The NBA Finals matchup between the Raptors and Warrior is rapidly approaching.
Toronto is making its first appearance in the championship series, while Golden State is trying to win its third consecutive title and fourth in five seasons.
The Warriors are favored to win, but anything could happen on the biggest stage in basketball.
Here are three bold predictions for the 2019 NBA Finals:
1. Stephen Curry won’t win Finals MVP
Curry is considered by many to be the greatest shooter in NBA history, but the face of the Warriors franchise has yet to be named MVP of the NBA Finals.
The sharpshooter is a two-time regular season MVP and is the only player to win the honor unanimously. However, his teammates have been more effective than him in his three championship series wins.
Andre Iguodala stole the award thanks to his defensive prowess against LeBron James in 2015. Then came Kevin Durant, who claimed two straight Finals MVP awards in 2017 and 2018 after joining Golden State following 2015-16.
Most believe Curry will be a shoo-in this year, as Iguodala has aged and Durant is battling a calf strain, but teammate Klay Thompson could easily burst into the spotlight following his All-NBA snub. Draymond Green has also become increasingly involved in the orchestration of the Warriors and played inspired basketball against the Trail Blazers.
But the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard poses a threat, as well, as he has been one of the most dominant forces throughout this year’s playoffs. Curry is undoubtedly one of the best in the game, but not having home-court advantage in the NBA Finals for the first time ever doesn’t bode well for him.
2. Danny Green will make at least 15 3-pointers
Green had an underwhelming third round, as he converted just 17.4% of his 3-point attempts against the Bucks. Despite shooting a career-high 45.5% from deep during the regular season, he’s shooting just 31.4% from beyond the arc in the playoffs overall.
The 31-year-old guard has made two previous NBA Finals appearances – both with the Spurs. He averaged 18 made 3-pointers in those two series, including a then-record 27 in the 2013 NBA Finals.
Green, a 10-year veteran, isn’t worried about his recent slump.
“Trust me, I’m going to keep shooting,” Green told reporters Monday.
Golden State has been one of the worst when it comes to defending the long ball this postseason, as it has allowed the second most 3-pointers per game (13.5) so far. Green has ample opportunity to capitalize on this weakness and have a breakout performance.
3. Draymond Green will record multiple triple-doubles
The Warriors’ emotional leader has been on a tear since Durant went down in Game 5 of the team’s second-round series. Steve Kerr called Green a “wrecking ball” earlier in May after he became just the fifth player in NBA history to record a triple-double in three consecutive playoff series in a single year, and he’ll likely stay hot.
Golden State’s 6-7 utility man has averaged 14.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game since Durant strained his calf against the Rockets. Each of these stats has received a bump without Durant, and Green managed to notch two triple-doubles against the Trail Blazers in the third round.
Toronto has the second-highest defensive rating in this year’s playoffs and has held opponents to just 31.3% shooting from deep. Because of this, Green’s playmaking ability and fight in the trenches will be essential to the Warriors.