In wake of the start of the 2017 NBA Finals, Utah Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward got in on the speculation by making his own championship prediction.
The start of the 2017 NBA Finals is just around the corner and the third consecutive battle between the league’s giants – the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers – is bound to be an epic one. The Warriors enter the Finals with a perfect 12-0 playoff record while the Cavaliers are sitting at an only slightly worse 12-1, with a last-second loss to the Boston Celtics as their lone blemish.
Therefore, given the incredible level of play they’ve displayed up to this point combined with the bad blood that most certainly exists between these two teams, one would surmise that we’re all in for one heck of a series. Of course, the major questions weighing on everyone’s minds are, will the addition of Kevin Durant be enough to push the Warriors to victory over the defending champs? Or will LeBron James solidify his case as King by thwarting the “super-est” of all super teams?
Predictions are split among many experts and in all honesty, while it’s easy to pick the Warriors as clear favorites and the Cavs as likely underdogs, both teams have an exceptional case in terms of their likelihood of winning. Those supposed cases will obviously matter very little once the games get underway and one team or the other proves their superiority, but it’s fun to speculate beforehand anyway.
One of those speculators that got in on the fun and who is quite familiar to Utah Jazz fans is none other than Gordon Hayward himself, who revealed today in his latest blog who he believes will be the next NBA Champion. The entire piece is an excellent read and while we all know just how capable both the Warriors and Cavs are, it’s quite interesting to hear it all from a player’s perspective, especially one held in such high esteem among the Utah faithful.
You can read Gordon’s analysis in its entirety via the link in the tweet below:
For those of you who find yourselves in a hurry to simply know Gordon’s final opinion and don’t wish to get caught up in the nitty-gritty details, I’ll go ahead and spill the beans of his prediction right here and now (CAUTION: Spoiler alert ahead!).
After explaining the strengths and weaknesses of both teams (assuming the Warriors have any weaknesses, that is), Hayward went on to say the following as his final prediction:
"As far as what I think happens, I see the Warriors winning in five, maybe six games. They just have too many options. Not only are they historically good offensively, they’re almost as good defensively too. As long as they stay healthy, what they have is just too much, and I think they’ll walk away with the title."
For my part, I actually picked the Warriors in 6 as well, so apparently Hayward and I are on the same wavelength. Although, I must admit that I am among the Jazz contingency that is following The J Notes’ Ryan Aston’s advice about cheering against the Warriors, and part of the reason for my pick is a superstition that the team I select often loses.
Beyond that, you truly never can count out LeBron James. He proved last year why he is in the same conversation as the league’s all-time greats, and if he can help lead his team to victory over the most star-studded team to perhaps ever walk the earth, he could very well solidify his greatness even further.
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It’s intriguing, though, that Hayward, who obviously has been in the trenches against both teams, ultimately selected the Warriors to win. Having faced them three times in the regular season and four times in the playoffs, he ought to know very well what they’re capable of and just how deadly they can be.
With Game 1 set to tip off at 7:00 PM MT tonight, it won’t be long before we start to get a pretty clear picture of whether Hayward’s prediction will hold true or not.