Chris Mannix: Golden State is better this year than last, you can’t make that argument about the Cavs

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Joining Nick Wright, Cris Carter and Eboni Williams on First Things First, Yahoo's Chris Mannix unveils who he believes to be the top teams contending for an NBA championship in both the East and the West, outlining why he believes the Warriors are better this year than they were before. Additionally, Mannix details why the Cavs without Kyrie are not better this year than they were last year. Do you agree with Chris Mannix?

CHRIS MANNIX: I can give you two things on that too. One, it's the same with Toronto in some ways in that you're going to be asking guys that are untested to play huge roles in a finals match up. You're asking some of the guys they brought over to play huge roles in the type of situations that they've never had to do before.

- But aren't they incentivized around that?

- They're incentivized, but it's, you know, the lights go on and it's tough. I mean, you played.

CRIS CARTER: You got to put it out there. Golden State has a couple of players too on their second rotation who aren't improving.

CHRIS MANNIX: They do, but like they're the Jordan Bells and the Macaws and those guys. They're not going to play as big a role as a Hood and other guys. I would disagree. The other part of it is, you know, the Cavs last year-- the last three games of that series, those are the best three games I think I've ever seen Cleveland play, and they won one of them. One of them. That was the phenomenal three games they played.

NICK WRIGHT: OK, I'm glad that you mentioned that.

CHRIS MANNIX: I don't think they can play at that level anymore without Kyrie Irving. Without Kyrie, I don't think they can play at that same level.

NICK WRIGHT: All right. You're right, they only won one of them and they were a Kyle Korver corner three away from one or two of them, and that series being totally different. Now they missed.

CHRIS MANNIX: More shoots than hand-grenades.

NICK WRIGHT: Of course, they missed. But if we're going to use that three game sample to project forward, essentially what that three game sample was a Cavs win, a Warriors win, and a tie. Now there's no ties in the NBA, The Warriors ended up winning it, and that's why they won in five, but if we're going to use it to project forward that would say the Cavs absolutely can hang with this team. And the one thing with Golden State, it's why Steve Kerr yesterday decided to have Draymond and Iggy coach the team.

Man, that four straight finals thing is real. The atrophy of the seasons, 100 game seasons is real, and Cleveland, for good or for bad, they're not going to have to deal with that because they only got four guys that were even on last year's finals team any more. Like, forget guys that have been for all four of them, they have essentially new legs and new rosters.

- And back to incentive. They know if they don't bring home that jewelry, LeBron is essentially gone.

- Right.

- For sure.

- Right, but you can make the argument, a reasonable argument, despite the regular season record that Golden State is a better team than they were last year. Kevin Durant in his second year with that team, they've fleshed out the bench with some young guys, you can make the argument-- I don't care if they win 65 games, whatever it is, that's a better team. You can't make that argument that the Cavs without Kyrie Irving are a better team than they were last year.

NICK WRIGHT: Well, we'll see.