Way too early NBA finals prediction


Amin Eshaiker | Wikipedia Commons

Fahim Khan

The NBA is back, and with it comes uncertainty. For instance, people are already questioning whether the Los Angeles Lakers are a team full of misfits or a unit ready to compete for a title. Then, there’s the whole Kyrie Irving COVID-19 vaccine situation. If the superstar point guard remains out, one has to question  whether the Brooklyn Nets can win a title without him. Last but certainly not least, there’s the Ben Simmons situation.

With all these questions around some of the best teams in the league, the path to the NBA Championship is wide open. With all that being said, it’s never too early to make some predictions. From everything seen so far this season, the Golden State Warriors and the Miami Heat will come out of their respective conferences and meet each other in the NBA finals.

It’s been said  that defense wins championships. That may not be true because the team with the most offensive firepower is often the team that is favored to win it all, but in order for a team to make it deep into the playoffs, they must be able to stop the other team from scoring.

So far this season, the Heat have allowed the fewest number of points per game: 97 ppg. What is most impressive about that is who they have done it against.

The Heat held the reigning champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, to only 95 points on opening night. Miami held the Nets to 93 points, limiting Nets’ James Harden to just 33% from the field. The Memphis Grizzlies, who at one point this season had the highest offensive rating in the leagues, scored just 103 points against Miami.

The Heat was already considered a defensive juggernaut with players like Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but now it has added intensity with  championship-winning players like P.J. Tucker and Kyle Lowry. It’s early, but in time the Heat’s defensive chemistry will get better as they implement some of its new players into its lineup.

As for the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors have one key stat that has many back on the Golden State bandwagon. They currently average 28.7 assists per game, which is second in the league, led by their two best players: Draymond Green and Stephen Curry.

The Warriors play basketball unselfishly. That may sound like a simple statement, but it’s actually a rare trait in today’s NBA. They move the basketball and turn good shots into great shots. This has been the driving force of their success and has led them to the top of the western conference with a record of 5-1 — tied with the Utah Jazz.

On the flip side, the Warriors currently average 16.5 turnovers and their best player, Stephen Curry, often struggles in the fourth quarter. However, even with their best player struggling and all those turnovers, the Warriors still find ways to win.

This year’s Warriors squad almost has the same feel and look as the 2014-2015 Warriors, who came out of nowhere and won the championship that season.

With all things considered,  what ultimately makes the Heat and the Warriors the favorites to come out of their conferences is their star power.

The Warriors have Stephen Curry, a two-time MVP and three-time NBA champion who is considered by many to be the greatest shooter of all time. Last season, Curry ranked third in the MVP race — and that’s without making the playoffs, which goes to show how good he was last season.  Along with him is Draymond Green, a player who has amazing basketball IQ and can guard almost any position on the floor, allowing Golden State to play many different styles of basketball.

The Warriors have been able to do all of this without the second splash brother, Klay Thompson, who is considered one of the top five shooters to ever play the game by many. Once Thompson returns, his presence will open things up for Curry and everyone around him, making the Warriors a nightmare to guard.

The Heat, on the other hand, has Jimmy Butler, an extremely clutch player who puts his body on the line every time he steps on the floor. Back in the 2020 NBA finals, Butler had a historic series. The do-it-all guard averaged 26.2 points, 9.8 assists and 8.3 rebounds a game.

The Heat added six-time NBA All-Star player and NBA champion Kyle Lowry this summer.

Lowry may be past his prime, but the Heat doesn’t need him to put up 20 points a night because it already has guys who can do that such as Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. Speaking of Herro, the kid has  played much better than last season, averaging 22 points a game off the bench.

Kyle Lowry, however, will use his leadership and championship-winning experience as the starting point guard for this team. The Heat looks like a loaded team with very few flaws. They are ready to win it all this year.

The Warriors and the Heat were once dynasties destroying everyone in their path to glory, but all dynasties must come to an end. Lebron James left Miami for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Durant left the Warriors to join the Nets. Still, adversity never stopped these teams from evolving and developing their players. This evolution will pay off for both franchises this season when they face each other in the NBA finals.