First off by no means am I a Fortune Teller but I focus enough on the NBA where I just might be correct. So judging so far in this NBA Season it’s clear Milwaukee is focused on breezing through the regular season
to prove they aren’t just a regular season team. Mike Budenholzer with all due respect anchored a 60 win Hawks team behind Teague,Korver,Carroll,Millsap, and Horford but got smoked in the Eastern Conference Finals to LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers 2015 in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bucks are close to breaking a record for fastest team to clink a playoff berth and Khris Middleton is playing up to the $178 million Milwaukee awarded him with last summer. He is practically at 50/40/90 and has been able to carry the Bucks without Giannis a couple games this season, with all that said I am not sold on the Bucks winning a Title this season. I got my money on the Boston Celtics getting out of the Eastern Conference.
I always measure a team based off who is the Head Coach and who are the main stars on the team, Mike Budenholzer is not an elite coach and I don’t think he can out coach Brad Stevens in a playoff series. All year we have heard about the Celtics lack of size in the paint, they were linked to Myles Turner and Andre Drummond at the trade deadline but pretty much stood pat. Jayson Tatum who I’ve been watching since he college has ascended into an All-Star and he will be a perennial one over the next 9-10 years at the very least barring injury. Kemba Walker left Charlotte because he wanted to play with Jayson Tatum, they no longer look like disgruntled team which was Kyrie Irving created last season with his free-agency being brought up every day. Every team needs a Marcus Smart, a player who puts stats aside and does a bit of everything from defense to playmaking,rebounding, and going after loose balls. Gordon Hayward looks settled, his name was brought up as well at the deadline but Danny Ainge let it be known they have no plans of moving him.
The Boston Celtics’ bench is very young but in the Isaiah Thomas’ era I saw Brad Stevens carry that team to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavaliers, was Isaiah Thomas ever as good as Jayson Tatum is right now? No way and yes I am aware Isaiah was averaging close to 30 but Boston has 4 go to scoring options in Brown,Tatum,Walker, and Hayward. I didn’t include Marcus Smart since he is more of a catch and shoot guard and not really one of Boston’s primary ball handlers. Again I trust Brad’s offense and defense over Spoelstra,Brown,McMillan, and Budenholzer’s. That is no disrespect to any of the coaches I mentioned but need I mention Brad’s Master Piece 2018 when he almost knocked off LeBron James in the Eastern Conference Finals without Kyrie Irving? If Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier hadn’t forgot the ball is supposed to be aimed at the rim who knows what would’ve happened in the Finals against Golden State.
So Boston will come out of the East, now the West? Lots of LeBron James’s critics such as Rob Parker and Skip Bayless would love to see him get eliminated by Kawhi Leonard in the Western Conference Finals but will the Clippers even make it to the Conference Finals? From the rumors of the Franchise using favoritism with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and that rubbing off wrong on certain players in the Locker Room from last season to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George not playing much games together I think they will be eliminated in the second round possibly even the first. I’ve seen Doc Rivers blow 2 3-1 leads in the Playoffs and this experiment of trying to form Super Teams can sometimes backfire. It could be Kawhi Leonard not having the same type of chemistry he did with players on the Raptors last season, so much plays into it and I don’t think they will win it all. So with the Clippers out of the way no other team really convinces me they could beat the Lakers in a 7 Game Series.
Now you must think I am a LeBron Stan right? I know the man is 35 years old and I know haters want to signal at him failing to get the Lakers back in the Playoffs even after missing 17 games and having the opportunity to still get the Lakers in. The fact that he game back so quick from that groin injury was flat out amazing in my opinion, let’s not forget Rondo and Kuzma were also dealing with injuries but I won’t use excuses if you want to use that along with the 2011 disaster for your LeBron/Jordan debates go right ahead, life is all about winning and failing and ups and downs. The Lakers have been at the Top of the Conference all season pretty much, LeBron James has not won a Title since 2016 and he has developed a Rep for sagging off on defense in order to conserve energy offensively. LeBron ranks 9th All-Time in minutes played and for the first time since practically his Rookie Season he is playing the Point-Guard position. He is leading the league in the assists and has paced himself wonderfully so far.
