Blogtable: Cavs or Warriors in 2016?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Future for 7-footers? | Going defense-first? | Cavs or Warriors in 2016?



VIDEOThe Starters reflect on The Finals of 2015

> Which team is more likely to reach The Finals in 2016: Warriors or Cavaliers?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Easy. Cleveland. Because the East.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: With the Western Conference being a much tougher neighborhood, there will be more challenges to the Warriors. The other question is can they expect/hope to get through another entire season and playoffs virtually injury-free?  The Cavs will still have the best player in the game in LeBron James, an All-Star in Kyrie Irving and we assume, for now, Kevin Love. GM David Griffin is likely to upgrade the talent on the rest of the roster, and I’m expecting a Cleveland with a bit more good health and good luck to be back knocking on the door next June.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: I would not be surprised to see either or both make it back. The Warriors are the safer bet, though, because the core will be returning. It’s more difficult to project the Cavaliers’ roster until we know if Kevin Love returns, and the specifics of the new lineup if he does not. How is Anderson Varejao’s health? Where is Irving’s rehab? There are a lot more unknowns. But as long as there is also LeBron James, and if the medical situations have positive outcomes, Cleveland is a contender.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: This is easy: Cavaliers. The have LeBron. They’ll be healthy (assuming). And here’s the biggest advantage: They play in the East. The Warriors, meanwhile, must deal with an irritated Kevin Durant and ornery Russell Westbrook, and perhaps the Los Angeles Clippers.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Cleveland is the answer, because they have LeBron James and they’re in the Eastern Conference. But the Warriors were the much better and more complete team. We know that they have what it takes to be an elite squad on both ends of the floor. The Cavs improved defensively in the playoffs, but they still have to prove that they can play top-10 defense over the course of 82 games with a couple of offense-first stars like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: I’ll take a rematch with everybody healthy. Lock it in right now and I’m buying. That said, I think the Cavaliers (provided they are healthy) have the more realistic path back to The Finals. The Warriors will have to grind through the more rugged Western Conference again next season. The Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and several other teams not on the radar will be there to give chase. Cleveland won’t have nearly as many legitimate threats to their Eastern Conference crown. Again, I’d be all in for a Warriors-Cavs healthy rematch, if only to see what might have been this time around with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to go along with LeBron James.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: The Cavaliers, health willing: They’re in the easier conference, and they figure to be the NBA’s hungriest team next year.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blogI could honestly answer either team right now and feel pretty confident in that answer. Right now, in the afterglow of The Finals, both teams seem like they’re set to make multiple Finals runs over the next half-decade, a rematch the ratings suggest people would like to see. But if I’m picking a team to make it back soonest, I’ll go Cleveland. They’ve shown they can make it to the Finals using a lineup basically composed of LeBron James and four guys from the YMCA, and the landscape in the East remains easier than the gauntlet out West.

44 Comments

  1. Don Jackson says:

    It’s funny reading all this Warriors Hate and all these Hypothetical Rants.when in Reality the Spurs came up short vs Clippers who choke away a 3-1 series lead to Houston who got spanked by the Warriors. So all this crying about what ifs is waste of time the fact is the Warriors were best team in regular season and continued to be best in Playoffs so all u cry baby fans can Kiss the Warriors Championship Rings! Lol

  2. Mst3kfanatic1 says:

    Why are people acting like LBJ’s 5 straight finals trips are something special. Not only is he in the east (I guarantee Cleveland would not have made it out of first round in the west) but he finals record is 2-5 (or 2-6 if you count the time in 2007 when the spurs swept him) that is a horrible and a losing record. No matter what LeBron ever does I will still remember that 2011 finals when Dallas stomped them and everyone thought Miami was going to dominate. “Not one, not two, not three, not four..” yeah you go that right LeBron.

