Best of Yardbarker: Basketball never stops

Kevin Durant and Draymond Green helped lead the Golden State Warriors to the NBA title. Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

The 2016-17 NBA season is now officially in the books, and we're sure to see a summer-long trolling revenge tour by the Golden State Warriors, who wasted no time giving LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers a taste of their own mocking medicine after reclaiming the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

If nonstop memes, "superteam" jokes and Kevin Durant interviews aren't quite your thing, don't fret — you can still get your basketball fix. Here's how to feed your roundball addiction through the summer months, ranging from the BIG3 to the NBA Draft, Summer League, WNBA, international competitions and more: "So is this another one in the trophy case for Maya Moore and the rest of the Minnesota Lynx? Does the Elena Delle Donne trade pay off for the Mystics? Will the aforementioned Liberty finally take home the title that’s eluded the founding franchise? Or do the Sparks prove doubters wrong and repeat as champions? Expect fireworks in the Finals, no matter who ends up playing in them."

Also on the list of summer basketball dates is the NBA Awards ceremony, which takes place Monday, June 26. While we'll have to wait to find out exactly which players and coaches take home which honors, we already know the winners and losers of the 2017 NBA Finals, headlined by the aforementioned Kevin Durant: "Durant's Finals performance, which earned him the unanimous Finals MVP award, left no doubt as to whether leaving the Thunder was the right choice for his career, even if many would still argue it was the incorrect one. 39 points on 14-for-20 shooting in the Finals clincher. 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists on 55.5/47.4/92.7 shooting in the series. All of our Kevin Durant narratives are now officially dead."

Durant's first title inspired us to work up the 'It don't mean a thing if you ain't got that ring' quiz:

QUIZ: Name the oldest active NBA players who have not won a championship

Before the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in three years, both Matt Barnes and David West were two of the oldest players in the league without a ring. How many of the remaining ringless NBA elder statesmen can you name in six minutes?


40 / MEM
Vince Carter
37 / LAC
Jamal Crawford
36 / ATL
Mike Dunleavy Jr.
36 / CLE
Kyle Korver
35 / ATL
Jose Calderon
35 / UTAH
Joe Johnson
35 / MEM
Zach Randolph
34 / HOU
33 / ATL
Thabo Sefolosha
33 / WAS
Marcin Gortat
32 / TOR
P.J. Tucker
32 / HOU
Bobby Brown
32 / LAC
Brandon Bass
32 / MEM
Marc Gasol
32 / IND
Aaron Brooks
32 / ATL
Paul Millsap
32 / LAC
J.J. Redick
32 / ATL
Kris Humphries
32 / LAC
Raymond Felton
32 / LAC
Chris Paul
32 / CLE
Deron Williams

Given how easily both the Warriors and Cavs reached three straight NBA Finals, steamrolling everyone in the postseason, we decided to give every NBA team not named the Cavs and Warriors a Mulligan: "To every team not named the Warriors and Cavaliers, I would like to say: it’s not you, it’s them. On their way to a third consecutive Finals matchup, Cleveland and Golden State rendered the rest of the playoffs moot, losing a combined one single game against their opponents, putting together a 24-1 record together."

Even though Cleveland was able to get to a third straight NBA Finals, the Warriors clearly showed they're head and shoulders above everyone else now that they have Durant in tow. In fact, they have historic odds already to win the 2017-18 NBA Finals:

Odds to win the 2017-18 NBA Finals

The Warriors are, for all intents and purposes, the NBA equivalent to the New England Patriots in the NFL. So whose continued success is worse for their league: Pats or Warriors? "Both the Patriots and the Warriors are shaping up to remove the suspense of at least the next season. Their respective sports will survive, of course. Except with NFL fans in many cases already looking for excuses to disengage, the Pats are likely to do more damage."

Golden State has been absolutely dominant since Steve Kerr became head coach — just as the Pats have been a dynasty under Bill Belichick — winning two championships in three years and getting to the Finals in each of his three seasons on the bench. Kerr also notably has five rings as a player, and oddly enough, he won his second NBA title as a player with the Chicago Bulls 20 years before earning his second Larry O'Brien Trophy of his coaching career.

