By: Tyrone Montgomery Jr.
Headline Photo Courtesy: NY Post
The goal is to just get in. The playoffs are right around the corner. Many people always say the All-Star Weekend is the halfway marker of the season. But really and truly, we’re past that. There’s really just a 3rd of the season left. With that being said, the playoff standings as we see them indicate all the teams that should make the playoffs barring any seeding changes. As mentioned, the goal is to just get in. With the playoffs, we never know what may happen. There’s always a “Cinderella” team. Then there’s always a team or player that folds during the pressure. James Harden a few years ago is a prime example. Injuries may play a big part too. LeBron could very well have 4 rings now if it wasn’t for those injuries suffered by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Another thing that tends to happen to teams in the playoffs is they get exposed. They make the playoffs however they show us they’re pretenders rather than contenders. The playoffs will be fun.
However, there will only be one winner. The Orlando Magic had a successful year despite having a losing record. The Markelle Fultz Experiment went through well. Still, they’re preparing for a first round exit that will end in a sweep. Who would have guessed the Memphis Grizzlies would be here? Their success is being led by a guy none of us are talking about, Head Coach Taylor Jenkins. He should have consideration for Coach of The Year. This was definitely a feel good story with Ja Morant. They won’t be a threat as a contender this season. Luka Doncic took the league by storm this season. He proved last season wasn’t a fluke and he even got some help in the acquisition of Kristop Porzingis. The Mavericks will win a championship. Unfortunately, it just won’t be this season. They have a really good core there.
We all expected CP3 to pout after being traded to the Thunder. In fact, we expected him to get moved once more. Winning though heals all wombs. He actually could be considered in MVP conversations. Great year by a great player and a really good team from the front office down the the roster and talent. They’re young, but the Thunder are heading in the right direction. The Nets are simply going through a test where they are testing what they have and who they are as a team. While they wait for a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they will find out who could possibly be their 3rd star on the team and maybe even 4th. Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris Lavert are real players, and you will always have a chance at a title with KD and Kyrie on your team. The Pacers are the team that won’t go down without a fight but they’re not quite ready for the big stage just yet. Sabonis making the allstar team is great. However, this team will go as far as Victor Oladipo will take them. And he hasn’t quite been himself due to injury this season.
The Sixers may have the most talented team in the East. Ben’s reluctance to shoot the ball really hurts this team and coaching isn’t phenomenal either. Sixers will be a second round exit and that’s fingers crossed for them. The Jazz have been solid all season. But it’s Utah, and we just can’t take that team serious. Donavan Mitchell is good but he’s still fairly raw. They need more of a veteran presence there along with another scorer. The Heat have been on fire. They are buttoned down from top to bottom and Jimmy wouldn’t have it any other way. They are a dark horse to make the finals. Nobody would want to play them. The Celtics are solid. Inexperience will hurt them. They are promising threat .
The Raptors are legit. Nick Nurse has put himself to be named one of the best basketball coaches in the world. They will be a gritty team playing with a chip on their shoulders although being the reigning champs. Don’t sleep on the Raptors. The Rockets are no longer yelling “Houston, we have a problem. The addition of Russell Westbrook has been a success. He’s taken a lot of pressure of James Harden and small ball has been going fairly well for them. They are a contender despite not playing great defense. The Nuggets are sleepers out West. If it wasn’t for the city of LA, they would be in conversations about being Western Conference Champions.
The Lakers and the Clippers. The Lakers refused to ruin their chemistry. This may work in their favor when the playoffs start because it’s all about trusting your teammates. Lebron is the main corporate in that department as he is the ultimate teammate leading the lead in assist this season. Somehow, someway, the Lakers will figure out a way to beat the Clippers to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. The Clippers won’t make it easy by any means necessary. They have a ton of weapons. However, there are questions with their 2 best weapons and their health. Chemistry hasn’t been great due to the simple fact that Paul George and Kawhi haven’t played together much this season. That will be a heartbreaker for them. The Lakers will face MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals. Greak Freak has proven he is an unstoppable force and there just aren’t any answers for him. This will be the year of the Buck!