San Antonio Spurs
BY ALEX KRYAH
The winner of this year’s NBA Finals is coming out of the Western Conference because there’s no way Cleveland is going to be good enough to win it all this year.
For the first time in what seems like forever, we’re going to have two new teams in the Finals, and the winner will be the San Antonio Spurs over the Boston Celtics.
It’s tough to ever count this team out. San Antonio has been a perennial championship contender for the last two decades, and this year is no exception. They’re more athletic and have great depth, which allows aging stars like Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol to rest and play efficient minutes.
The true star of the show and darkhorse MVP candidate is Kawhi Leonard, who’s averaging 25.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Leonard is an absolute machine on defense, too, making him arguably the best two way player in the game.
Head coach Gregg Popovich knows how to make it all fit together and knows when to push the right buttons. Believe it or not, the Spurs haven’t squared off in a seven game series against the Warriors since 1991. They’ve been chomping at the bit to get a shot at these new-era Golden Boys, and this year, they’ll make the most of that opportunity.
The Warriors are the popular pick, I get that. But here’s a hot take – the Warriors supporting cast plays worse with Kevin Durant in the lineup. Can KD lead Golden State to a title? He choked a 3-1 lead last year in the playoffs – I’d be afraid of that again.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
The Golden State Warriors will win this year’s NBA championship, and in doing so, will avenge last year’s historic Finals collapse.
After a record-breaking 73-win season, the Warriors entered last year’s playoffs fatigued and banged up but were still able to make it through the formidable Western Conference.
The Warriors then literally and figuratively limped into the Finals to face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers and arguably the greatest player of all time, LeBron James, and the grittiest player of all time, Matthew Dellavedova. Ultimately, Golden State choked the series away.
However, this Warriors team is even better than last year’s. Sure, they have fewer wins, but adding superstar Kevin Durant in the offseason will make any team better.
They are also in a far better position to make a run at winning the Finals. Steve Kerr found out the hard way that “it don’t mean a thing without that ring” and has rested his players to make sure they are healthy come playoff time.
While Alex will tell you that the San Antonio Spurs will be taking home the Larry O’Brien trophy, he could not be more wrong. Maybe he will bring up the fact that the Spurs beat the Warriors this year 2-1 in the regular season series, but even Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich admits the regular season doesn’t matter.
The Warriors are just too good, and the Spurs are just too old. The splash brothers, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, will do their thing, and Durant will dominate. Bottom line – there will be no blown 3-1 leads this year.