first_imgWhat else could an NBA fan ask for? The Western Conference Finals will be prime time matchup between two teams stocked with young all-stars and MVPs, as the Oklahoma City Thunder face the defending champion Golden State Warriors in a much-anticipated series beginning May 16.The matchup features the two most recent MVP winners and five all-stars from this year’s West team. Last week, Golden State’s Stephen Curry won his second straight MVP award, two years after the Thunder’s Kevin Durant took home the trophy in 2014. Both Durant and Curry joined Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook as starters in this year’s NBA All-Star Game, while Golden State’s Draymond Green and Klay Thompson appeared as reserves. Golden State won all three games against the Thunder in the regular season, but each contest was tight throughout. With MVPs leading each team and flanked by all-stars, who will win the Western Conference Finals? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate this question.AFRO Sports Desk FaceoffGreen: Let’s not forget that Westbrook finished second behind Curry in last season’s MVP race. Who knows if Westbrook will ever win the award, but he’s definitely been in the conversation for the last two seasons. He’s led the NBA in triple-doubles the past two seasons, with 29 over that span. The next closest player to that mark is Houston’s James Harden—with seven. It’s rare to find two MVP-caliber teammates on the same team, and while Durant and Westbrook get the bulk of the press, a young and talented roster makes OKC a formidable team. I truly believed that if Thunder got past the San Antonio Spurs, they would advance to the Finals. They’ve already vanquished the Spurs. What’s next?Riley: Across the last two regular seasons and playoffs combined, the Golden State Warriors sport a total 164-31 record. They’ve been dominant and I see no reason to pick against them now. I love what OKC has matured into, but just as the Warriors took a title from LeBron James last season, they’ll take it from Westbrook and Durant this year. Curry’s back from an injury, and he was in full MVP form for the last two games of Golden State’s series against Portland. Durant and Westbrook are incredible players, but Curry’s the MVP with limitless range and blue-chip playmaking ability. Green and Thompson are arguably the top players at their positions, and reserve swing man Andre Iguodala was named the Finals MVP last June. I like the star power of Durant and Westbrook, but I like the depth that the Warriors have more.Green: Golden State has a roster of capable and experienced veterans, but I like the overall depth that the Thunder bring, too. Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter form a diverse, long and athletic trio of seven-footers with incredible wing spans. Last year’s in-season trade for Kanter gave OKC an inside scorer who can attack the offensive glass and pair with the two defensive bigs, Ibaka and Adams, who also rebound and score efficiently. Guards Dion Waiters, Randy Foye and Andre Roberson are all at least 6-foot, 4-inch combo players who can alternate between positions, handle the ball and shoot from range. The Thunder’s roster might not be as deep as the Warriors’ but they have several players who can help to the team’s MVP-caliber duo. I still believe Golden State relies too much on jump shots. Oklahoma City is special because their two dynamos can attack defenses from anywhere on the court. That will give them the edge.Riley: When you have arguably the best two shooters in NBA history on one team, then there’s nothing at all wrong with relying heavily on jump shots, the origin of basketball. Westbrook and Durant are impossible to check, but Curry and Thompson are impossible to leave open and expect they’ll miss. The fact that both of Golden State’s best players can shoot from practically anywhere on the court makes them even more difficult to handle than their athletically superior counterparts. This team is on an incredible two-year run that has the potential to be historic. The Thunder will be formidable, but even the duo of Durant and Westbrook will find the task of toppling the defending champions a difficult one. – See more at: Golden State Warrior’s Stephen Curry (left) and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant (right). (AP Photos)last_img