On Friday, the now second longest consecutive winning streak in MLB history ended for the Cleveland Indians at 22 games. This was a remarkable thing to watch even if you are not an Indians fan. During this streak the Indians were on fire at the plate they outscored their opponents by 142-37 and they only were behind eight innings during the entire streak. They batted .306 as a team and their pitching staff was lights out with a 1.77 ERA. Corey Kluber was pitching just like Cleveland fans are used to and Jose Ramirez was able to get out of his slump and lead the team offensively during this incredible journey and guys like Lindor and Santana were the leaders the team tended to lean on.
The question is what does this all mean for the World Series runner up? Well, to be honest other teams should worry because they did this without some of their best talent. Jason Kipnis, Andrew Miller, Michael Brantley they were all on the DL waiting to return and Bradley Zimmer broke his hand during the streak. With this being said, presuming the pitching staff continues to be consistent and the offense continues to produce runs this is a team that could make a deep run in October. But, here is the answer to the question, yes, the Indians will get major help when all their talent returns. However, as the A’s GM Billy Bean once said nothing matters unless you win the last game of the season.
This is still true today, the Dodgers have been having a historic season but if they fall short of winning it all, it does not matter, last year the Indians won 14 straight games but failed to win the last game of the World Series. The Astros and the Diamondbacks have had the best season for their clubs as well so far this season. As a baseball fan this has been a season to remember across the board with so many teams playing great baseball and new stars emerging in to the light. However, as I can say personally there is nothing worse than having such an amazing season and thinking it was your team’s year and then fall short of the title. With this being said, keep grinding Cleveland and keep believing in Believeland because sports is all about who gets hot at the right time.
In part one we looked at the pros and cons of this trade from the Cleveland side. This time let’s look at it from Boston’s point of view. Boston ended up getting Kyrie which is arguably a top ten player in the league. However, Boston gave up some great talent which might hurt them down the road.
Losing Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder was really the only way they would end up with Kyrie however it might not have been worth it in the long run because we have seen Kyrie be the face of the franchise in Cleveland before Lebron came back and that was not pretty at all. Now I know that some will say “he was still a rookie and young” and other will say “he has matured since then” which is all true points but that is a big risk. Let’s remember when people play with Lebron they seem to get better we seen this with old D-Wade and even guys like JR Smith.
Kyrie has two years left on his deal which is good for Boston. If they can stay as the biggest threat to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference, then there is a better chance Kyrie will stay in Boston and they will have their man (providing he stays as good as he was with Lebron). However, Kyrie did not put Boston on his list of desirable teams he wants to play for which could be a concern because if he leaves after two seasons then Boston will have given up the farm for nothing in return. Another concern is how will he fit into Brad Stevens system in Boston, which is clearly different then whatever Coach Lebron decides to run.
The positive thing is Kyrie is an everyday player and has come up clutch in some big moments. The issue is Kyrie does not know what he wants, this is proven because otherwise he would have stayed in Cleveland for one more year and waited to see if Lebron left. If Lebron does leave Kyrie would have still had a lot of talent surrounding him and he would have been Cleveland’s guy. If Kyrie fits in the system and plays well with Gordon Hayward, then the Cavs Celtics will be the biggest rivalry in the east for a very long time. Kyrie has shaped up to become a terrific player, and could help Boston in a huge way and may be the piece they need to become the best in the east. Especially if Lebron leaves Cleveland and goes to the Western Conference and joins the Lakers like it is rumored.
I will admit that when I first heard about the blockbuster trade between Cleveland and Boston I was not in favor of it. However, as I began to dwell on it more I have determined it is good for both teams (maybe). The reason I say maybe is because it seems more like a spider web of what if’s then having a clear winner.
First let’s start with Cleveland. The Cavs loved Kyrie and rightfully so, that guy was supposed to be the future after Lebron and he made in my opinion hands down the most clutch shot in Cavs history against Golden State in the 2016 finals game 7. Let alone his defense was lockdown, no doubt losing him is hard on the Cavs and their fans.
The Cavs got Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 unprotected first-round pick. Now to start with the positives, Isaiah Thomas is a star in this league and has even in talk for MVP last year. Furthermore, Thomas has proven he can play with a heavy heart and still preform, he proved this last year in the playoffs after the death of his sister. Thomas has also proven he can be the number one guy which is great for Cleveland consider all the rumors that Lebron may leave after this year.
Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic are both nice big guys to have on a team that seems is ran by all guards. Crowder can not only help in the rebound department but the dude can also shoot well for a guy of his size. The fact that the Cavs get the Nets #1 pick in 2018 is a plus because that is very likely to end up being a top 5 pick in the draft.
Now this is where it gets messy for the Cavs. Thomas injured his hip last season and decided against having surgery on it. This could set up problems because if Thomas goes down then ultimately the Cavs gave up Kyrie for Jae Crowder, which is not great if you are a Cavs fan. Furthermore, Thomas wants to be a max contract player which is a double-edged sword for the Cavs, if he stays healthy and Lebron leaves then the Cavs still have a young future player who has proven he can be a number one player on the team. However, if Lebron stays who knows if Thomas will take a pay cut. Thomas defense is also nowhere near the caliber of Kyrie which is an issue when playing a team like Golden State in the finals let alone the issue of the size of Thomas against a giant Golden State team.
As the 2017 NBA finals are in full swing many fans debate if the match up is good for the game. Now some fans say no because in the last three years the teams have played each other every game has pretty much been a blowout except for game 7 of the 2016 finals. For the last couple years, everybody expected these two teams to play each other in the finals and that is what many fans do not like. NBA fans say that having these two dominate teams makes for a very boring 82 game season because everyone knows these two teams will duke it out in the finals.
Having two dominate teams like this is a good thing though. NBA fans and sports fans always want the two best teams to play each other for the championships and every sports fan wants rivalries. Furthermore, it is exciting that these two teams have a lot of talent on them which is what people want to watch, fans want to watch superstars not a bunch of tier 2 caliber players. Anytime you get a matchup of not only the top teams but the top stars it will bring in the ratings and more people will watch. The 2017 NBA finals will feature 11 named all stars. Which likely means not many people would tune in to watch a Utah Jazz vs Toronto Raptors game, just because the talent level is nowhere near the Warriors or Cavs.
It is like the NCAA tournament, not nearly as many people watch the regular season games if at all compared to when March Madness starts up, and that is one of the biggest things in sports. Millions and Millions of brackets are filled out each year and people only watch for a couple weeks knowing the chances are good that a big-name school will likely win it all.
The Cavaliers and Warriors do not hurt basketball just like the Lakers and Celtics did not hurt basketball when Magic and Bird matched up against each other. It brings fans closer to the game because of the big rivalry and the big number of stars. These two teams make people talk about the game with their friends or on social media. These two teams are one of the best match ups in NBA history.