Note: While Caleb is credited with writing this post. This was a collaboration between he and fellow Bench-Pointer Brian Johnson.
Seeds are set. Brian and I’ve made our predictions and there’s no going back now. So what’s going to happen after? Who’s going to make it out of each conference? Who’re going to be the 2016 NBA Champions?
Before we begin, we’re wannabe professionals, so understand that we’re right, but also feel free to leave your criticism in the comment section below.
Let’s begin with the Eastern Conferece.
Caleb’s Eastern Conference Narrative
So I reached a little bit with my predictions, boldly claiming a couple of the better teams in the conference would fall out of the top four. But if you know anything about basketball, you know it’s a game dependent on matchups and sometimes home-court advantage doesn’t mean a damn thing.
Based on my previous posts, the matchups would look like this:
(1) Cleveland vs. (8) Boston
(2) Miami vs. (7) Milwaukee
(3) Toronto vs. (6) Chicago
(4) Washington vs. (5) Atlanta
The turn out?
- Cleveland drops a couple of games to Boston, in the first four games, but dispatches them easily to close the series in six
- Miami sweeps Milwaukee because #Bucks
- Toronto blows it because they don’t have the “it” factor and drops game seven to Chicago
- Washington knocks of Atlanta in a barrage of three-pointers in a game seven.
Then there were four.
(1) Cleveland vs. (4) Washington
(2) Miami vs. (6) Chicago
- The Wizards will be riding the high of their battle with in Atlanta and steal game one from Cleveland, but will probably lose the series in six, again, because LeBron bullies Otto Porter, Jr and Nene gets suspended for head-butting EVERYONE
- Miami defeats Chicago in five because the Bulls aren’t that good. Derrick Rose averages 22, Butler 20, and nobody else does anything else for Chicago.
That leaves us with a weird “LeBron’s Teams” narratives The last five seasons, only two teams have come out of the East: Miami and Cleveland. The hype will be very real, and the games will be incredibly intense. Expect Dragic to piss Kyrie off at some point by pretending to be a dinosaur and batting at his wrist on defense.
In terms of matchups, LeBron will have a serious edge on Deng, and Shumpert might give Wade some trouble with his tenacity on defense, but Bosh vs Love, Dragic vs. Irving, Whiteside vs. Mozgov… can you dig it? I can dig it.
Truthfully, I think Miami will have the better offense, the better coaching, but lacking in big time shots. Kyrie from beyond the arc, off the glass. Love from the corner, and LeBron floaters in the post. It will be too much. Six very close games.. but four of them will go to Cleveland, and they’ll make a return to the NBA Finals.
Brian’s Western Conference Narrative
We’ve already established that my predictions are going to be correct for the regular season. So let’s take it a few steps farther and predict who will come out of the West and take on The Eastern Conference Champion. I can only assume that will be the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In my predictions, the matchups would be as follows:
(1) Houston vs. (8) Utah
(2) Oklahoma City vs. (7) Memphis
(3) Golden State vs. (6) New Orleans
(4) San Antonio vs. (5) Los Angeles Clippers
Quick headlines from those series
- Utah too young, Houston too talented
- OKC beats Memphis, then eats some BBQ
- Champs take down MVP Davis
- Rematch! Spurs win in 7
- Giant brawl erupts in Clippers locker room.
That Spurs vs. Clippers series would be too good for just one headline. And now we advance to the second round.
(1) Houston vs. (4) San Antonio
(2) Oklahoma City vs. (3) Golden State
Quick headlines from these series:
- Battle of Texas goes to seventh game!
- Spurs advance thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge
- Most entertaining series ever!
- Series so good. Now Best of 13. Thunder advance.
So now we have the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs. Two Midwest teams from small markets, but the ratings will break records. The Spurs have been a dynasty but are trying to reload their roster while their future hall of famers goes for one more title. The Thunder are hungry for their first title and don’t know if this is their last chance before Durant heads to D.C.
We couldn’t ask for a better matchup with great players all over the court. Each team wins on the road and each game seems to come down to the final few possessions. It’s all we hoped for, it’s beautiful basketball on each side and Billy Donovan holds his own with Coach Pop.
When the final buzzer sounds in Game 7, and the Oklahoma City crowd looks to the scoreboard, they are elated to see their Thunder are heading to the NBA Finals! Westbrook and Durant are too much for the Spurs. They know this is their year.
If we are blessed enough to have everyone stay healthy, the Western Conference playoffs should be epic. So many great teams. So many great players. If you love basketball you will love these matchups come springtime.
While Brian believes the Thunder are coming out of the West, I’m betting on a really bitter Chris Paul and the Clippers. As a starting unit, they were the best offense in basketball last year, and they added the one thing their team was missing: depth.
While the Rockets were a good team, there was no reason for them to beat the Clippers in the second round, and while I think Golden State still would’ve won, the Western Conference Finals would have been far more interesting had LA moved on.
This year, we won’t have to worry about that. The Clippers will take care of business this year and represent the West in the Finals. The battle of the suffering franchises.
Now we have a really interesting matchup. CP3 vs. Kyrie, JJ Reddick vs. JR Smith, Pesky Paul Pierce vs. LeBron (a beautiful rivalry), Blake vs. Love and Deandre Jordan vs. Mozgov.
It’s interesting now that I write it down, because I was ready to make my bet, but here I am, writing myself out of it. Outside of LeBron, the Clippers are better than the Cavs at every position AND don’t rely on isolation ball. Doc will bring a championship to that “other” L.A. team and BLAKE GRIFFIN will win Finals MVP.
Oh what happens to the Thunder in the finals you ask? Well the Cavs swept their way to the finals because the East is terrible so they had time to kill and took a team cruise to the Bahamas. Kevin Love takes one too many trips to the buffet, Kyrie Irving hurts his leg in the conga line, and J.R. Smith decides he loves island life and decides not to come back. Thunder wins easily.
In reality, the Cavs are the only Eastern team that can ruin the Thunder title hopes. Each team has a big three that could cancel each other out. That means the title could be decided by Enes Kantar and Timofey Mozgov? Or how about the Dion Waiters revenge factor? It would be a great series. What better way to end a great season?
After the Thunder wins, Kevin Durant will declare that he loves Oklahoma City and can’t imagine leaving. Breaking the heart of Washington Wizards fans everywhere. Especially my fellow BenchPoints blogger, Mr. Caleb Sarvis. Sorry Caleb.