Since they are facing off against each other for the third straight year in the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have gotten a bit familiar with one another. This year even more so because current interim Warriors coach Mike Brown used to coach the Cavs.
Brown actually coached the Cavs two separate and different times. Once when LeBron James was coming into his own earlier in his career and the other time was shortly after Kyrie Irving was drafted. This familiarity with Cleveland’s stars may help Brown and the Warriors in the Finals yet he isn’t betting on it. Mainly because according to Brown, at least Irving is unguardable.
“He was really young but extremely talented,” Brown said. “He was one of those guys that you said sooner or later he was going to figure this thing out. And once he did, he is basically unguardable. He has more skill sets than almost anybody in this league.”
“When you have the ability and quickness that he had along with the ability to score from all three levels, you’re a remarkable player. He’s a guy that should have been on one of the All-NBA teams this year.”
Calling Irving unguardable may sound like a bit of reach but Brown’s effusive praise has merit. Irving is well-regarded as having the best handles in the league, which he greatly uses to his advantage, carving up opposing defenders for either acrobatic layups or silky smooth jumpers. Plus the Warriors are well familiar with Irving’s offensive repertoire, especially since he effectively ended their championship aspirations in Game 7 of the last year’s NBA Finals with a dagger three-pointer in the closing moments of the fourth quarter.
Brown and the Warriors will definitely have their hands full with Irving on offense in the Finals. However they have stalwart defenders like Klay Thompson and Shaun Livingston, who will try to limit the explosive Cavs All-Star. This may be easier said than done but the Warriors had one of the best defenses in the league during the regular season and playoffs, so they will surely be up for the task of trying to guard the “unguardable” Irving.