The NBA looks a whole lot different than it did since the Cavaliers beat the Warriors in this year's Finals.
New offseason signings have completely changed the landscape of the league, as many teams have acquired some serious talent which could really alter the league in the years to come. This year's draft class was also one of the deepest we have seen in years, as many NBA teams are excited and looking forward to the future. Looking into the future is what this article is all about, as we will be predicting the contestants and the winners of the next five NBA Finals. While it may look like teams such as the Warriors and the Cavaliers have their Finals positions secured for next year, great young teams will soon be ready to take the league by storm, as new rivalries and new superstars are just around the corner.
In this article, we will be predicting the Eastern and Western Conference winners, and which team will bring home the championship for the next five years. Using factors such as new signings, development of young players, future draft selections, and multiple others, this is most likely what the NBA Finals will look like for the next five years.
15 2016-17 Eastern Conference Champions: Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers are fresh off their historic series win against the Warriors this year, as they came back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals, something no NBA team has ever done before. Cleveland's championship drought is now over, and the team and fans are hungry for more. The Cavaliers have the star power needed to compete against the great teams in the league, as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are some of the NBA's top players. The team's chemistry is also at an all-time high, as they will most likely improve on their 57 win season last year, and will probably break the 60 win mark this season.
The Cavs will have some tough match-ups in their playoff run this year with teams such as the Celtics, Knicks, Bulls, and Raptors all being very talented. With the Cavaliers' recent championship win and all of their great players, the Cavaliers will end up being the Eastern Conference Champions for the third time in a row.
14 2016-17 Western Conference Champions: Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are a hot topic in the NBA right now, as their recent acquisition of superstar Kevin Durant is extremely interesting. Adding the superstar to the roster may seem like a dream come true, but the Warriors are a tight-nit group, and there will be a lot of pressure on KD to not affect the chemistry of the team. No, the Golden State Warriors will not win every game this season, as they will probably even have a worse record than their historic 73-9 season last year, as they will be working out a lot of kinks throughout the season. The Western Conference isn't as tough as it was last year, as the Thunder are no longer a big threat due to Durant's departure, and the Spurs will miss Tim Duncan's presence greatly.
The talent that Golden State possesses is just too great for them not to win the Western Conference championship again, but will they have the chemistry to compete against the Cavaliers for the championship this year?
13 2016-17 NBA Champions: Cleveland Cavaliers
This is a bold prediction, but I don't think the Warriors will be able to beat the Cavaliers in next year's finals. LeBron will be on a mission all series, as he will know that a championship series win against the seemingly over powered Golden State will help greatly for his G.O.A.T considerations. While the Warriors had the entire regular season to get their chemistry where it needs to be, who will be the leader of the team will still yet to be determined, which will hurt the Warriors.
This series would probably go to seven games again, but LeBron is still good enough to will the Cavaliers past the Warriors. The Cleveland Cavaliers will end up going back to back, as they are the only team with the fire power to compete against the Warriors. The deciding factor will ultimately come down to chemistry, which would give the Cavs a slight edge over the new look Warriors.
12 2017-18 Eastern Conference Champions: Cleveland Cavaliers
Even with LeBron being well into his 30s by 2018, the Cleveland Cavaliers will find their way into the into the NBA Finals again. While their path to being the Eastern Conference Championship was tougher than ever, due to the budding talent in the East, the Cavaliers will still come out on top. Confidence will be very high for the Cavaliers, as they have won back to back titles against the extremely talented Golden State Warriors. The deep bench and talented stars such as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving will propel them to yet another Eastern Conference Championship win, but do they have the strength to hold off the Warriors for a third year in a row? Why Not? LeBron and Kyrie are just as good as any other superstars in the league, and being as proven as they will be, the Cavaliers are expecting to take home the title for the third time in the franchise's history.
11 2017-18 Western Conference Champions: Golden State Warriors
The problem the Warriors had the previous year in our fantasy world, team chemistry, has since been resolved, and the Warriors absolutely walked their way to the championship, as their offensive fire power was too much for the other teams in the league to handle. Breaking their own record of 73-9 two years earlier, the Warriors starting five is a well oiled scoring machine. Kevin Durant finally feels at home when he plays, and his presence will be no longer a burden for the Warriors, and he will contribute big buckets in the team's path to the finals.
