There are many teams who learned a hard lesson before ultimately reaching the apex. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers enjoyed a terrific run to the 2007 NBA Finals, but they received a rude awakening that their time had not yet arrived after being swept by the San Antonio Spurs. There is a lot that can be attributed to that unfulfilled dream, but a former member of that squad has a different reason for why the Cavs fell short all those years ago.

“I think San Antonio kind of had our hand because our entire playbook offensively and defensively with the principles all came from {Gregg} Popovich because we had Coach Mike Brown, who just left San Antonio, as a head coach,” retired big man Drew Gooden told Youtube’s Scoop B Selects with host, Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson. “A lot of people don’t know that. So, they had our hand on that one.”

Gooden raises an interesting point. It was asking a lot for the student to surpass the teacher, especially when that teacher was seeking his fourth championship. Popovich and his team were well-prepared for James, holding him to 35.6 percent shooting from the field in the series. That being said, team chemistry, experience and multiple Hall of Famers were all strong reasons that cannot just be glossed over.

The Spurs navigated the tougher conference that year and were just on another level. Of course, LeBron James would get his revenge years later while leading the Miami Heat to a thrilling Game 7 victory in the 2013 NBA Finals. He then tasted defeat at the hands of Popovich and San Antonio the next year, right before the legend made his triumphant return back to Cleveland.

The Cavs ultimately hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy, so the 2007 beatdown  does not sting the same anymore. Still, one has to ponder how things would have gone if Mike Brown and his guys were just a bit more experienced.