Playoff Battle Heating Up!

It’s almost March, which means that the NBA standings are beginning to solidify themselves into who we could see in the playoffs. In the East, a massive battle ensues, realistically between getting the 6th seed, and the 11th seed. In the West, no team is truly safe, as the Warriors sit 11 wins over the Kings who hold the 9th seed. Today I’ll be breaking down my predictions, as well as highlighting the entertaining battle that currently ensues for a playoff spot!

Eastern Conference

Playoff Standings in the East as of February 23rd 2019

So it’s safe to rule the Celtics and above safe for the most part in the playoff battle. The last 3 spots however, are surely up for grabs. The Brooklyn Nets sit 6 wins back of the Celtics, in sixth seed. As well, the Wizards sit 4 wins above the Hawks, so it’s safe to say the battle is between 6th seed and 11th seed.

BROOKLYN: The Nets have shocked the league. Led by D’Angelo Russell, the Brooklyn Nets have defied every prediction made about their team. Russell earned himself a spot on the All-Star roster over household names like Jimmy Butler, Devin Booker and Rudy Gobert. Following an awful season last year, the Nets now hold the 6th seed and are favored to make the playoffs thanks to DLo, as well as the impressive sophomore Jarrett Allen, and clutch play from vet Spencer Dinwiddie.

DETROIT: The Pistons too have had a revival thanks to their superstar play from Blake Griffin. Griffin too earned himself a spot on the All Star team following an incredible start to the season. Griffin has picked up any slack Andre Drummond has given throughout his somewhat disappointing season. If Griffin continues to play at a high level, and Drummond can step up his play, the Pistons could be looking at a late playoff berth.

CHARLOTTE: The rise of now superstar Kemba Walker has given the Hornets a jolt of energy that might be enough to carry them to the playoffs. Walker was named an All Star starter this season, which is something a Hornets player hasn’t received in years. The uncertainty regarding the team behind Walker is the only thing that holds them back. Jeremy Lamb and Miles Bridges have looked promising, however the Hornets need another star to pair with Walker if they plan on repeating this performance next year.

ORLANDO: Much like the other teams on this list, the Magic have seen a sudden appearance of Nikola Vucevic, who just made his first all star game, and is currently carrying the Magic to the 9th seed. The Magic might miss the playoffs this season, but the best is yet to come for Magic fans. Mo Bamba, Vuc, Aaron Gordon and Markelle Fultz all will contribute very well if they stay in Orlando throughout their upcoming free agencies.

MIAMI: The dream for Heat fans, is to get DWade into the playoff, one last time. Hopes are diminishing, as the Heat hold 10th seed, with an aging roster. Their rebuild is imminent, but Wade gives the Heat a hope and a desire to get back into the playoffs. I don’t see the Heat making the playoffs, but it would certainly be a great story for Wade if this could happen.

WASHINGTON: The Wizards have endured the loss of their All star point guard John Wall. This has obviously taken a toll on Washington. However, lucky for the Wizards Bradley Beal has stepped up his game big time, and entered the Wizards into a battle nobody saw them in without John Wall.

MY PREDICTIONS:

6th Seed: Brooklyn Nets

7th Seed: Charlotte Hornets

8th Seed: Orlando Magic

Western Conference

Western Conference Standings as of February 23rd 2019

The battle is realistically from the 6th seed down. I do believe the Rockets will cruise into the playoffs, so I won’t talk about them despite being only 1 win ahead of Utah.

UTAH: The Jazz are enjoying the great play from 2 borderline all stars. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have both been having a super underrated season so far, and if they continue to prove the haters wrong once again, the Jazz could make some noise against OKC or Portland in the playoffs.

SAN ANTIONIO: Demar Derozan has proved people wrong all season long. Following Kawhi and Demar’s blockbuster trade, most believed that the Spurs would finally fall out of the playoffs. Despite their rough season, the Spurs have clawed their way to the 7th seed thanks to Lamarcus Aldridge’s step up and Demar Derozan’s consistent play.

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: Somehow, the Clippers are still in playoff contention. I honestly don’t know what to say. The Clippers are actually winning games despite having not a single superstar on their team. Danilo Gallinari has emerged as a household name surely, and Shai Gilgeous Alexander has shown the league that he’s legit, so the Clippers could shock the league and see a playoff berth this season.

SACRAMENTO: The ultimate feel good story. Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox have been phenomenal this season. Hield shooting incredibly and Fox looking like a potential MIP candidate. The Kings currently sit in the 9th seed but their desire to get to the playoffs could boost them in their last home stretch coming up.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS: Playoff Lebron could be coming to an end. Thanks to some harsh injuries, disappointing performances and the AD chemistry scandal, the Lakers are in a bit of a mess right now. The best player in the league, Lebron James, will need to make a huge push for the playoffs if he hopes to make the finals once again.

MINNESOTA: The Timberwolves are enjoying a great season from Derrick Rose, Karl Anthony Towns, and a slight improvement from Andrew Wiggins. If these three can stay healthy, and Wiggins can surge, the Wolves hopes for playoff berth might remain, however every game Derrick Rose is out (ankle) is another game that the Timberwolves fall out of playoff contention.

NEW ORLEANS: I’m not even going to say anything about this team. Anthony Davis was their only hope and now he’s sitting out, don’t expect to see them in the playoffs this season. Next season they could get back on the horse when a imminent trade with AD is completed.

DALLAS: The Mavericks are so close to breaking through. I don’t think Doncic is ready to lead them past all these teams yet, but when KP returns next season, prepare for the Mavericks to score as high as the 4th seed in the West. This will be a deadly team very soon.

MY PREDICTIONS:

6th Seed: San Antonio Spurs

7th Seed: Sacramento Kings

8th Seed: Los Angeles Lakers

Make sure you comment your predictions down below, as an entertaining playoff race is on the way!

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