The Warriors are once again the favorite to win the series against the Cavs, as the strength the team showed in the regular season looked very promising. The Warriors organization is not satisfied with their historic regular season however, as Kevin Durant and the rest of the team are certain that they will finish what they set out to do when Durant signed with them, and win an NBA championship.
10 2017-18 NBA Champions: Golden State Warriors
After losing in The Finals two years in a row, the Golden State Warriors will be the NBA champions for the 2017-18 NBA season. Having two years to develop and grow as a team, the chemistry was finally there for the Warriors to put away the Cavaliers. While LeBron and the rest of the Cavaliers would put up a respective fight, the superstar caliber Warriors will be just too much to overcome a third time in a row. While the Warriors could probably go on to win a few more championships even with talented teams such as the Sixers, Timberwolves, Lakers, and a few other teams ready to compete for the championship, Kevin Durant(for the sake of this article)will not end up signing back with the Warriors, as he achieved what he set out to do, which will allow him to compete for another team. Whether he goes back to the Thunder or he doesn't, the absence of Durant will be felt immensely in Golden State.
9 2018-19 Eastern Conference Champions: Philadelphia 76ers
This is where things start to get interesting. Let's go back to the present, and look at the Sixers assets. Obtaining Ben Simmons with the 1st overall pick this season to join their talented young players such as Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel (if they don't trade him), and Joel Embiid was the finishing touch on the Sixers long rebuilding process. Silently climbing the Eastern Conference standings for years, the 2018-19 season will be the 76ers coming out party, as they will finally be one of the best teams in the league. While the four time defending eastern conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers will go deep into the playoffs as well, the Sixers will be a more dominant force in the league by the 2018-19 season. Most likely beating the Cavs or perhaps the Toronto Raptors in the eastern conference series, the 76ers will be back in the finals for the first time since 2001.
8 2018-19 Western Conference Champions: Los Angeles Lakers
That's right, by the 2018-19 NBA Season, the top two teams in the league will be the 76ers and the Lakers. Similarly to the Sixers, their acquisition of Brandon Ingram in the 2016 NBA Draft was the final piece for the Lakers becoming a top tier team in the league, as L.A. once again became a respective basketball destination. Most likely signing a big name in one of the offseasons leading up to this, the Lakers team will most likely be the favorite against the Sixers in this match-up. The 2001 NBA Finals rematch will look very similar, as the Lakers will be a better team than their opponent, but nothing is guaranteed in the NBA.
D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram will both be superstars by 2018-19, and any possible free agent signings will only add to what the Lakers already have right now. Perhaps this team will feature Los Angeles native Russell Westbrook as their big free agent signing. The Kobe Bryant era has since passed, and a young new core will be ready to add some championships to the Lakers collection.
7 2018-19 NBA Finals Champions: Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers will win their 17th NBA championship by the 2018-19 NBA season, which would tie them with the Boston Celtics for most all-time. As a Sixers fan, it pains me to say that the Lakers will be a bit better than the Sixers three years from now. Considering the 2001 Lakers steamrolled the Sixers other than Game 1, the 2018-19 rematch wouldn't be as easy for the Lakers this time however. With Los Angeles being such a big market, the slight edge the Lakers have over the Sixers is free agency, which will ultimately give them the series win over Philadelphia.
When you think about it, the development of the Lakers and Sixers have been very similar, as their 2015 and 2016 draft selections were just one pick away from each other. The Lakers time of dominance in the NBA is just a few years from now, and the first hint of greatness will be seen at the end of the 2018-19 NBA season.
6 2019-20 Eastern Conference Champions: Milawaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are quietly building a very strong team and a few years from now, when LeBron's stranglehold over the Eastern Conference is over, the Bucks will be one of the team's emerging to challenge for the NBA Championship. The Bucks have a solid team in Michael Carter-Williams, big man Greg Monroe and the 'Greek Freak' Giannis Antetokounmpo is a very promising young star. They'll have to hope that second overall pick from 2014 Jabari Parker proves to be a star.
