Good morning Basketball & BS family I know you guys have seen me affectionately call my Los Angeles Lakers “The Pandas”…well I realize I’ve never actually said why I’ve gave them this nickname. The term “Panda” was coined by the one and only Marcel P. Black and the simple definition is a black millennial who is into the culture of hipster trap rap born between 1988 and 2000. My Lakers started the season with a group of young guys that fit the description so the nickname “The Pandas” or “Panda Squad” felt appropriate. Heading into the NBA Finals I decided to see which team had the most “Panda Power”. For the purpose of this exercise we will be focusing only on the age of the players.
The Cavs have probably the MIP (Most Important Panda) on their squad in Kyrie Irving. At only 25 Kyrie Irving is at the peak of his panda powers and if we all remember he hit one of if not the biggest shot in the finals last year. Kyrie will continue to play with the “mamba mentality” of killing every guy in front of him while breaking ankles along the way.
Kevin Love seems to be playing his best basketball since becoming a member of the Cavs, the dude finally seems comfortable being there. The rebounder, 3 point marksman and king of the outlet pass will have to bring his A game if he hopes to help bring another title to the land.
Based on age at 26 Tristan Thompson fits the age but just doesn’t seem like a fun guy to be around sometimes but the “TrashGawd” (shout out HB) will play a major role in the series with is pick and roll defense and ability to crash the boards. Let’s hope no Kardashians show up during this series for his safety.
Iman Shumpert may be the luckiest panda in the bunch as he’s currently dating Teyana Taylor. But when he’s on the court more than likely he’ll be called upon to guard one of the splash brothers and hit open three pointers while providing a mean streak and a spark off the bench.
Bench pandas who will probably have little impact on the series for the Cavs are Derrick Williams and Kay Felder.
The Golden State Warriors have a surprising amount of “Panda Power” on their roster.
Starting at point guard for the Dubs Steph Curry is the oldest of the Pandas at age 29. In order to claim his second NBA Championship the back to back MVP has to improve on what many considered a bad series from him last year when he shot 40% from the field and 40% from three but often times just didn’t look like himself.
Always emotional always turned on and unapologetic Draymond Green maybe the most misunderstood panda in the series if not in the NBA. Is he or isn’t he dirty? Can he keep his emotions in check? We don’t know the answers to those questions but we do know he’s the key to Dubs “death-lineup” because of his ability to switch and play guards on the perimeter and bigs on the block. It’s no secret that his suspension last year may have cost the Dubs the single greatest full season in NBA history and he’s looking for redemption.
The moody panda who will probably have the un-enviable task of guarding Killer Kyrie all series is Klay Thompson. Klay hasn’t been himself on the offensive end throughout these playoffs but he’s till been stellar on the defensive end. But in order to bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy the dubs will need the “Splash Brother” version of Klay not the “Splash Step-Brother”.
Ian Clark the back-up point guard for the Dubs will be asked to provide solid defense and a spark off the bench in this series. He’s been solid off the bench and played really well in the conference finals against the Spurs.
Rookie Panda Patrick McCaw has played really well when called upon throughout the playoffs. At 6’7 he has the length to play the passing lanes and defend most guys in the Cavs back court. He has also shown the ability to hit the open three pointers teams have been giving him.
JaVale McGee only needs to run the floor, block shots keep Tristan Thompson off the glass and covert lob passes into easy dunks or lay-ups to make an impact this series. Don’t get caught on “Shaqtin a fool” it’s the NBA Finals and everyone is watching.
Pandas Kevin Looney, James Michael McAdoo, and Damian Jones will probably have little to no impact on the series for the dubs.
The former league MVP and probably the MVP(Most Valuable Panda)in this series is none other than Kevin Durant. Let’s face it this why he left Russell Westbrook (my favorite panda) for Golden State the opportunity to play for and win an NBA Championship. The Slim Reaper has been deadly efficient throughout this playoff run for the Dubs seemingly scoring at will. KD is going to have to be even better during the finals going against the physical specimen that is LeBron James. While he may not admit it he’s the panda with the most to prove out of all these guys most of the guys on this list are champs already or not of the caliber of player than KD is. KD widely considered the 2nd best basketball player in the world is going to have to play at that level or higher to reach the mountain top. He’s been great on both ends of the court all year for the Dubs but does he have another level, that extra uummp to finish the job? We don’t know but I can tell you this we all will be watching starting this Thursday June 1st.