By Brody Tennant, Staff Writer
The NBA playoffs – predicted to be very interesting – began Saturday, April 13, 2019. Many of the East seeds have already been locked, with the top five seeds locked in and the top seven locked for a playoff berth.
Taking the top seed in the East are the Milwaukee Bucks, led by the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo. This season, Antetokounmpo has averaged 27.7 points per game, 12.5 rebounds per game, and 5.9 assists per game. To put this into perspective, Shaquille O’Neal averaged 26.9 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, and everyone knows where Shaq has progressed.
Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors have locked up the second seed, and the Sixers have the third. The Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers take the fourth and fifth seeds, respectively, rounding out the East locks for the playoffs. Depending on the results of the final games on April 10, the Brooklyn Nets and the Orlando Magic will take the sixth and seventh seeds, respectively. Barely hanging on, the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets fight for the final spot.
The East is a toss-up between any of the top four seeds. Each team has a strong core player and/or group of players, making the results ultimately come down to who becomes ‘hot’ at the right time.
The West is a much different story. The only current seed that is locked up is the first: the Golden State Warriors. Following them as the next likely seed are the Denver Nuggets.
The Houston Rockets are the next likely team, followed by the Portland Trail Blazers. At this point, however, any order can prevail. The Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Clippers all take the remaining seeds for the West.
It would be difficult to bet against Golden State, which has arguably been the best team in the league for the past five years. The roster is full of all-stars, and Steph Curry is one of the, if not the, greatest three-point shooters of all time.
However, the rest of the teams in the West are no joke, and each team will put up a strong fight and make its case for their playoff run. The Denver Nuggets have a strong roster all the way through, and the Rockets have James Harden, who is a scoring machine, nearly impossible to slow down with the ball in his hands.
Here is the final prediction:
In the West, Golden State will win fairly easily, with some struggles along the way. Nonetheless, the team will still make it to the finals yet again. The East is much trickier, with a good number of teams that could make the finals. In this prediction, the East is going to have a new champion in the underdog, with the Philadelphia 76ers making the finals for the first time since 2001. The team is extremely motivated, and with the roster additions it has made throughout the season, it may have the second best roster behind only Golden State.