Will the 2018-19 NBA season end with the Golden State Warriors completing a three-peat with a 2019 NBA Finals triumph? That’s what most experts believe, including many of those at ESPN.
ESPN recently released its expert predictions and to no one’s surprise, the Warriors are the consensus choice to claim the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June. We do know, barring something very unexpected, that the Warriors will not play the Cleveland Cavaliers for the fifth straight NBA Finals. LeBron James’ departure from Cleveland has all but assured that scenario will not happen again.
So, who will play the Warriors in the NBA Finals? The Boston Celtics were the pick from 15 of ESPN’s 22 experts. Among the seven experts who didn’t pick the C’s, five selected the Toronto Raptors and two chose the Philadelphia 76ers.
Chris Herring was the only expert of the 15 who predicted a Celtics-Warriors Finals to pick the C’s as the winner.
The C’s are the logical choice to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this season. They nearly upset James and the Cavs in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, taking Cleveland to Game 7 despite being without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward for the entire playoffs due to injuries.
Irving and Hayward are healthy and back in the lineup, and Boston’s young core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and others should continue to improve. Brad Stevens is the best coach in the league, and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has the assets to make a trade to upgrade the roster if needed.
All signs point to a Warriors vs. Celtics showdown, which would be a lot of fun given the exciting battles between these teams over the last three seasons.