The Bucks are already very strong defensively and by 2020, their offense will have improved significantly enough to make a run to the NBA Finals. Perhaps LeBron's Cavs will be standing in their way, with their run on top coming to an end. The Bucks haven't made it to the NBA Finals since 1974, but that drought could end at the turn of the next decade.
5 2019-20 Western Conference Champions: Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers will once again make it back to the NBA Finals, as another year means more growth for the already successful team. Beating out aging teams such as the Warriors and even some up and coming teams like the Suns, the Lakers will be the best team in the league by the 2019-20 NBA season. D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram will both be MVP candidates by this time, as they will be taking most of the load when it comes to scoring and getting the team it's wins. Considering the Lakers beat the Sixers, with a skill level about equal to the Timberwolves last season in The Finals, many people are expecting another Laker championship, as dynasty talk begins to surface for the young Laker team. Looking to surpass the Celtics for the most championships by a franchise, the Lakers are confident they will keep the Larry O'Brien trophy in Los Angeles.
4 2019-20 NBA Finals Champions: Los Angeles Lakers
The new Lakers dynasty is official underway by now, as the team brought home it's league leading 18th NBA championship. It does feel a bit odd saying that D-Loading is a superstar, but as a rookie, he showed many flashes of what could be, and he has the ceiling to be one of the greatest Lakers of all time. The help of Brandon Ingram never hurts either, as he will be one of the leagues premier scorers due to his nice touch and length on the court.
Fans of the Lakers should be very excited for what the future holds, as the group of guys they are watching right now, will most likely be the same guys to propel them back into being one of the most respected teams in the league. Organizations like the Lakers don't stay down for long and this back-to-back run to close out the decade will mark their resurgence.
3 2020-21 Eastern Conference Champions: Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers will be back in The Finals for the 2020-21 NBA season. Mark my words, Ben Simmons will be the next LeBron James, and add Simmons skill to the other talented big men the Sixers have, they were bound to make it back to the championship despite being beat by the Wolves the previous season. Joel Embiid has the potential to be something special due to his height and athletic abilities, and by the time the 2020-21 season comes along, Emiid will be one of the league's top centers. Pair up Emiid's defensive presence with Okafor's scoring skill, the 76ers will have one of the best frontcourts in all of the NBA's great history. Learning from their mistakes the last few seasons, the 76ers walked right through the other fierce competitors in the East, and Philly fans are confident there stars will bring them home a championship they so much deserve.
2 2020-21 Western Conference Champions: Minnesota Timberwolves
Similar to the Sixers, the talent the Timberwolves have right now will garner them a lot of success in a few years. Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and new addition Kris Dunn, will be the strong core of the Timberwolves, as they will be one of the hardest teams to beat in the league. Most likely beating out the Lakers for their championship birth for the 2019-20 NBA season, the Minnesota Timberwolves will be in the finals for the first time since being established in 1989. The young T-Wolves players have developed a lot since 2016, as all of their young stars will most likely be some of the best players in the league by the time the 2019-20 season rolls around. The Lakers and the Timberwolves will most likely battle for Western Conference dominance for years.
1 2020-21 NBA Finals Champions: Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers will be the champions of the basketball world after the 2020-21 NBA season! It was a long road for the team, as they went from being the laughingstock of the league to gradually becoming a force in the association. While the Sixers would be better equipped this time around to try to compete against the Lakers, which they lost to two years earlier, they will not get the chance here. In any event, in this fantasy 2021 series, the 76ers were the overall better team going into the showdown against the T-Wolves, and capitalized on it. While there will be a lot of celebrating going on in the great city of Philadelphia, the years ahead will be even tougher, as the rivalry between the Sixers and the Lakers could garner some of the greatest battles in the NBA's great history.
So share this article, and in five years, come back to it to see if I'm utterly wrong on these predictions or if you've actually read the works of an NBA genius!