The SLAM Staff Predicts the 2014 NBA Finals

Who you got?
by June 05, 2014

Twelve months later, here we are again. Crazy how after a full year of narrative twists and turns and trades and free agent signings and tanking and Donald Sterling and so, so much more, we’re right back where we were at this time in 2013: With the Spurs and the Heat as the last two teams standing and the general public having little-to-no clue who is going to wind up on top. And that, admittedly, includes us, your trusty SLAM staff members, who can predict with the best of ’em but in all reality have zero idea how this thing is going to play out. Still, we took a stab at it, and you can check out how a variety of our editors and writers believe the 2014 NBA Finals will unfold below.

And of course, hit the comment section and let us know what you think of our picks and who you’re taking. We promise not to make fun of you if/when you’re horribly wrong.

Ben Osborne, Editor-in-Chief
Pick: Heat in 6
Why? Definitely excited about this series. Some of you may recall that I picked the Pacers over the Thunder before the season, and reiterated my belief in Indy before the Playoffs. Yes, the Pacers had some mental meltdowns, but to me, the biggest reason Miami beat the Pacers with relative ease was because of Dwyane Wade. Hobbled a year ago, Wade has looked awesome. With the days off that Miami has and will have before and during the Finals mitigating any fatigue, I think having the two best players on the floor in LeBron and Wade will be enough for the Heat to fend off a proud, tough and deep Spurs team.

Susan Price, Managing Editor
Pick: Heat in 7
Why? #TeamLeBron.

Tzvi Twersky, Senior Editor 
Pick: Heat in 7
Why? Yes, the Heat might be a little worse off than last year. And yes, the Spurs might be better than they were a June ago. At the end of the day, though, it’s all about six things: LeBron James.

Ryne Nelson, Online Editor
Pick: Spurs in 7
Why? The fact that the Spurs not only made it back to the Finals—but in convincing fashion against stiff competition—says something. The fact that a staid Tim Duncan is confident that the Spurs will win says something. It says that last year’s loss galvanized San Antonio for redemption. Not weighed them down. DWade’s healthy knees, LeBron’s ruthless post game and a gang of outside shooters can’t stop them this time.

Adam Figman, Associate Editor
Pick: Heat in 7
Why? Admitting this early: I have no idea who’s winning this thing. I’ll take Miami, because LeBron James, and because Dwyane Wade, and because Birdman. Both of them.

Franklyn Calle, Assistant Editor
Pick: Heat in 6
Why? After the way they went down last year, I never imagined that this same Spurs group would be able to fully recover and contend for another title. Not only are they back in The Finals, they’ve looked just as good, if not better, than last year’s team. BUT, we’re in the midst of watching the greatest player of this generation in his prime and with a shot at threepeating like many of the other NBA greats he’s compared to have, and so naturally the basketball gods will find a way to make it happen … again.

Abe Schwadron, Assistant Editor
Pick: Heat in 6
Why? First, I’d just like to take a step back and point out that this will be an epic series. Not Lance Stephenson-blowing in another man’s ear epic (although Lance in the NBA Finals probably would have made Twitter, and the universe, explode). Just normal epic, but still epic. Who spiked Tim Duncan’s Gatorade with anti-aging vitamins? Or Dwyane Wade’s for that matter? Who knew Boris Diaw and Rashard Lewis could still run, let alone play meaningful basketball? Existential questions aside, I’m picking the Heat to go all threepeat on the League because LeBron James is at the height of his powers, and Erik Spoelstra is in his prime, too. When Greg Popovich eventually calls it quits, Spo might very well be the Pop of his generation. If I’m right on this pick, Michael Beasley will get a ring before Derrick Rose. Marinate on that.

Ryan Jones, Contributing Editor
Pick: Spurs in 7
Why? I’ll say here what I tweeted the other day: Finals picks should be banned this year, because nobody has a clue. Both these teams are built for this. Both have ample experience. Both have a terrific core, and both are motivated by a closing window. Just like last year, this will come down to a few (un)lucky bounces one way or another. I’ll pick the Spurs, just like I did last year, but only because I want the Heat to win.

Habeeba Husain, Editorial Assistant
Pick: Spurs in 7
Why? After last year’s loss and immediate post-game questioning of whether it was the final run Mr. Timmy D. and Co. had together, the sheer insensitivity, offense, and the broken record of “you’re too old” accusations—I can’t not go with the Spurs in 2014. These San Antonio vets planned this rematch the night of their Game 7 loss in June 2013. While I hate making predictions, I can’t believe the Spurs will allow themselves to make the same mistake twice. It’ll be a hard fought battle, but I won’t be surprised if The Big Fundamental will get a ring for that last bare finger on his shooting hand in the coming weeks.

