NBA Playoffs

New play-in tournament

Mark Elliott , Managing Editor

 

The NBA started at an abnormal time this year due to COVID delays from last postseason. The players had less of an off-season, but surprisingly there haven’t been that many injuries this year. Nonetheless, this postseason is looking to be very entertaining, with many new exciting teams, and a new playoff structure. 

A play in game tournament was added in for the 7-10 seeds. The seven seed plays the eight, the winner of that game earns the seven seed. The nine and ten seeds play, and the winner of that game plays the loser of the seven vs eight game. And then whoever wins that game gets to be the eight seed in the playoffs. This is very confusing and new, players in the NBA such as LeBron James have already expressed a dislike for the play in tournaments. 

There have been a number of surprises with where teams fell in the rankings. The defending champions Los Angeles Lakers are the 7 seed in the Western Conference, so they have to play in the play in tournament. Instead, the two teams dominating the West have been the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns, two teams that haven’t been good since the 1990s or the 200os. 

The Suns picked up Chris Paul in the offseason, and there was speculation that he would be too old and not effective. This proved to be wrong as there was a dynamic duo between him and shooting guard Devin Booker. They are a fun team to watch that looks to make a run to the finals. The one seed in the west is the Utah Jazz. Led by the young and talented Donavon Mitchell. A high volume shooter who has been fun to watch all season long. The Jazz don’t really have any other star power besides Mitchell, but they have been dominant all year. 

For the Eastern Conference, it has been a very interesting season. The Brookly Nets had an explosive off season bringing in James Harden, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge, before he retired mid season. The team has so much star power in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden; but this team lacks defense, and that could be the downfall of their postseason. But the one seed is the Philadelphia 76ers, led by MVP candidate Joel Embiid. It has seemed to come all together this season for the 76ers with the hire of Doc Rivers. They have been dominant all season and it seems “the process” is over and they want to make a finals run. Two let downs in the East are the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. They were in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. These two teams have so much potential and it is sad to see them disappoint. Their stars, Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler have not disappointed though. 

My prediction for the NBA Finals is the Phoenix Suns and the Philadelphia 76ers. They have been the best all year and they both have vastly improved from last season. This would be a very fun series to watch and I would have the Suns winning it all in 6 games. This has been a great season, as we look to see a great postseason.