Predicting Which 4 Teams Make Next Year's Conference Finals

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Predicting Which 4 Teams Make Next Year's Conference Finals
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Kevin Durant's age and talent make him a likely conference finals participant for years to come.

What exactly is a "dynasty?" 

Is it only about winning a ring, or is a sustained period of success enough to justify the label? 

In baseball the Atlanta Braves were a postseason team every year from 1991 through 2005. They only won one World Series but they were a consistent playoff team playing in a league in which making the playoffs is no easy task. 

In basketball, merely making the playoffs wouldn't be enough to justify a "dynasty" tag. What about the Finals or conference finals? 

Michael Jordan famously won six NBA titles. He also played in six NBA Finals. Not bad.

Magic Johnson won five NBA titles. In the 13 seasons he played for the Los Angels Lakers, Magic played in an amazing 10 NBA Finals. That means that 77 percent of the time Magic laced them up he played in the Finals.

Is that more impressive than Jordan? Less Impressive? It's a good debate.

However, one thing is not up for debate: Unless your team is playing in the conference finals, your team is not making the NBA Finals.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Magic only missed the conference finals twice. 

This season's NBA conference finals participants are not a cast of underdogs. Three of the four teams are either one or two seeds. In other words, they're supposed to be there. The one exception, the Boston Celtics ,are comprised of three future Hall of Fame players and one of the best point guards in the league.

The Celtics also were the beneficiaries of a devastating knee injury to the best player on the Eastern Conference's No. 1-seeded Chicago Bulls. It's not that the Bulls would have automatically beaten the Celtics in the semifinals had the two teams squared off with a healthy Rose. It definitely would have been a very competitive series, though. 

Will all four teams be back playing for a birth in the finals next season? Tough to say. 

Is it too early to make a prediction? No, it's not. 

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