Leo Sepkowitz, Editorial Assistant
Pick: Heat in 6
Why? Watching a Heat Playoff game the last three years has been a ridiculous experience. If they grab a lead early, you feel like they’ll win because a team with LeBron, two extremely efficient star veterans and a rotating cast of knockdown shooters seemingly can’t blow a lead. If they fall behind early, you feel like they’ll win because a team that puts the mega-clamps down in crunch time on even the best offenses seemingly can’t fall short in a comeback attempt. LeBron eventually breaks through with LeBron stuff, the momentum shifts and the game’s over, regardless of how it started. The Spurs have the storylines—the redemption, the possible storybook ending for Duncan and Pop. The Heat have the game’s best player and the supporting cast to beat them.

Peter Walsh, Editorial Assistant
Pick: Heat in 6
Why? The 2014 Finals are here and I’m still not over Ray Allen’s shot from last year’s Game 6. Fortunately, the two best teams in the NBA are giving us a rematch of last year’s epic seven-game series and honestly, as a basketball fan, what more can you ask for? The back and forth verbal spars between the Heat and Spurs are adding to the hype of the series and there are story lines aplenty. Is this is it for Tim Duncan? Is Tony Parker healthy? Will Dwyane Wade’s knees hold up? How many different pairs of shoes will LeBron James wear? Does any of that matter with LBJ crushing the competition? Heat take it in six to put a stamp on an otherwise forgettable season and LeBron takes one step closer to becoming the GOAT.

Yaron Weitzman, Editorial Assistant
Pick: Heat in 7, in triple overtime, by 1
Why? Better team or best player? What if the team that is better has a player (Kawhi) who seems to have been made for the sole purpose of guarding the game’s best player? And what if the game’s best player didn’t look so great against the League’s best team when facing them in the Finals last year—or at least not for the series’ first few games? And what do you do with Danny Green’s home/road splits and how do you weigh Manu’s rejuvenation and health versus Wade’s? This is all really confusing, so I’ll go with LeBron because he’s LeBron and I’ll take him in a Game 7, even on the road, which is where this series is headed.

Khalid Salaam, Senior Writer
Pick: Heat in 6
Why? I believe in Coach Spo (and ‘Bron). That’s why.

DeMarco Williams, Senior Writer
Pick: Heat in 6
Why? As much as I would like to think that the San Antonio Spurs will right whatever wrongs they committed during last year’s Finals, my brain is telling me that the Miami Heat will finish off the season that they started back in November in magical fashion. Besides, I’m going with a threepeat-hunting LeBron James over a revenge-seeking Tim Duncan every time.

Nima Zarrabi, Senior Writer
Pick: Heat in 7
Why? LeBron Raymone James ain’t got no worries. He’s blessed.

Maurice Bobb, Contributor
Pick: Spurs in 7
Why? Either I’m a glutton for punishment, I’m stubborn like that cantankerous old man in your neighborhood that yells at everything that makes a noise, I’m just a friggin’ creature of habit or all of the above, but for me, it’s all about the Alamo this postseason. I know I picked them last year to fell the Heatles and had to eat a buffet of crow when Jesus Shuttlesworth went all He Got Game in Game 6 on Timmy, Manu and TP, but I really believe I’ll be the one getting the last laugh this time. Coach Pop is still the best coach in the game and he’s getting the most out of a team that had to be in the doldrums after swallowing that bitter three-point pill. Pop’s got Boris Diaw ballin’ like an All-Star, Kawhi Leonard raking away all comers on defense and Patty Mills, wait, did I just mention Patty Mills? Yep, I sure did. Patty Mills is droppin’ Js on ‘em, for crying out loud. I won’t cry a river if Miami threepeats, so don’t give me any crap if Old Man Riverwalk backs up his version of Mose Malone’s “fo, fo, fo” prediction and adds a fifth ring to his trophy case.

Bill DiFilippo, Contributor
Pick: Heat in 6
Why? Tony Parker’s health is too much of a question mark, Miami’s Big Three has been fantastic and I just can’t see the Heat losing with LeBron’s impending free agency looming. I think the Spurs get two because they’re the Spurs, but this will be Miami’s third straight title. On a really positive note: after the last round, where close and competitive games were few and far between, I think every Finals game is fantastic.

Sam Rubenstein, Contributor
Pick: Heat in 6
Why? When the Heat feel like they have to win a game, they win it. True, this creates more drama than is healthy, but it makes the foregone conclusion of the best player always winning the ring more exciting. So, which games will the Heat mess up and allow the Spurs to win? I say they have to stunningly lose a home game … maybe Game 3, putting them in a 2-1 hole, so everyone freaks out about how they never lose at home so now they no longer seem invincible, Wade isn’t a superstar anymore, Duncan and Pop are the greatest and Tony Parker has done more than Westbrook/Rondo/Rose/Paul will ever do combined. Then Miami will win the next three, and LeBron will have his threepeat so he can retire from basketball on top and start his career of catching touchdown passes from Johnny Football. (The Browns will not make the playoffs.)

Dave Zirin, Contributor
Pick: Heat in 7
Why? The Miami Heat will win in seven games. Why? Put simply, I think they have forgotten how to lose four out of seven games.