Hello everyone! My name is Austin Hutchinson, and I’m your new columnist on Sports Minded. To give some background info, I’m a high school sophomore with a uncontainable passion for sports and journalism. I’m from the Chicagoland area. I’m a fan of the Cubs, the Bears, the Bulls and the Blackhawks. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity writing on Sports Minded. I hope you guys enjoy my words as much as I find the joy in writing them!
Back to business- To start this off, I’m gonna tell you, I’m a tad bit bias. Just a tad bit. Since 7th grade, I watched Kyrie Irving, starting with his one year at Duke in which he barely played because of injury, only to be drafted by the Cavs with the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
Irving has been through the three year disgustingly putrid struggle the Cavs had to win games to eventually playing this year with Lebron James and Kevin Love.
Kyrie has toiled through what I like to call a ridiculously amount of el fuego (fire for those keeping score at home.) Now, all my scholastic companions (yes, I do call them that) told me that LeBron wouldn’t opt out of his contract in Miami, and they scoffed at the idea of him coming to Cleveland.
“It’s merely impossible,” my best friend said. “Why would he do something as stupid as that?”
Well he did and once that happened, the Cavs traded for Kevin Love. I was excited. I mean, my man Kyrie is a part of a Big Three! With LeBron James! When the NBA regular season started, and the Cavs started out slow, I was told “The Cavs suck! They are sand-baggin’ to get a lottery pick and you know they’ll magically end up with the first pick.”
After the All-Star break they went 19-7 and continued their playoff push with wins against real teams like the Chicago Bulls and the Golden State Warriors.
Now I’m told everyday, “The Cavs can’t make it to the finals. The Bulls are gonna sweep em’. Even if Cleveland pulls it out, whoever comes out of the West is gonna sweep them.”
Everyday for the past year I have lived with the adversity that the Cavs couldn’t do it. Every single time. Maybe its time to prove everyone else wrong again.
With my bias out of the way, I present you with the NBA playoffs.
Eastern Conference– The thing that’s really annoying is the disorderly balance between the conferences.
“Sure, Austin, I’ve heard that 10 billion times.” But yeah, tell that to Oklahoma City or Phoenix Suns fans. The East has two or three “big deals.”
Yes, Ron Burgundy made these picks. Bless his heart. Anyways, the Bulls, Cavs, and the Hawks (who will make the Eastern Conference Finals out of necessity) have a chance to making it to the finals. MAKING is the key word.
The Bulls have been cursed with the injury bug. Worse than that. It’s a disease and if Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, or Pau Gasol goes down, even for a short period of time while facing the Cavs in the second round, they have a snowball’s chance in Miami of beating the King and Crew. None. Nada Zilch. Even if they go injury free, who can guard LeBron and Kyrie all at the same time?
The Bulls don’t have that secondary wing defender to help Butler out and as long as Timofey Mozgov doesn’t get in deep foul trouble, the Cavs will be able to get boards and run the break effectively, letting them control the game and ultimately the series.
My Eastern Conference Pick- The Cleveland Cavaliers
Western Conference – Ohhhh boy. These teams are stacked. For goodness gracious, the are seven 50 win teams that made the playoffs. Seven! Of course you got your 67-win favorites, the Golden State Warriors. They can shoot on anybody. The Los Angeles Clippers just have depth everywhere, just not your athletic small forward. The Houston Rockets have James Harden and Dwight Howard. Enough said. Those three teams are the contenders and of course you know the San Antonio Spurs will make a push for it as well. The way to beat the Warriors is to out rebound them to the max. The Rockets and Clippers can do that plus a team needs a scorer to out do the Splash Bros.
But really, I can only see Harden doing that. If you existed on earth sometime during this year, you saw how amazing a scorer Harden actually is. Just ridiculous, a là Russell Westbrook. I can really see the Rockets making it close with the Warriors, but in all reality, who can stop efficient shooting and defense? It’ll be close, but Golden State will have to be the King of the Mountain in the West.
My Western Conference Pick- Golden State Warriors
The NBA Finals – Of course, assuming my picks are right (don’t you dare say I’m wrong!), the Cavs and the Warriors will face off in the finals. Efficient shooting vs. the best player in the world. What’s gonna give?
What I see is that the Warriors do not have the defensive presence to stop LeBron?
Draymond Green? Harrison Barnes? Andre Iguodala?
Yeah, no. Not gonna happen and when LeBron, Mozgov, and Thompson can post up the likes of David Lee and Andrew Bogut, take them out of the game, and kick it out to J.R. Smith, Kyrie, and Love for three pointers. If so, nobody can stop the Cavs.
Not even Stephen Curry dropping 50 points with 15 three pointers because if the Cavs can run the break and slow down the Warriors offensively to only spot up threes from with 5 seconds on the clock from Curry and Thompson, the Cavs have the immediate advantage.
The Warriors have the advantage if they control the offensive boards, and Curry’s offensive game flows within the Warriors causing even more open shots.
In the end, you gotta expect LeBron to step up. It’s kinda what once in a generation players do. When he does, it is game over for the Warriors. The series will last seven games. But tell me, who can stop LeBron?
Please, tell me who on the Warriors is capable over seven games to do so and tell me why?
Finals Winner – Cleveland Cavaliers
If any of you have questions or would like to express your own playoff expressions, feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading!