It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the Golden State Warriors will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third straight time in the NBA Finals, a feat which remarkably has never happened. But San Antonio and either Boston or Washington undoubtedly will have a bone to pick with you on the foregone-edness of that conclusion.
In this edition of DBB on 3 we asked our writers to give their picks on the winner of the Western Conference FInals and just what would have to happen for those picks to not happen. Check it out.
1. San Antonio vs Golden State: Who wins and in how many games?
Ben Gulker: Warriors in 6.
Jacob Kuyvenhoven: Warriors in 5.
Justin Lambregtse: I'm probably in the minority with this one, but Spurs in 6. I think the Warriors have gotten too cocky and a team like the Spurs are the perfect team to take advantage of that.
Ryan Pravato: Warriors in 6. There will be 2 or three down to the wire games in the series, though the Warriors are too deep for the Spurs. However, I also thought the Rockets would beat the Spurs in 6.
Kenneth Wallace: Golden State in 6. I admire the Spurs so much, and beating the Rockets without Leonard was incredible. But I think the Warriors are simply too good.
Steve Hinson: The Warriors about as unbeatable as a team can get right now. I'd love to be contrarian and find a reason to pick the Spurs, but I think them handing the Warriors their first loss of the postseason is about as much as I can talk myself into. Warriors in five.
Kevin Sawyer: Golden State in six. It's one thing to solve an offense. It's another to solve having three of the twenty best players in the league on a team.
2. What do you predict could be one of the story lines of the series?
Ben Gulker: I think Charles Barkley will continue to bemoan how boring these Playoffs have been, and ultimately, he will be right. Kawhi Leonard can't guard Durant, Thompson, and Curry. There's just too much firepower there.
Jacob Kuyvenhoven: The biggest story for me is how much San Antonio will go with Kawhi at the 4 and LaMarcus at the 5. They did it practically never in the regular season and only in the last two games of the Houston series, but I think it's going to be the big key to hanging with and potentially beating the Warriors.
Justin Lambregtse: Patty Mills doing an admirable job matching Steph Curry and earning himself a huge payday in the offseason.
Ryan Pravato: Kawhi Leonard as the actual MVP.. or.. Draymond Green and whatever he does to make the headlines. Popovich. JaVale McGee?
Kenneth Wallace: Assuming that the Warriors win, I think the story line will be that that Durant is too hard for even Leonard to handle.
Steve Hinson: Where do the Spurs go from here? How do they add enough talent around Kawhi Leonard that they can actually go toe-to-toe with the Warriors?
Kevin Sawyer: Most of the San Antonio Spurs team dying in a fire and Popovich taking a starting lineup of Bryn Forbes, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tim Tebow and a sassy talking giraffe to the championship.
3. What would it take for the team you didn't pick to get to the Finals over the team you did pick?
Ben Gulker: Catastrophic implosion from Golden State... which has happened before.
Jacob Kuyvenhoven: The aforementioned small lineup playing a lot. Golden State's fourth-quarter offense needs to struggle against another team besides just the Cavs. Kawhi shakes off whatever nagging injuries he has and scores 40 a game because the Spurs have no other way to score efficiently.
Justin Lambregtse: If the Warriors shoot out of their minds then I don't see much the Spurs could do. I trust Pop to create a game plan that will make things tough on the Warriors and prevent that.
Ryan Pravato: If Kevin Durant went down with another injury then the Spurs would be right in it.
Kenneth Wallace: For Spurs to win, Leonard has to play fantastic (is he healthy enough to do that?), Aldridge has to step up like he did in game 6 versus Houston, and guys like Danny Green and Pau Gasol have to play really well. Gasol could be a real difference maker in the middle.
Steve Hinson: It'll have to come from the bench. Patrick McCaw, Ian Clark, and David West actually have zero or negative net ratings for the playoffs so far. The Spurs biggest chance might be for their starters to somehow play Golden State to a draw and the bench giving them the edge.
Kevin Sawyer: Said giraffe had better have a damn good catch phrase.
There you have it, 6 out of 7 see Golden State getting back to the FInals. I’m pretty much on that train too, especially if Kawhi has any more trouble with his ankle.
What do you all think? Any chance in hell of Pop and Co pulling this one out? Let us know in the comments below and look out for the Eastern Conference version coming after Monday’s Boston-Washington showdown.