Welcome to the first Going Postal Mailbag! While it's still the summer, we have nothing better to do than talk basketball and speculate what is going to happen during the upcoming season.
This mailbag will run every week on Friday and questions can be submitted either via email at FTSPostal@gmail.com or in the comments section below.
If I don't get to your question in the mailbag article, I will make sure that you receive a email response. With that being said, let's get into the mailbag!
How much do you think the state of refereeing is a problem in the NBA? I don't mean from the point of view of business, the NBA is making $ and franchises are extremely valuable. More from a sporting / fairness perspective. I think it is a huge problem. The whole charge/blocking thing, the verticality thing on blocks/attempts at the rim, and the amount of movement/grabbing a screener can get away with seems impossible to apply uniformly, and it rarely is. I think that how a particular ref calls a game is a huge factor in the outcomes. Some refs let some stuff go, some call it tight. Most seem to do so inconsistently in the same game depending on the game clock, the foul-shot disparity (which I think is the crappiest way to measure bias), and the players involved and their foul trouble situation. It is widely perceived that the league can affect games with their ref assignments.
I think that this is especially relevant in the Warriors-Cavs rivalry, because the outcome of a particular game seems to be completely dependent on how much the players can get away with in screening and grabbing people. If the refs are lax and let them play, I think the Warriors have a huge advantage. If the game is called tight, they get into foul trouble and are much more beatable. The feeling of having your team lose due to the refs is just the worst. I also don't think its just me, or Cavs fans in general who feel this way. It seems like after every playoff series (or even every game) one or both fan-bases cites the reffing as a problem, and a lot of times it is coaches and players blaming the ref or complaining about calls. Perhaps it has always been this way, but maybe with every call being scrutinized online there is more attention called to it. Either way, I think it is a big problem and am interested in your thoughts about whether it is a problem and how it can be fixed.
I believe the issues with officiating aren't as bad as it's perceived. There are bad calls that go both for and against each team throughout a game, but when you are invested in the outcome the ones that go against you typically stand out more. There's gamesmanship between coaches that try to influence how the next game is called. While I don't necessarily buy into the effectiveness of that strategy, I do think it helps brew hysteria within their respective fan bases.
Now, the discrepancy between how officiating crews call a game is a valid point and concern. There's refs that have a reputation for calling a game one way, some that call it another. Basketball is a tremendously difficult game to call because the decisions are so subjective. Players are craftier than ever and try to trick refs into seeing something that didn't occur. You need to factor in players reputations and so many other things. I personally am in favor of removing the charge from the game, it's a dangerous play and encourages players to not play defense. I think removing that and calling players for an offensive foul when they are out of control would be a smart way to limit some issues.
At the end of the day, a seven game playoff series usually mitigates a bad call here or there, or random luck from one team. The better team almost always wins and both teams are usually subjected to the same reffing. While I agree with the points you raised, I don't believe there's really an easy solution and I try to approach officiating as an act of god, something beyond control that's a part of the game.
Probably an obvious question but how do the 2016-17 Cavs fight complacency? Would seem reasonable that the voice of LeBron would rise to the occasion as he knows how hard it is to defend a title with his time with the Heat. Playing the underdog card opposite the superpowers now in GS would help.
First of all, I think the Warriors did the Cavs a favor by signing Kevin Durant when it comes to fighting complacency. Beating the greatest regular season team of all time was a monumental accomplishment for LeBron James and the rest of the Cavs, but now they must find another gear to beat arguably the most talented team ever put together.
I assume that the Cavs will be driven by their new challenge, as well as the desire to improve internally. James has made it clear on many occasions that he believes Kyrie Irving can be the best point guard in the league and a possible MVP. He is invested in him, and I think the desire to push Irving, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love to a new level will help the Cavs keep their edge in the regular season.
That being said, I don't expect full effort throughout the year. The Cavs didn't even show full effort in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. They understand the value of rest and staying fresh, but I expect them to work on the little things throughout the year and tinker to the point where they are a better team.
What will Kyrie Irving's best statistical season look like?
This is a tough one, because it depends on how long LeBron James remains with the Cavaliers/ in the NBA. Irving is just 24 years old and entering his prime. I'm going to say his best statistical season comes around 27/28, once James has either taken a backseat or has moved on to owning the Cavs or some other venture.
What I would envision as a "peak Kyrie" season would look something like this:
28 points per game six assists and four rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from the field, 42 percent from three and 92 percent from the line.
With under two turnovers a game, Irving will likely remain surrounded with talented players like James or Love for the bulk of his prime, so that will cannibalize his numbers to some extent. But as Irving continues to develop chemistry with his teammates and a better understanding of how to use his talents, he is going to be one of the most difficult players in the league to stop. Especially when you look at the talent that's around him.
Has any team other than the Warriors ever blown a 3-1 Finals lead? https://t.co/G1EXO5KUPS— Adam Wheeler (@adam_c_wheeler) August 26, 2016
The NBA, or as it was known back then the BAA, was founded June 6, 1946. The first game ever was between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers. Three years later the league merged with it's rival, the NBL, to form what is now known as the NBA.
In the history of the league there had never been a player named unanimous MVP, nor has a team ever came back from a 3-1 defect in the NBA Finals. Both of those statements were true, until this year. The Cleveland Cavaliers came back from being down 3-1 to defeat the Golden State Warriors and unanimous MVP Stephen Curry. The Warriors had won 73 games in 2015-2016, making the comeback and victory even more surprising.
I wouldn't recommend it, Canadian points come with an exchange rate. Given the margin of victory in game seven, I do not believe the Cavs could have won with Wiggins' buckets counting for 1.73 points per make. So I'm going to go with no.