Admit it. You’re bored. The NBA Finals don’t begin until Thursday — a full week after the conference finals ended — and the wait was fine for a day or two. It is no longer fine. It is excruciating.
For many of us, the break is a welcome reprieve from over a month of near-nightly basketball. Two or three open evenings? Some quality, uninterrupted time with family? More productivity in other areas of life? Wonderful.
But a full week off!? Nobody signed up for this. The weekend, which will bleed into the first three days of next week, feels empty. Game 1 feels ages away. And the intermission between the warm-up act and the real show isn’t crammed with anticipation because, well, intermission has basically lasted nine months. Anticipation has almost been exhausted. The Finals need to start, already. Like, now. C’mon.
But we’ve got four more days to wait. So we thought it’d be useful to give you some suggestions for how to fill those four days.
Some of these suggestions are very real. Others are very not real. We’ll let you decide which ones are which.
1. Watch a replay of last year’s Game 7
Don’t just watch highlights. Watch the full thing. Start to finish. I’ve done it, and trust me, 11 months later, it’s still such a magnificent spectacle. It was one of the most dramatic games in NBA history, and it’s obviously extremely relevant heading into the rematch (threematch?).
Thanks to dozens of wonderful, kind-hearted people on the internet, you can find high-quality, not-necessarily-legal-but-who-cares replays of the game online. Some of them cut right through the commercials, so you’re only dedicating an hour and a half to the game, not three hours. It’ll be an hour and a half well spent.
2. Play out a seven-game series on NBA 2K17
Watching any of last year’s games from an analytical perspective is useless, because one of the two teams added one of the league’s top-five players a month later. The only solution? Prepare for this year’s showdown with a seven-game series of NBA 2K17. Find a friend, rock-paper-scissors to see who gets the Warriors, and duke it out. First to four victories wins.
If you finish with time to spare before Thursday, hold a two-man fantasy draft, select from players on the Warriors and Cavs rosters, and run it back. Flip a coin for first pick, then snake through the rounds — so whoever gets second pick also gets third. It might actually be better to not pick first. Here’s a shot at what such a draft might look like (Team 1 picks in bold, Team 2 picks in italics):
1. LeBron James 2. Steph Curry 3. Kevin Durant 4. Klay Thompson 5. Kyrie Irving 6. Draymond Green 7. Kevin Love 8. Tristan Thompson 9. Andre Iguodala 10. J.R. Smith 11. JaVale McGee 12. Zaza Pachulia 13. Kyle Korver 14. Deron Williams …
We won’t go through all 24 picks, but you get the point. (You also might vehemently disagree with some of the picks above. If you do, that’s probably a sign that you should heed this suggestion.)
3. Still bored? Go to franchise mode …
Take control of the Brooklyn Nets. No fantasy draft, no easy difficulty levels. Your challenge: Win a title A) before the Warriors win two, and B) before the Finals begin in real life.
4. NBA Finals role play
Really bored? Have an evening, or even a full day, to kill? And feeling creative? Round up a group of friends and/or family members, write the names of various Warriors and Cavs players, coaches and executives on small slips of paper, and put them in a hat. Everybody blindly picks one slip of paper, and must act as if they are that person for the remainder of the night. Only a couple of requirements: 1. Don’t actually play basketball; take on the characters in whatever normal, everyday setting you’re in. And 2. No holding back, even if you’re Draymond.
5. Organize a LeBron-Jordan debate
Like, a legit debate. We’re not talking an argument over beers at a bar. We’re talking the type of debate that your high school’s debate team would travel to after weeks of research and planning.
Split your friends into teams based on their answer to the question of who the greatest basketball player of all time is. (If their answer is neither Jordan nor LeBron, make them the moderator.) Set a date that gives sufficient time for preparation, and a location, ideally a room that can roughly be split into two sides. Choose a format that includes opening statements, cross-examination and all that. If you can, find a panel of three judges. (Heck, hire one if you have to.) Research, practice, and go at it. Losers host Finals viewing parties.
6. Who’s the best actor in the Finals?
From our fearless leader, Ball Don’t Lie editor Dan Devine:
Watch “Thunderstruck,” then watch “Trainwreck,” and analyze the acting approaches/skills of KD and LeBron. Present your findings, loudly, on your nearest heavily foot-trafficked street corner. Avoid arrest for as long as you can!
7. Also from Dan …
All the best dunks from yesteryear are right here. So, if you have time to kill, how about reliving them?
8. Re-write Kevin Durant’s Players’ Tribune letter
We’ll let you decide how to approach the revision, but please, don’t censor yourself. Bonus points for mentions of LeBron, Adam Silver, competitive balance, any Bay Area-based startup, Durant’s Oklahoma City restaurant, or Draymond. Double bonus points for veiled shots at Russ. Triple bonus points for multiple mentions of cupcakes.
9. Watch the Zaza-Kawhi play over and over to get really angry
This is best used on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. And, of course, only advisable if you’re not a Warriors fan. If you are a Warriors fan …
10. Watch LeBron-flopping-and-complaining-to-refs montages over and over to get really angry
*DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES GO AROUND KICKING PEOPLE LIKE DRAYMOND GREEN.
12. Curry 2 “Chef”s sales competition
If you’re willing to risk a few dollars, and if you’ve got a few friends who are weird like you … buy a pair of the Curry 2 Low “Chef”s. If you don’t remember, a quick reminder …
Have your friends do the same. See who can make the most money (or lose the least) by buying and selling Chefs by the start of Game 1.
13. Go down an NBA Sporcle rabbit hole
Sporcle might be the most addicting website on the whole dang internet, and its basketball subcategory is one of its most alluring. Start with the classic No. 1 draft picks quiz, go to the leading scorers by draft slot stumper, and you’ll soon find yourself engrossed, unable to pull yourself away.
14. Catch up on some hoops reading
There is soooooo much good basketball feature writing out there. Perhaps more than ever before. It’s impossible to get to everything, but the next few days would be a good time to get to those two or three articles you bookmarked while the playoffs were still charging ahead at 100 miles per hour.
Or you could read a bunch of Finals preview content. Here’s a good place to begin.
15. Spend time with family
This is the most serious of the serious suggestions. You are about to spend one of every two or three nights watching a sport that others in your family may or may not care about. It is also Memorial Day weekend. It is a perfect time to forget about basketball for at least a day or two and devote all your attention and energy to your family, your significant other, your friends, or anybody else who might need your attention and energy.
16. Try out some new recipes for potential Finals-night meals
Especially if you are planning watch parties, and especially if you lost your LeBron-Jordan debate. (If you’re confused, you clearly didn’t read No. 5 above.)
Optional: Write a rap about the recipe, just like the wife of a certain NBA star did.
(Hint: Don’t do the optional part.)
17. Tell us your own suggestions
What have you done to pass the time? What are you planning to do? Let us know. You have the comments section. You have our Twitter handle, @YahooBDL. You have mine, @HenryBushnell. Let us know what you’ve been doing. And definitely let us know if you’ve taken any of our advice.