  3. John Spivey says:

    Lebron and Wade to team up again this time in Cleveland. That’s right and that spells a title with the return of Kyrie, and Love and if having a better set of role players to have a deeper bench. Cavs win the title next season, against the defending over rated Warriors who took 6 games to beat Lebron, and some bench role players. Imagine Curry with the same situation Cavs would have swept them lol…

  4. Kal says:

    disturbing facts:

    Michael Jordan’s East paths post-Pistons era:

    1992 – defeat Ewing. you get Pippen as sidekick, he gets John Starks. then defeat Drexler, the poor man’s version of you.
    1993 – Knicks are still kickin so take care of them then defeat Barkley, in his MVP season so you’ll need about 40 to win the mano es mano. this one is tough. but for perspective, you get Pippen as sidekick. he gets Kevin Johnson.
    1994 — defeat your need to baseball. this will be your most difficult challenge ever.
    1995 — defeat inexperienced Shaq. … well, there’s always next year.
    1996 — defeat Shaq, good work. now defeat Gary Payton and his sidekick Shawn Kemp. you get Pippen as always and we’ll throw in Dennis Rodman to make life even easier. (George Karl credits Rodman in postgame with at least one of Bulls wins.)
    1997 — defeat Stockton & Malone. with Pippen & Rodman. … so, really, defeat the flu…
    1998 — do what we already know you can do again, without the flu this time… oh and Reggie Miller is gonna give you some trouble in the conference finals so just be on your toes. don’t worry tho, he has no sidekick.

    2002 — make the playoffs. … fail. (but your team was terrible, so, hey, welcome to the real world.)
    2003 — make the playoffs. … fail. (but your team was still terrible, so, hey, welcome back to the real world.)

    where were all the difficult teams Jordan was playing? but when it’s similar or even harder for LeBron, LeBron has an easy path.

  5. BIG-GAME-JAMES-23 says:

    The Warriors will definitely not be back for a long time. The Spurs, Clippers, OKC, Memphis, and Portland are all better than the GSW. The GSW hand a lucky run to the finals playing all injured and handicapped teams.

    The Cavs on the other hand have the best team in the East and the best player in the world, and they were 2 wins away from an NBA championship with 3 starters being injured.. They’ll be back next year and the year after that and after that, 3 peat!

    Enjoy that Trophy GSW because it will most likely be the last for a long time.

    • LBJ says:

      Bandwagoners these days lebron is not the best player in the world and won’t be it would have to be Bill Russel or Michael Jordan funny how MJ never lost in a finals and lebron wants to be king of all I know for sure Cleveland will be back in the finals of everyone is healthy I can’t lie lebron even though I don’t like him he did it all that’s MVP status right there GSW was 1st place for how long? They did get lucky on some parts but at least they played as a team

    • Rodriguez says:

      Totally agree! GS had a lucky run and the Western Conference Finals were actually played in the 1st round by Spurs and Clippers. I’m a Spurs fan but would have been okay with Clips or Memphis playing against Cavs in this years Finals. Since this didn’t happen, GS will not repeat, West is too tough.

  6. Olon says:

    The team with the best player since Jordan, LeBron James.
    If he can get a lottery team to the FInals, they’ll surely be there again with a healthy Love and Irving

  7. Salomao Fonseca says:

    we dont know exactly nothin because many things can happen, NBA is an amazing game and always new things can happens,surprise, injuries the teams grown in the season each day with the works and pratice…maybe these 2 teams can miss the finals or not win the conferences so is early to give opinions…If yall remember in the begin of this season Cleveland was so Bad lost easy games they just became better when they add new rousters in them teams…I luv this game and I’ll wait for the Best.

  8. Walker says:

    I believe Cavaliers will be on finals next year just and just because they are on the easiest conference. I hope the Bulls can make it this next season

  9. en. says:

    Golden state Warriors better enjoy that free trophy they were handed …. the only one they will get in another long drought

  10. ed says:

    i think the warriors, they are young and will be more tough to beat because of their finals experience.they have awesome 3 pt shooters and ezelli will be much better.while lebron must decide what he wants more,playing or coaching?i think blatt will resign in the middle of the regular season and bron will take over as playing coach,

  11. Kmz says:

    With love and kyrie in the next season, there are no chances for anybody else than the cavs in the nba

  12. Benjie says:

    The Miami Heat will be a play off team . Chris bosh is back for power forward with whiteside as Center. Dang on small forward. Dwane wade on shooting guard and with dragic as point guard. This is a contender. If dwane wade op in. Hope so.

