The Golden State Warriors are Las Vegas favorites to win an NBA championship this year. They’re also a popular pick among experts and analysts – and for good reason.
The Warriors have the MVP in Stephen Curry, and they have perhaps the second-best shooter in basketball in Klay Thompson (with Curry being the best). They’re also the best defensive unit in basketball.
As for Cleveland? Well, Cleveland has LeBron James.
“You can say all you want about the Splash Brothers – and they shoot a great percentage from beyond the arc,” former Cavs shooting guard and 14-year NBA veteran Craig Ehlo said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “But if you look realistically, LeBron takes some high-percentage shots. He’s really close to the rim. And if those guys have an off night – and you’re right, there’s going to be a title rust the first game, I think, because they’ve had so many days off. But if they’re not hitting, I would put my money on LeBron because he’s taking all those great shots that he gets in the paint and close to the rim and kind of gets three the old-fashioned way. I know Steph and Klay and the rest of that team, they’ve got a really good thing going for them. They got the mojo or whatever you want to call it. But they’ve had bad nights shooting. This is their first trip to the Finals and there will be some butterflies in those young men’s bellies. It won’t matter what (Steve) Kerr says to them to try to calm them down. LeBron’s been there.”
Speaking of Kerr, he and Ehlo were teammates in Cleveland for four years. They were also spade partners on plane rides.
“Me and him took on (Mark) Price and (Danny) Ferry every time,” Ehlo said.
Ehlo has not been at all surprised by Kerr’s success in Golden State – or throughout his career in general.
“Steve, I was impressed with him from day one,” Ehlo said. “They told him he couldn’t handle the ball. He worked on it. They told him to get his shot better and draw more fouls and get to the free-throw line more. He did that. He was a great broadcaster. He did his homework. He did his due diligence. I had no doubt that if he ever decided to coach that he would be good because he surrounded himself with the right people and he’s able to delegate. He’s not an ego maniac. He’s always going to be successful at whatever he does because he does the right things. I always loved him as a teammate. We had a lot of fun those four years.”
All that said, Ehlo will be rooting for the Cavaliers in this series. Heartily.
“Oh, no question,” he said. “And again, with LeBron saying if he ever does win it, it’s for all of is who played or donned a Cleveland uniform – yeah, my heart is set on the Cavs. I just want those guys in Cleveland to experience a championship. I think LeBron is going to be able to do that with them this year.”