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Well it’s here.. the start of the NBA season is upon us! So we’ve looked deep into our crystal balls and come up with a set of predictions. Today we look at the who the team think will be holding the Larry O’Brien trophy in June next year.
Jack Birtwhistle (The better half of the Posterized Podcast and as a fan is on the free agent market):
Golden State Warriors. It’s a boring prediction I know but it’s difficult to go past the reigning champions. We know who they are and what they do. The new look Cleveland Cavaliers are my prediction to come out of the East, and you cannot count LeBron James out, although that’s exactly what I’ll do here. Through sheer power of will James will take the Warriors to 6 games in a competitive series. Thomas’ health and his defensive limitations are a big red flag for me in any series let alone against the Warriors. The Cavs will have a potent offense again in 2018, however even the addition of Crowder won’t be enough to slow down the Warriors on the other end of the floor.
Brandon Stevens (On his journalistic debut and a mad Thunder fan that is still recovering from KD’s departure):
Golden State Warriors. As with most of the NBA world I see it very hard for anyone to beat this monster team in a 7-game series. They have everything they need for success: unselfish superstars, great coaching and a very deep bench which is an underrated asset come playoff’s. Last year GSW swept the entire West in the playoff’s and they have only improved in this off season. They added Nick Young, a streaky shooter who I can see fitting well into their system and providing valuable minutes off the bench plus Omri Casspi who is a very underrated 3 & D player adding even more versatility to their already stacked bench. In saying all this, I don’t think it will be an easy run to the finals as it was in 2017. Several teams in the West have improved in the off season. The Wolves finally look set to make the next step and Karl Anthony-Towns will be one of a few players the Dubs will find hard to guard. Houston added Chris Paul who will be very dangerous with his passing ability in a side stacked with shooters. OKC managed to steal Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to pair alongside 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook and if they can all work out how to mesh well, it will make for a very scary team. Lastly the Spurs seem to worry the GSW somewhat, beating them in the opening game last year and of course having that 25pt lead in Game 1 of the playoff’s before Kawhi went down. I can see any one of these teams making a series out of GSW but all in all the superstar talent of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green alongside their impressive bench with Steve Kerr’s coaching will lead to their 3rd championship in 4 years.
Zac Piesse (Armchair sports expert who aspires to be like Steve Nash on the social basketball court):
Golden State Warriors. I think everyone recognises that the Golden State Warriors are favourites to win the NBA this year. The most interesting conversation this coming season is who will create the biggest threat for their title hopes. Considering the moves that Cleveland made over the offseason, adding Isiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Dwayne Wade and many others, they moved ever so closely to the Warriors and will have a better chance of winning this year. Let’s not understate it, it’s the Warriors title to lose, and everyone else is just praying for an injury to even remotely have a chance.
Sam Duigan (One eyed Spurs fan who’s left hand is non existent on the basketball court):
Cleveland Cavaliers. A very hopeful and somewhat bold prediction given the Golden State Warriors are the raging hot favourites. If Isaiah Thomas can come back fit and healthy then they are a better team last year and they have addressed some of their glaring weaknesses in the Finals last year. Jae Crowder may have been the most underrated part of the deal that saw Kyrie Irving land in Boston. He can shoot the three, is flexible between multiple positions and most importantly plays lockdown defense. His ability to defend will give LeBron James much needed help when trying to guard Kevin Durant in the Finals. It was obvious that LeBron was the only player on the roster that could limit Durant’s influence, now they have another. This will not only curb Durant’s influence on a game but also allow LeBron to focus his energy on the offensive side of the ball plus in the final stretches of games.
Another trip to the NBA Finals I believe is a foregone conclusion. Boston were off the pace last year and have stagnated in the off-season, Washington will improve but are missing another star to be considered a true threat and the rest will show glimpses but won’t be able to match the Cavaliers star power. A slow start could be on the cards with the new additions but they will find their stride by the Playoffs, just in time for a run at the Warriors. Where they have a better line-up to compete and as we know anything can happen once you get there (3-1 anyone?).