Courtesy of Justin Terranova
Q: Will the Warriors’ dominance carry over into the playoffs?
A: They are the prohibitive favorites. You can’t put anyone in their class. It’s the same as San Antonio last year, so when they marched through the playoffs last year, it wasn’t a surprise. They are the prohibitive favorites. I am not sure we’ve seen as good a regular season since the Lakers with Shaq [O’Neal] or when the Celtics first got Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. They are just blowing away the competition.
Q: How’d they get here?
A: They are the best defensive team in the league and a top-three offensive team in the league and they are healthy. They’ve really improved their depth since last year. Put that all together and that’s what you get.
Q: Are the Cavaliers the favorites in the East?
A: Slightly over Atlanta. Since [LeBron] James came back from his injury, they’ve been absolutely dominant at home and they are a terrific offensive team. Defensively, they still have some challenges, but their in-season moves compare favorably to what the Rockets did as they are the two most improved teams as far as personnel. [Timofey] Mozgov is real good, J.R. Smith has spread the floor and [Iman] Shumpert’s given them quality depth and plays with energy. Their eight-man rotation is very strong and solid.
Q: Have you lost confidence in the Hawks with them stumbling a bit in second half?
A: They’ve had injuries, rested their guys some and taken some losses because of that. They still have really good basketball habits. They play incredibly unselfish on offense and on defense they aren’t big, but they play hard and they’re disciplined. I think it’ll be Cleveland and Atlanta in the Eastern Conference finals.
Q: Does a healthy Derrick Rose put the Bulls in that conversation, too?
A: It’s not Rose coming back, it’s Rose coming back and approximating his MVP form. It’s the same with [Joakim] Noah. It’s not just health, he has to be the same player he was last year. If those two guys can do that, then yeah, you could put them in that picture as well. Unless you are there every day, it’s hard to predict if those guys can do it, though.