best player. Remember that insane Game 7 Lebron block from last year? Because that play is seared into my mind. And I believe that Lebron will be able to generate just enough of those game-changing plays to flip the series to the underdog.

On paper, Golden State might just be most talented team in NBA history after they added Kevin Durant in the offseason, who should have "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" tattooed on his back. They have one of the most dangerous three-point threats in Steph Curry. That's not even mentioning the defensive prowess of Andre Iguodala & Draymond Green. There are questions about Iguodala's health, but a nine-day rest should help. Like I said though, this is all on paper. But this isn't the Ivy Tower, this is a street battle. This isn't theory. We talkin' bout practice.

The x-factor of this series will be the play of Kyrie Irving (or arguably Kevin Love). Irving is still young and he knows that eventually he will have to take the reigns from the aging (ageless?) Lebron. Kyrie was critical to last year's championship and he'll have to perform just as well, if not better given the Durant addition. I know a lot of people believe Love is the most critical component to this team outside of Lebron, but just check the playoff stats and you'll see that across the board Kyrie's contributions have been more impactful. Here's a relevant team stat: Cleveland has won nine straight playoff road games dating back to last season, so there is definitely a case to be made for taking them in Game 1, as well as for the series. I think Cleveland can win either Game 1 or Game 2 to steal home court advantage, but don't kid yourself, this series is going at least six and likely seven.

All year I've been very critical of the state of basketball. I detest the lack of parity in the NBA. It renders the regular season essentially meaningless. Why would I care about anything that happens outside of Cleveland and Golden State? We all knew this would be the Final. But the one silver lining to this distinct lack of parity is we get to watch two legendary teams collide. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself if you believe in the King. Does his reign at the top continue or will he be overthrown? Who will rule the (Game) Seven Kingdoms?