2016 NBA Finals Preview And Predictions

By The Staff on June 1, 2016

The NBA Finals are here, and we at Red Nation Hoops couldn't be more excited. This year we're being treated to a rematch of the new, healthy, and improved Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2015 NBA Champs themselves in the historically great 73-9 Golden State Warriors.

The Cavaliers are coming off an absolutely dominant 12-2 playoff run heading into the Finals and the Warriors just finished capping off a 3-1 series comeback against a tough Oklahoma City squad. It's safe to say that this is the definition of a compelling matchup.

In light of this momentous occasion, we decided to get together and give our picks and opinions for the series.


in 6 games                            Salman Ali

in 6 games                            Taylor Pate

in 7 games                        Alykhan Bijani

in 6 games         Paul "Harden's Intellect"

in 7 games                          Jorge Flores

Explain your pick. (Especially you Jorge)

Salman Ali: It's tough considering how good the Cavs have been in the playoffs, but as good as they've been, they've only posted a defensive rating of 102.9 in the playoffs (good for 8th in the postseason which is mediocre at best). The Warriors are just so good at exploiting every team's major weaknesses and I think that's what's going to happen this series.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will be attacked for their deficiencies in defending the PnR and pindowns. LeBron will be given free reign to shoot. Also believe it's going to be tough to find a solution at the power forward for Cleveland that'll matchup with Draymond Green unless LeBron finally caves and plays the 4 with Love to play center.

Taylor Pate: What this basically boils down to is home court advantage. Cleveland lost two games in Toronto and looked really bad in the process. As good as Bismack Biyombo looked in that series, Draymond Green ain't Bismack. Ultimately, I just don't see Cleveland stealing one in Oakland. Warriors in 6.

Alykhan Bijani: Very hard to pick against either team. Both have had great seasons and are clicking at the right time. Feel as if Cavs can be exposed in a few more ways than the Warriors. Key matchup will be the Bigs for Cavs versus small-ball of GSW. Can the Cavs offense dominate and lessen net rating of Death lineup.

Paul "Harden's Intellect": The Cavs have had tremendous success with their lineup featuring both Love and Frye. That lineup will be eaten alive by Golden State. Love might be ran off the floor. Warriors in 6

Jorge Flores: This is a difficult decision to make because both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are absolute juggernauts and the Warriors are on the verge of completing what could be considered the greatest season of all time. However, fatigue has clearly set in on the Warriors, as gunning for the single season wins record (73-9 is still unbelievable) and Curry’s knee injury against Houston slowed the team down.
Also, the Warriors have shown that they are susceptible to scoring point guards. Damian Lillard averaged 31.8 points per game in five games against the Warriors, and Russell Westbrook averaged 26.7 points per game in seven games. This is good news for Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving, a creative scorer with insane handles and a very good outside shooter. The Warriors will have a tough time stopping Kyrie, on top of having to try and contain LeBron James and Cleveland’s other weapons.

Who or what is the biggest 'X-Factor' in this series?

Salman Ali: To me, it's clearly Kevin Love. He has to try and find a way to remain viable in this series. The Warriors are a smart enough team to attack him in PnR situations every time he touches the floor and he has to defend to the best of his ability and offensive rebound.

Taylor Pate: I'd say Klay Thompson. When he's hitting 3's at a historic rate, the Warriors are unstoppable. At the same time, when he's off, the Warriors look human.

Alykhan Bijani:  Biggest 'X factor' will be the ability for Cleveland to sustain offensive production when Lebron is resting.

Paul "Harden's Intellect": Kyrie Irving. Kyrie has to be about as lethal as ever if the Cavs are to win this. He has to try and make Curry work.

Jorge Flores:  Kevin Love famously missed last year’s NBA Finals run after Kelly Olynyk of the Boston Celtics locked him in an armbar Ronda Rousey would’ve been proud of, dislocating his left shoulder. He’s the ‘x-factor’ in this series because of what he can add to a team that already has the greatest player in the world and a point guard that will undoubtedly get his shots up. Love controlling the glass will obviously help, but he needs to convert on his three point attempts because it will stretch the defense away from the basket, allowing LeBron and Kyrie more room to operate.

What would you consider the most important statistic in this series and why?

Salman Ali: Offensive rebounding. Both of these teams will obviously launch a ton of threes, but Cleveland needs to dominate the offensive boards if they stand to compete with the Warriors.

Taylor Pate: LeBron James' 3-point percentage. If he's a threat from there, it opens up Cleveland's offense.

Alykhan Bijani: Which team has the most fast break points. IT'll determine which is dominating the transition attack and which defense is forcing more turnovers and missed shots.

Paul "Harden's Intellect": Rebounding differential. Cavs have to dominate the boards of they're gonna beat GS

Jorge Flores: In order for the Cavaliers to dethrone these historic Warriors, they’ll need to, first and foremost, win the rebounding battle. The Warriors have struggled on the boards in these playoffs, being outrebounded by a net of five boards through the first three series. The Cavs, on the other hand, are outrebounding their opponents by 17 rebounds through their first three series. Given that the Warriors play at a much faster pace than the Cavs, there will be more rebounds for Cleveland to snatch in the Finals.

Finals MVP?

Salman Ali: It's got to be Steph Curry. 

Taylor Pate: My instinct says Curry. But I'm going with Klay Thompson.

Alykhan Bijani: Steph Curry.

Jorge Flores: LeBron James will win the Finals MVP award he probably should have won last year, in addition to finally bringing a major sports championship to the city of Cleveland.

It's going to be a fun series.

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