Eastern Conference Championship
Cavaliers — Lebron, Kyrie, and Kevin Love combine to make a powerful team, enough to break some of the most invulnerable defenses. The Cavs have a solid starting lineup with quality subs, which should be enough to get quality playoff seeding. Coming off a finals loss and some injuries, the Cavs will be all set for this season.
Heat — The Miami big three has been rebuilt, but it now consists of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and, out of Duke University, Justise Winslow. Winslow has huge NBA potential, and not many players can say they were a starter on a NCAA championship-winning team. He could possibly be the guy to turn the Heat back into a title contender.
Western Conference Championship
Thunder — Combining the teamwork of triple-double king, Russell Westbrook, and MVP Kevin Durant with Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter, this team should dominate the West. On the bench the Thunder have Dion Waiters and Steven Adams, who will make OKC a well-rounded team. The only question: Can KD play like an MVP after his leg injury last year? If so, they will be the team to beat in the West.
Clippers — A favorite for many fans, the Clippers added another great player to an already great squad. Paul Pierce. The veteran forward moved from the Celts, to the Nets, to DC, and now to the Clippers. Alongside him, they have the beast power forward, Blake Griffin. CP3 and J.J. Redick will also be key for the Clippers this year.
Thunder – The Thunder have a squad who have played together for a while, have good chemistry, and have been to an NBA Finals before. The team in which the Thunder have assembled is a dream for any coach, but can NBA newbie, Billy Donovan, be able to push the team towards a finals? My answer is a definite “yes.” After coaching Florida to 4 Final Fours and 2 National Titles, Donovan will be up for any challenge. Although adjusting to the NBA might be difficult, plenty of college coaches have done exceptionally well in the past. The Thunder is a threat, and the Heat may be in trouble if they make it to the Finals.
Heat — The Heat’s squad has a lot talent, but it’s young and may not be ready for the big stage. Only Bosh and Wade have played in a playoff game, while Goran Dragic and Luol Deng have only played on the team for a year. Winslow is also brand-new to the league, and his inexperience could harm Miami’s title aspirations. Establishing chemistry and teamwork early will be key for winning important games. Overall, the Heat can be a great team with and possess great potential, but they need to be able to beat the Thunder. They could probably take at least one game, but four? That’s a big request for a young team.
The Oklahoma City Thunder