1. LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol vs. Draymond Green, JaVale McGee
With Kawhi Leonard seemingly not returning for the playoffs, it seemed the Spurs would simply be outmatched. However, Stephen Curry is reportedly out for the first round, meaning the Spurs may have an outside chance, at least if LaMarcus Aldridge plays his best basketball.
Considering Aldridge’s spectacular play this year, there’s an opening for an upset. He’ll likely see a revolving lineup of Draymond Green and JaVale McGee guarding him. Meanwhile, veteran NBA champion Pau Gasol will likely see his minutes increased come playoff time. Gregg Popovich has likely learned from over-resting veterans stars one minute on the bench too long.
All eyes will be on this first round matchup between the Warriors and Spurs both because of what happened between Zaza Pachulia and Kawhi Leonard last year and to see if the Spurs can pull off an upset with Curry out. The Warriors might allow Aldridge to get his while limiting the rest of the Spurs from getting too many points up on the scoreboard. On the other side of the court, Aldridge will be expected to go Trail Blazers-Aldridge and beyond to get the Spurs the win.