My prediction is the Lakers will strive to clinch a Playoff Berth and maybe slow down a bit as the Season ends, maybe use Poppovich’s strategy of resting his Stars to have fresh legs for the playoffs. If LeBron is fresh and Davis is healthy the Lakers can go all the way, yes I understand there are still question marks around Kyle Kuzma and if he could step up in the Playoffs because the kid has never seen the Playoffs which will make it a bit more tougher to expect him producing at a high level in the playoffs. The Lakers never acquired Darren Collison who opted to remain retired, he would have been a much better shooter than Rajon Rondo off LeBron James’s kickouts but it LeBron James says the Lakers have enough for a Championship I believe in him. LeBron has took Tyronn Lue,Mike Brown,Erik Spoelstra, and David Blatt on rides where LeBron James took control of the team. On to Anthony Davis who finally got an opportunity to play with a true Superstar in DeMarcus Cousins but DeMarcus suffered a injury and the experiment was cut short.
LeBron James is not DeMarcus Cousins, DeMarcus Cousins was not coachable in Sacramento and never carried the Kings to the Playoffs, he ran Goerge Karl out of town and the one Coach who could’ve maybe extended his career in Sacramento Michael Malone was fired. Anthony Davis has all the accolades,All-Star Selections,All-NBA Selections, even an All-Star Game MVP but he doesn’t have a Championship. Sure he could’ve opted to sign a max extension with the Pelicans and paired up with Zion Williamson which would have been a Duo which could win a couple titles but it would’ve took Anthony Davis several years to have a shot at a title with Zion Williamson. Zion Williamson has took the NBA by storm, shooting 57 Percent from the field averaging 22 ppg with 7 rpg and has took control of the Pelicans’ offense. LeBron James is a finished product, he may be 35 years old but for the first time this season there was no friction between LeBron James and Frank Vogel.
Frank Vogel’s short tenure in Orlando was weird, I saw Frank anchor the Pacers for years. He coached a tough rugged team in the Pacers with a underdog mentality with George,Stephenson,Hibbert,and West which almost beat the Miami Heat 5-6 years ago. Frank Vogel has never had a player that caliber of LeBron James, sorry Paul George you are very skilled but also very injury prone and a inconsistent shooter in the playoffs. Back to Anthony Davis he has become a bit underrated per say, most popular players in the NBA play on the wings like LeBron,Curry,Durant,Harden,Kyrie,Westbrook and some up and coming Superstars like Doncic,Morant, and Trae as well. When it comes to bigs Anthony Davis is the first name that comes to mind when we talk about Elite, Joel Embiid,Nikola Jokic, and Karl Anthony-Towns follow suite behind Anthony Davis but none are better. Anthony Davis is the most complete big man in the game, he can pass out of the post,he can guard 1-5, he can switch onto guards up top, he can create his own offense off the post or face-up. What Nikola Jokic does better than Anthony Davis LeBron James can compensate for which is play-making.
If you have been paying attention throughout this Season Anthony Davis let it be known Rob Pelinka kept in touch with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis on what moves to make in Free-Agency. If you main 2 stars are content and you get them what they need to win a Championship they should be able to get the job done. These days in the NBA player involvement in roster decisions is a new thing, LeBron James has set the wave for taking control of your Career and being on the same page with the Organization and Front Office. If you look at LeBron James’s vision you’d realize why he signed a 4-year $154 million Dollar Contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, the last big contract he signed beyond 2 years was with the Miami Heat which was for 6 years and $100 million dollars. He does have a Player Option for the last season of his contract, maybe he opts in out of respect of Kobe Bryant and retires a Laker or maybe he opts to play on the Knicks to cap off his illustrious Career.
To conclude I know I have made this article about the Lakers but if you haven’t realized I am picking the Lakers to win the Title I don’t know what to tell you. Been the biggest LeBron James fan since he was a Junior in High-School, I once saw Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan competing for nothing in the latter stages of their careers but LeBron James is not at that point right now. At 35 the thought of seeing him not win a title on the Lakers would be devastating, some would say the NBA is Rigged if the Lakers win the Title and connect Kobe Bryant’s departure from this Earth with it. Some envision LeBron James’s holding up the Larry O’Brien Trophy and Finals MVP Trophy in tears giving out a memorable speech to former Laker Legend Kobe Bryant, would make for a Magical ending to this season I’ll tell you that much. LeBron James might not retire with 6 Titles giving Michael Jordan fanatics a full-clip for their debates but hear me out when I tell you he will be the one and only NBA Superstar to win Championships with 3 different teams, sorry Kawhi Leonard don’t see it working for you in LA. Till next time.