Jesus can it be opening night already?! Why are we submitted to this annual torture of having no basketball to watch every year? It just isn’t fair when you love something so much, and then it is taken from you.
Ah well, we soldier on, steadfast in the knowledge that soon our eyes will feast once again on the awesome spectacle that is the NBA and I will have to stop my moaning, but until that day is upon us let me try and keep you entertained.
The season is a grueling, arduous journey for every player, team and fan. Expectations are formed prior to its beginning with many franchises hoping to go all the way. That’s why they exist; to win, otherwise what’s the point?
Every team is aiming for one thing and one thing only; that is the Larry O’Brien Trophy and the banner and jewelry that comes with it. To get there you have to battle past every team in the league with the culmination being the NBA Finals.
This is where the best basketball in the world is played. The two best teams in the league with the best players, playing their absolute hardest with everything on the line. A huge proportion of the NBA’s most famous moments have occurred in these clashes.
Since the NBA Finals are the best basketball we get to enjoy every year, who do we want to represent our sport in them? Which teams would provide the most highlights, create the best stories and play the best basketball?
Here are my top four match ups that would create the most drama for the 2017/18 NBA Season.
4. Washington Wizards vs. New Orleans Pelicans
(Kentucky Wildcats NBA Finals)
I know what you’re thinking; “Why are considering a mid table Eastern Conference team and a Western Conference team that didn’t even make the Playoffs?”
That’s exactly my point.
We’ve seen LeBron James reach the Finals from the East for the last 7 seasons. In those matchups, he’s played San Antonio twice and Golden State thrice. Although rematches are always fun, seeing someone else is a breath of fresh air.
Washington has a great backcourt duo of Bradley Beal and John Wall, both All-Star caliber players. They have good role players like Otter Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat. If they could somehow get to the Finals then it would allow some new stars to prove that they are worthy of the Hall of Fame.
John Wall played for Kentucky, and on the other side, three players were there: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo.
New Orleans could either go really well or really badly. Never, in the history of the NBA have the best center and the best power forward been on the same team. DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis are easily the most formidable big men in the league and no other pairing can compare with them on the inside.
If they can both dominate the paint, scoring easy and efficient points whilst simultaneously defending their rim and swatting shots away then New Orleans could be unstoppable. This is a big ‘if’ though as Cousins can easily lose his temper which can cause chemistry issues.
However, if the two former Kentucky Wildcats can work together, then who knows what they can achieve.
3. Houston Rockets vs. Boston Celtics
Out of all the teams that were considered title contenders none have made bigger steps forward than Boston and Houston. Boston has just acquired Kyrie IrvingKyrie Irving from the Cavs which then forms a potent trio of him, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford and Houston traded for Chris Paul, meaning the Rockets have a backcourt to rival that of Golden State’s.
Both have made significant moves at the guard position and both have the potential to either make it to the Finals or massively fail expectations. Kyrie Irving is a proven scorer, able to get points against anyone defending him, but can he lead a team throughout a season? Can he make his teammates better when he’s on the court?
The Cavaliers were 4-23 when LeBron didn’t play over the last 3 seasons and Irving was asked to be the leader in the meanwhile. He has the ability to go off on some nights which then means his other teammates don’t matter. But through a long year he will need to show that he is more than an offensive weapon and a true point guard that can score and lead his team to victory.
In Houston, they now have two extremely ball dominant guards who are much less effective without the rock in their hands? Will they get the chemistry right and learn to play with one another? In the late stages of a close game, who is the guy you go to? Who makes the calls?
All the questions will be answered within the coming 9-10 months and as I’ve mentioned above, a bit of fresh blood would be intriguing to see in next year’s Finals
2. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. San Antonio Spurs
I know that in the last two matchups I mentioned I went on about how seeing some new faces in the Finals might be nice for a change, but us NBA fans want the Finals to be the best it can be, and that means having the best teams.
Even with Kyrie going to Boston many people believe that they cannot get past Cleveland in a 7 game series. The Cavs did get Isaiah Thomas who was 3rd in the league in scoring last season along with Jae Crowder who is a solid role player, and the Cavs still have LeBron James.
In the West, there are only two serious contenders as well and that’s San Antonio and Golden State. Don’t forget that even though the Spurs were swept by the Warriors in the Conference Finals San Antonio was dismantling Golden State in game 1 until Kawhi went down. Who knows what would have happened had Kawhi stayed healthy?
Gregg Popovich is a master of making adjustments to be better prepared for the next matchup. After losing 4-3 to the Heat in 2013, the Spurs beat the Heat by a record margin in the next year, claiming their 5th title of the Popovich era in the meanwhile.
Whenever LeBron faces Popovich it’s always the same; the master athlete vs the master strategist. The matchups are always incredible as two of the greatest minds basketball has ever witnessed clash. They’ve already met in the Finals 3 times and a 4th would certainly satiate our curiosity.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
This was always going to be number 1.
It’s been the matchup for the last 3 seasons and yet again it is what we all want in the end. This matchup would mean that 3 of the top 4 players in the NBA would featured and that the actual two best teams from their respective conferences would face each other.
People may say that it would be boring to see the same old match up again and again, but how much would you pay to watch Magic’s Lakers vs Bird’s Celtics or Jordan’s Bulls vs The Bad boy Pistons? If the answer isn’t a tonne then there’s something wrong with you.
These were some of the best matchups in NBA history and any fan of the game would jump at the opportunity for another series. Cleveland and Golden State are the two best teams the NBA has to offer, so it’s only right that they are the matchup we all want to see.