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From Cavs in Six to Yankees in Four, Here Are VICE's NBA Finals Picks

With the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers set to square off in a third-straight championship series, we offer a few thoughts on what may happen.
Photo by Jaime Valdez - USA TODAY Sports

Everybody loves making predictions. It's the best way to prove to your friends, neighbors, and loved ones, how much you know about something. Instead of just limiting the fun to the VICE Sports staff, we asked people from across the VICE network—including some really important people—who they thought would win the NBA Finals and why. What you will read will either impress you, or make you worry about the future of this media company.


Michael Pina, staff writer, VICE Sports: Cavaliers in 7. There are roughly one trillion compelling factors that can influence anyone's prediction in these Finals, but so long as LeBron James is averaging 32.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists with an ungodly True Shooting percentage, betting against him doesn't feel like a smart thing to do. (Also, Draymond Green will turn into an icicle.)

Caitlin Kelly, managing editor, VICE Sports: Warriors in 6. I'm going to say Warriors in six, because "Defense Wins Championships," and the Cavs defense sucks. If the correct truism turns out to be "LeBron James Wins Championships, Actually," I will be neither surprised nor very upset. I am very proud to send in the most boring answer out of the entire staff, please include that in the roundup.

Jorge Arangure, editor-in-chief, VICE Sports : Warriors in 6. As much as I'd like to pick Cleveland in this series, I can't see the Cavs' defense being able to stop the Warriors. Plus Klay is probably due for a big series, and Cleveland's slow help defense should give him a lot of open shots.

Mike Piellucci, staff writer, VICE Sports: Warriors in 6. I'm not on the bandwagon that thinks this can be done in a relatively simple five games, but Golden State has too much firepower and too much JaVale to lose the rubber match.

Sean Newell, staff writer, VICE Sports: Yankees in 4. Honestly, I don't see how anyone stops Aaron Judge, who is my MVP for the series. Judge is also my dark horse pick for MVP.


David Roth, staff writer, VICE Sports: I think the Warriors will win in six games, unless they win it in five or seven, or unless the Cavaliers win it in some other number of games. One of the secondary bummers of the playoffs having been so lame to this point is that, while I believe that both these teams are significantly better than they were last year, I don't really have a sense of how much or how that will play out in the series. I honestly don't know how any team ever beats the Warriors, let alone four times out of seven, and watching them has done nothing to help me figure that out. But I felt that way last year, too. My point is that I do not know, and my other point is that, after all these weeks of inevitability, I am really enjoying that feeling a lot.

Liam Pierce, weekend editor, VICE Sports: Warriors in 6. Sure, I may be from Oakland and therefore am crazy-biased toward the greatest city on the planet, but I've got enough hatred for this upcoming move to San Francisco to take a step back. The Warriors are out to draw blood and prove they're no fad. But what's more important is that KD gives them a fail-safe plan. Klay drops off? No problem. Steph falls off? Still not a problem. Draymond falls off? Fine—what-have-you. Even if KD falls off? Nothing to worry about. All of them fall off? Ian Clark will carry us on his golden wings (and then sign with the Mavericks afterward).


Aaron Gordon, staff writer, VICE Sports: Warriors in 6. I can count the number of NBA games I've ever watched on two hands and none of them were this season. But 2016/17 seems to be the time the bad guys win.

Karisa Maxwell, social editor, VICE Sports: Cavaliers in 6. I don't care who wins or how well they play, I just want to see JR Smith wearing a half-on Romphim at the parade. We the people deserve it.

Jon Weidman, associate creative director, VICE: Cavaliers in 7. Because KD has to go through a post "Decision" letdown like LeBron for there to be balance in the universe. Speaking of the universe, Earth is flat.

Will Kiersky, publisher, VICE Entertainment: Cavaliers in 6. THE MORE EX-KNICKS YOU HAVE THE BETTER CHANCE YOU HAVE OF WINNING THE NBA TITLE. It's how the world works. This year's Cavs retain the title not solely because LBJ is still the world's best basketball players, but for the more subtle move of replacing the Timofey 'Timothy' Mozgov with Derrick Williams. They simply needed to replace one underwhelming ex-Knick with another and all would be status quo in Believeland. For obvious reasons a lot of people like to talk about the addition of Kevin Durant. But a little deeper digging reveals that neither the '16 nor '17 Warriors had or have a single ex-Knick on the roster. The key to the '15 Warriors title run? D. Lee coming off the bench to the tune of 3.1 PTS, 2.6 REBS and having once had the misfortune of playing for the New York Knickerbockers.

