Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My NBA Preview

            Okay, before you get mad at me for this article, understand this: I think I have a good hunch on who's going to be in the NBA Finals this season. Much in the same way that I have a good hunch on who'll win the Presidential Election come November, too. Anyways, I have my reasons for not giving much of a preview here other than telling you that I'm predicting Warriors/Cavs in the Finals for a third straight year. So before you come at me with torches and pitchforks, hear me out.

  • The Warriors Look To Be Too Good: I think that it'll take a little bit of time for this Warriors superteam to gel the same way LeBron and the 'Big Three' in Miami did in 2010. However, last year's 73-win team with the reigning MVP Steph Curry (tops in the NBA last year in PPG with 30.1 and steals with 2.14) recruited a pick-and-roll expert in Kevin Durant. Golden State will have a pretty tall task topping their 114.9 team PPG from last season. Still, if Stephen Curry's able to make 400 3-pointers in a single season, then anything's possible. Now, I don't want to discredit any of the other teams in the Western Conference. I love the backcourt that Portland has. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum make for one of the best dynamic duos in the NBA. Utah has a team that many experts love. Rudy Gobert (2.21 blocks per game) is a solid defensive player and the Jazz just added George Hill to solve their point guard issues (at least on paper). The Jazz also tied for seventh in defensive efficiency last season (101.6) and have a good tandem in Dante Exum and Derrick Favors. The Clippers have their own superteam with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. Oklahoma City has Russell Westbrook and is a great rebounding team. Then there's San Antonio, the Western Conference stalwarts who led the NBA in defensive efficiency last year (96.6). The Spurs are always a tough team to play and it'll probably be the same way this year, even without Tim Duncan. Nevertheless, the Warriors are still the team to beat in the West and will be a challenge for most teams this season.
  • The Eastern Conference Is Too Weak: The Cavaliers are one of the NBA's elite teams. In fact, it seems that they're the Eastern Conference's only elite team. The Boston Celtics added a big man in Al Horford, which is nice. The Celtics were also the fifth-best scoring team in the NBA last season (105.7 PPG). However, Boston ranked near the bottom in 3-point percentage last season (28th with a 3-pt. % of .335). Therefore, Boston will need to drive to the net as much as possible to beat Cleveland. As for the new-look Knicks, I'm not really buying their 'new look' a lot. They're getting an oft-injured Derrick Rose and a nearly-past-his-prime Joakim Noah to join Carmelo Anthony, who can't seem to make it to the conference championship. Will they be a playoff team? Possibly. I think they'll make it. But like Boston, their lack of a 3-ball threat (20th in the NBA in 3-pt. % with .346) will be a concern along with chemistry. The Detroit Pistons look like a nice pick-and-roll team, but will probably take a minor step back this year. Milwaukee's got the Greek Freak and are set up nicely for the future, it's just now isn't their time. The Bulls got Dwayne Wade and are trying to get Michael Carter-Williams. Still, that won't matter. The Hawks got Dwight Howard, who has no post moves and is a diva. Toronto's got one of the better defenses in the game and have one of the better trios in DeRozan/Lowry/Valanciunas. But will they score enough to beat the Cavs? Pretty much, this is setting up to be another year dominated by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference.
           So there you have it. This year is setting up to be another Cavs/Warriors matchup. Who'll win it? Most likely the Warriors. They now have a pick-and-roll weapon and can mix the offense up now. But hey, everyone counted out the Cavs in the NBA Finals last season...

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