Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard this before. Warriors-Cavs part four is coming… Or is it? With the Cavaliers off season turmoil and the beefed up West, is a fourth straight finals with between these two teams still going to happen? Here’s a list of the top five teams besides the Warriors and Cavs, that have legit shots at making the finals.
5. The Washington Wizards
The Wizards? Yes the Wizards. With a dynamic duo of guards and a solid supporting cast, with a weak Eastern Conference, Washington just might end up in the finals. Wall (23.1ppg, 10.7 apg, 4.2 rpg) has established himself as a primer guard in the league. With front court help from co-star Bradley Beal (23.1ppg, 3.5apg,3.1 rpg) the Wizards should have no problem putting up points. A supporting cast and bench that consists of: Morris (14ppg, 6.5rpg), Porter Jr.(13.4ppg, 6.4rpg) and Gortat (10.8ppg, 10.4rpg). The Wizards might be a piece short of a dynasty but as it stands now they have a legitimate shot at the NBA finals.
4. The Oklahoma City Thunder
Having the current MVP on any team is nice. Adding a top 10 SF in Paul George is even better. A year after losing Kevin Durant to the Warriors the Thunder seem to be healing quite nicely with the PG trade. Westbrook (31.6ppg, 10.7rpg, 10.4apg) and George (23.7ppg, 6.6rpg, 3.3apg)qill have to do the majority of the heavy lifting. But big men Kanter (14.3ppg, 6.7rpg) and Adams (11.3ppg, 7.7rpg) will contribute nicely as well. All-NBA Defensive 2nd teamer Roberson (6.6ppg, 5.1rpg) will help out the back court. The Thunder also have five players: Grant, Lauvergne, Morrow, Abrines, and McDermount all averaging over five points per game. The road to the finals will be very hard for the Thunder, but not totally impossible.
3. The San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs come in at our list at number three. Kawhi’s early exit in the WCF could have influenced the outcome of the series to some extent but lets be honest, maybe only a game or two. Coming into next season the Spurs are still the Spurs. A solid group of player with the NBA’s best head coach. MVP finalist Leonard (25.5ppg, 5.8rpg, 35apg) has already proven he can lead this team. Throw in All Star snub Aldridge (17.3ppg, 7.3rpg), future Hall of Famer Gasol (12.4ppg, 7.8rpg), and free agent acquisition Gay (18.7ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.8apg), and the Spurs have a solid big three. With support from veterans Parker (10.1ppg, 4.5apg), Ginobili (7.5ppg), Mills (9.5ppg), and Lee (7.3ppg) the Spurs should have no problem making a deep playoff run. Losing Dedmon, and Simmons shouldn’t hurt this team too much. Don’t be surprised if the Spurs go for their sixth championship this year.
2. The Houston Rockets
Adding Chris Paul to pair with MVP runner-up James Harden is a scary thought to any non Rockets fan. With a good supporting cast and sixth man of the year Eric Gordon, Houston just might have what it takes to take the Western Conference. Harden (29.1ppg, 8.1rpg, 11.2apg), and Paul (18.1ppg, 5rpg, 9.2apg) may make the NBA’s best back court. Gordon (16.2ppg) will help add depth. With support from Anderson (13.6ppg ,4.6rpg), rebounding machine Capela (12.6ppg, 8.1rpg), and veteran Ariza (11.7ppg, 5.7rpg), Nene and Harrell also average 9.1ppg respectively. With the rumors of the Rockets being able to add Carmelo Anthony, this team may just have what it takes to over throw the Warriors.
1. The Boston Celtics
With Irving’s uncertainty and the Cavs on the brink. Things are looking good for the reigning #1 seed trying to reach the Finals for the first time since 2010. With a good all around team and free agent signing Gordon Hayward, the Celtics a=can’t wait for the season to begin. Thomas (28.9ppg, 5.9apg) has made it clear he can lead the team, free agent signing Hayward (21.9ppg, 5.4apg, 3.5apg) will help take the scoring burden off the All Star point guard. Big men Horford (14ppg, 6.8rpg, 5apg), Morris (14ppg, 4.6rpg), and Baynes (4.9ppg, 4.4rpg) will try to help the Celtics problems down low. Support from Crowder (13.9ppg, 5.8rpg), Smart (10.6ppg, 3.9rpg) and youngsters Brown (6.6ppg) and rookie Tatum as well as more minutes for Rozier, the Celtics have a solid squad, with a good supporting cast that could very well vault them through the Eastern Conference and back into the NBA Finals.