2015 NBA Finals: Thoughts and Prediction
The NBA Finals are set and hopefully we will have a better series than either of the conference semifinals. The Warriors beat the Rockets 4-1 in a series that looked close but really wasn’t. The Cavaliers swept Atlanta and made the Hawks look like a different team than the one who was the best in the Eatern Conference. And while the odds are heavily in Golden State’s favor of winning it all, I think this will be a much better series than the previous ones.
Golden State Warriors
Each team in the NBA Finals has their star. Stephen Curry is the Warriors star playmaker. The current MVP will do what he has done all year. No team will be able to shut him down. The key for both teams will be the other 6 or 7 players on the rotation. For the Warriors, it will come down to Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston.
Thompson has to be the scorer he can be without getting into foul trouble. Draymond Green may be asked to guard LeBron James and will need his best defensive effort in this series. Barnes is a good but streaky player and will need to be more consistent. Andrew Bogut hasn’t been a scorer, but his defense and play down low is needed again more than the scoring. Andre Iguodala is a good player but has to be ready to go. And Shaun Livingston has done more for the Warriors than anyone probably expected. But can he do it for one more series? Outside of these guys, just remember the name Featus Ezeli. He could give Golden State a boost here and there if needed.
LeBron James is the man for the Cavs. James is in his fifth straight NBA Finals and the team he he carried through the playoffs is not the same team that made it to the postseason. But while James will continue to carry the Cavaliers on his shoulders, the difference could be made from six other guys.
Kyrie Irving needs to be healthy and effective. That is the bottom line. If he can’t go, the Cavs are in trouble. Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson need to be big down low and give Cleveland second chances on missed shots. Thompson has been playing exceptionally great and needs to keep it up. The scrappy Matthew Dellavedova needs to be keep being a pest to the other team and hopefully frustrate the Warriors. Iman Shumpert is a valuable piece of the puzzle and can give the Cavaliers a boost if he is on. And then there is J. R. Smith. The man who was just another face on the Knicks is now a vital part of a championship contender. Smith has been out of this world in the playoffs and will need to keep that up for the Cavaliers to have a shot.
I am going against popular thought and picking the Cleveland Cavaliers to win. When you look at both teams, they are pretty even. Both have first-year NBA head coaches with sought after assistants. Both have languished for many years. Both have an MVP caliber player and a great second man. And both have good role players that can make a difference. But I’m going with the Cavs because of LeBron’s experience on the big stage. This is his fifth straight trip to the finals and his sixth overall. The took a worse Cleveland team to the finals before and then went four years in Miami and gained a lot of valuable experience. And I think his knowledge will push the Cavs over the Warriors. So I am going to say that Cleveland will beat Golden State in six games to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Daryl Karpinski Jr.