Abbad’s Top 6 Picks to win the 2015/2016 NBA Title part 3 of 3

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Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio were my 1st 4 picks to win the 2015/2016 NBA title. Now let me talk about who I would as my the 5th and 6th contenders.

5. Los Angeles Clippers – ‘Lob City’

Despite their star power, phenomenal coaching system and the fact that they are a Los Angeles based team, I would not place the Los Angeles Clippers any higher than the 5th pick, most certainly not after seeing one of the worst chokes in the history of NBA, or for any sport that matter, last season. After thrashing the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semi-finals last season to win by 16, 25 and 33 respectively in the first 3 games of the series, and then leading by as much as 19 points with 3 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter of the 4th game, the Clippers did a spectacular job of failing miserably to hold onto that lead or win at least one match from the remaining 3 games meaning they lost the series 3-4 and were knocked out!

Why Los Angeles Clippers?

Why would I still pick the Clippers as a NBA title contender then? It is because of the fact that in spite of last season’s play-off meltdown, the LA Clippers are undeniably still a force to be reckoned with.  So let me present my case to you.

Firstly the Los Angeles Clippers have the most mouth watering starting line-up in the entire league in my opinion. They have one of the best, if not the best, Point Guard in the league now in Chris Paul who has been in this business for a long time and has been a consistent performer throughout his career leading the NBA in assists 4 times and steals 6 times!  Speaking of being in the business for a long time, the name of another Clipper comes to mind – Paul Pierce, a future Hall of Famer.

Having played almost his entire career with the Boston Celtics with whom he won the NBA title in 2008, Paul Pierce has been one of the best Small Forwards in the league for a while and he brings a ton of experience to this franchise. I can also say hands down that they have the one of the best shooter’s in the league at the 2 spot in J.J. Reddick who really helps them spread the floor.

At the Power Forward and Center positions they have Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan respectively.
At the Power Forward and Center positions they have Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan respectively.

These 2 are the most dynamic duo at the 4 and 5 spots in my opinion as they have such unique team chemistry for big men even throw alley-oops to each other to dunk the basketball. Speaking of alley-Oops, the LA Clippers are known as the ‘Lob City’ for a reason; Chris Paul uses a screen and then lobs to a rolling Deandre Jordan or Blake Griffin for the slam, if the defenders don’t commit he’ll shoot the ball. Now Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan are 2 very big men with freakish athleticism, God save anybody who tries to stand in their way when they go for the alley-oop Slam!

Secondly the LA Clippers have a lot of depth on their bench.  Jamal Crawford is their best player off the bench in my opinion as he is able to create offense for himself and has a unique way of keeping the score board ticking. He is also a top-notch shooter who is deadly off the dribble and is also capable of shooting even with contact. Then they have the All-Star Josh Smith coming off the bench at Small Forward. The only reason why Josh Smith isn’t in the conversation of best players in the NBA anymore is his rash decision making, because talent and athleticism-wise he’s right amongst the best. Argentine Pablo Prigioni and Turkish Hedo Turkoglu bring further experience into the unit. Glenn Davis and Cameroonian Luc Mbah a Moute make an energetic back up front court duo. The Clippers have acquired yet another rash and highly talented guard in Lance Stephenson and lastly there is the Coach’s son Austin Rivers coming off from the bench as a Shooting guard.

Finally speaking of the system, the LA Clippers have one of the best coaches in the business right now in Doc Rivers who won the Boston Celtics an NBA title in 2008. He is a preacher, motivator and visionary who is loved by his players.. Also they have an aggressive management team led by Ex-CEO of Microsoft Steve Balmer. Details of them literally forcing Deandre Jordan to stay back in LA instead of moving to Dallas has been covered in a previous article of mine titled ‘Top 10 things to look forward to in the 2015/ 2016 NBA season’ right here in the Swishing the Nets column on thepapare.com. Although there are plenty of LA Lakers fans in Sri Lanka, even they will agree with me when I say that the Lakers aren’t the strongest force from Los Angeles anymore!


 

6. Chicago Bulls – Chi City

The Golden era of Chicago Bulls Basketball was the ‘Michael Jordan’ era in the 1990s where they won 6 championships in 8 years. Although the Bulls have been consistent performers throughout the next 2 decades they have just not been able to live up to the same standards. That is understandable of course as they do not have the services of Michael Jordan any longer, the man who most in the world of basketball consider to be the Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T).

Why Chicago Bulls?

Michael Jordan might be irreplaceable, the Chicago Bulls have a rising star at the Point Guard spot in Derrick Rose. Photo Credits: cavaliersnation.com
Michael Jordan might be irreplaceable, the Chicago Bulls have a rising star at the Point Guard spot in Derrick Rose.
Photo Credits: cavaliersnation.com

Although Michael Jordan might be irreplaceable, the Chicago Bulls have a rising star at the Point Guard spot in Derrick Rose, who is a native son of Chicago. His ball handling skills, explosiveness and quickness make him almost un-guardable. At least that was the case until he started to get hit with one injury after another. However even in the worst case scenario where Derrick Rose gets hit with another injury during this season they still have a very solid back-up Point Guard in Kirk Hinrich who has been a bright spark for the Bulls during Derrick Rose’s absence throughout the last 2 seasons. They also have Aaron Brooks as a backup Point guard, signs that the Eastern conference team is bracing themselves for the worst.  However the absence of Rose has empowered some of the players to step up. Out of which the most notable is their shooting guard Jimmy Butler who has risen to great heights as a player. Joakim Noah plays at Center and brings in loads of energy into the unit both on and off the court. Another cornerstone for the Bulls is Spaniard Pau Gasol who plays at the Power Forward position. Although many may say his best days are behind him when he was back with the LA Lakers, where he won 2 NBA titles, and the Spanish national team, I disagree. From what I’ve noticed of Pau, he has been a player who has been evolving throughout the years and has been very good at adapting. Although at age 35 he isn’t able to elevate off the floor the way he used to before, he has become more consistent as a shooter and a back-to- the post player with super footwork.

Off the bench you’ve got to watch out for high-flying Taj Gibson who has been solid for the Bulls throughout the past few years. Chicago Bulls also have the luxury of Mike Dunleavy who is one of the better 3 point shooters in the league coming off the bench. However if you’re a Chicago Bulls fan, the player off the bench you have to be most excited about is Spaniard Nikola Mirotic who used to play for the Euro-League basketball powerhouse Real Madrid and got drafted by the Bulls last season. He is only 24 and is a very versatile player, from what I’ve seen, who may come in real useful for the Bulls both in this season and in the long run.

Finally the people of Chi- City take great pride In their basketball and fill the stadium in great numbers  year in and year out despite all the injuries, disappointments and heartbreaks and will continue to do so this season, which will be a huge boost for the team’s cause in their attempt to reach the top. I know for a fact that if you are a Chicago Bulls fan in Sri Lanka you will be hoping and praying that Derrick Rose has an injury free season – he is their catalyst.

So those are my top 6 picks to win the 2015/2016 NBA title, let us know what you think about them and who YOU think will win the NBA title this season in the comments section below. Until next time- Stay calm and keep balling.