As one basketball tournament comes to an end, another begins.
The 2017 NBA playoffs start on April 15th and containing my excitement is becoming more difficult the sooner that date comes.
The Golden State Warriors have a good chance of securing the #1 seed in the Western Conference, being 2.5 games ahead of the #2 seed San Antonio Spurs.
But seeing that the season isn’t over because each NBA team has about 10 games left, this post will follow the Golden State Warriors playoff path, if the season ended today.
These would be the final playoff seeds.
- Golden State Warriors
- San Antonio Spurs
- Houston Rockets
- Utah Jazz
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Portland Trailblazers
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Boston Celtics
- Washington Wizards
- Toronto Raptors
- Atlanta Hawks
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Indiana Pacers
- Miami Heat
Conference Quarterfinals: #1 Warriors vs. #8 Trailblazers
Warriors All Star Small Forward, Kevin Durant, has not played since injuring his knee on February 28th and is expected to return right around the time that the playoffs start.
Many, including myself, have wondered how his return will affect the Warriors while on their hot streak(7-0 in the last 13 days).
Blogger Bram Kincheloe raised the same question in his recent post on SB Nation’s Golden State of Mind.
Bram believes it will be a large adjustment for the team, with Durant back in the line up but he also believes that Durant is smart enough to take a less shots and opt for more assists, while letting guard Steph Curry, who is averaging 23 points and 8 assists over the last 5 games, lead the offense.
Bram mentioned that “Durant, with his very strong sense of self and lack of ego, will understand that his body is still somewhat compromised, and he’ll let Curry take control.”
Series Conclusion: SWEEP – Warriors 4 games, Blazers 0 games
Conference Semifinals: #1 Warriors vs. Clippers
Yes, I picked the Clippers to upset the Jazz in the first round but LA has almost infinitely more playoff experience than the young Utah Jazz.
The Clippers are a very good team against almost any NBA team but matched up against the Golden State Warriors, it doesn’t look good.
In a blog post written by Brad Winter, he detailed the recent success and the even more recent woes of the Los Angeles Clippers and their future hall of fame point guard, Chris Paul.
He explains, “no matter how great Chris Paul plays, no matter how great his statistics look, and no matter how valuable he is to his team, CP3’s legacy will always be tainted by his poor postseason history”.
Chris Paul, to some, is one of the best players in the league and the star of the Clippers, but his unlucky post season trips have plagued his career and I don’t see his luck turning this year.
Series Conclusion: Warriors 4 games, Clippers 1 game
Conference Finals: Warriors vs. Spurs
This series, in my opinion, will be the best of the entire NBA playoffs, even better than any Finals series I can predict.
It seems like the Spurs have had chances to win a championship every year for the last 20, but they still always manage to look like the underdog every year. Seeing the Spurs succeed every year doesn’t surprise anyone, anymore. It has simply become an NBA norm.
Many people attest their frequent success to their head coach Gregg Popovich, like blogger Andy Grimsrud.
He explains in his blog post, “I don’t need to explain to you how or why Gregg Popovich’s team is elite. We just take it as a given”.
I expect this series to nearly kill me. I already know there will be many ups and downs for the Warriors through out the series but eventually the series will have to come to an end.
Series Conclusion: Warriors 4 games, Spurs 3 games
NBA Finals: Warriors vs. Cavaliers
Back to back to back.
I predict that this will be the 3rd year in a row that fans see the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers battle in the NBA Finals.
Although the Cavs haven’t been nearly as good this year as in recent years, they still dominate when playing the Warriors.
Obviously, I want the Warriors to beat the Cavs and win the championship, but a few things need to happen in order for that to happen, and it starts with Draymond Green.
Green(right), in my opinion, is the Warriors best player. Yes, I just said that. But notice how I said PLAYER, not scorer, not shooter, not passer but player.
He can do everything and I mean EVERYTHING.
Blog writer Brandon Keller put it best, “Green doesn’t have the best fundamentals, and he certainly isn’t the cleanest player. However, his production all over the court is a direct result of the fire he plays with every day.”
If Green can up his scoring, while keeping his offensive playmaking and defensive mindset, the Warriors will look almost unstoppable and it will lead Green to being a likely Finals MVP candidate.
The final key that the Warriors need, to win this series, is to not lose their composure, when faced with a scary team like the Cavs.
Many times, like in the 2016 NBA Finals, when the Warriors lose their groove, it’s gone for a while.
“Regression always wins”, explains blogger, Andy Liu of warriorsworld.net, when talking about the midseason slump that the Warriors just came out of.
If the Warriors do get in a slump in the NBA Finals, which they definitely could after a tough series with San Antonio, they will need at least a game or two to flip back to their usual dominance.
I predict that the Warriors get blown out in the first 2 games of this series, take a Game 3 overtime loss, and finish the series with 4 straight wins.
Series Conclusion: Warriors 4 games, Cavaliers 3 games