Ask Sam Mailbag: 06.16.17

In regards to the Warriors and keeping that team together for the long term, how long do you think they can keep the core (Curry, Durant, Thompson, and Green) together and who do you think is the first to go? Steph Curry has said he would like to play for the Hornets - would the Warriors ever consider letting him go for cap reasons and would he ever leave to fulfill that childhood dream?
Timothy Koncel

Do you believe that there's any chance that Dwyane Wade doesn't opt-in for the upcoming year?
John Jenkins

This NBA season should be remembered for the best team in the league having to bring in the leagues best scorer to beat Lebron James.
Michael Burling

The 95-96 Bulls vs this year's Warriors matchup and thought of you right away--specifically, the point you make about how different the officiating was then vs now, with all the hand checking and the sometimes brutal play in the paint. I've never seen a team that shot as well as the Warriors, though maybe the Suns teams in the 90s were close. So I think if the game was played by current officiating standards, the Warriors would have a good chance. If we used 95-96 officiating standards, I'd favor the Bulls. But it would be fun to watch, either way, especially Rodman and Johnson.
Kirk Landers

During a finals game, LeBron threw a dunk to himself off the backboard, a dunk known in streetball as "dinner's served". I wanted to know how dinner's served would be counted in the stat sheet? Is throwing it off the backboard considered a missed shot attempt and a rebound? There's no question about the dunk, but I was wondering about the first part.
Gaurav Garg

If you're going to be a 6 ft 8 wing without much post-up game, you better be a clutch shooter. Lebron doesn't give you enough compared to Larry Bird, Jordan... perhaps Oscar Robertson. We also saw Lebron's defense be underwhelming - and perhaps even a detriment to his team. Did you notice around Game 1 of these 2017 Finals when Durant was in the middle on a fast break... Lebron jumped out to the 3 point line (thus, highlighting the flaw in many of today's media/fans thinking: The philosophy that 3 pointers are so key to winning NBA Games).

The game hasn't changed THAT much from 20 to 40 years ago: You still need to protect the rim. Lebron leaves the lane wide open because of his defensive decision, and Durant goes straight to the cup for a dunk. Great defensive players at least should contest the shot, take some wind out of the ball handler and force him to hit 2 free throws. Just terrible D from the player some think is the best in the NBA and one of the 3 greatest NBA players ever? Lebron is not the best player ever, let alone best forward. Larry Bird would have contested the shot much better.
LongGiang Le

Lakers looking to rid themselves of 2nd overall pick, not interested in selecting Ball. True?
Tom Plonowski

Enjoyed the season watching a great organization (top to bottom) have so much success! They proved it’s ‘Better Together’.
Rex Doty

What are your thoughts on LeBron saying post game he has never been a part of a superteam? I mean, if he hasn't, who them? To paraphrase himself, he has been a part of not 1, not 2, not 3... ok maybe only 2, but you get the point!

Also, can we finally end the forced debate he's on the same level as Michael? I don't care how many all stars he has faced, the man barely escaped being swept for a 2nd time in the Finals. Regardless of the competition, I really don't Michael letting that happen (maybe it's a delusional inner fan in me, or maybe it's true, but there's no more qualified person to comment on that than you).
Jay Ernani

Have 3s ruined the game?
Mike Sutera

I share the idea that in the draft you have to select the best available play with the pick 16 but with the number 38 pick I would like the Bulls to take an international player that many know little of their skills, but with a good exploration We could find the next Jokic. There are three players that have caught my attention that at some point they will be in the NBA are: Verners Kohs, Kostja Mushidi and Arnoldas kulboka. With the pleasing results with the selection of Paul Zipser the previous season you think that the Bulls look for some player from abroad in this draft.
Piero Paguaga

From what I hear, ratings for these Finals are up. I don't really get it. It's hard for me to get excited about a 73-win team that added a top-3 player. Watching them is about as exciting as watching the USA Olympic team romp through the Olympics (maybe that's exciting for some people). They even improved their winning percentage without KD during the regular season! So what are your thoughts on how to take this Warriors team that might be doing this for another 2-5 years? I get the "wanting to see stars" thing... but the difference between the Warriors and the rest of the league seems huge. If LeBron joined the Warriors in a year, would people like that? I'm not arguing; I just don't get stacking talent to the point where you don't have a non-competitive league. Oh well; I guess there's Summer League Championships to be won.
Alejandro Yegros

Looking back on the NBA (Finals), how come Harden, Westbrook, and Durant did not stay together? They had their own super-team right in OKC?
Randall Sanders

Transition offense is where GSW shines. The key isn't the shooting, though that's impressive and they bring it off the bench too. The key is how fast they advance the ball and the way they find the best shot. I can't think of too many teams that come down the floor like they do, though Showtime Lakers and mid-80's Celtics, come to mind and also those Steve Nash/Stoudemire Suns teams really attacked great. Both Lakers and Celtics each had a couple of notable rebounders, and that's what's missing from current GSW team. I give 'em credit, they rebound from everywhere on the floor to make up for it. I can imagine if they play a team that boxes out consistently, things change. So, nice team. Big on intangibles, too, though I do wonder about an important one: resilience. We just have never seen them in a deep hole so we can't see how they go about working out of one. All time great team? Couple of things wrong with saying that now.

For starters, they've been together for a couple of years. Give or take, Celtics were great for almost 16 years. Showtime Lakers had three #1 overall draft picks and each of 'em played like it. Jordan Bulls teams showed that resilience, trying and trying and finally getting over the top. That's the sign of greatness, that irrepressibility. What did GSW do when they lost? Went out and got an MVP? That's honestly a little disappointing. They were a team that had CLE 3-1 and just screwed it up. Does the GM not
trust the team he put together? One sorta wonders about what sort of message it sends. I guess lots of teams would have gladly taken Durant, so on that basis it's hard to fault them, but does a great team need to sign someone to get over the top? Does signing this top player make them great? I'd say no. I give Kerr props for mixing them.

Does this make them as impressive as the '77 Sixers (or in a somewhat different dimension, the '82 Sixers)? Are they really a remix of the '88 Suns that didn't have the Lakers to deal with or the '88 Cavs with a different set of rules and no Jordan? Is Curry better than Mark Price or is it that there's no hand checking any more? I like Daugherty's game more than Durant's, but maybe that's just me even as I acknowledge Durant's superior productivity. How much of that is the system Durant's played in? Green has a super game, but he's not nearly as athletic or as scary as Nance was on that team. And GSW team
has no one on their second unit like Hot Rod.

If you found yourself nodding thoughtfully once or twice there, how can GSW be "all time great" and there be any discussion at all like the last paragraph? That '88 Cavs team didn't make it out of the first round. These things tend to be subjective and that's the fun of them. But, it's only fun if it's legitimately arguable. And if one can
arguably compare a team that got bum rushed to this GSW bunch, sorta
makes you question "all time great" huh? Can we say they were both fine
teams and leave it there?

On my end, talks about super teams begin with the '70-'72 Knicks only
because the 60's Celtics were a little before my time. That team impressed
the crap out of you in all three phases, plus they had a pretty
eye-popping roster, were led by a great coach, played at an extremely
high level against Hall of Fame players. Of course, I'm
personally partial to the '71-'75 Bulls, but that's fan's privilege.
Pete Zievers