For the next few days, numerous previews will come out for this years Finals between the Spurs and the Heat. The main storyline of course is can the Spurs get revenge after a devastating loss last year. I've listened to numerous analysts say their predictions on ESPN and BleacherReport and felt the need to make my own preview. This is only my opinion, but your feedback is appreciated.
Match-ups: The NBA is all about how one team matches with another. This is why the Spurs may have struggled against Dallas in Round 1, but dominated Portland in Round 2. Im going to give a break down of each position and which team i feel has the advantage.
PG: Parker vs. Chalmers
One of the easiest match-ups to predict. Tony Parker is one of the best PGs in the NBA. Chalmers doesn't have the same role as Tony does. Chalmers job is to not turn the ball over and set-up things for Lebron, Wade, Both, and any other player the Heat may put on the floor for scoring. Don't get me wrong, Chalmers is a pretty good shooter, but the Heat don't call on him as much as the Spurs do Tony. Parker is the motor behind the Spurs offense. With his ability to drive the paint and kick out to shooters, dump it off for an easy lay-up, or even take it himself, the offense goes through Tony. Advantage-Spurs
SG: Green vs Wade
Personally, I see this as one of the more intriguing match ups in the Finals. Analysts are quick to give the advantage to Wade, but I think its closer than they're saying. Green is a good defense. His long arms and quick step on defense give him the ability to slow down Wade from driving or pulling up. Green impressed me with his defense against Durant in games 5 and 6 of the WCF and I feel if he can play with the same intensity, Wade is going to have a hard time. Now on the other end, Green is a shooter, plain and simple, everyone knows that. Green isn't going to beat Wade off the dribble or anything like that and Wade is a good defender. Advantage- Heat, but closer than most realize
SF: Leonard vs. James
I love what Kawhi brings to the table. He's smart about how he plays, he's a nag on defense and has really stepped his game up on the offensive end, being about to not only shoot better, but create his own shot. That being said, Lebron James in the best player in the world. I don't care that KD won MVP. Come playoff time Lebron is a different player all together. I have no doubt that Kawhi can bother Lebron on defense and make him shoot tough shots (much like last year where Lebron shot 44%), but no one is slowing him down. Kawhi can tire out Lebron on the offensive end which in turn will effect Lebron's offense. Kawhi is much improved since last year and has shown signs of being about to take control himself of a situation. Advantage-Heat
PF: Diaw, Splitter or Bonner vs Battier, Lewis, or Haslem
After what happened in the ECF and WCF, I can't say for sure who's going to start for either team. For Game 1, I think Pop will go back to Splitter at the PF spot and leave Diaw coming off the bench. As for Miami, who knows. Either way I think Splitter is up for any of them. Lewis is nothing but a shooter and Splitter has already dealt with Dirk, Aldridge, and Serge. Battier may challenge Splitter on the defense end, being a very physical guy, as well as Haslem. Splitter's FT shooting has greatly improved and to bang with these guys down low, he might have plenty of chances. Advantage-Spurs
C: Duncan vs Bosh
Another interesting match up to me. Duncan plays in the post while Bosh, well doesn't. For the Spurs offensively I see an advantage, but not a huge one. Duncan can post up Bosh who's not a bad post defender, and with the Spurs pick-and-roll game, Bosh is quick enough to cut off the handler and get back to Duncan. Bosh this year has taken more mid-range to long-range shots, which means Duncan is going to have to play away from the basket. I feel he's capable of staying on Bosh, but that takes away help defense when Wade or James drive to the basket. Advantage-Spurs
Bench: Ginobili, Mills, Diaw, Belinelli, Bonner vs. Allen, Anderson, Beasley, Battier or Lewis
The Spurs bench is the best in the NBA, no question about it. They can all get it done (outside of Bonner) on both ends of the floor and make the Heat defense worry about them. Allen is a marksman from behind the arc, Anderson is a presence in the paint, Beasley is much improved since coming back. But come-on the Spurs bench is like no other lead by Manu who i feel is going to show last year was a fluke. Advantage-Spurs
Coaching: Pop vs Spoelstra
Pop is the best coach in the NBA, nothing more needs to be said about him. Spoelstra, verdict is still out on him. If the Heat Big 3 break apart, then well see how good a coach he is. Advantage-Pop (duh)
There you have it. Spurs starting 5 has advantage in 3 spots (PG, PF, C) and Heat in 2 (SG and SF). Lebron garners a lot of attention and carries a lot of weight when saying who has an advantage. The bench and coaching go to the Spurs. The bench is going to be the deciding factor. When Parker and Duncan are off the floor, can the Spurs bench keep it up even if James and Wade are still on the court. I think they can.
Prediction: Spurs in 6
Spurs split at home and on the road, win back-to-back in SA and Mia to take it.
Comments are welcome, but don't be nasty. These are my opinions and Id love to hear what you think.