Thursday Theories on the Finals, football and more

I’ll have final thoughts on the NBA Finals later, but for now here’s some fallout from FiveThirtyEight.com:

Is the Steph Curry revolution already over?

I’m going to go with no. While it did appear he and the Warriors played worse after getting punched in the nose, that doesn’t mean they can’t get their swagger back. Nor does it mean they were a fraud exposed by the Cavs. 

I do think Curry was less than 100 percent, but he was certainly healthy enough to play so I’m not going to rely on that as much of an explanation for his subpar performances. That’s not why they lost.

At any rate, he seemed to react poorly to whatever limitations he might have had.

I was particularly surprised at how bad he looked defensively, both in how he moved but also body language and urgency. It was like he just didn’t want to be on that end of the floor.

Both of the NBA Finalists were jump shooting teams who maybe not coincidentally ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. I think the increased emphasis on passing, cutting and shooting that was first ushered in by the Spurs will continue despite the Warriors’ loss.

At least I hope so because it’s a much more enjoyable brand of basketball than the iso-fests that pervaded the NBA and tricked down to the college ranks in the years before…

538 numbers find Golden State is the third-best team of all time, trailing not just the 72-win Bulls but also the Bulls team of the following season.

The Cavs ranked 25th, which happens to be 10 spots below their 2009 version…. 

MMQB talked to Annie Apple about her upcoming gigs with ESPN and SI.comLINK — and placed Andy Dalton on its All-Minicamp Hype team

What is Ohio State’s offense going to look like this fall?

SBNation Xs and Os guru Ian Boyd speculates it will rely on J.T. Barrett up the middle and Curtis Samuel on the edge in the running game with the hopes Barrett can be more consistent hitting short passes that talented receivers can turn into big gains.

There’s little doubt that the Buckeye run game will once again be highly effective in 2016, and the combination of Barrett, Samuel and their other tailbacks should make for a group that’s both efficient and explosive. The question will be whether the Buckeyes can generate enough explosive plays with their run game or else capitalize on its efficiency with a back-breaking passing game like they had in 2014. That would make a truly elite offense.

That’s not a bad guess, though the picture could change if Mike Weber brings some more dynamism as an inside runner. Weber is smaller than Ezekiel Elliott but flashed the ability to make people miss and run through arm tackles during the spring game. Being able to BYOB (bring your own blocker) is a major asset for any offense, even one that is at its core set up to avoid those situations.

Of course things could also change significantly if Barrett gets hurt.

I bring that up not to be a pessimist but because that is something that tends to happen to quarterbacks in Urban Meyer’s offense (even as it makes them stars).

And, as mentioned before, the other quarterbacks on the roster this fall might be more pass-oriented than Barrett, so if something happened the offense might need to be refocused again to more resemble the spread pro-style attack Cardale Jones directed in the postseason of 2014.

Recreating that attack proved difficult last season for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was Jones’ inconsistency. He also lacked help at times both on the field and in the press box.

Ultimately it made sense to do what the personnel allowed, but the toolbox wasn’t as full against Michigan State last year as it was the year before. One could say the same thing about the Michigan and Notre Dame games, too, but they couldn’t stop the Ohio State running game so it didn’t matter… 

Meanwhile, UCLA has a pro QB and is looking at running a more pro-style offense this fall.

Cue SBNation again:

The UCLA coaching staff has two goals with its changes. The first is to embrace an offensive approach that will set up Rosen to attack opponents with the vertical passing game via play-action. The second is to give Rosen more control at the line of scrimmage to move pieces around, probe defenses and get after the weaknesses he finds.

Technically, both of those could be accomplished with some spread systems, but the nature of the spread is such that it’s often more about identifying where players will be in space and then just distributing the ball there. In a pro-style scheme, there’s more opportunity to really dictate things to the defense. Bringing numbers toward the line to bowl over opponents is a bigger part of the formula, and Rosen can find chances to do that.

I highlight this not to say I think it’s better than what Ohio State is doing but more as a reminder of the reason multiple types of attacks still work.

Also you’re forgiven if you forgot this was how it’s supposed to work toward the end of the Tressel/Bollman offensive era at Ohio State.

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