Photo from New York Post
So as all of you should know, the NBA is on an indefinite pause, we have no idea when this season will finish, or if it will finish at all. With a chance the season is dunzo (I say with extreme sadness) I want to go over what could've been, my predictions round for round, all the way to name the 2020 NBA champions.
Eastern Conference: Round One
No.1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No.8 Orlando Magic
My Prediction: Bucks 4-0
EASY! With a record of 30-35, the Magic is considered a playoff team, but in my opinion, they have no chance against the Bucks. The Magic met the Bucks four times during the regular season, and not one game ended in the Magic’s favor. The Bucks won all four games with an average of 17 points, even during a game where Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out, the Bucks still managed to win by over 10 points. The magic gives me no reason to make this any closer of a series. Bucks SWEEP the Magic.
No.2 Toronto Raptors vs. No.7 Brooklyn Nets
My prediction: Raptors 4-0
ANOTHER SWEEP. I mean, we have to give them a break, while missing their top two competitors Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, we cant expect just Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie to pull off a series win against the reigning champs. The Raptors have a record of 46-18 displaying the consistency and strong core they have. It is very possible that the nets can steal one game, but one is the most I believe they can win without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
No.3 Boston Celtics vs. No.6 Philadelphia 76ers
My prediction: Celtics 4-3
This is a matchup I would be excited to see, although the 76ers haven't reached the potential they could have this season, when they play the Boston Celtics the rivalry comes alive, and they GO HARD. Before the season was put on hold, we've seen Jayson Tatum become very consistent, lead the team to many victories, and in a sense is playing like “a monster,” in a good way of course. I see the Celtics winning this series because of the inconsistency we've seen with Philly this season. Although during the regular season Philly has beaten Boston three of the four times they have met, I don't believe Philly has enough to beat them in a series stretch, but hey, I'm down to be proved wrong.
No.4 Miami Heat vs. No.5 Indiana Pacers
My Prediction: Miami 4-3
I also believe this would be a very entertaining, close series to watch. If the season is resumed, that means Victor Oladipo has had a lot of time to recover and get back his game. Along with Oladipo, it is more than possible that the team can choose to isolate Domantas Sabonis to lead the team to success. The Miami heat has also shown how strong they are while having home-court advantages, especially the new rookies. This series can honestly go either way, whichever way it does go it will be super close.
Western Conference: Round One
No.1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No.8 Memphis Grizzlies
My Prediction: Lakers 4-0
The Memphis Grizzlies currently hold the eighth seed in the western conference. If the regular season has finished under normal circumstances, do I believe that they would be eight seed? No, I don't, I believe they would've cut it close being a ninth or tenth seed, but in this case, they made it. I also believe that Lebron James wouldn't even give them a game, the 35-year-old guard is looking for the easiest way to a championship in L.A. and won't let the Grizzlies affect that. The Lakers have also shown a certain strength and connection throughout this season, supporting why they are ranked first in the conference. So, ANOTHER SWEEP in my predictions.
No.2 Los Angeles Clippers vs No.7 Dallas Mavericks
My Prediction: Clippers 4-1
As a team, the Clippers have a great amount of depth along with star power. Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic may have the potential to possibly steal a game, creating scoring possibilities. The Mavericks are going to need a lot of help on defense if they want to pull off more than one win during this series. The Clippers have a great offensive team having four players averaging over 18 points a game (Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell). Honestly, in my opinion, Kawhi Leonard is currently the best player in the league and can finish no matter what position or situation he's in. So for me, this is an easy series win for the Clippers, but it is very possible that the Mavericks can pull off one win, even maybe two.
No.3 Denver Nuggets vs. No.6 Houston Rockets
My Prediction: Rockets 4-2
Now, this is a series I was very excited about, and hope I get to see. This season these two teams have met in the regular season four times, with the Rockets holding two wins, and the Nuggets holding two wins. These two teams carry so many differences, The Rockets recently transformed into small ball, which is what they are focusing on. Then the Nuggets pretty much built around one player, Nikola Jokic, the 7-foot certified monster. But they need more, they need to find a reliable, consistent number two man to support Jokic. The Rockets have a lot of potential with this new type of playing style. James Harden is once again the highest scorer in the league, and reacquainted teammate Russell Westbrook has been doing rather well since they went small ball. Towards the end of the regular season, we have been seeing unusual play from MVP Harden, where we see the other MVP they have, Russell Westbrook step up to fill in the flaws, something the Nuggets lack. Oh yeah, and did I fail to mention the Rockets have two MVPs? Hehe.
No.4 Utah Jazz vs. No.5 Oklahoma City Thunder
My Prediction: Thunder 4-2
Okay, okay hear me out. OKC has been turning up lately, with three offensive monsters including Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, and my personal favorite of the team Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, making a very strong trio. Along with that two big guys who are holding it down by the basket, Danilo Gallinari and Steven Adams. The Utah Jazz also have a lot of talent. Donovan Mitchell is easily the star on the team, with Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert and their offensive struggles (with scoring), you can't always count on Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic to cover that. OKC has the best net rating among any other lineup, which is very impressive considering the change they have dealt with this season.
