Anyone who has listened to Jeff Van Gundy call NBA games for ABC/ESPN this season or heard him providing analysis on the radio knows that the former Houston Rockets coach is a big backer of his former team.
Van Gundy has long supported Dwight Howard as a defensive stalwart and has believed in the Rockets all season long. He stood by them even when they had some struggles early in the season. So it’s not too much of a surprise to hear that JVG is picking the Rockets to win the NBA championship.
“I’m going to pick the Western Conference winner, and I’m going to stick with Houston,” Van Gundy said during a conference call, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“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,” Van Gundy said. “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.”
The Rockets are the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and face Portland in the first round. If they’re lucky enough to advance, the road will be tough; they wouldn’t have home court against the Spurs, Thunder or Clippers. But that’s not stopping JVG from sticking with Houston.
“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.”
Even if Houston is not the team to win it all, this is pretty noteworthy because Van Gundy thinks the Miami Heat will be unseated as champs. The Heat are looking for their fourth straight Finals appearance and third straight title. Accomplishing both goals would be extremely difficult and impressive.