  13. dustydreamnz says:

    The Warriors because they’re younger.

  14. Dutchy says:

    Cleveland will probably be the strongest team in the east. But LBJ needs a better supporting cast. Yes, this year there have been a lot of injuries, but LBJ also played a lot of minutes during the regular season and during the playoffs. That showed in the playoffs, he looked tired. LBJ is getting older, He has played more games in the last 5 years then others have played in 6 or 7 years. He is strong, he is big, he has size, he has to take care in a different way with his body, the next few years. If he can do that and Cleveland can get a great supporting cast, the they are bound to go to the finals next year.

  15. Erwin says:

    Cavs will be champs nxt yr. Just need healthy roster and intact players

  16. Damajee says:

    The answer is easy #warriors easy because the warriors are a better team physical and working together and everybody keep saying James I the best player …he mes be the best player of team lebron James cuz that’s how e wok as if its just him on the team and the warriors work together so I say the warriors

  17. Dexter says:

    I’ll go with Cav’s this year and a re-match with “Splash Brother” and Dark Horse Duo’s (Andre Iguodala & Draymond Green) as we know he will wear the GS Jersey again in max contract. But We will see as D-Wade will make gratitude to LBJ to give Cavs the Champ trophy. Will see on July 1…

  18. NBAfan says:

    The safest answer to this question is the CAVS…simply because the East is that weak, and the West is just that strong.

    But let me pose a better hypothetical question: would Lebron and his super team have made it to the finals as much as he has the last 5 years if he were in the west?

    His 2 for 5 record against western teams in the finals implies no. This could easily have been 1 for 5 as well.

    Just for the record. I see Lebron as clearly the best player of his generation, and I truly respect his finals performance this year (never mind the lose, he was all-in), but the east is weak and he always has a super team around him.

  19. Paul says:

    Cleveland’s core is injury prone and the playoffs will expose this ever by its grinding reality or bad luck. Irving and Love have never had an injury free season and James is beginning to feel the age clock.

    More likely that the Cavs will make it to the finals than GSW but I think that anyone who comes out of the West injury free wins the finals.

  20. Dennis Sanoy says:

    Strength in numbers versus Go Big/All In 2016 NBA Finals!!

  21. michael hurd says:

    Why is everyone counting chicago out in the east??? Rose should be in better gameshape to start the season not to mention his confidence should be a lot better and with Thibadeau gone(which i think was a good decision) the health of the team should be better when it counts in the playoffs big reason why i think they faultered late in the season during his tenure just saying don’t count them out and i hear rumors of D Wade a possibility not sure about in a starting role but more like a 6th man role

    • Lovins says:

      If Chicago, which was finally healthy in this year’s playoffs, couldn’t beat the banged-up, shorthanded Cavs this year, I doubt it’s ever going to happen now.

  22. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    A healthy Paul George in the East and maybe a free agent this summer the Pacers could come out the East, and a healthy Durant and Westbrook can win the West,

  23. sports fan says:

    Everybody has forgotten that the Bulls, Hawks, & Wizards all have the talent to beat the Cavs. Same goes for the west. Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Rockets, & Grizzlies all have the talent to beat Golden state. If any of these teams make some good trades, and/or stay the healthiest, and/or get really hot in the playoffs anything can happen. Kyrie is the biggest wildcard since no one knows if he’ll be the same next season. There’s still a very good chance it can be two completely different teams in the finals.

  24. mirage says:

    Im sure of this, if d wade opt out, the cavs will land wade, it will take time for kyrie to come back in full health, kevin love to L.A.

    • courtsideguy says:

      wade wants the max or near max. cavs will not be able to affod that unless grffin wanna pay the luxury tax all day. if he is willing to do that then it can happen.

