It’s August, but it’s never too early to start predicting the playoffs! (Insert Jim Mora playoffs quote) Yes, I want to talk about playoffs. The West is one giant super conference where the Warriors still reign supreme and the East is known, as the LeBron Conference still doesn’t mean we can have a little fun with it. These are predictions as of now and can always change.
Let’s start with the Wild, Wild West. (Cue awful Will Smith theme song from movie)
1. Warriors: Reigning champs, four of the top 20 players in the league, retained their core and still best team by a mile. Pretty simple and straight forward. Barring injuries this team can and most likely repeat. Doesn’t matter who’s the coach.
2. Spurs: Is it still possible to underrate the Spurs after all these years? The Spurs have one of the best two-way superstars in the league in Kawhi. Will get Parker (although another year older) back, a disgruntled Lamarcus, Ginobili, and some guy from Europe that no one has heard of will still keep the Spurs in contention. If Pop is coaching and running the team it’s still in good hands.
3. Houston: Chris Paul, Harden, and possibly Melo? Interesting to see how 3 players that NEED the ball are going to mesh. My guess is mix and match minutes and have a star on the floor with bench players on the floor.
4. Thunder: You have the reigning MVP in Russ and arguably a top 10 baller in Paul George that was added this off-season. All you had to give up Olidapo and Sabonis. Thunder won that trade easily. Not impressed with Billy Donovan but we shall see.
5. Wolves: The young pups have made step forward. To me this is their ceiling this year and best case. I think worst case they finish 7th. Would be a fun, physical series. Could even see the Wolves “upsetting” the Thunder in 7 games.
6. Clippers: Best case scenario. Blake stays healthy and cares the Clippers all year. Worst case they implode and either DeAndre gets moved, Blake, or both despite signing an extension and full rebuild is under way. Balmer makes a decision of either siding with Doc or Jerry West. My gut. Jerry West gets full control, outs Doc and full rebuild in swing.
7. Pelicans: Pelicans traded for Boogie, and just gave Holiday an extension. Way too much money invested in this team to be a 7 seed plus Top 5 player in the league Anthony Unibrow Davis. Even if the team implodes. Davis isn’t going anywhere and Boogie gets traded.
8. Utah: Young core. Quin Synder as a coach. I’m probably sleeping on Utah. I love Gobert and Synder is such a great coach. Losing Hayward hurts but no doubt they still can’t make a move in the playoffs.
Middle School Intermural East Conference
1. Celtics: It’s LeBron’s conference. However, there is no reason to see why the Celtics cannot repeat in first place in this conference. Added Hayward, added most polished scorer in draft, and also leaps from brown, and the other young Celts. Brad is a top 3 coach in the league plus Cavs will rest starters down the stretch. Curious to see how the Kyrie thing plays out (writing this while he’s still a Cav) no doubt as a Celtic fan it’s nice seeing Cleveland implode within.
2. Cavs: LeBron’s world and we’re just living in it. Despite drama he’s the best player in the league. Nuff said.
3. Toronto: Hesitant to put them at three. Love DeMar but not a huge fan of Lowry. Resigned Ibaka. Casey doesn’t get enough credit in my opinion. However, would not be surprised if they fell to 5th.
4. Heat: Played well down the stretch. Spo doesn’t get a lot of credit either. Spo proved he could coach without a major superstar. Not having Bosh hurt him but adding Bam is a solid move via draft. Again curious to see if they make a run for Kyrie.
5. Wizards: John Wall is dynamic talent. Beal is good but not great. Super expensive backcourt plus re-signing Porter. Should have let Otto go for the money he got from Brooklyn. Can’t make any major moves since it’s tied up to backcourt. Most expensive 3-4 seed in the East for the next 4 years.
6. Bucks: Greek Freak is going to continue to dominate.
7. Sixers: I’m trusting the process of these guys staying healthy and progressing forward in a super weak east.
8. Hornets: Team goes as far as Dwight and Kemba take it. Batum is solid as well. Malik Monk was a steal and is going to be a stud.