With the 2015 NBA season quickly approaching us, some of the writers at Real Ball Insiders give their predictions for the two teams they think will make the 2016 NBA Finals, who will win, and why.
With the additions of LaMarcus Aldridge, and David West, along with the re-signings of multiple key components to past years of success (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green), the San Antonio Spurs undoubtably won the free agency summer of 2015. Not to mention they still have other huge contributors (Tony Parker, Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, Kyle Anderson) on their roster, and the best head coach in the NBA in Gregg Popovich leading the way as well, the 2015-2016 San Antonio Spurs have the potential to be a team for generations. I think it’ll take a while, but the team chemistry, and player connection will work out fine, as it always does, and that, along side with ball movement, and experience will separate San Antonio from the rest of the West. As for the East, I like the Cleveland Cavaliers. An NBA finals without Lebron James just seems really weird to picture at the moment, seeing as he’s been in the last five of them. Along with that, if Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love can remain healthy for most of the season, this will be a dangerous team, that’s already in a whole another category from the other Eastern Conference teams. When these two teams battle it out in the finals, I’m taking the team with Tim Duncan, and Gregg Popovich, simply because they’re 5-1 in the NBA finals, 2-1 against Lebron James, and again, they added LaMarcus Aldridge.
LeBron James is going to make a little more history this season. He will be the first player since Bill Russell to appear in six straight NBA Finals. He has been a lock in the Finals since he first arrived on the scene in Miami and I cannot see any teams in the East stopping the Cavaliers. The Western Conference is a completely different animal. There are at least five teams that have a legitimate shot at making it to the Finals. This season, I think it will be the Billy Donovan led Oklahoma City Thunder. I really like what the Spurs have done by adding LaMarcus Aldridge but I can’t see them slowing down Russell Westbrook when Kawhi Leonard is on Durant. In the Finals I have the Cleveland Cavaliers ending the 51 year (going on a limb to assume the Browns don’t win the Super Bowl) title drought for the city of Cleveland. Another year of Lebron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving together will help the continuity. Overall, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be too deep, with too many options for the Thunder to handle. The Lebron, Kobe, and Jordan debate will only heat up.
A week before the NBA season and I’m already writing about the 2016 NBA Finals, what a time to be alive. Let’s start with the easy pick of the two conferences. Does anybody really think anyone else will come out of the East besides the Cavs? I mean, I’m writing this with the thought that every team involved is going to be healthy or close to full strength when the playoffs come around. Lebron, Kyrie, K. Love and Tristan Thompson? There’s no team in the East I can say will beat the Cavs in a seven game series, at least no team that I can say with a straight face. Maybe the Bulls, maybe, and that’s a long shot. Now, we move to the gauntlet that we know to be the West. I know the sexy pick right now is the Warriors and why wouldn’t they? They’re the defending champions and that almost the whole team is signed to be there for a couple seasons to come. They have the reigning MVP in Steph Curry, top three SG in Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Iggy, Draymond Green, the list goes on and on. They’re stacked, they’re deep, and most importantly they’ve been there before. BUT that’s not who I’m rocking with to come out of the west. I’ve got OKC. A healthy KD (I know I’m being optimistic) and Russell Westbrook, add some Serge Ibaka in the mix and you have a big three who can hang with the best of them. I honestly think this is THE YEAR that OKC has to win the NBA titile in order to keep Kevin Durant and possibly Westbrook around for the years to come. I think they finally push over the hill and KD gets his rematch versus Lebron in the Finals.
Who wins the OKC and Cavs Finals? OKC. This is their year. I feel like Westbrook is primed to take the ultimate challenge and outplay Kyrie in the Finals. Whoever wins that matchup is going to be the deciding factor in how the series plays out. Lebron and KD will both average 35 a game and carry their fair share of the load. I think Ibaka outplays Kevin Love down low and punishes him physically on the defensive end. 4-3, Oklahoma City. KD wins his first Finals MVP and Lebron falls in a place he’s familiar coming up short, the Finals.
As a Washington Redskins fan I am very thankful that the NBA season is just a few days away! Guess it’s time for my quick take on the upcoming season.
First the easy part, the Cavaliers come out of the East. Oh how I wish they were at full-strength last summer. At the very least we could have had a 7-game Finals. Bulls easy #2 but are not getting past Lebron and friends.
The West, first the tragic part…the Mavs will “probably” make the playoffs but I’d almost rather be in the lottery than “4 and done.” All our predictions are based on “no injuries” so I will ignore the statistical data from the last three years and say the Thunder survives the blood bath between them, the Spurs and the Warriors.
On to the Finals…sorry Cleveland. With Durant’s impending free agency hanging over everyone’s head (he isn’t going anywhere) and the Thunder’s new bench depth (is there a better “7th man” than Enes Kanter?), OKC brings the title back to the land of Noodling and Convenience Stores.
I have an idea…instead of a best of 7 NBA Finals…why not a best of 9? Major League Baseball did it in 1903, 1919 – 1921. Just imagine, three weeks of amazing basketball! Come on Adam Silver…make it happen!
Miami Heat: If Miami Heat doesn’t make playoff finals this year, there would be a major, major problem. With Chris Bosh healthy again, after the frightening blood clot in his lungs, he will finally get to play with Goran Dragic, who was signed after Bosh went out with injury. This duo will be great on the fast breaks, with Dragic loving to push the ball down the court in transition; this will result in many fast break scores. Throw Dwyane Wade into the mix with his outside shooting and amazing dunking ability, this could be an unstoppable force in the Eastern Conference. Not only are the starters looking at their peak, but their bench has gotten immense depth, signing Amar’e Stoudamire, Mario Chalmers, Gerald Green, Josh McRoberts and Justise Winslow, there are numerous options for Miami to score in any way they would like. The Cleveland Cavs better watch out, the Heat is coming for you.
Los Angeles Clippers: Though in the past the ‘Clips gonna clip’ has been what the Clippers were known for, this season will be completely different. These are some simple reasons why. Blake Griffin, is only getting better and better as the season go past, mixed with the other ultimate two of DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul, they have the starting five sorted without a doubt. Last year when the Clippers were 3-1 up against theRockets in the Playoffs and then went completely backwards and ended up using the playoff series to the Rockets, it was due to one simple element, besides the super 3 players, they had no one to carry the load. However, this year with some amazing signings and steals, the depth of this team will never be overlooked again. Paul Pierce, and Josh Smith join the Clippers, joining some other great players for the bench rotation such as Austin Rivers, Lance Stephenson, Jamal Crawford, Pablo Prigioni and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, this Clippers team has nothing but depth this season, and that’s why they will be in the NBA playoffs, and I think make it to the NBA finals this year. Clippers ain’t gonna clip this year.