The NBA Finals have basically become LeBron James’ birthright. His teams have made it to the final series of the NBA season since he left Cleveland in 2010, and for the second straight year, his Cavs have dispatched their first-round opponent in a four-game sweep. The team they breezed past this year, the Detroit Pistons, is a young and hungry team with its best years ahead, but point guard Reggie Jackson isn’t interested in measured gains. He’s shooting for the moon as early as next season, and his goal for Detroit is the Finals.
A lot can happen in one season, but the Pistons’ defeat at the hands of the Cavaliers and the muddled results in the rest of their side of the bracket proved that the Eastern Conference still belongs to LeBron. The Cavaliers’ defense may never be elite with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on the squad, but at their highest level, perhaps only the Warriors can outscore them. And you could make the case that all three of those Cavs are better than anyone on the Pistons — although we would pick Andre Drummond over Love, the latter reaffirmed how devastating he can be while drawing Drummond away from the rim that his body is engineered to protect.
It’s Reggie’s job to have the confidence necessary to set such a goal as making the Finals, but even if every player on the Pistons made serious improvements in the offseason, they just won’t have the horses to get past a healthy Cavs team with LeBron. With a big contract already in place for Reggie (and soon Drummond, as well) and without any apparent momentum towards signing a big free agent, the Pistons don’t look at all likely to meet Jackson’s goals.
(Via Detroit News)