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NBA (Sneaker) Playoffs Predictions

Which team has the most players with their own sneaker?

NBA: Finals-Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In a perfect world, only the best athletes have sneaker deals and their teams are the ones that win championships and wear rings. Below are my predictions for this year’s playoffs based on this perfect sneaker world. Merit is given to teams based on the following two criteria in order: 1) number of players with a signature sneaker and 2) Impact of sneaker company.

EAST

1- Celtics vs. 8- Bulls:

BULLS WIN 2 ROUNDS

NBA: Playoffs-Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Bulls easily win this match-up with two signature athletes (Rajon Rondo/Anta and Dwyane Wade/Li-Ning) compared to the Celtics, who have zero athletes with their own sneaker. Another notable player in this pairing is Jimmy Butler, who has his own Jordan Clothing Line.

2- Cavaliers vs. 7- Pacers:

CAVALIERS WIN, ADVANCE TO FINALS

NBA: Playoffs-Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

While the Pacers do have a signature athlete in Paul George (Nike), it is not enough to beat Cleveland, who has two Nike athletes (LeBron James, and Kyrie Irving). With LeBron and Kyrie, the Cavaliers have enough power to win the East Conference.

3- Raptors vs. 6- Bucks:

BUCKS BEAT RAPTORS & LOSE TO CAVALIERS

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucks barely win this match-up with one (terrible) signature athlete, Matthew Dellavedova/Anta. Seriously, someone needs to sign Antetokounmpo or Lowry. It’s a good thing the Bucks lose to the Cavaliers in the second round.

4- Wizards vs. 5- Hawks:

HAWKS WIN, ADVANCE TO SECOND ROUND

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Hawks win this series, even though they’ve only got one signature athlete in Dwight Howard (Peak). John Wall used to have his own sneaker with Adidas, but opted not to renew his contract and therefore lost this series for his team.

WEST

1- Warriors vs. 8- Trailblazers:

NBA: Playoffs-Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors win this series with three signature athletes (Kevin Durant/Nike, Stephen Curry/Under Armour, and Klay Thompson/Anta). However, the series does go to 7 games because of the Trailblazers only signature athlete, Damian Lillard (Adidas), who scored extra points because he’s a decent rapper. The Warriors then go on to win the West and face the Cavaliers in the Finals.

2- Spurs vs. 7- Grizzlies:

SPURS SLIDE PAST GRIZZLIES, FALL TO ROCKETS

NBA: Playoffs-Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs easily win this series with Tony Parker/Anta. The Grizzlies have zero players with their own sneaker. However, the Spurs end up losing to the Rockets in the second round, because Adidas (James Harden) sells more sneakers than Anta.

3- Rockets vs. 6- Thunder:

HARDEN PREVAILS, WESTBROOK ISN’T THE MVP

NBA: Playoffs-Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden (Adidas) is the only player in this series to have a signature sneaker. Actually, I take that back; Westbrook has his own sneaker meant for casual wear. I repeat, casual wear, not basketball. C’mon man, a real MVP would have his own BASKETBALL shoes.

4- Clippers vs. 5- Jazz:

CLIPPERS BEAT THE JAZZ, FALL TO WARRIORS

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Paul is the only athlete in this match-up to have his own signature sneaker. His shoes are made by Jordan. Let’s be real here, the Jazz will never win because sneaker companies don’t sell sneakers worn by nerdy white boys (*cough* Gordon Hayward).

THE FINALS

NBA: Finals-Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors
2016 NBA Finals
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

In this perfect world, the NBA Finals end up being a rematch between the Warriors and Cavaliers. Based on the criteria in my system, the Warriors win. This is because they have 3 signature athletes, while the Cavaliers only have two. This series does go to 7 games though, because the Cavaliers two players are both Nike athletes.