Kevin Durant picks Clippers over Lakers in Western Conference Finals

Kevin Durant picks Clippers over Lakers in Western Conference Finals

For the first time in his NBA career, Kevin Durant is on a team that resides in the Eastern Conference.

The former Warriors forward -- who is expected to miss the Nets' entire 2019-20 campaign as he rehabs his torn right Achilles -- was a guest on "Hot 97" radio in Brooklyn on Tuesday morning, and was asked who he thinks will win the West this year.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP is going with the Clippers over the Lakers.

"That's gonna be a tough series," KD said. "That'll be crazy if those two play in the conference finals. It would be so much fun.

"But I like the Clippers right now. I'm only looking at it on paper. They got more talent on the team. But you never know throughout the season."

Nobody followed up and asked Durant how he thinks the Warriors will fare this season.

It's safe to assume we will get a prediction from KD at some point in the coming months.

[RELATEDKD reiterates Dubs couldn't stop him from playing in Finals]

Yours truly agrees with the four-time scoring champion that the Clippers will reach the Western Conference finals. But where we differ is that it will be the Rockets -- not the Lakers -- who face Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Co.

And Houston will punch its ticket to the NBA Finals.

I'm gonna go hide now ... 

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Ranking which teams Giants fans should root for in MLB playoffs

Ranking which teams Giants fans should root for in MLB playoffs

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the A's are in the playoffs, it's an interesting test for Giants fans. While much of the fan base will choose the Bay Area over anyone else, there's certainly a large contingent that enjoys rooting against rivals who have spent the last few years ramping things up with McCovey Cove takeovers at Oracle Park and airplanes dragging banners across the sky. 

Well, the A's lasted just one game. So the postseason, which kicks into high gear with two NLDS games today, now features eight teams from other regions. Who should Giants fans root for? It's easier to start at the end of the list. 

The Dodgers are out, obviously. 

That leaves seven teams from very different markets. Here's a rundown of how you Giants fans can choose your side this October ... 

8. Dodgers: No explanation necessary, although it should be pointed out that Dave Roberts and Clayton Kershaw handled Sunday's ceremonies in a wonderful way, and if the Dodgers do happen to break through this year, you should feel happy for those two at the very least. 

7. Yankees: When I was in middle school in Cupertino, there was a kid who decided one day that he was a Yankees fan and he insisted for years to come that he had always been a Yankees fan. The cap would come out every October. We all know this person, the one who randomly roots for the Yankees or Cowboys and insists it has nothing to do with being a frontrunner. So this is relatively easy, too. Don't be That Guy. 

6. Braves: Mark Melancon handled the down times in San Francisco about as well as you could expect, and he agreed to waive his no-trade clause in July, helping set the Giants up for a better future. He deserves a good month, and Adam Duvall and Charlie Culberson are also here. Plus, a short October for the Braves may make them more desperate for Madison Bumgarner. 

But they rank this low because of the tomahawk chop, which is still a huge part of their celebrations and in-game experience. Also, they wouldn't let The Merc's Kerry Crowley race The Freeze and the Blooper Burger gave me food poisoning. 

5. Cardinals: A postseason enemy for years, it's hard to really feel too much one way or the other about these guys now.

4. Astros: The favorites heading into October, they're led in part by Gerrit Cole, who is Brandon Crawford's brother-in-law. They rank this high because they have the best shot of beating the Dodgers in a seven-game series, and ultimately that's probably the result most Giants fans want this month. 

3. Nationals: Hunter Strickland and Gerardo Parra are here, but the real reason they're an early favorite for Giants fans is that they're the first team to face the Dodgers. And with Pat Corbin, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, they have a good shot at the upset. 

From a baseball standpoint, the Nationals are fascinating because of the lack of balance on their pitching staff. Strasburg already played hero out of the bullpen in the Wild Card Game. A World Series run could force the same from him or Scherzer later in the month, and as we learned with Bumgarner in 2014, that's one of the coolest things you can see in the sport. 

2. Twins: It's a close call at the top, with plenty of former Giants on these last two teams, both of whom are small-market clubs trying to crash the party. Sergio Romo (it would be great to see him gutting his way through another huge postseason moment) and Ehire Adrianza are here, and Sam Dyson would get a ring if the Twins win it all. Plus, between the Dyson deal and the Eduardo Nuñez swap, the Twins have been quite helpful to the Giants in recent years. 

1. Rays: MATT DUFFY. That's your answer. If you're a Giants fan, you're probably just rooting for Matt Duffy this month. 

No, in all seriousness, the Rays are a hell of a story, the brilliant organization with a low payroll and a bunch of contributors you've never heard of. (Who the hell was that Nick Anderson guy?) They might have to get through a Wild Card game, the Astros, the Yankees and the Dodgers to win it all, and while that would murder MLB's ratings, it would be pretty cool to watch. 

[RELATED: Duffy reveals that his Willie Mac Award was stolen]

Plus, a Rays championship might end a curse some Giants fans whisper about. It all went downhill when Duffy was traded in the middle of 2016. Perhaps a ring would set things back on course ... 

Paul George to miss Clippers-Warriors Chase Center opener after surgeries

Paul George to miss Clippers-Warriors Chase Center opener after surgeries

When Chase Center opens its doors for the Warriors' first regular-season game there Oct. 24, one of the NBA's biggest stars will be on the shelf.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George, who underwent two shoulder surgeries during the offseason, told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne at Clippers Media Day that he will be out until “November-ish,” thus putting him out of the marquee opening-week game against Golden State.

The Clippers are considered the favorites to win the 2019-20 NBA championship after a wild offseason in which they acquired George and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

Expectations are sky high for coach Doc Rivers’ squad, who retain quality role players Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell, all of whom helped the No. 8-seeded Clips push the No. 1-seeded Warriors to six games in the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs.

The Warriors, after being prohibitive title favorites for years, now are back among playoff hopefuls after Kevin Durant left Golden State for Brooklyn and Klay Thompson will miss most of the season after tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. While many pundits still expect the Warriors to still make the playoffs -- they have Steph Curry, Draymond Green and newly acquired D’Angelo Russell, after all --  they will need every win they can get. With George sidelined for the Warriors’ home opener, that game becomes significantly more winnable for Golden State.

[RELATED: KD now has team of his own in Nets after leaving Warriors]

The Warriors and Clippers don’t square off again until Jan. 10, at which point George is expected to be fully healthy.