This postseason looks to be one of the most unpredictable we’ve ever had. There are several contenders in both conferences, so any team has a chance to go all the way this season. Additionally, with the flurry of injuries and breakout players, the playoffs are a true toss-up this season. So today, we’ll examine the state of the NBA heading into the playoffs. Specifically, we will analyze whether or not any team is beatable in the NBA this year.
Many consider the Brooklyn Nets to be the favorites to win it all this year. They have more firepower than arguably any team we’ve ever seen. Their big three of James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant are unmatched on the offensive end. However, they do have some shortcomings that could allow them to be beat come postseason.
Firstly, they have the potential to struggle with injuries come playoff time. Kevin Durant has had some injury problems throughout the season. He has missed 37 games this year. For the most part, this was because of a hamstring injury he experienced midseason. Also, Harden has just come back from a hamstring injury. He has missed a total of 27 games this season.
Injuries are a concern heading into the playoffs for Brooklyn. These injuries have been so nagging that the Nets’ big three have played less than ten games together.
Secondly, the Nets have faced struggles with their interior defense this season. Inside scores such as Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Bam Adebayo have feasted on the Nets’ poor inside defense. Most notably, Adebayo posted his career-high of 41 points against the Nets this year. Additionally, Antetokounmpo scored the third-most amount of points in a game in his career against the Nets, with 49.
All three of these teams seem to match up solidly against the Nets.
There is a possibility that Brooklyn could lose in the postseason. Although it will be difficult for any team to do so in a seven-game series, this Nets team is beatable.
Rest of the East
There are several other titans in the East this season that have a chance to make a run. However, all of them are beatable under the right circumstances.
The 76ers have one of the best chances to make it out of the East this season. However, they have performed inconsistently in the past several years come postseason. Despite having a solid all-around roster, they haven’t been able to get past it out of the second round with their core.
However, it seems there has been a shift in the 76ers mentality this year. Philadelphia is playing much more focused and determined, especially Embiid. They look as strong as ever this year. Nonetheless, they are a team that can lose in the playoffs under the right circumstances. It will be interesting to see how they perform in the postseason.
The Milwaukee Bucks are also a definite dark horse to come out of the East. But the Bucks have been infamously underwhelming in the playoffs under Antetokounmpo’s tenure. While they look to be a powerful team, a team with the right tools has the potential to defeat them this year.
The Heat, Knicks, and Hawks are all underrated teams that could make waves come postseason. Upsets are inevitable this season, and even the strongest of contenders can fall short this year.
Los Angeles Lakers
Initially, the Lakers were the clear favorites to win the West. They are the reigning champions and got many key additions last offseason. However, there was a shift when both Anthony Davis and LeBron James suffered midseason injuries.
The injuries suffered by Los Angeles make them very vulnerable. They are currently the seventh seed in the West and will have a tough road in the playoffs.
With LeBron and Davis just recently coming back, it is unclear if they will be 100% in the early rounds of the playoffs. Both have missed a very hefty chunk of the regular season, and it will take some time until they find their footing again on the court, especially James.
The Lakers are a beatable team this season. It will be interesting to see how Davis and James perform come playoff time. However, if they play like they did last year in the bubble, they will be difficult to dismantle. It will all come down to whether or not they can put their injuries aside and show out in the playoffs.
Rest of the West
The Western Conference is quite competitive this year. The Nuggets, Suns, Jazz, Clippers, and the Lakers, can all make title runs this year. Furthermore, other powerful squads could cause waves in the playoffs like the Mavericks, Blazers, and even the Warriors.
Both the Jazz and Suns are compelling teams this year. They are the top two seeds in the West this year. Overall, both have looked to be very strong in the regular season. However, Utah hasn’t gone too deep in the postseason with their core and could be upset.
Additionally, Phoenix’s young core hasn’t been to the playoffs, so they are a question mark. While Chris Paul has a lot of experience, there is a lot of uncertainty about how the younger players will perform in the playoffs.
Some of the lower playoff seeds could easily upset the Suns or Jazz this year. The Warriors, Blazers, and Mavericks are all very talented teams and could upset these less experienced squads.
The third and fourth seed, the Clippers and the Nuggets, also have been performing well. Both teams could easily make deep playoff runs and even win the West under the right circumstances.
The truth is, the West is packed with talented teams this year. Anything can happen come playoffs, and no team in the conference is safe.
In conclusion, these playoffs have the potential to be filled with upsets and underdog victories this year. Any team is beatable under the right circumstances, and it will be a lot of fun this year.