LeBron James on Cavs being NBA Finals underdogs: ‘It’s stupidity’
LeBron James says it doesn’t do him or the Cleveland Cavaliers any good to get caught up in how the oddsmakers in Las Vegas are forecasting the NBA Finals, saying “It’s stupidity” to worry about such things.
Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has installed the Golden State Warriors as approximately 2-1 favorites to repeat as NBA champions and James insists assuming the underdog role doesn’t do the Cavaliers much good, either.
“Not my concern,” James told reporters Tuesday, via ESPN. “I don’t get involved in all of that — underdog, overdog, whatever the case may be. It’s stupidity.”
Regarding the perception that a showdown with the Warriors presents the Cavaliers with a rematch of last year’s Finals, James noted that this year’s squad bears little resemblance to the undermanned team the Warriors eliminated in six games last year.
“We’re better built to start the Finals than we were last year,” James said. “Doesn’t matter who it’s against. I mean, that’s not a headline. It’s obvious.”
The Cavaliers of course were without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in last year’s Finals after the two superstars both went down with injuries earlier in the playoffs. Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue also disagreed with the notion that his team has the opportunity to exact revenge for last year’s Finals loss, echoing James’ assessment that the Cavs are a completely different team this time around.
“I wouldn’t say revenge,” Lue said. “I just think both teams are happy and excited to make it to the Finals. It’s a big thing, and I just think that we have a different team than we had last year. Organization-wise, it’s the same two teams, but playing-wise and players-wise, we’re a different team.”
Despite a few bumps in the road during its Eastern Conference Finals series against the Toronto Raptors, the healthy Cavaliers ran roughshod over the competition during the postseason.
The Warriors, meanwhile, had to come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals while the Cavaliers will enjoy nearly a week of rest before Game 1 on Thursday. How that plays into how the series plays out remains to be seen, but as James noted, the Cavs are much better equipped this year to challenge the Warriors for the NBA title.