Five Things to Watch This Summer

Sports  /  by Connor Brody '19 and Nico Ellis '19  /  May 28, 2017

Neha Chintamaneni '18 / The Lawrence

NBA Playoffs:

Starting June 1, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers will play in the 2017 NBA Finals. Both teams bulldozed their ways through their respective conferences. Golden State is the first team to ever enter the finals 12-0. The Cavaliers showed similar dominance, finishing their conference play with a 12-1 record. This meeting is the third consecutive final played between Cleveland and Golden State; the Warriors won in 2015 and the Cavaliers won in 2016. However, both teams’ rosters have changed through major additions: all-star Kevin Durant (Golden State) and sharpshooter Kyle Korver (Cleveland). In this third installment in the Cavalier-Warrior Saga, history will be made. This series is a must-watch for sports fans.

Stanley Cup Finals:

The 2017 NHL Playoffs have been arguably the tightest NHL Playoffs of all time, in which there have already been 27 overtime games. In these tight games, the story of this year’s playoffs have been the Nashville Predators. Surging at the right time, the first ever No. 16 overall seed made it to the playoffs with a strong defense, led by none other than Pekka Rinne. Unlike the Predators, the Penguins have a chance to win the first back-to-back Stanley Cups since the 97-98 Detroit Red Wings. Star forwards Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will lead the Penguins in an intriguing matchup with the star studded Nashville defense. The Stanley Cup playoffs will begin Monday, June 1, and hopefully it will be as unpredictable as the rest of the playoffs.

PGA Tour

Three of the four major U.S. golf tournaments will occur this summer. First, the U.S. Open will be played at Erin Hills, Wisconsin, from June 15-18. The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) tour will congregate in Lancashire, England, for the The Open tournament from July 20-23. Finally, from August 10-13, the PGA Championship will played in Charlotte, North Carolina. While Dustin Johnson holds the first place position, a victory from one of the top players like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, or Jason Day could swing the rankings. On the women’s side, top-ranked Lydia Ko is the favorite for these tournaments, having remained dominant since 2015.

Major League Baseball:

The Major League Baseball season is well underway, with superstars like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Clayton Kershaw in midseason form after the first month and half of play. Teams like the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing up to the preseason hype, while the defending champions, the Chicago Cubs, are looking to get back on track. A few noteworthy stories for this summer are whether the young Houston Astros can continue to play well, whether rookie phenom Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees can stay hot, whether Eric Thames continues to carry the Milwaukee Brewers, and which of the best teams in need of starting pitching will try to bolster their rosters. Overall, this summer of baseball should be full of surprises given, how young many of the best teams’ rosters are.

Tennis:

The French Open of Tennis opens today and will continue until June 11. Rafael Nadal looks to regain his crown at this event while familiar faces like Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray will vie for the title. On the women’s side, top-ranked Angelique Kerber will look to dethrone last year’s winner, Garbine Muguruza.

In July, the tour will move to the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon from July 3-16. Murray, a native Scotsman, will look to hold his men’s singles title, while for the women’s singles, the absence of defending champ Serena Williams will open the title to a new face this year. At the tail end of our summer break, the fourth and final tennis major tournament, the U.S. Open, will take place from August 28 to September 10.