Are the Warriors going to turn it on and finish the season in first place in the west? Or will Houston continue to play lights out and smoke everyone on their way to a possibly Finals appearance?

How good are the new Cavs after the astonishing trades they pulled off? And is there any chance, even a tiny chance, that the Raptors or Celtics can represent the east in the Finals this season?

The Jazz look really good suddenly. What’s up with that? Is Donovan Mitchell the ROY, or is it Ben Simmons? They’re definitely the top two in the discussion, but what actually separates them and makes them different?

Is there any chance a different team besides the Warriors or the Rockets ends up hoisting the championship trophy when it’s call said and done?

There are the questions as we enter the last couple months of the season.

Who will win Rookie of the year? I think it’s going to be Ben Simmons. His skill set is astonishing and he’s made a real impact on his team. The combination of him and Embiid has the potential to change the landscape of the east and even the NBA for years to come. My only complaint about Simmons is he can’t shoot to save his life. But if he can get to the rim like he does and can pass and stack up assists, I think the upside has to be that he’s young and he’ll learn to shoot.

Donovan Mitchell, fresh off a Dunk Contest Championship, has looked incredible all season. Three time he’s won rookie of the month and he leads all rookies in scoring. He’s a great player and I’m excited for the Utah Jazz and their future. But Simmons is a stronger candidate, who overall is more important to his team’s success.

Are the new Cavs a lock to win the east? The answer is yes. The reason is LeBron James. Any team with LeBron is automatically in the conversation. Now that they “youthanized” their roster and added great scorers on the bench, the Cavs look to be a lock. The Celtics are hitting a wall and overall just don’t have the depth of talent to defeat Cleveland. The Raptors have to prove it to me. They look good and DeRozen has stepped up his game, but I won’t believe it until I see it. As it stands I see Cleveland defeating Toronto in the east finals in 6, maybe 5 if Cleveland gets hot and rides that swagger. But everyone else is done. Milwaukie is a joke, Detroit is a joke. The Sixers will be a lot of fun but it’s too soon and they’re too young. Cleveland will be in the Finals.

The only question that actually matter: CAN ANYONE BEAT THE WARRIORS IN A SEVEN GAME SERIES?

I lean toward no, but look how they’ve been playing lately. They look lackadaisical and bored. Their explosive offense has been stale and predictable. Steph Curry (My favorite NBA player) has started to give off an arrogance that I don’t like – his too cool for school blase’ attitude just doesn’t cut it when it comes to defending the title. I hope he gets his act together and locks down the ship in time to for the playoffs. Because, as it stands the Houston Rockets looks like the best team in the NBA. They have absolutely destroyed everything in their way with CP3 and Harden both playing. The offense is basically unstoppable. The only thing you can do is pray they’re not hitting shots for a night – but that is a dangerous gamble, seeing as the entire team, more or less, can light up the score board.

So, in seven games can Houston’s flaming offense fend off the tantalizing four headed monster that is the Golden State Warriors? My gut says no, it’s not possible. Getting the best of Curry and Durant and Thompson and Green four out of seven times, it just doesn’t seem feasible. Having said that, the Warriors sure as hell better clean up their act, they are the defending champions.

When the curtain drops and it’s all over for the summer: Golden State over the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. Finals MVP: Kevin Durant – for the second year in a row.

 

Anthony Statham

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