Who Wins it all in the NBA for 2015?
Top seeded teams in great position
The Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors have the top seed in each conference as the 2015 NBA playoffs begin. The expectations are very high for the Warriors, despite playing in the tough Western Conference. Neither team faces an easy task as they attempt to get to the NBA finals, but each team has a good chance to make a run this season based on the way they match up against the rest of their conference. The second seeded team in both the East and the West, presents a significant challenge to the top seeded Warriors and Hawks. In the East, the second seeded Cavaliers appear to be the favorites to win the conference as the expectations follow Lebron James wherever he goes. A frantic finish to the regular season in the Western Conference, has the Houston Rockets entering the playoffs as the second seeded team. This after it appeared the Spurs would take one of the top two seeds with a late season run. The Warriors face a significant challenge from the opposition in their conference, because the Spurs missing out on the second seed meant that they fell to the sixth seed in the West. With the Western Conference six deep in legitimate title contenders, the playoffs will not be an easy run for the Golden State Warriors.
What to expect in the Eastern Conference
The way the Eastern Conference bracket lines up right now, the expectation is that the Hawks will meet up with the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals. The Cavaliers are likely to face the most significant test along the way to this anticipated matchup, as they could potentially face the Chicago Bulls in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Without star level talent to lean on, the Atlanta Hawks could face a significant test in every series they play this postseason. Their first round matchup with the Nets should not prove to be that difficult however, since the Hawks have the athleticism to outrun the Nets in the transition game. Toronto or Washington will likely cause problems for Atlanta in the second round of the playoffs, since they both have stars on their roster who have significant postseason experience. The Hawks lack of star power has created the highest expectations for Cleveland and Chicago, but only one of those teams will be able to make it to the conference finals. With Lebron James and Kyrie Irving leading the way, the second seeded Cleveland Cavaliers have the most significant advantage in the East, as teams head into the 2015 NBA Postseason.
How will the West be won?
Golden State has home court in the Western Conference, but the San Antonio Spurs have proven to be able to win playoff series on the road. In the first round, the Warriors, Rockets, Clippers and Trailblazers all have home court advantage. In such a tightly contested conference, this will play as a huge advantage with the five through eight seeds looking to pull off the upset. Of all the lower half seeds, the fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies were able to post the best record in the regular season on the road. The Grizzlies 24-17 road record, gives the team plenty of confidence as they head into their first round matchup with the Trailblazers. The first round playoff series that is most likely to hold the most entertainment value in the West this year, is the matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs. With that said, every Western Conference first round matchup has some compelling storylines with the one seed against the eight seed drawing plenty of interest. Anthony Davis and the Pelicans were able to qualify for the playoffs on the season's final day, and they head into a matchup against the West's best where they will look to lean on their star big man for victories in this first round series.
With every matchup in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs having some reason for fans to watch, it is very difficult to tell who has the ultimate advantage. Golden State will probably win their first round matchup against the Pelicans, but a second round matchup against the Grizzlies could prove to be very difficult. Even as a six seed, the defending champion San Antonio Spurs are a scary title contender in the West. Guard play for every team in the Western Conference playoffs will be key, but that is the one thing they all have in common. Great guard play is an expectation for each of the first six seeds in the conference, which leads to an evaluation of which team has a significant advantage in the front court. Once again the San Antonio Spurs join the conversation with Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter both having the ability to register efficient scoring efforts from their front court. Ultimately it is the Houston Rockets with Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones, who hold the advantage in the front court as they enter the 2015 Western Conference playoffs.
Who will win it all?
In a matchup of two teams led by two of the NBA's strongest MVP candidates, the 2015 NBA finals will likely feature a matchup between the Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The regular season matchups between these two teams, have helped to signal this matchup as a possible finals preview. James Harden will look to establish himself on the NBA's biggest stage, while Lebron James goes for his third career NBA title in his first season back with the Cleveland Cavaliers. With perimeter stars dominating the NBA game in the current era of basketball, it is the Cleveland Cavaliers with Lebron James and Kyrie Irving who will hold the edge in this matchup. James Harden and fellow star Dwight Howard are fully prepared to make a significant run coming out of the Western Conference, and should this matchup happen, they will battle Cleveland in a long series that features plenty of moments where the stars face adversity. The growth that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been able to show this season, is what will give them the ultimate advantage behind the leadership of Lebron James.