The NBA season has finally arrived, and with that there are predictions for the playoffs to be made. I am here to bring bold predictions and thoughts about the postseason the looms in the distance.
First, we start off with the Eastern Conference. I have the Milwaukee Bucks taking the number one seed. The 2019 MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, looks to be in great form to start the season. They finished the first week 2-1 with wins over the the Rockets and the Cavaliers, but fell to the Heat in overtime.
The number two spot in the east is a hotly contested spot, but I am going to have to give it to the Philadelphia 76ers. They lose guard Jimmy Butler but get Josh Richardson. They also made a great move in picking up former Celtics big man Al Horford, and let's not forget that Ben Simmons has been working on his jump shot over the offseason. The Sixers faced off against the Celtics and had a commanding 107-93 victory. They are currently the only 3-0 team in the Eastern Conference.
The third seed goes to the Raptors. They may have lost Kawhi Leonard, but that is not slowing down the 2019 Most Improved Player, Pascal Siakam. With help from Fred VanVleet, the Raptors secured a victory over the Pelicans on opening night. They have also accumulated wins against the Bulls and Magic. They are sitting at 3-1, with their first loss coming at the hands of the Celtics.
The fourth seed will be awarded to the Boston Celtics. After parting ways with Kyrie Irving, the Celtics picked up Kemba Walker. Walker now has a team to work around including Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown. They are sitting at 2-1 with wins against the Knicks and Raptors.
The Brooklyn Nets will take the fifth seed. They started off the season with a loss Timberwolves, a game where Kyrie Irving had 50 points, ensuring that he still is going to put up good numbers. The key with the Nets is: will Kevin Durant come back this season? It's very improbable that he will make it back in time. The Nets are sitting at 1-2 with a win against the Knicks. They also lost to Memphis, with both losses going to overtime and being decided by one point.
The sixth seed will be awarded to the Pacers. The Pacers were busy in the offseason, acquiring nine new players to the team, including TJ Warren, Malcom Brogdon, and Jeremy Lamb. Domantas Sabonis was signed to a four-year contract extension, and this is all happening while Victor Oladipo is working on getting back to the court. They have started 0-3 with two losses to the Pistons and one to the Cavaliers. If the Pacers can string some wins together, they can get Victor Oladipo back from his injury and make a run to the playoffs.
The Atlanta Hawks will take the seventh seed. Despite having a rough season last year, Trae Young proved he can perform in crunch time. With the additions of Jabari Parker in free agency and Cam Reddish in the draft, the Hawks will make a run for the playoffs. The Hawks are at 2-2 with wins against the Magic and Pistons and losses to the Heat and the Sixers.
The last seed will be won by the Miami Heat. Despite not making the playoffs last year, Jimmy Butler will lead them to a playoff berth. Don't forget about Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo to help score points. Miami has started out strong, going 3-1 with wins against the Hawks, Bucks, and Grizzlies.
Now we make our way to the Western Conference, which is hotly contested so far. At the first seed in the West, I have the Clippers. Kawhi Leonard is making waves on the Clippers, averaging 27 points a game with 6.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists. LA is 3-1, accumulating wins against the LeBron-led Lakers, Warriors, and the Hornets. Their only loss was delivered by Devin Booker and the Suns. They have accomplished all this without Paul George; when he gets healthy, I don't know who will be able to stop the Clippers. They also having three-time Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams off the bench.
At the second seed, I have the Nuggets. Led by All-Star big man Nikola Jokic, who is averaging a double-double, the Nuggets have come out strong, starting 3-1 with wins over the Trail Blazers, Suns, and Kings. Their only loss is from the new duo of Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic on the Mavericks. Jokic is already showing he is ready to get back to the playoffs after losing to the Trail Blazers last postseason.
For the third seed, I have the Trail Blazers led by Damian Lillard. The Blazers have a record of 2-2 with wins against the Mavericks and Kings and losses to the Nuggets and Spurs. Damian Lillard is already back to his regular form, averaging just under 31 points a game. Don’t forget about CJ McCollum, who is aiding in the scoring by averaging 23 points. They have Jusuf Nurkic rehabbing from his gruesome injury from last year, and he’s expected to come back soon.
At the fourth seed, I have the Spurs. They are sitting at 3-0 to start the season with wins over the Wizards, Knicks, and Trail Blazers. DeMar DeRozan is having a great start to the season by averaging 22 points a game, and a steady presence in the post with LaMarcus Aldridge will help the cause.
At the fifth seed, it’s the Mavericks. Luka and Kristaps have proved that they can synergize well for the Mavs and have helped them start 3-1 this season. They have wins over the Nuggets, Pelicans, and Wizards. Their only loss has come at the hands of Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers. Combined, Kristaps and Luka are averaging 47 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. They are a hungry team ready to prove themselves after not making the playoffs last year.
I have the Jazz led by Donovan Mitchell at the sixth spot. They have a record of 3-1 with wins against the Thunder, Kings and Suns. Their only loss came at the hands of the Lakers. They lost Ricky Rubio last year but picked up knock-down shooter Bojan Bogdanovic, who is averaging just under 24 points a game. They also have last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert.
At the seventh seed, I have the Rockets. James Harden is ready to redeem his loss against the Warriors last year, and with the addition of the only player to average a triple-double three seasons in a row, Russell Westbrook, the Rockets will be striving for the Finals this year. The synergy of Westbrook and Harden needs to be perfect for them to make it to the playoffs in this heavily contested conference.
The final seed in the West is going to be the Timberwolves. Despite going below .500 last year, they have come back with a force. Karl-Anthony Towns has been keeping his dominant pace over any of the other bigs in the league. The difference this year so far is the backcourt. Unlike last year, they have come alive to help Towns alleviate the back pain from carrying their team. They have started out 3-0 with wins against the Nets, Hornets, and Heat. Hopefully this energy and play will carry over for the rest of the season.
The bulky Western Conference will be decided by a one or two game lead on other teams. It will be a tight race through the whole year. The same goes for the Eastern Conference as well.
East Playoff Standings
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Toronto Raptors
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- Indiana Pacers
- Atlanta Hawks
- Miami Heat
West Playoff Standings
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Denver Nuggets
- Portland Trailblazers
- San Antonio Spurs
- Dallas Mavericks
- Utah Jazz
- Houston Rockets
- Minnesota Timberwolves