Who has better chance to challenge Golden State in the NBA finals? |
The Golden State Warriors just swept their way through the Western Conference Finals to reach their fifth consecutive NBA Finals; a feat only accomplished one other time in NBA history. The Warriors have dominated the NBA for the past half-decade and they appear that they cannot be stopped; or can they?
If someone is going to stop the Warriors it is going to have to come out of the eastern conference as all their western foes have fallen yet again. In fact, the last time a Western Conference team won a playoff series against the Warriors was all the way back in 2014 when the Los Angeles Clippers beat them in seven games of the first round. Since 2014 the only other series that the Warriors have lost was a seven game series at the hands of Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
On the opposite side of the league and continent there is the Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors, the top two teams in the east this season. But which team has the best chance to upset the Warriors dynasty and possible start their own? Each of the two potential opponents have their own reasons for why they could beat the Warriors.
The Bucks finished the season with the best record in the NBA and are in search of their first finals appearance since 1974 and their first title since 1971. They also have the player who is likely to win league MVP this season in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks had looked unstoppable until the East finals and are still likely the deepest team the Warriors will have faced during their run. Besides the Greek freak the Bucks also sport a very impressive array of offensive weapons like Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe, Kris Middleton, and Brook Lopez. The Bucks are also the best defensive team in the NBA this year and have the weapons to limit Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.
The Raptors meanwhile sport a rebuilt contender, but a team whose core has had many deep playoff runs together. The Raptors also have a player in Kawhi Leonard who has raised his game to a new level. He hit the first ever game 7 series walk-off buzzer beater in NBA history.
Leonard may have personal reasons for wanting to beat the Warriors. It was May 14, 2017 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals and the Spurs held a 21-point lead. Kawhi Leonard went for a jump shot and Warriors center Zaza Pachulia went under Leonard's foot causing a series ankle injury for Leonard. The injury caused Leonard to miss most of the 2018 season and ruined Leonard and the Spurs relationship. The Warriors also came back to win that game and ultimately swept the series.
The NBA Finals should be a good match-up regardless of which team faces the Warriors. Though, it is likely that the Warriors will three-peat as NBA champions. Neither the Bucks nor Raptors have proven that they can compete at the level of the Warriors.