Denver Nuggets assistant coach Popeye Jones, left, hugs guard Jamal Murray after Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers Monday, April 29, 2024, in Denver. Murray scored 32 points despite a strained calf and sank the game-winner with 3.6 seconds left to win over the Lakers. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

MANILA, Philippines—The Denver Nuggets are the clear cut favorites of PBA players to emerge victorious in the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

At Araneta Coliseum on Friday, Inquirer Sports asked several league figures to drop their picks in the ongoing NBA Playoffs and the unanimous decision was for the defending champions of the league.

Meralco players Chris Newsome and Anjo Caram locked Denver as their picks to go back-to-back for the NBA championship.

“Boston looked really good except for their last game. OKC looks really good but I think it’s going to be the team who plays the best defense, actually. Nuggets are up there defensively so I’ll have to go with my team, the Nuggets. I think they can be back-to-back champions this year,” said Newsome.

READ: NBA: Jamal Murray hits winner again as Nuggets eliminate Lakers

“In the West, it’s tough but I think whoever wins between Denver or Minnesota, if they advance, they’ll come out in the West. In the East, it’ll be Boston. I look at their chances based on their records in the elimination so looking at their lineup, they have an advantage, they just have to play well,” Caram doubled down.

“In the end, I think Denver will take it,” the point guard added.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic  NBA

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Monday, April 29, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Bolts team consultant Norman Black also had some positive remarks about the Nikola Jokic-led squad and said they have several advantages in bringing the title back to Colorado.

READ ALSO  con 889 casos en humanos y mortalidad del 52%, es una gran preocupación de la OMS - Return Sports

To do that, however, Black believes they will have to run past Las Vegas favorites Boston Celtics, who are the favorites to win the whole thing with +130 odds.

“I think it’s going to end up as Denver vs. the Celtics. In the West, maybe Minnesota or OKC might have something to say about that but I’m thinking Minnesota more because they have more experiences and vets,” said the 66-year-old tactician.

READ: Nikola Jokic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ascend to NBA MVP favorites

“I think Boston will come out in the East. If they get past Miami that’s a great experience going into the next series because Miami’s a tough team, they’re well coached and if you can get past them that can help you in the next series as far as preparation and performance,” he added.

San Miguel swingman Jericho Cruz was confident with the Nuggets taking it all the way, and he justified his pick with a comparison to his mother team.

“I feel like it’ll be Boston and Denver. I’ll go for Denver, though. They have Jokic and he’s the key. It’s like San Miguel, we have June Mar (Fajardo), they have Jokic. That’s just how it is. I’m with the Lakers, but…” Cruz said with a shrug, pertaining to Los Angeles’ worry of winning one over the Nuggets.

There was nothing different in the Magnolia camp, as well, as they showed their support to Denver, which bundled out the Lakers, in the NBA Western Conference first round.

READ: Meralco stars at odds on NBA prediction: Lakers comeback vs Nuggets in 5

Ian Sangalang first showed his love for underdogs by predicting Milwaukee to come out of the Eastern conference with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard.

In the end, however, Sangalang kept it real and said Denver’s going to win its second straight NBA title.

READ ALSO  2024 Kentucky NFL Draft Preview - Return Sports

“For me, I think it’ll be Denver… In the East, it’s hard but I’m going with Milwaukee because they’re underdogs,” said Sangalang in Filipino. “Denver’s winning it because they’re competitive, complete and they all know each other’s roles but that’s just for me, personally.”

Abu Tratter also believes in the possibility of Denver winning it all once more.

Tratter, though, believes that the biggest hurdle for the Nuggets, if ever, would be the Heat as the big man is a fan of fellow bruiser Bam Adebayo.

“For sure, [it will be] the Nuggets. They just play really good and solid basketball. I like the way they play, they share the ball, it’s very conventional and they have some talents over there. That’s who I’m rooting for. I really like Miami too because of Bam Adebayo… but they’re [Nuggets] going back-to-back.”

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.

Your subscription has been successful.

As of writing, the Nuggets are the second-favorite to win the title behind Boston with +240 odds.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *