One of my favorite parts of any postseason is to see how many of ESPN experts — the Worldwide Leader indeed leads the world in experts — pick the local team. Usually it’s not many, which only feeds into our suspicion that the Bristol gang hates Atlanta.
I don’t think it’s hate. I think it’s more — borrowing the words of Steve Holman, the voice of the Hawks — that Atlanta teams “don’t fit ESPN’s narrative.” (ESPN also leads the world in “narrative.”)
Which is why I was mildly surprised to note that five ESPN basketball contributors are picking the Atlanta Hawks over LeBron’s team. Five of 14, to be exact. That’s 35.7 percent. That’s more than a third. By ESPN/Atlanta standards, that’s a mandate.
Of the five who pick the Hawks, four see them taking the series in seven games. (So do I.) One — Michael Wallace — has them winning in six. Of the nine who predict a Cleveland victory, only two foresee the Cavs winning a Game 7. Five have them winning in six. One — Amin Elhassan — has them winning in five.
If you really want to see unanimity at play, check ESPN’s predictions for the Western Conference finals. All 14 pick Golden State. I guess ESPN hates Houston, too.