Entering the 2016-17 NBA season, it seemed predestined that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors would meet in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season. Sure the Boston Celtics finished ahead of the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference and Stephen Curry was nothing more than ordinary until the second half of the season but we all still knew the Finals trilogy was not in any jeopardy.
The question is, with all the movement in NBA Free Agency can we assume we are NOT getting GSW vs Cleveland part IV?
Purposing this question to the staff here at WinColumn, Liam Horrobin immediately responded with the following:
Our resident NBA guru Kail Schofield had the following response:
Injuries can derail a run so easily; it is amazing that 1 team has made the finals 3 years in a row, let alone 2 teams. The Cavaliers still have a much easier path to the playoffs and ultimately the Finals. The Warriors are now in a that much more loaded West. I am leaning towards a NO. Even the great Lakers and Celtic teams of the 80s couldn’t get that type of consistency. The Lakers went 3 times in a row (x2) and the Celtics did it one time.
The East is a 3 team race… Cle/Bos/Tor and everyone falls in line behind. The West, another story. While I think a healthy Warriors team can still take it, there are a lot of teams OKC/MIN/NOP that could beat any team on any night because of the talent but over a series, GSW still has the most complete team…
Quick East Breakdown
BREAKING: CJ Miles changing name to “CJ Kilometres” after being traded to the Raptors
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The Hawks lost Tim Hardaway Jr. and Paul Millsap to free agency and will be trying Miles Plumlee at the 5 this year after the failed homecoming with Dwight Howard. Meanwhile, Chicago is going back to the drawing board entirely after dealing Jimmy Butler and waiving Rajon Rondo. Seems there’s only one team in the Eastern Conference that, if healthy, truly moved the needle forward this summer:
Quick West Breakdown
The Warriors (who managed to keep their core group together while adding viable parts in Omri Casspi and Nick Young) saw the Houston Rockets add Chris Paul. Paul and James Harden, if they can co-exist, will make the Rockets a definite contender for regular season champion but ask the Celtics how much that’s worth!
By now we have all learned to never doubt the San Antonio Spurs and always doubt the Sacramento Kings. If there is a season that the previous logic is defied we are entering it commencing October 17th. The health of Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, the retirement of Manu Ginobili and the free agent loss of Jonathon Simmons are legitimate concerns in San Antonio. Meanwhile the Kings have added Vince Carter, George Hill and Zach Randolph in an attempt to legitimize themselves.
Speaking of legitimizing themselves, the Minnesota Timberwolves are the non-playoff team that won the off-season, acquiring Butler, Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. The one trick pony Oklahoma City Thunder now have a dynamic duo in Russell Westbrook and PG-13 while the New Orleans duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins will have their first training camp together. The Denver Nuggets finally landed a big fish in free agent Millsap, while Utah lost their big fish in Hayward but will try to stay in the playoff hunt with new point guard Ricky Rubio.
What Do You Think?
With everything that has happened in the first few weeks of free agency (most major moves are done already) do you believe the NBA Finals for the upcoming season are as predetermined as they were last season with mostly everyone expecting the GSW/Cleveland trilogy? I sure hope so.
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