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NBA Champion Preview

Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
October 26, 2015
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NBA Champion Preview

The 2015-2016 NBA Season begins October 27th with 3 games. The Detroit Pistons vs Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls, and New Orleans Pelicans vs the returning champion Golden State Warriors. With that lets take a look at the end of the season with who will win the 2016 NBA Championship.(Odds from Vegas Insider 26 October)#5 Los Angeles Clippers (13/1)


The Clippers finished the regular season tied for the third-best record in the league but again failed to make the Western Conference finals. The semifinals curse remained alive, as they led the Houston Rockets 3-1 but dropped the last three games to lose in seven.What’s different this season? The Clippers were extremely active in the offseason. They acquired Paul Pierce from the Washington Wizards, Josh Smith from the Rockets and Lance Stephenson from the Charlotte Hornets, plus were able to hold on toDeAndre Jordan (barely) and Austin Rivers.How good can they be? With the offseason acquisitions, the Clippers have their best chance yet to get over the hump. Adding veteran small forward Pierce to the lineup and Smith off the bench might give the Clippers the boost they’ve been yearning for. USA Today#4 Oklahoma City Thunder (8/1)


Best Case Scenario:

60-22 If…

Durant stays healthy, Donovan proves to be at least an even trade with Brooks and shoot-first tendencies of Durant, Westbrook, Kanter and Waiters don’t create a ‘my turn, your turn’ offensive flow.

Worst Case Scenario:

48-34 If…

Durant’s foot issues cause him to miss extended time. Donovan can’t figure out a complementary rotation with his bigs and/or wings. Waiters and Kanter refuse to acquiesce to the team’s two mega stars (when they’re healthy) while Westbrook stays stuck in last season’s mega-alpha dog mode. Real GM


#3 Golden State Warriors (5/1)


STRENGTHS: Best backcourt in the league … Perhaps in history … MVP Stephen Curry and All-Star Klay Thompson are borderline unstoppable … With his combination of shooting, dribbling and passing skills, Curry is a nightmare for opponents … Unlimited range … Thompson is not that far behind Curry in terms of shooting and is a significantly better defender … One of the top two-way two guards we’ve seen … Their two main workhorses are the MVP of the Finals (Andre Iguodala) and a borderline All-Star (Draymond Green), which may tell you something about the quality of the roster … They have one of the best young wing players in the NBA inHarrison BarnesAndrew Bogut gives the team a presence in the paint, which sometimes they don’t need since they are incredibly effective with the small ball … Solid bigs with the aforementioned Bogut, talented forward Marreese Speights, veteran Jason Thompson and the up-and-coming Festus Ezeli … Chemistry is fantastic … Very good depth … There’s a plethora of scorers and defensive stoppers … When you play the Warriors, it’s a struggle on both ends of the court … Terrific fast-break team … Hard to keep up with that pace … No drama in the locker room so far with positive leadership from the stars and coach Steve Kerr … They have fun playing unselfish basketball … Terrific home-court advantage at Oracle Arena.WEAKNESSES: Hard to stay hungry when you’ve won big … They basically didn’t have to deal with any adversity last season and that’s not very common in the NBA – especially health-wise … Average rebounding team … Not the most athletic squad around … Hard rotation to handle for Kerr with so much talent on the roster … Potential for bruised egos? … We’re mostly nitpicking: They don’t have major issues/flaws. HoopsHype.#2 San Antonio Spurs (4/1)


The San Antonio Spurs won 55 games last year, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Los Angeles Clippers. But any concerns about the Spurs no longer contending were removed when the team added LaMarcus Aldridge and David West this summer in addition to re-signing Kawhi Leonard to a five-year deal. Now, the Spurs seem set up perfectly for the present and future. Can they hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy this year?What the Spurs’ front office does from year to year is just unfair. Getting Kawhi Leonard locked in for the five-year max before the new salary cap hits makes him one of the biggest bargains in the league, and David West’s contract might be the most team-friendly deal of the last few years. Most importantly, though, the Spurs were able to lure LaMarcus Aldridge away from Portland and persuade Tim Duncan to return for another year. Manu Ginobili is back as well, so he’ll help out Danny Green and Tony Parker in the backcourt again this year. Even Kyle Anderson looked like the best player in Summer League, so there’s no shortage of excellence anywhere on this roster. San Antonio is two players deep absolutely everywhere, which is perfect for keeping the older guys healthy for one more championship run before Duncan retires. It is an even-numbered year, after all. Basketball Insider.Editors Note: (San Antonio will win, every other team is playing for 2nd. Go Spurs Go!)#1 Cleveland Cavaliers (14/5)After injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love proved too daunting to overcome, the Cavs enter this season on a mission. Owner Dan Gilbert has splashed the cash to lock up this impressive core while sprinkling in veteran free agents like Mo Williams to round out to the team’s depth. It’s winning The Finals or bust this year for Cleveland.

Best Case Scenario:

58-24 If….

Blatt places a fairly strong emphasis on the regular season. Love and Irving return to full health with no setbacks while James skips any mid-season sabbaticals. Williams and Dellavedova prove capable of covering Shumpert’s early season absence and while Thompson’s contract situation doesn’t impact the team drastically either on or off the court.

Worst Case Scenario:

50-32 If…

Blatt treats the regular season as a tune up, resting James aggressively in particular. Irving and Love struggle to find their form upon return from injury and Thompson’s spot in the rotation can’t be adequately filled by a combo of Varejao, James Jones and Sasha Kaun. Real GM.

These are the Vegas odds and a Preview of the top 5 teams heading into the season. Who are you watching and why are they going to win?

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