The Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship this week, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 4 games to 2. Since the games tend to take place between midnight and 6AM Turkish time, I wasn’t able to catch them live. However, I watched several of the reruns on Turkish TV the evening after the game.
Two facts stood out to me during the series.
The first was the amazing performance of LeBron James of the Cavs. Here were his stats during the Finals: 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game. Anyone familiar with basketball will appreciate how amazing those numbers are. After Game 5 when the Warriors went up 3 games to 2, LeBron answered a reporter’s question by stating that he’s the best player in the world. He is.
However, LeBron’s individual performance was overshadowed by the Warriors’ collective performance. This is demonstrated by the stats of the Finals MVP Andre Iguodala. Andre became MVP by averaging 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game during the Finals. If those are the statistics of the best performing player on your team, you won’t be able to win a championship unless each of your players makes a similar contribution. With nine different Warriors scoring in double digits at least once during the series, that was the case for the Warriors. It was a team effort.
The best outcome is produced by having individually great players play a great team game. Barcelona’s performance in soccer is the best example of this I know. They have individual stars like Messi, Neymar, Iniesta, and Dani Alves, but are also a great team. However, if you don’t have the luxury of both and need to choose between great individuals and a great team, I’ll pick the latter.
Congratulations to the great Warriors team and their fans across the world.