In today's NBA, there's the Golden State Warriors and then there's everyone else.
The Warriors have a core of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson and have won two of the past three NBA titles, with their only loss coming to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
However, in the aftermath of Kyrie Irving forcing his way to the Boston Celtics, the Cavs are trying to decided if they want to reload for this year or try to build for the future. Jeff Van Gundy thinks they should do the latter and hold on to the 2018 first-round pick they acquired in the Irving trade.
During an appearance on Sirius XM NBA Radio, the ESPN commentator and former coach said he doesn't think the Cavs should trade the first-round pick and should instead try to build for the future when the Warriors might not be so good:
"I think they'll end up playing the long game," he said. "Listen, with the way the Warriors are, unless you're trading that pick for - give me a name - Paul George, you're still not better than the Warriors. The Warriors are going to win forever."
Van Gundy said he thinks there's no way - barring a series of injuries - that the Warriors will lose this year's title, adding that Golden State has a great shot to win in 2019, too:
"This season is over," he continued. "We're going to play it out, and the Warriors are going to win. And then the next year is going to be the same thing."
Indeed, if the Warriors can keep their core players together, it'll be tough for any other team to challenge them, but crazier things have happened.
The problem, Van Gundy said, is that there's not really another team in the NBA that can provide a challenge. He pointed to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, who had two three-peats from 1991-93 and 1996-98, saying those teams actually had to battle their way through the playoffs, unlike Golden State last year:
"The Bulls actually had challengers during their run of greatness," he said. "They had to summon everything they had. The Warriors? This is over. Like, 2018 is a wrap - let's start talking about 2019. Who's beating them four out of seven times? Just wake me up when something changes with their roster."
Of course, the beauty of sports is that anything can happen on any given night, so it's obviously not a given that the Warriors will win the 2018 title. Still, they'll be the heavy favorites, and it would be a huge surprise if someone else manages to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy next summer.