  25. GMockey says:

    I believe the Cavs will make it back to the Finals in 2016 but I think their toughest Eastern Conference opponent will be Washington. One more year for John Wall and Brad Beal to work together with the dominant bigs in DC, plus Pierce’s finale, plus some offseason moves … and the Wiz are a very dangerous team (if healthy).

  26. Fidel says:

    Cleveland back ??Don’t forget that Kevin love is a free agent now , the “not so much love” between he and LeBron ( everybody saw that ) will hurt the Cavaliers if he decides to try luck as the main figure on another team . Irving and his knee hopefully will be back , also Varejao , but in what game condition ? What about Wade joining Chicago ? Will this hurt Cleveland aspirations ? …..ummmm
    Golden State ….young guys hungry for more trophies, for sure will be more difficult . Mr. Beard will do whatever he can do next season to show that they deserve a shot. For the Clippers , well ….still growing up …… next season will be fun to watch. ….

    • Stan says:

      Lol that’s ok cavs made it far without love .. That’s ok he can leave .. We can always bring in d wade .. (Possibly)…

    • anothercavsfan says:

      I think wade is more likely to join Lebron in cleveland than to go to chicago.

      They don’t need Wade in chicago coz they have butler and rose in the back court, and even hinrich is decent.

      Besides, with Pau, Butler, and Rose, can the Bulls really pay Wade?

      And the other thing is the bulls need depth not more talent that is prone to injury and can thin out their roster further.

      And Wade also needs to be on a team where he doesn’t need to play more than 2 quarters during the season.
      The only Eastern team that can really offer that to Wade is Cleveland,

      Finally with regards to the whole Love situation, I need to point out that the Cavs actually got BETTER without Love. They struggled for 2 games against Chicago to adjust their game a bit, but after that it was smooth sailing with Thomposon starting instead of Love.

      Thompson’s defense is superior to Love’s, and he crashes the boards like a monster on offense, and you can always run a few alley oop plays for him when you catch the defense sleeping ( = he can get you easy buckets).

      Love spreads the floor a bit with his 3 ball but his efficiency on offense is inconsistent (even when he was with Min he had the numbers but his FG% was never impressive).

      Even if Love comes back the coach honestly has to think twice about who should be starting at PF. Thompson deserves more recognition for how good he was in these playoffs (and the season overall).

  27. harriethehawk says:

    Neither. OKC vs Hawks.

  28. juancho says:

    golden state warriors,,, sure they will be back in 2016 championship, because they are complete team, team eport 2016 is more very good shooting from my idol steph curry so what s up other team,,,, go warriorsssssssss

    • courtsideguy says:

      dont think a fully loaded cavs team would lose to gsw. if lbj had 10-15 minutes of rest per game they woulda pulled it off, not to mention decent scoring threats which both klove and irving provide. rematch of 2015 nba finals for 2016. cavs will win it though.

      • Lueey says:

        Dont think a healthy Love will play 4 u again. Cavs are good but dont think theyll make it to the finals

  29. OverseasNBAfan says:

    Real talk LeBron pretty much has a free path to the finals each year being in the eastern conference.. overall so pathetically weak compared to the west.

    • Just a FAN says:

      Why those haters like you always saying about the free path to the finals since EAST? If its free the likes of Melo, WADE and BOSh, John Wall, D. Will, D.Rose might be in the finals ayt? dont be a blind person, saying its a free finals.

  30. Mitra says:

    I am certain that the CAVS will win Eastern Conference in 2016 and perhaps, possibly win NBA championship provided they have healthy Irving, Love and Verajao, and a little bit stronger bench.

    They should be able to play with ten man rotation especially in the championship final to win. LBJ must get help from other playmakers to succeed. This is a team sport.

    And they should go Big -this is their game.

    Warrior already proved their strength in number.

    • John Spivey says:

      The Cavs will be serious contenders out of the east, and they will have a better supporting cast for Lebron, and Kyrie will come back strong. I think that Love will at the very least give it another shot in Cleveland, considering if him and Kyrie didn’t have injuries the trophy would been in Cleveland. Expect a better set of bench guys next season, I expect Shumpert to return, and then many of the remainder bench guys could be replaced.