This article is part of our NBA Roundtable series.
Welcome to the final RotoWire NBA Roundtable of the 2019-20 season. Nearly a full calendar year after the season began, the field has finally been narrowed down to just two teams.
With Game 1 between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers set to tip off Wednesday night from Orlando, the RotoWire NBA staff offers up their NBA Finals predictions:
1. Los Angeles Lakers vs. 5. Miami Heat
Alex Barutha: Lakers in 6
This series is a battle of top-end talent vs. depth. The Lakers have two future-Hall-of-Famers playing at an elite level, while the Heat have a plethora of great role players but lack a true superstar. That equation will not always result in the top-heavy team coming out on top (see: Heat vs. Mavericks, 2011), but I don't think the Heat can stop what the Lakers do on a fundamental level -- overwhelming with size and talent around the basket. Bam Adebayo is incredible, but going up against Anthony Davis is like playing in a different league compared to his previous matchups -- Myles Turner, Brook Lopez and, especially, Daniel Theis. Jimmy Butler is also a great player, but I'm going to go ahead and assume LeBron wins that matchup. Maybe Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro and company pop off, but that possibility doesn't feel like enough of a lock for me to pick against Los Angeles.
Nick Whalen: Heat in 6
Let me start by saying if the series goes to seven games, LeBron James isn't losing. But ultimately I'm not sure it gets that far. In the Heat, the Lakers will face by far their most difficult test of the playoffs. The mistakes and poor shot-making they were able to get away with against Houston and Denver won't exist against Miami. While the Lakers have the two best players, the Heat's overall talent and consistency advantage is significant. James is a lock to perform at his best in the Finals, but in a series that will ultimately be defined by which supporting cast can hit open threes and generate timely baskets, I can't side with Rajon Rondo, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope over Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. I've seen comparisons between this series and the 2011 Mavericks-Heat Finals, but it reminds me more of Heat-Spurs in 2014, when San Antonio's shooting and scheme advantages overruled the Heat's top-end talent.
James Anderson: Heat in 6
This is an awful matchup for the Lakers. Bam Adebayo is the closest thing other than Giannis Antetokounmpo to being Anthony Davis' physical/athletic equal. The Heat have a stable of defensive wings to throw at LeBron James, and they have seven of the 10 best players in the series, even though the Lakers have the two best. The Heat also have a clear coaching advantage. The Lakers want to score as much as possible in transition since their half court offense is so bad, but Miami is better equipped than almost any team at preventing transition opportunities. LeBron's jumper has also deserted him of late.
Ken Crites: Lakers in 6
As feared, Bam Adebayo was too much for the Celtics. He'll have a much harder time with Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee. And just like the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami has fewer stars, but a better team. The difference is the Lakers' star power provides a much bigger gap at the top than Boston did. The Heat will give the Lakers a scare, but Los Angeles' depth at center will be too much to overcome.
Mike Barner: Lakers in 7
As a Bulls fan, I'm pulling for Jimmy Butler. However, he runs into LeBron James yet again, who foiled Butler's chances of make a championship run during his days in Chicago, as well. This Heat team is a tough group and won't go down easily, but ultimately I don't think they can beat LeBron and company four times over the course of seven games.
Alex Rikleen: Heat in 6
Of course, the Lakers have the two best players. But the Heat have the 3rd, and the 4th, and the 5th, and the... all the way down to, what, the 9th or 10th? I know I'd rather roll with even this version of Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder in the Finals than Kyle Kuzma. And if anyone can neutralize, or even outplay, Davis over the course of a series, it's Bam Adebayo. No lead is ever safe against the Heat's incredible sharpshooters, so the pressure will be constantly on the Lakers' star duo. I think it's too much for just two players with an underwhelming supporting cast to handle. If this goes to a Game 7, I trust LeBron to pull it out, but I just don't think it gets that far.