2014 NBA Playoff Roundtable – Picking the Champs!

Fourteen have fallen by the wayside. Sixteen have survived. In two weeks, about half of those remaining teams will see their respective runs end. By the time the rains consume the skies again in late May, each conference will have its champion. Finally, by mid-June, a new King of the basketball mountain will emerge.

Of course, the Miami Heat might just win it all again, and it’ll be the same King.


As exciting and highlight-filled the regular season has been, this is the part of the NBA calendar that every person – player, coach, fan, ballboy, the guy who sells hotdogs outside the bleachers – really waits for. This is when one just throws percentages out the window. This is when tanking is just fiction. This is when fouls are harder, misses clang a little louder, and made shots feel much sweeter.

This is when only one thing really matters – winning that NBA Championship.

The top four seeds in the NBA Playoffs -- Indiana, Miami, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City.

Together with some really intense NBA fans, the Rappler sports crew now gives you its preview of what should go down in history as one of the tightest and most memorable Playoffs ever.

Here are the folks who have taken time to give their two cents:

Levi Verora (LV) - currently writing for Rappler Sports; has recently been spotted with some hot girls at the just-concluded 2014 Asian Volleyball Club Championships for Men here in Manila.

Rolly Mendoza (RM) - currently writing for HoopNut.com; has a love-hate relationship with Chris Bosh and thinks Chalmers has been more Wario than Super Mario this season.

Jay Santiago (JS) - the everyman who follows the NBA closer than he’d care to admit; recently won the 2013-2014 Hoop Nut Fantasy NBA League (and, consequently, adidas gift checks); Spurs superfan to the core.

Enzo Flojo (EF) - founder of HoopNut.com and currently writing for Rappler Sports; has recently been spotted overeating at home in lieu of an out-of-town trip for Holy Week; a solid supporter of the anybody-but-Miami movement about to sweep the globe.

In Part Three of this Playoff Preview series, we will pick who comes out of either conference, and who eventually emerges as 2014 NBA Champions.

Who will win the East?
LV: The Pacers and Heat will be in a slugfest again. Both are determined, but the Heat - no matter how worn out they are from three straight finals appearances - want to solidify their history. And it will depend on how vintage Dwyane Wade delivers.

RM: The Heat will win the East because Chris Bosh fancies himself as a three-point shooter, and he will have the last laugh by actually making tough perimeter shots. Wade and James will finally provide us with highlights in transition after sporadically seeing those due to Wade's injuries.

JS: The Miami Heat are aiming for legacy, and there’s nothing more legendary than joining the short list of teams to accomplish a three-peat. They will go through the eye of the needle in Brooklyn and Indiana, but the Big 3 will come through as East Champions as always – and the NBA will celebrate it.

EF: Hate to say it, but the Nets won’t win four of seven against a complete Miami roster, and the Pacers might not even make it past the second round. Miami turns on the switch and wins the East easier-than-projected fashion.

Who will win the West?
LV: I'm picking the Spurs to win it all in the West because they are the Spurs. They've weathered the sting of last year's finals loss right from the start of this season. Several players had to overcome injuries and yet the Spurs still finished wih the best overall record. Sorry, KD.

RM: The Thunder will win the West because Kevin Durant will make sure that Russell Westbrook does not stop him by taking tough pull-up jumpers in transition. KD will demand the ball at half court so he can bring up the ball slowly, then take dagger threes at the top of the key all day.

JS: This was the 7th year San Antonio was tagged too old to be relevant in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. The Spurs are meaner and grumpier than ever, and they will cut down any opposition, be it Houston or OKC, with their ridiculous offensive efficiency and team defense.

EF: San Antonio is on a mission, and I don’t think even MVP-to-be Kevin Durant can stop their rampage. Spurs-OKC is going to be a helluva fun thing to watch, but I have to give this one to SAS, who will just be too hungry. No way the Spurs are folding in the West.

Who will win the whole thing?
LV: I'm calling it Spurs over either the Pacers or the Heat in the championship.

RM: Heat in 6 over OKC because LBJ will take over the series and outplay KD. We will witness a scenario where the best player lost the regular season MVP, but made up for that by winning Finals MVP versus the other guy (see MJ vs. Malone, Barkley).

JS: San Antonio vs. Miami is a classic cowboy story pitting the old timer on a comeback trail against the cocky sheriff who beat him once before. The Heat look more vulnerable than ever before, and the Spurs will capitalize by staying true to the Spurs formula of ball movement and help defense and complete its quest for revenge. San Antonio beats Miami in 6!

EF: I would love for any team to trounce the Heat in any round of the postseason, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I always hate being objective because it means I have to pick the best team out there and, come June, the best team, once again, is going to be Miami. Can I have my barf bag now?

In Parts One and Two, we took a look at the Eastern Conference and Western Conference match-ups.

Next Post »
0 Comment