I’m very skeptical of my Oklahoma City Thunder pick to win it all so I’ve buffered it with a San Anotonio Spurs victory. Basically, I think whoever wins the OKC v. Spurs series in the Western Finals wins it all….unless the Boston Celtics don’t play the Chicago Bulls at any point.
Here are my qualifiers though:
• The Celtics can’t beat the Bulls. They can beat anyone else in the East. If the Bulls fall before they get to Boston, then Boston could win it all.
• A Miami Heat/Bulls series is a coin flip. If the Heat beat the Celtics, then I have no idea who has the advantage. The Bulls are a better team, but the Heat defense is good when it wants to be….. LBJ can slow down Rose, but that matchup could put him in foul trouble early….so again, coin flip.
• The Portland Trail Blazers can beat the Lakers, but won’t. They have enough pieces. Adding Gerald Wallace was huge. Wesley Matthews on Kobe Bryant is intriguing. Could force him into some rough shots. Brandon Roy and Rudy Fernandez off the bench is way more firepower than the Lakers have. The Marcus Camby / Nic Batum tandem can slow down Andrew Bynum. I’d almost take LaMarcus Aldridge over Pau Gasol right now…almost.
• The Denver Nuggets can beat OKC. Best first round matchup by far, but Denver won’t get past the second round, whereas OKC has a great chance to beat elite teams. I’m hoping talent wins out so OKC can make some noise.
• The Spurs or OKC have the pieces to beat the Los Angeles Lakers. They both have speedy point guards that can penetrate (the Lakers’ Achilles’ heel). The big men are very interesting… on the spurs I love that they can throw out Tiago Splitter, DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner and each does extremely different things. For OKC, I like how Kendrick Perkins can body up someone and let Serge Ibaka wreak weak side havock. Nick Collison is smart and savvy and does things that don’t show up in the box score.
• If Boston makes it to the finals they could beat anyone in the West. If the Heat make it, they will lose to OKC, Lakers or Spurs.
I love the deep analysis breakdown. Sean just bet me OKC with Vegas odds versus the field. I still don’t know what the odds are, but I took it. I would love to see a Bulls v. OKC finals, but just not willing to bet on it because of lack of experience. Even with Bynum out, I’d be scared against the Lakers. They are older, but they are pretty solid. I never gave much love to Derrick Rose until post All-Star break this year, but that guy just seems to win.
I think an extremely interesting Finals would be OKC v. Boston. Young v. Old. Plus, Perkins and Jeff Green (with Perkins having much more influence) against their former teams. Also, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are so sick. As for the Heat, I don’t see them winning it. I have only watched about 5-7 games of them this season, but easily the worst team basketball and worst offense I have seen since reffing 2nd grade girls basketball when I was a freshman in high school. Plus, I like to see them lose so I guess they’ve got that going against them…whatever that’s worth.
I am pretty on board with your projections, but the SAS push. I don’t think they have it. Manu Ginobili has balled this year, but I don’t think they can pull it off (yes, I know they had the best record and home court throughout). I do like what their grab bag of 4s bring to the table, but I’m not putting any money when Tiago Splitter and a rich man’s Brian Scalabrine (aka Bonner) are involved. Also, Tim Duncan is going to be exposed worse than [fill in witty comment that I couldn't muster up].
I basically gave no insight or made any bold projections, but this year is crazy. The top-4 in the East (Orlando Magic are on the fringe even though Dwight & Co. have proven it in the Playoffs unlike somebody who took his talents to South Beach…no, I’m not talking about Avatar or Avatar!) and top-6 in the West could all go so deep. I think Portland could compete with most teams and my boy Dirk Nowitzki (note: we don’t actually know each other) is nasty (I hope Steve Nash lands on the Dallas Mavs somehow next year). I like how Denver has made this huge push, but just like you said, no chance at all to get outside the 2nd round. By the way, I’ve always been anti-Carmelo Anthony (don’t get me wrong, but he only scores) and the Nuggets surge made me pretty happy. Plus, I’ve always like George Karl ever since I jumped on the Gary Payton bandwagon back in 1993.
If Bynum is 80%, I got the Lakers. If not, I got the Zombie Sonics and will gladly for over some money to Sean.
PS – Can we get an all Euro team if there is a lock out (I hope I don’t get fined $100k like Phil Jackson)? Think about Dirk, Pau, Manu, Batum, Rudy, Tony Parker, and “Big Z” Ilgauskaus (throwing basketballs off the back of people’s heads, of course), along with some other Euros not named Ricky balling together.
I agree with everything with a couple of small changes.
I think Dallas beats Portland. I think the Heat beat Boston (only because of injuries to Boston). And I think OKC blows out Spurs, 4-2, and then goes 7 with Lakers, winning in Game 7.
Also, I am torn on Orlando. I think they might be the Bulls and then the Celtics, but suffice it to say I would go Bulls/ORL in the Finals (ala your OKC/SA call).
Aaron: Oklahoma City Thunder
Casey: Los Angeles Lakers
Sean: Oklahoma City Thunder
May the best man (obviously me) win!
Who do you think will win the NBA Championship?