Eastern Conference Semi-Finals
No.1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No.4 Miami Heat
My prediction: Bucks 4-3
Compared to anyone in the eastern conference, Miami Heat would be the best option and competition for the Bucks to face. The Heat is very confident in what they have, as a new team. It is very rare for teams to beat the 53-12 Bucks once, let alone twice which Miami has done. They have figured out the best defense to stop the monstrous Giannis Antetokounmpo, limiting him to 13 points in one meeting. All-star Bam Adebayo reassures viewers that “we can play with anybody,” displaying the confidence he has in his team.
No.2 Toronto Raptors vs. No.3 Boston Celtics
My Prediction: Celtics 4-3
This is yet another series that can be very entertaining, both teams have been side by side in the standings. Meeting each other three times this season, the Celtics have the 2-1 upside from that series, both have one blowout win, and the other being extremely close, keep you on the edge of your seat kinda game. Both teams consist of a forward with extreme potential in the league, along with experienced all-star point guards. The Raptors display their extreme defense, and Boston the opposite with their offense. This series can truly go anyway and will be very exciting to see this series take place.
Western Conference Semi-Finals
No.1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No.5 Oklahoma City Thunder
My Prediction: Lakers 4-1
With the Lakers having better defense, offense, and a team with more depth, another sweep can be in the future for the Lakers, but it is very possible that the team with the most efficient trio in the league can at least snag one game. These two teams met three times during the regular-season games, the Lakers won all three, one including a sit out by All-stars Lebron James and Anthony Davis.
No.2 Los Angelos Clippers vs. No.6 Houston Rockets
My Prediction: Clippers 4-1
First off, these two teams have this series split 2-2, with two 9+ point wins for the rockets, a close nail biter in the Clippers favor, and a large spread win that the Clippers also stole. Russell Westbrook and James Harden have higher statistics than Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in every field. But it's what's around them that won't have the Rockets win this series. With the talent the duo on the Rockets hold, it's no surprise that those two can stir up some close games, and amazing productions. The other duo, George and Leonard, have all the pieces to exploit the Rocket's weaknesses, such as size and depth. Once the Rockets transformed into a small ball, the Clippers had no problem keeping the lead 15+ points almost the whole entire game. The Rockets one hundred percent can snag two games in this series, but it also wouldn't surprise me if the Clippers stop them at one win.
Eastern Conference Finals
No.1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No.3 Boston Celtics
My Prediction: Bucks 4-2
With having only the fifth-best victory margin in the history of the NBA, the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has every key factor to display all of the weaknesses that Boston has, the size he brings to the competition, and his consistent scoring habits. This being said the Boston Celtics also have a lot of weapons they can bring out, such as rising star Jason Tatum, consistent shooter Jaylen Brown, and a leader who is also an all-star Kemba Walker. Boston in the past has tried to find ways to contain Antetokounmpo by putting pressure inside the paint, not realizing that he has sharpshooters surrounding him. To me, this series can either prove all the talent the Celtics have on their team and let them prove their potential for the future or can just add to the fact that Giannis is more than powerful.
Western Conference Finals
No.1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No.2 Los Angeles Clippers
My Prediction: Lakers 4-3
This would be hands down the best series of this season, no questions asked. Two of the best teams in the conference, let alone the league as a full, just would've been wrong if we won't be able to see this showdown. The star-power both teams possess is extraordinary, the duo’s both teams have are interesting, knowing that neither star duo knows exactly how to handle the other. The only reason I believe the Lakers have that little push over the Clippers is that Paul George has been a little out of it since his double shoulder surgeries over the offseason. The other three superstars are top 12 in RPM (real plus-minus) with Anthony Davis at 12, Kawhi Leonard at 4, and Lebron James at 2, all while Paul George sits at 33. With this time off, if there is any way the playoffs can take place, this may be good for Paul George, he can possibly find his groove back and get back that consistency he once had. Don't get me wrong, out of those superstars he may have some work to do but Paul George is still the best of the best, which makes this matchup, almost a coin toss.
NBA Championship Series
No.1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No.1 Los Angeles Lakers
My Prediction: Lakers 4-3
Other than the Clippers substituting the lakers spot in the championship, I personally can't see another matchup here. If you do, hit me up and i'll hear you out. I'm not just picking the two best teams in each conference, I've deeply thought about what could be. As these two fight for MVP, they will also be fighting for the championship. This matchup could be the best final matchup we've seen since the 2015-2016 season, where Cleveland Cavaliers came up and won while down 3-1 during the series against the Golden State Warriors. Even Antetokounmpo can agree that Lebron James is great, one of the best, "Whenever you go against him, you can feel greatness," Antetokounmpo said, "He's gonna come at you and you gotta be ready to go, gotta be ready to fight against him." This being said, Antetokounmpo is one of the only players that can head to head go against Lebron physically. The edge in this series is the second man, I believe that Anthony Davis is a bigger Help to Lebron than Kris Middleton is for Giannis Antetokounmpo. For me, the Bucks winning is a stretch, but not impossible, not impossible at all. Until I see a chance that can happen, I'm going to stand by my opinion.
So, my prediction.....
Los Angeles Lakers, 2020 NBA Champs
I hope more than anything that we can see these playoffs take place. These playoffs were going to be the most entertaining playoffs that we've seen in a while. All these duos going against one another, so many situations and matchups that could've been, and hopefully still can. With practice facilities opening May 1st it gives us hope that maybe this season could finish. Also, all these predictions are my thoughts, my forecast, and my opinions. So, if you disagree, that's fine, come to me and let me know what you think, always down to debate ;).