The Golden State Warriors have dominated the NBA since the 2014-2015 season, winning the NBA Championship in 2015, going 73-9 the next year, and dominating the league en route to destroying the playoffs this past season. The Warriors were great before 2017, but the acquisition of Kevin Durant made them virtually unstoppable. This is old news.Teams have struck gold in the mine of free agents and traceable stars. The Boston Celtics acquired Gordon Hayward, The Rockets snagged Chris Paul via a trade, and the Thunder landed Paul George for the equivalent of a McDonald’s hamburger. Now, these teams, as well as others, made their team immediate contenders, so here are the three teams that have the best chance to win the NBA Finals and defeat the all-mighty Golden State Warriors.
- Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics had the best offseason potential out of every NBA team, with assets such as the 1st overall pick (which they tradedNow, down for the 3rd with the Philadelphia 76ers), Isaiah Thomas, and 30 Million dollars in cap space. This offseason, they drafted Jayson Tatum, a small forward from Duke University, in the NBA Draft. Then they signed Gordon Hayward to a max contract from the Utah Jazz. This led them to free up some cap space, in which they traded Avery Bradley to the Pistons for Marcus Morris, a good rebounding Power Forward. Oh, and don’t forget the signing of Aaron Baynes, nicknamed Sour Cream, a good backup center for Al Horford. Now, the Golden State Warriors are the clear frontrunners to win the NBA Championship, and they probably will win. But, the Celtics will win the ECF (Eastern Conference Finals) next year, and I do believe they might contend and win one or two games against Golden State in the Finals. Now, if the Eastern Conference, I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will not keep up with the Celtics in the series, but the series will go to six or seven games. Watch out for Boston.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP: Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward, Jae Crowder, Marcus Morris, Al Horford (6th Man: Jayson Tatum)
2. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have not made any key offseason additions. They still have Kawhi Leonard and re-signed Patty Mills and Jonathan Simmons. I would love to say that they added a superstar, but no, Coach Pop believes in his team, and why shouldn’t he? They made the WCF this past year, and if Kawhi didn’t get injured, they probably would’ve beaten Golden State. Now, with the newfound experience of Jonathan Simmons and Patty Mills, they have a shot to win the NBA Finals. Oh, and don’t forget about Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge. They are two great big men who can thrash with the GSW bigs.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP: Tony Parker, Jonathan Simmons, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol (6th Man: Manu Ginobili)
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
Over the past three years, the NBA Finals have consisted of the Warriors vs the Cavaliers. 2015 crowned the Dubs, 2016 was 3-1, and 2017 was KD. Now, the problem with the Cavs is that their lineup hasn’t changed. They still have JR, Kyrie, Lebron, Korver, Jefferson, etc. Their lineup is good, but with no good improvements, they cannot compete with Boston. It will be close, but with the new addition of Gordon Hayward, they finally have the pieces to beat the 3-time finalists and 1-time champion of the last three years. Unfortunately, the only way they will now be able to beat the Celtics is if they land Carmelo Anthony, who has recently said that he is strongly leaning toward the Houston Rockets.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP: Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson
Honorable Mentions: Thunder (4), Rockets (5), Timberwolves (6),
In total, the Warriors are the clear favorites, but the Celtics, Spurs, and Cavaliers have good chances. A team that will absolutely be great in the next couple of years are the Timberwolves; they have the pieces to dismantle the Warriors soon, but now, their young stars need a couple more years to mesh with Jimmy Butler in Minnesota.Watch out for these teams next year!