Throughout the NBA regular season, the Golden State Warriors were the consensus favorite to win the NBA title – and if it wasn’t the Warriors, the pundits said, it would be the Spurs or maybe even the Thunder. The Cleveland Cavaliers, despite having LeBron James, were more or less an afterthought in the watered-down East.

But not for Muggsy Bogues.

“I always had Cleveland as the last team standing,” the 14-year NBA veteran said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “The reason why is because with LeBron and who LeBron is. Now that Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving is fully healthy, those guys are starting to play excellent basketball along with J.R. Smith and Channing Frye. Tyronn Lue needs to get a lot of credit with the way these guys are playing right now. He sped them up, he’s opened the floor, but he’s also implemented Kevin Love’s confidence back into that team, which makes a tremendous difference.”

Bogues does not think Miami or Toronto has enough to give Cleveland a legitimate scare in the conference finals.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think they just got too much firepower over there with those guys and I think the mindset with where they are right now and then having LeBron, who’s been there multiple times, he understands what it takes. He’s the true leader. He’s really grown up tremendously and I’m loving the way he’s directing his team and allowed everybody to be who they are. That’s the only way they’re going to win. . . . I wouldn’t be surprised if Steph (and the Warriors repeat), but the way it’s playing out, I think Cleveland could be the last team standing.”

And no, Bogues isn’t backing James simply because he’ll be the star of Space Jam 2. In fact, Bogues is backing James in spite of that.

“I’m kind of a little bothered by that,” the 5-3 Bogues said. “Stephen, that’s my guy. That’s my heart. He’s got to be somewhere in Space Jam 2 if that’s what they’re talking about. This is his era. He’s part of this era right now. He’s definitely earned his right.”

Bogues made a cameo in the original Space Jam, along with Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Shawn Bradley. Michael Jordan, of course, was the lead actor.

“The cast that we had, it was fun,” Bogues said. “We never knew it would turn out to be this at the time. We were just guys that happened to be in this movie that had a great soundtrack with R. Kelly and it turned out to be great with the Looney Tunes. So I’m looking forward to what they come up with in Space Jam 2.”

The diminutive Bogues was asked which current NBA player should play his role in the movie.

“The only one I see is Isaiah Thomas,” Bogues said of the Celtics’ 5-9 All-Star. “I don’t know how they’re going to use Stephen if he’s going to be part of it. I don’t know any other small guards that’s out there. Nate Robinson is gone. Chris Paul could fit that role as well. Those are my guys.”

If producers are unable to find a small guard who fits the bill, perhaps they should call Bogues, who still has plenty of talent for The Monstars to steal.

“I always got talent that could be stolen,” the 51-year-old Bogues said. “It might be a little old-fashioned talent, Father-Time talent. But there’s some talent.”


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