Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jay's NBA Finals Preview

If you guys can remember back to November, I said this (edited for space):

"2 Good Teams

Miami Heat
I don't care - not even a little bit - about the collapse in the playoffs/finals. If anything, that will help the Heat this season.. bear with me. Now, we have definitive evidence that this team belongs to Dwyane Wade. Lebron James is the best basketball player on the planet, yes, but this is Wade's team when they need a leader. There goes their biggest problem from last season. Prepare for domination, as long as Lebron has been reading everyone's tweets over the summer and accepts his role. 
With the size down low they can match up with any team in the NBA and overpower them. It's all on Lebron (sort of, because what I mean by this is that it's actually all on DWade). 

Oklahoma City Thunder
If I'm right, then the Heat will meet the Thunder in the NBA Finals. The Thunder's core is in a prime spot to overthrow Kobe, Dirk, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, and the rest of the Western Division. Despite a pretty lackluster draft, the Thunder still have a phenomenal starting 5: Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha/James Harden, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, and Kendrick Perkins. Top to bottom, they can guard any team in the NBA (except Dirk) and outscore any team (except the re-invigorated Heat). 

NBA Finals Prediction: Heat over Thunder, 5 Games"

And really, I only got like one thing wrong:

  • LeBron was far and away the best player on the Heat. Dwyane Wade was maybe even the third most valuable player. Oops.
  • The Heat's (lack of) size was one of their major flaws. Oops. 
  • The Thunder swept Dirk's Mavericks. Oops.
But, I did get that LeBron was going to be the most influential player on the Heat's success and that OKC couldn't guard Dirk all that well (25-31-17-34 points per game, 41.8 JPoint) and that these teams would meet each other in the Finals. Ergo I think you can lock down Miami winning in five. 

Maybe don't quite lock that down. Because I think that enough people want the Thunder to win (OKC could wear white jerseys and Miami could wear black jerseys every single game and nobody would care. Create kind of a hero-villain atmosphere, how do you feel about that David Stern?) and they really feed off support. Couple that with the fact that it seems that LeBron can't handle being unloved and the crowds/America could actually be a pretty huge factor.

Normally I'd break down the backcourt comparisons (advantage Thunder), small forward comparisons (advantage Heat), and frontcout comparisons (advantage Miami), team chemistry comparisons (advantage Thunder). But I just did that in one sentence so let's just throw it all out the window because I have absolutely no clue how the next week or two are going to play out. 

Part of me hopes that Oklahoma City wins so LeBron doesn't get a ring and the glimmer of hope in Cleveland fans' eyes stays alive that they can win a title before LeBron. Kevin Durant goes about everything perfectly - his game, his podium game, his fashion game - and Westbrook is (for me) the most intriguing player in the NBA (more on that in another post, maybe). Plus they have Derek Fisher, which has to count for at least one late-game-three-pointer-dagger. 

But part of me wants LeBron to shine on the game's biggest stage, win the first of many rings, and silence the haters. He's so gifted physically. He's so un-gifted emotionally and personality-ly. He needs to hire someone (I'm available) as a PR rep. Because I'm absolutely sure that he doesn't currently have one. It's not possible. We're getting off track. This is going to be a telling series for LeBron. If he can shoulder the load (but still have Bosh and Wade) then he'll probably win and go down a path of championship-winning. If he can't win with this team, he will probably never win one. And then the whole Cleveland thing may just come true. Dan Gilbert will be a prophet. And LeBron's hair will continue to retreat. 

But fuck it, I'm sticking with my Heat in 5 games prediction that I made in November (that's seven months ago). 

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