NBA Finals sidelights
NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - June 5, 2019 - 12:00am

Technology has found a way to consolidate fans’ preferences on the ongoing NBA Finals series between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors.  Thru a geotagged Twitter data, except California, Nevada and Hawaii, the whole of America is rooting for the Raptors, never mind if it’s not an American team.  It could be that they wanted to see another team hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy aside from the Warriors who are in their fifth consecutive trip to the Finals.

The always outspoken Draymond Green have an answer on why most of America wanted them dethroned.  “People in the States are cheering against us because we beat all their teams”.

With the shoe wars dominated by Nike and Adidas, one brand making a comeback.  Interestingly, the brand was worn by Toronto’s 1998 top pick Vince Carter.  Vinsanity did his thing at the Air Canada Center shod in Pumas and this series have two players on both teams endorsing the brand – Danny Green of the Raptors and DeMarcus Cousins with the Warriors.

Throughout the playoffs, American viewership dipped maybe because LeBron James was absent for the first time in nine years.  Although this Finals series had less TV viewers in the US, it was the reverse back up in Canada where 20 percent of the population watched the series, roughly about 7.4 million Canadians. 

But still, people pay big money to watch the Finals and as per reports, the amount being spent are reaching record levels.  In Game 1, someone paid $56,876 for two courtside seats.  Converted at p52 to the $1, that’s p3.04million, more than enough to put a kid thru a 4-year college course.  For tomorrow’s Game 3, 2 courtside seats were sold for $93,200.   Upping the buying spree, another pair of courtside seats were sold for a staggering $101,015.  Considering that California is home to some famous and insanely rich people, these could be just loose change for them.  Truly, sadly, we live in an unfair and cruel world.

Pascal Siakam was Toronto’s 27th pick during the 2016 Draft and spent time with the team’s D-League affiliate, Raptor 905.  Likewise, Fred Van Vleet who was undrafted in 2016, survived the final cut.  He also had multiple assignments to the D-League, and together won the 2017 D-League championships, with Siakam as the 2017 D-League MVP.

Signed by the Warriors in 2016, Patrick McCaw is a 2-time NBA champion (2017 and 2018).   Declining GSW’s $5.2 million offer, he was unemployed for six months until Cleveland signed him at the end of December 2018 but was waived a week later.   A few days later, Toronto signed him and he’s in his third Finals, this time with the Raptors.

In the past five seasons, four head coaches reached the NBA Finals in their rookie season – Steve Kerr with the Warriors {2015), David Blatt (2015) and Tyronn Lue (2016) with Cleveland and this time Nick Nurse with Toronto.

Nurse was assistant for Dwayne Casey for five seasons and was promoted to the head coaching job when management fired Casey.   Prior, Nurse was a D-League coach from 2007 to 2013, earning a Coach of the Year in 2011 and a 2-time D-League champion in 2011 and 2017.  Under Casey, he was in-charge of Toronto’s offense.

It’s a very long shot but Nurse could be the next rookie head coach to win a league title after Kerr.

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