University Press staff members pick a 2017 NBA Finals champion

Three staffers give their predictions on the third straight battle between Steph Curry and LeBron James.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Hans Belot Jr. and Ryan Richman

The much anticipated, but not surprising, 2017 NBA Finals are upon us, and the writers at the University Press could not be more pleased. After steamrolling their respective ways to get there, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will be meeting for a third straight time for the rubber series between the pair.

Both teams have star studded lineups, which includes seven current all-stars, four former all-stars and three MVPs. If you’re not sure who you think will win, or you can’t make up your mind, our three sports brainiacs will help you out.

Below is each writer’s pick for the Finals:

Hans Belot Jr. | Sports Editor

Cavs in 6

All the pressure is on the Golden State Warriors this year, almost exactly the same way it was on the Miami Heat in 2011. Finishing with the best record in the NBA a season ago, being one win away from the championship and then adding a former MVP this season should only lead to a successful finish this year.

If the Warriors win it, they will say that’s what was supposed to happen. An almost unstoppable offensive machine that can score at will and goes on incredible runs that can extend a three point lead to 20 before you can blink.

However, the Cavs are as cool and collected as can be. LeBron James should not feel any pressure this year, having already delivered his promise to Cleveland of bringing a championship; so look for the Cavs playing their way without feeling too much pressure.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will be key in this series to determine the outcome. As great as Curry has been this past three years, his form has not translated to either of the previous two Finals. Thompson has been struggling in this year’s playoffs, averaging a mere 14.4 points per game on 38 percent shooting and 36 percent from three.

James and Kyrie Irving will show up and with the way the Cavs have been playing these playoffs, the rest of the squad will follow their lead. Despite the Warriors’ offensive powers, Thompson and Curry will have to show up in this series for them to have a chance.

Ryan Richman | Contributing Writer

Warriors in 6

Both teams got to the final series in impressive ways. The Cleveland Cavaliers only lost one game and that was to the Boston Celtics in game three of the Conference Finals. The Golden State Warriors are slightly more impressive, as they swept every team they played from the Portland Trail Blazers, the Utah Jazz and finally the San Antonio Spurs.

The Warriors won their first finals meeting with Cleveland in 2015 and Andre Iguodala won finals MVP. The Cavaliers won the second meeting in 2016 led by an incredible performance by LeBron James. So this year, one team will break the tie-breaker. Which team will it be?

My pick is the Golden State Warriors in six games not only because they have been so impressive during the playoffs, but they added a former MVP to their artillery in Kevin Durant.

He can be a game changer and the x-factor that leads Golden State to another NBA championship. I also believe Durant will win finals MVP, which is well deserved since this would be his first NBA championship.

Ryan Lynch | Outgoing Editor

Warriors in 7

I’ll prelude my pick by saying the NBA’s lack of parity between teams is disgusting and a major reason why I only keep up with the league from a distance. Thank goodness for the Stanley Cup Finals.

Now onto my pick:

Cleveland has always been the pride of an east division that often has the majority of the dead-weight teams in the league. Coming into the series with Kevin Love playing some of the best basketball he has ever played and Deron Williams of all people finding a late career renaissance with the Cavs, this team looks poised to compete with its depth.

Golden State is build around a successful system that is so great that they can insert former Cleveland head coach/LeBron punching bag Mike Brown in the mix and still succeed. With one of the best starting five lineups in the league, It’s no wonder the team is in this position again.

I say whoever can maintain momentum the longest wins, as both teams have a pretty good chance for the series win.

Golden State wins if they can keep their shooting consistent and find those key second chance points, hopefully without Draymond Green kicking anyone in the nuts. Cleveland wins if it can bang the ball in the interior and outmuscle the Warriors in the paint, hopefully without Draymond Green kicking anyone in the nuts.

I like what I’ve seen from the Warriors and their shooters so far, so I give them the edge going into the Finals. I think they heat up and are able to easily outshoot the Cavs in what will be a tightly contested series.

Hans Belot Jr. is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.

Ryan Richman is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @rydogg_818.

Ryan Lynch is the outgoing editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @RyanLynchwriter.