You know what also happened 20 years ago? Major League Baseball introduced interleague play for its regular season. Two decades in, interleague play is as progressive (and important) as ever: "What baseball shied away from for so long has now become its normal way of doing things, and despite the ideas that it may, the sky has far from fallen as the MLB has continued to evolve. If anything, it has proved that there are still plenty of ways for an old dog to do some pretty interesting new tricks after all these years."

In those two decades, there have been many memorable moments. Here are 20 highlights from 20 years of interleague baseball:

20 highlights from 20 years of interleague baseball

Of course, everything new becomes old, so where does interleague baseball go from here to keep the intrigue alive? "Basically, there's no real easy answer to the path that interleague play is taking in MLB — other than the fact it appears to be a straight line into stagnancy. It's clear that while it's obviously a success and has helped the game evolve, interleague play at this point in time is nothing more than an temporary change in ballpark scenery and lineup construction. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing for a sport that is evolving but still revels in the redundancy of the nature of the game."

Finally, we leave you this weekend with a quiz inspired by American League pitchers getting more at-bats these days thanks to increased interleague action — The 'Get you a pitcher who can do both' quiz:

Name the active MLB pitchers with at least two home runs

Everyone loves the long ball, but everyone especially loves it when a pitcher goes deep. How many of the active leaders in home runs amongst pitchers can you name in five minutes?

CLUE: # of HRs / current team. HR totals are accurate as of June 13, 2017. To be considered active, a pitcher must currently be on any MLB roster. 

16 / SF
Madison Bumgarner
12 / SEA
Yovani Gallardo
10 / STL
Adam Wainwright
9 / KC
Travis Wood
7 / SF
Matt Cain
6 / CIN
Bronson Arroyo
6 / ARZ
Zack Greinke
6 / STL
Mike Leake
4 / CHC
Jake Arrieta
4 / NYM
Noah Syndergaard
3 / WAS
Gio Gonzalez
3 / NYY
CC Sabathia
2 / PIT
Gerrit Cole
2 / STL
Zach Duke
2 / ATL
Jaime Garcia
2 / BAL
Edwin Jackson
2 / TOR
Francisco Liriano
2 / CIN
Michael Lorenzen
2 / COL
Jordan Lyles
2 / KC
Mike Minor
2 / BOS
Drew Pomeranz
2 / SF
Jeff Samardzija
2 / WAS
Stephen Strasburg

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, and enjoy your weekend!


Eric Reid, still unsigned, talks altering protest tactics

Isaac Haas shows off elbow brace designed by Purdue engineering students

Report: Jets to have private workouts with Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield

Stephen Curry doesn't think he'll need ankle surgery after season

NFL VP Troy Vincent: League could eliminate kickoffs


Report: Ndamukong Suh likely to sign with Titans or Rams

Manziel impressed teams with 'strong' performance in workout

Report: Celtics fear Irving's knee injury could be season-ending

Spurs ‘implored’ Kawhi to return in players-only meeting

Giants trade Jason Pierre-Paul to Buccaneers

Paul Pierce: 76ers could beat Cavs in first round of playoffs

The 'Rush to judgment' quiz

The Raptors' young bench could lead Toronto to the NBA Finals

Ranking all 30 MLB pitching rotations heading into 2018

2018 first-round NFL Mock Draft (March 20, 2018 edition)

Brad Marchand has the Bruins rolling, whether you like it or not

There is no more waiting around for a QB during the NFL Draft

Top 10 players at every MLB position for the 2018 season

Ranking all 30 MLB lineups heading into 2018

Jamal Murray's heel turn is exactly what the Nuggets need

The 'Catch me if you can (understand the catch rule)' quiz

Eight biggest questions heading into Sweet 16

Women discuss breaking barriers in sports and in life at San Jose State University

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The Raptors' young bench could lead Toronto to the NBA Finals

The 'Rush to judgment' quiz

Ranking all 30 MLB pitching rotations heading into 2018

The 'Catch me if you can (understand the catch rule)' quiz

Brad Marchand has the Bruins rolling, whether you like it or not

2018 first-round NFL Mock Draft (March 20, 2018 edition)

Ranking all 30 MLB lineups heading into 2018

The 'Not your average Joe' quiz

There is no more waiting around for a QB in the NFL Draft

The 'How sweet it is!' quiz

For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker