The 2013 NBA Finals have been set, as the Miami Heat will look to defend their title against the San Antonio Spurs. Since Miami overcame the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio swept the Memphis Grizzlies, however, it's been non-stop pandemonium as the world attempted to predict the NBA champions.
So what do the experts have to say?
There's no way to truly predict what's bound to transpire, no matter how accurate an analyst's picks have been in the past. After all, this isn't just another stage in the 2013 NBA playoffs.
This is the NBA Finals, where legends are born, legacies are created and the Hall of Fame unlocks their doors for the greatest of greats.
Even if we can't predict it precisely, we still must not allow the playoffs to come and pass without a projection. After all, this is the grandest time of the basketball season, and before you know it, the games will be upon us.
So who will win the NBA championship? What are the expects saying?
Let's find out.
Kurt Helin of NBC Sports weighed in on the topic, providing a prediction to set this discussion off. While he praised the San Antonio Spurs for what they have to offer—and there's a lot they possess—it ultimately came down to athleticism.
Helin chose the Miami Heat to win their second consecutive title in a six-game series.
Tony Parker is the key to this entire thing, for me. He can handle the pressure that the Heat are going to throw at him. They move the ball, with the Spurs offense, they move off the ball, they can get some open looks. But in the past, they've struggled against very athletic teams.
The Thunder have done that to them, I think the Heat are going to do that to them. I think the Heat are ultimately going to overwhelm them.
Plus, the Heat have LeBron James.
One additional point that Helin made? The Spurs had one week of rest in three of their four title victories.
Rusty or not, however, the Heat are going to be a tall task that no one has been able to overcome just yet—who's ready for some basketball?
Verdict: 4-2, Miami Heat
According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, this is going to be a six-game series. When it's all said and done, it'll be the Miami Heat that are crowned NBA champions for the second consecutive season.
Well, you know what they say—to be the champs, you've got to beat the champs.
My NBA Finals prediction? Miami Heat in six games: tinyurl.com/d5gl6sm— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 5, 2013
No one's taken them down yet.
Coming off of a tough seven-game series against the Indiana Pacers, it's fair to assume that the Heat will be fatigued. With that being said, Miami blew the Pacers out in Game 7, and Dwyane Wade looked better than he had all series.
The San Antonio Spurs have a chance in any series, but the Heat wouldn't be defending their title if they weren't good enough to win it in the first place.
Verdict: 4-2, Miami Heat
Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops weighed in on the NBA Finals, staking the claim that the San Antonio Spurs will dethrone the Miami Heat in seven games. While some might debate the outcome, we as an NBA community can agree on something.
If this series goes seven games, we'll all be happy.
Spurs will win in 7 because they won’t choke on the grandest of stages at the grandest of moments. They are mentally incapable of laying the type of egg that the Indiana Pacers dumped on us all [in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals].
Sheridan continued to list an abundance of compelling reasons, among them being:
No team executes their offense, no matter who is on the floor, than the Spurs. The Pacers had their moments from time to time, which was enough to win three games. But the Spurs have their moments every single game. They are viciously relentless and efficient.
Gregg Popovich is smarter than Erik Spoelstra. He is also smarter than you, me and everyone not named Stephen Hawking.
I’d be picking Spurs in 5 if not for the fact that LeBron James is going to win two games all by himself.
I'm becoming a believer—especially on the part about Gregg Popovich.
While we all focus on what's happening on the court, this isn't the first time that Popovich has coached against a cast of superstars. In fact, this isn't the first time he's been tasked with upsetting the most dominant player in the world.
If there was only one word to define the reason for faith in the Spurs, it would be "Popovich."
Verdict: 4-3, Spurs
In one of the more surprising picks, Marc Stein of ESPN has selected the San Antonio Spurs to upset the Miami Heat. Who wins isn't nearly as shocking as how they win.
Stein has the Spurs in six.
I've got the Spurs in six. The long layoff is a concern, but the energy Miami had to expend just to get past Indy offsets that somewhat. San Antonio's versatility, depth, better shooting, advantage at the point and superior execution add up to a lot for the Heat to overcome. The Spurs can play big and play small ball. Can the LeBron Factor trump all that? I don't see it this time.
Every point he makes is valid.
The Spurs are, arguably, the most versatile team in the NBA, as they can play big or small. While the Heat can claim to go big, they have no one that matches up to Tim Duncan at center.
If it becomes a battle of the three-ball, the Spurs can counter that too—they were fourth in NBA three-point field-goal percentage and seventh in three-point field goals made.
Whether or not the Spurs will be able to win in six games is debatable, especially since they will be forced to clinch on the road. With that being said, a road game is hardly daunting to a Spurs team that has been here before.
Three times have we seen Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan win an NBA championship together. Duncan holds four on his own.
The one constant? Head coach Gregg Popovich.
Verdict: 4-2, Spurs
While the Miami Heat remain the favorite to win it all, and with good reason, some have been hesitant to jump back on their bandwagon. Being the best team in the NBA is a great accomplishment, but sometimes a team just matches up too well against you.
Michael Wallce of ESPN has the Heat in seven but doesn't sound as if he's convinced himself of that pick just yet.
Heat in 7, but don't hold me to it. I've been saying for six months that if the Spurs are healthy they're the one team with the perfect combination of title experience, great point guard play, effective post play, good 3-point shooting and exceptional coaching it would take to knock off the Heat.
Can you blame him?
As Wallace stated, the Spurs have the perfect formula to weather the storm and cool down the Heat. From Tony Parker running point and Tim Duncan working out of the post to an abundance of three-point shooters stepping up, the Spurs have it all.
Most importantly, they have everything that it takes to counter Miami and expose their weaknesses.
This is far from a guarantee that San Antonio will win, as the Heat are the defending champions. With that being said, the Spurs are the four-time champions that don't care for LeBron James' quest for revenge.
Is there any way to actually pick a series that's this close? Let's all just come together as an NBA community and hope for seven outstanding games.
Verdict: 4-3, Miami Heat
You know I had to weigh in.
While it may be close amongst these five esteemed analysts, there is a virtual landslide in favor of the Miami Heat when it comes to predicting this series. While some might try to debate that approach, there is good reason behind it.
After all, the Heat are the defending champions and just so happen to have the best player in the world on their roster.
With that being said, the San Antonio Spurs are not just another team hoping to do the unthinkable. They're a veteran squad that have faced every obstacle you could ever dream of throwing at them, including the one player more physically dominant than LeBron James—Shaquille O'Neal.
Through all of it, they've walked away as four-time NBA champions.
This isn't the same Spurs team that took down Shaq and the Lakers in the early 2000s, nor is it the 2007 squad that defeated LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gregg Popovich is still the head coach, however, and the master of schematics will draw up plays that will make your head spin.
Ultimately, he'll put his team in position to win.
LeBron may be on a mission, but so is Tony Parker—he's out to prove that he's the best point guard in the NBA. More importantly, he's out for something bigger than himself.
He wants to send Tim Duncan out with a ring—call me a softy, but that's just too compelling to pick against.
Verdict: 4-3, San Antonio Spurs