California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

NBA Playoffs: Will Golden State Make it a Three-peat?

The National Basketball Association playoffs are right around the corner and as the reigning champions, the Golden State Warriors look to make it a three-peat with their literal all-star caliber lineup.

Stephen Curry, the first player ever to be voted unanimous MVP, has led the dynasty since his arrival to the team in 2009, with the help of some of his standout teammates. Among them are shooting guard Klay Thompson, power forward Draymond Green and more recent blockbuster additions like small forward Kevin Durant and center Demarcus Cousins have formulated into a super-team that looks impossible to beat on paper.

California Lutheran University Sports Information Director Ryan Jorgensen, believes that Golden State still has the best chance at taking the title despite their rough patches this year.

“[Golden State is] the 2-time defending champions and arguably the best shooting team ever. I do think this will be their toughest year yet, because to maintain that high level degree of play is tough. But if they stick together and just continue playing like they have, they should get the job done,” Jorgensen said.

However, there are some gritty teams that have the capability to beat the Warriors in any given seven-game series. The Houston Rockets were up 3-1 in last year’s Western Conference Championship, but lost key player Chris Paul due to injury. Many attributed the Rockets losing the series to the loss of the vocal and exemplary leader.

The MVP prospect shooting guard James Harden looks to push the Rockets past the Warriors in the western conference this year. His historic season could help the team contend in the finals and secure his legacy as one of the greatest one on one players ever.

The Acorn Sports Editor Eliav Appelbaum has reasonable doubt that for the Rockets making it out of the western conference series.

“The Rockets are not built to beat the Warriors in a seven-game series, at least not this year. They’re one of the western conference teams that didn’t improve from last year, losing guys like shooting guard Trevor Ariza and power forward Luc Mbah a Moute, two excellent wing defenders has been brutal,” Appelbaum said.

On the other hand, the Milwaukee Bucks are coming off a brilliant year with their franchise player small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. They seem to be a real threat to anyone they cross paths with in the playoffs. Antetokounmpo is putting up MVP-like numbers and already has analysts like Shaquille O’Neal saying he is “the most forceful player in the league,” according to NBA.com.

Another major headline entering playoffs is that the NBA will not see Los Angeles Laker LeBron James in the postseason for the first time in almost a decade. James astounding run of making it to eight straight finals appearances has ended since his arrival in LA this year.

However, Applebaum believes with all the young raw talent in the league, that the playoffs will still be just as exciting to watch without LeBron James.

“I don’t think fans will miss LeBron much this playoffs. If there’s good news, there are so many good young players in the East, that Lebron’s absence will not dim the excitement. Once the postseason starts, and we start talking about the draft and free agency, that’s when LeBron and the Lakers will dominate the conversation again,” Appelbaum said.

Other dangerous teams to be on the lookout for include the Philadelphia 76’s, who added key player and all-star Jimmy Butler to the squad, along with the finally healthy franchise player Joel Embiid. The 76’s defense is the key to advancing them in a seven-game series, along with Butler and point guard Ben Simmons to facilitate the offense.

In the west, the talented Denver Nuggets look to make a deep run securing the two seed and take home their first ever finals championship in franchise history.

The 2019 NBA playoffs officially start Saturday, April 13. Playoff schedules and matchups will be announced following the conclusion of the regular season on Wednesday, April 10.

Jeff Wilson
Reporter

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