The former Rockets coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy has picked the Houston Rockets to win the NBA Finals.
“I’m going to pick the Western Conference winner, and I’m going to stick with Houston. If they get past Portland they will have to win three (series) on the road without home-court advantage, which seems really difficult, but I have liked their team from the start.”
Why does Van Gundy like the Rockets?
“They play fast, they score easily, and they have a talent in James Harden who is as hard to guard as anybody not named Kevin Durant or LeBron James. They have a center (Dwight Howard) who gives them a force in the paint, who can rebound, and then they have one of the best competitors in (point guard Patrick) Beverley; I just love his mentality in attacking each and every opponent. I think Houston has as good a chance as anyone to come out of the West.”
But if it’s not Houston, Van Gundy believes the NBA Finals winner will come from the Western Conference.
“I really do believe the Western Conference winner will win it, and I have to stick with who I think will win the West. You could convince me about San Antonio and Oklahoma City and the Clippers as well, because all of them are really good.”
TNT’s Reggie Miller wasn’t ready to fully buy into the Rockets as potential champions.
“I think it will be a tough road for them to win the West,” MIller said. “If they get by Portland, now you are talking about San Antonio, a team that has had everyone’s number though Houston has been pretty successful against them this year. Do they [the Rockets] make the commitment on the defense end? Obviously, they have a defensive gem in Dwight Howard. But they have to make shots. They have to make threes for four tough series and I am not sure they will be able to do that.”