Western Conference Finals Preview

May 28, 2012 by

 

What does the song “Dust on the Bottle”, by David Lee Murphy, and the San Antonio Spurs have in common?  Absolutely everything!  This song depicts the Spurs perfectly; they are getting sweeter with time, and better as days go by.  The Western Conference Finals will also showcase the new kids on the NBA block – The Oklahoma City Thunder.

Oklahoma City is scary, for real.  In college some buddies and I were taking a spring break road trip down to Arizona and our gas tank hit empty in OKC.  At 5:00 a.m., riding on fumes, we pulled into a lovely local gas station on MLK Boulevard.  There was a car blasting hardcore rap at volume 247 as the numerous patrons in the parking lot were turning up bagged 40’s like water.

I’m not going to lie, being the only white boys made us a little nervous, so to me it makes sense the Oklahoma City Thunder are “scary” good.  This electrifying team is the most exciting team to watch in the league and have an extremely bright future.  Is the future now?

Point Guard:

Russell Westbrook – This young talent is an absolute game changer.  He is the x-factor in this series.  If he can outplay Tony Parker the Thunder have a great chance to head to their first NBA Finals.  He cannot turn into his old head case ways in this series.

Tony Parker – In my eyes he was the most valuable player to his team this year.  He runs the Spurs offense through pick and rolls and dribble penetration.  His experience and excellence on the biggest of stages will be helpful for the Spurs.

Edge: Slightly Spurs

Shooting Guard:

Thabo Sefolosha – He is a solid role player who does what is asked of him.  He plays great defense and occasionally scores when his number gets called.

Danny Green – Along with Sefolosha, he is a quality role player for the Spurs.  He is the Spurs’ starting 3-point specialist.

Edge: Even

Small Forward:

Kevin Durant – This lanky, athletic freak is one of the purest players in the league and is flat out sensational.  He is a better defender he’s given credit for.  Can KD lead the Thunder to new heights?

Kawhi Leonard – Can Charles Barkley pronounce his name yet?  Kewahi’s young legs will be critical to help keep Mr. Durant in check.  He is a contributor and brings energy to the table.

Edge: Thunder, Duh…

Power Forward:

Serge Ibaka – He likes to block shots and is kind of good at it… He will need to play big and help patrol the paint in this series.  Mr. Ibaka has a soft touch jumper as well.

Boris Diaw – He is a great fit in San Antonio.  Diaw is one of the multiple unheralded players for the Spurs.  He serves as a great compliment to Tim Duncan.

Edge: Slightly Thunder

Center:

Kendrick Perkins – He is one of the best post defenders in the NBA over the past five seasons.  C Perk has championship experience and his role limiting Mr. Duncan is extremely important for the Thunder.

Tim Duncan – This aged bottle of wine is only getting better and better.  He looks fresh and has elevated his game in these playoffs.  He knows his time is coming to an end and the chance to add another ring will be a big time motivator.

Edge: Spurs

Bench:

Thunder – It’s not fair James Harden falls in this section.  I hope the Milwaukee Bucks offer him a max deal when his contract expires with the Thunder.  Harden is an awesome young star in the League.  You have got to like Nick Collison.  The dude simply knows how to play the game of basketball.  Personally, I think Derek Fisher is washed up, but he is a coach out on the floor and the Thunder can use his championship experience as they do not need any scoring from him.

Spurs – Their second unit is better than some team’s starting five.  Manu Ginobili is healthy and playing at a high level.  Gary Neal is an excellent back up point guard.  Tiago Splitter brings toughness to the group.  Does Matt Bonner ever miss an open 3-pointer?  For some unknown reason, the Spurs know how to motivate Stephen Jackson.  DeJuan Blair contributes well off the bench, too.

Edge: Slightly Spurs to Even (only because Harden is that good)

Coaching:

Scott Brooks – You have to like his demeanor, and the way he leads his young talented roster. He does not receive much attention, and in my eyes, not enough credit.  I could see Coach Brooks with a few rings on his fingers 20 years from now.

Gregg Popovich – “Pop” is the best coach in the NBA.  He knows exactly how to fit the pieces together, and maximizes his roster each and every year.  When was the last year the Spurs did not win 50 games in a season? Exactly.

Edge: Slightly Spurs

Prediction

This series has the make up to potentially be one of the greatest Western Conference Finals of all time!  Heading into the playoffs, I slightly favored the Thunder to win the West, and definitely would not be surprised to see it happen.  The Spurs, however, are playing at a championship level.  It’s hard for me to imagine the Thunder beating them four times.  Parker’s dribble penetration, and Duncan’s heart, will carry them into the NBA Finals.

Spurs in 7.

Thank you for reading, please place any comments, or predictions, down below.

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2 Comments

  1. Brad Marshall

    Hey Alex I think this is an overall good preview and prediction of the western conference finals. Here’s some food for thought, how many years older is the Spurs average age than the thunder? If you said 2 you’d be correct. While the spurs are getting older as you alluded to, the difference in this team is they have a younger roster than they’ve had which provides depth and opportunity for Duncan, and Manu to rest and play meaningful minutes when it matters most, now. Parker has been in the league 12 years, and just turned 30. His experience and ability to play at rapid pace has changed the spurs. The team now runs through him not Duncan. Good point there from you. I think this series comes down to hitting big shots, and the Spurs are lethal. I liked the Spurs in 6, and still do. Pop is the best coach in the league, as evidenced by his teams evolution to a high scoring team that still plays defense. Home court will help, and as shown in game 1, they can come back and make adjustments. Well done Alex!

  2. Jenks

    I agree with Brad On Spurs in 6 (and thought that BEFORE GAME 1) My younger roommates seem to think that I am the only person (not living in San Antonio) that is rooting for the Spurs because, “They’re Boring.” ..and by boring they mean fundamentally sound. That’s going to be the difference. If my memory serves me correct.. and it probably doesn’t, I believe the Thunder turned the ball over more than any team in the league this year. The Spurs don’t have an amazing Defense, but they won’t make those mistakes on the offensive end of the court. They are lead by the best or second best PG in the NBA (this year) behind CP3. Parker is having the best year of his career at age 30 and he finished in the top 5 of the MVP race. Not many people realize the amazing year he is having compared to the less than stellar season he had last year. That is making all the difference for the Spurs. Afterall not many people watch the Spurs during the regular season so most people probably assume they’re the same team as last year but older. Not the case. Tony Parker will get them over the top. 2012 NBA CHAMPS. The state of Texas will hault MIAMI again. Looking forward to watching the rest of this series. Harness the energy of DAVID ROBINSON!

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