To Save or Not

It still is very early in the Conference Finals, but if the Cavs continue their championship-caliber play and the Spurs unfortunate injuries, then we should start planning for the Finals.

There are six 30-PRA prospects: James/Irving/Love and Durant/Curry/Green. Count Thompson in if you can catch him on his special game. That should be plenty enough to save for the Finals. The rest of the players in those two teams' pool are I'd say 20-PRA picks. What does that last bit mean?

It means that as long as you have 20+ PRA picks this round from the Celtics and the Spurs, then you are still on track and do not have to pull from the Finals pool. My picks:

Celtics-Cavaliers:
Game 2 Bradley
Game 3 Horford
Game 4 Crowder
Game 5 Smart
Game 6 Olynyk

Warriors-Spurs:
Game 3 Gasol
Game 4 Mills
Game 5 Green
Game 6 Simmons

After Gasol, there is not much consistent 20+ PRA choices from the Spurs. We may have to borrow one or two picks in advance from the Warriors. These shall replace the sub-20 PRA in this round. And in case the Finals extend to more games, then that's when we pick the sub-20 PRA.

I am thinking Curry in Game 4 instead of Mills. Let's see which of the Warriors play better this series.

Good luck!

UPDATE: Probably Manu Ginobili's last game. To me, a great player. He deserves a proper send-off. Game 4 pick: Manu Manu Manu!

Underdog

Congratulations to the Boston Celtics for winning that Game 7 and advancing to the East Finals! They deserve to be here.

But let's get into this "Underdog" discussion. The psyche of the underdog lies in the expectation to lose. If you are expected to lose, you don't get the pressure. You go into a tournament, enjoy it and be your natural best. You've got nothing to lose, and have everything to gain. Without the pressure to win, you can set your mind into other things like scouting the opponent and digging into the nitty gritty details. I've read somewhere that 3 out of 4 athletes love to be underdogs, and I understand why -- with only a portion of the athletes base able to fight for the Conference Finals (or corresponding Final Fours of other leagues), most of the players are by default underdogs.

Don Nelson loves it when the Mavs were underdogs. He enjoyed upsetting the odds and proving the basketball statistics wrong. Mark Cuban hated that by the way... because it assumed a culture of mediocrity. When the 2011 Mavs won it, the world may have seen them as the underdogs, but by that time the Mavs were already in a winning culture and in no way saw themselves the underdogs.

Maybe the young Celtics are in that phase "we are the underdogs". And that's alright if that works for them. Anything that can lit up the fire in them.

Let me light up a little bit more fire for them...

Cavs in 5. Game 1 pick: Isaiah Thomas.


And oh yeah West Finals Game 2: LaMarcus Aldridge as the re-injured Kahwi Leonard is expected to sit it out. Nevermind the Texas Aldridge plan, because this may be the only game that he will be the primary option. Kahwi can get back in Game 3 and be his usual self going forward, and thus Aldridge being the secondary option the rest of the West Finals.

Cheers!

Dream Match

Welcome to the West Finals, Warriors and Spurs!

When I saw that my $100 will earn $900 if I bet on the Spurs, I'm really tempted to do so. I really think that this year Kahwi Leonard has really ferried this team towards real contention. But, Tony Parker and Kahwi are injured. Without Tony's leadership on the floor and without a 100% Kahwi, I am not sure anymore.

Ah the Warriors... I'll save my thoughts on Durant and the Warriors for the Finals. For they are winning this series at full strength.

Sunday I got Kahwi Leonard if he plays. Pau Gasol if not. LaMarcus Aldridge gets my Game 3 pick playing at home in Texas... we all know this of Aldridge since we have been discussing that here since 2011, right?

Monday's Game 7 of Round 2, I got Markieff Moris. But if you have full strength Celtics/Cavs/Warriors/Spurs still, then I think it's alright to use a Celtic instead... which doubles as an insurance just in case the Wizards steals this one. Isaiah Thomas anyone? Come forward, brave souls!

Good luck!!!