Josh Tyrangiel, senior vice president of news, VICE: Cavaliers in 7. I believe in LeBron James more than I believe in evolution. And I really believe in evolution. Derek Mead, executive editor, VICE Global: Cavaliers in 7. I feel like believing in something for once, even though I know I'm wrong. It feels shocking how quickly the Warriors have become annoying, especially because I *love* KD, but nothing will ever compare to watching Treal TV to get hyped for some more Baron Davis/AK47 magic on the court. Eric Sundermann, editor-in-chief, Noisey: Cavaliers in 7. Look, there's no way LeBron loses. Just no way. The Warriors have the talent and, on paper, should win for countless reasons (the main one being the Cavs don't really know what the word "defense" is). But dude just beat the Celtics by 50 and looked like he was on auto-pilot while doing so. Moreover, his legacy is on the line, and he's going to come out and look to prove that, MJ be damned, he should be considered the best basketball player of all time. Just like last year, Cavs in 7.

A lot of people at VICE are praying the Cavs win the finals. Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan McCarthy, editor-in-chief, VICE News: Warriors in 5. Can't wait for the NBA season to finally start tonight! I think each of the Finals games will be close, but the series not so much. In really busy NBA year that brought us Westbrook v. Harden, Boogie getting traded, and a few glorious months of Embiid, if anything I think the Warriors have been insufficiently hyped. Even Stephen A. Smith seems bored by the Warriors. And yes, I just made the case for more hype around a superteam of all-NBAers in an era of league inequality. Also: the Cavs defense is very bad and it's not totally Kevin Love's fault. Kyle Kramer, features editor, Noisey: Cavaliers in 6. Basketball, a game invented by James Naismith in 1891, has seen many iterations in the 126 years since ol' James first tossed a ball through a peach basket: NBA Jam, NBA Jam Tournament Edition, NBA Jam Extreme, NBA Jam 99, something called Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball for Super NES, etc. But at the end of the day, we can all agree that the current version is the best version because it involves Lebron James, who plays with the dominance of an NBA Jam character except in real life. And the only thing cooler than video games is LeBron James making other six-foot-seven men look like kindergarteners as he dribbles around them. Matt Taylor, news editor, VICE: Cavaliers in 6, because KD is going to bump knees with Tristan Thompson in game 1 and miss the rest of the series. Annalise Domenighini, social editor and cold one enthusiast, Noisey: Whichever team has the most abs. Harry Cheadle, politics editor, VICE: Warriors in 6—I don't know much about basketball but it seems like they have most of the good players. Jason Koebler, senior staff writer, Motherboard: Cavaliers in 4. These playoffs have been horrible and the law of long-suffering cities that finally get over the hump suggests that Cleveland is about to be blessed with unending sports success and the insufferability to match. Trey Smith, social editor, VICE: Cavaliers in 6. Cause LeBron is sick of y'all and is waiting to get a lot of fed up-ness out his system. Alex Robert Ross, contributing writer, Noisey: Cavaliers in 7. I've spent the last year trying to convince myself that the Warriors—a Silicon Valley startup with an innovative and gritty approach to disrupting my happiness—won't be champions. Here's all I have left:
—Draymond Green hasn't kicked anyone in the dick and balls lately. He's overdue.
—Zaza Pachulia is at the whims of some ancient evil spirits who will soon sour on his success.
—Iman Shumpert has only played like a drunk 13-year-old this year because he's been too busy delivering babies and putting the finishing touches to his game-changing new mixtape. He will put both of those things on hold for these Finals.
—LeBron James.
—JR Smith will do anything for an excuse to be shirtless. That includes dropping 38 points upon Zaza Pachulia's haunted dome.
—Steph Curry doesn't actually exist. Prove to me that he exists. Have you ever seen him? I mean, not on TV. Have you ever actually seen him? With your own eyes? Exactly.
—Something about Kyle Korver hitting threes or something.
—Maybe God exists.