Chris Mullin: Cavs-Warriors Should Be Phenomenal Finals

Steph Curry might be the best basketball player in the world, but there are those who feel he might be doing the game more harm than good.

Kids, as we all know, grow up idolizing star athletes and try to emulate their game. For Curry fans, that means chucking threes from 30 and 40 feet. Thus, the game of basketball could look quite different 10 years down the road.

Maybe, Chris Mullin said, but don’t bet on it.

“There’s only one Steph Curry,” the former Warrior said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Really, what you learn from Steph Curry is (with) repetition and practice and dedication, you can make it. A lot of people get lost with Steph. I was out there when he first got drafted. He went though a really hard time physically. He’s dealt with a lot of adversity and he overcame it by hard work, dedication, loves the game – he’s always in the gym. I know everyone in the organization and (they) say the guy works as much as anybody on his skill. It’s obvious. You don’t shoot like that if you don’t put the time in. There’s no two ways about it. I think overall the message is good, but like anything, you have to know your limitations. Steph is unique, but if it gets kids to work in the gym on their game, it’s a positive.”

Curry, who is closing in on his second consecutive NBA MVP award, may have supplanted LeBron James as the best player in the world.

“They’re right there,” Mullin said of the dynamic duo. “I say they’re right there. Obviously very different styles. LeBron is 6-8 and dominant physically and plays 1 through 5 basically for the most part. Steph does it his own special way, and I think (he’s) groundbreaking because the experts in the past said you don’t win from the outside-in – and the Warriors (won) 73 games. You can’t argue that.”

The Warriors and Cavaliers remain on a collision course to meet in the NBA Finals. Before the playoffs began, most people would have pegged the Warriors as clear favorites to repeat as champions. With Steph Curry hobbled by ankle and knee injuries, however, the Cavs, who are 5-0 in the playoffs, look quite formidable.

“Cleveland is playing much better now,” Mullin said. “They actually look like a team now. It’s taken awhile because guys have been in and out of the lineup. I think right now is the best I’ve seen them play. They got enough time to really keep getting their momentum and their dynamic together. So on paper, talent-wise, they should really be a contender. If they do make it to the Finals, that should be a great series. LeBron should feel pretty good about what’s around him.”

Brandon Tierney agrees. In fact, he thinks if the Cavs don’t push the Warriors to six or seven games, it’s a “colossal failure” for Cleveland.

Mullin didn’t go quite that far.

“The thing that’s underrated about the Warriors is their depth,” he said. “I think they got a little more depth (than Cleveland), so if foul trouble or injury comes into play, (it doesn’t affect Golden State as much as it does Cleveland). But if (the Cavs) can play their top seven against the Warriors’ top seven, it should be a phenomenal series.”

In other news, Mullin has teamed with Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton and St. John’s to host the Joe Lemm Memorial Celebrity Basketball Game at Carnesecca Arena this Friday at 7 p.m. The event will honor Lemm, a former NYPD officer and technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, who was killed in Afghanistan in December. All proceeds will benefit his family.

Tiki and Tierney will be at the event, along with numerous celebrities, including Bill Cowher, Justin Tuck, John Franco, John McEnroe and Michael Rapoport.

“Joe Lemm, we’re going to honor his legacy,” said Mullin, who is among those participating in the cops-versus-celebrities basketball game. “I got a lot of friends who are New York cops, so it’s close to our hearts. It’ll be a good night. It’ll be emotional, but we’re going to raise some money for the family.”

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