Pacific Notes: Wiggins, LeBron Extension, Kings

Appearing with Taylor Rooks on her Bleacher Report show, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban cited Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins as the difference in the Western Conference Finals. Wiggins was outstanding in the five-game series, averaging 18.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per night while shooting 46.2% from the field.

“It was just guys who knew their roles, like an Andrew Wiggins,” Cuban said. “I think he was the one who beat us. And I told him that after the series, you know? We knew what to expect from Klay (Thompson), from (Stephen Curry) and from Draymond (Green). We didn’t know what to expect or how Wiggs would step up, and he did.”

Cuban doesn’t believe there’s a huge talent disparity between his team and the eventual NBA champions, but he said Golden State benefited from having its core together for so many years.

“I think the Warriors deserve a lot of credit because they had played together so long, their execution was phenomenal,” he said. “… That wasn’t as much talent as it was corporate knowledge, the experience of having played together for all those years and been in crunch situations knowing what to do.” 

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Now that LeBron James has agreed to an extension, the Lakers‘ best strategy may be to commit to trying to win a championship this season instead of targeting 2024 or 2025, contends Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Buha believes James’ decision on the extension was tied to a promise from management to be aggressive about improving the roster. Sources around the team had been confident that James would eventually commit to a longer stay with the Lakers, Buha adds.
  • The Lakers may have doomed themselves to more years of mediocrity with the James extension, writes Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. He argues that James isn’t good enough to carry a team to a title anymore, while Anthony Davis is too injury-prone and James’ deal ensures that the franchise won’t have enough cap room to add another star while he’s still around.
  • Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee examines the Kings‘ schedule to see whether it will help or hurt their effort to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
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