- Lakers don’t make the playoffs
I think the most surprising thing that could happen is that the Lakers don’t make the playoffs. I give this about a .05% chance of even happening, but when it comes down to one game play-ins anything can happen. The Warriors are hot right now and Andrew Wigging is playing his best basketball he has ever played. I also never count Steph Curry out. He can get hot at any minute and carry his team to victory, especially against a Lakers team who was dying to get reps with their top players on the court. Then the Lakers would have to lose to the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have the defensive ability and offensive firepower to stick with the Lakers (I believe the Grizzlies beat the Spurs), but let’s be honest. We all know the Lakers are getting into the playoffs.
2. A Lakers early exit
This would be very surprising to me. I fully expect the Lakers to absolutely manhandle the Suns. The Suns were rewarded for being so great this season, by (most likely) playing the champions of last season in the first round. What a reward! I would also like to preface this with the fact that the Lakers are the odds on favorite to make it out of the West at +200. So let’s stop acting like this would be some “underdog” run they would have to go on to win the West.
3. Sixers don’t make the ECF
The Sixers have such a clear path to the ECF that if they didn’t make it, I wouldn’t know what to even think. The Knicks and Hawks are both scrappy teams, but teams that the Sixers should be able to handle at most in 6 games. To lose to either team in the 2nd round would be mind boggling and a huge blow to the organization.
4. Jazz early exit
The Jazz will be playing the 8 seed Warriors, Lakers, Spurs, or Grizzlies. The only team out of those 4 that should beat the Jazz in a playoff series would be the Lakers. If the Jazz get bounced in the 1st or 2nd round I would be very surprised. I think this team is a great team that is destined to make the WCF this season. They had both a top 5 offense and defense in the league this season. I fully expect them to beat the Clippers or Mavericks in the 2nd round as well.
5. Bucks get bounced by the Heat…..again
I fully expect the Bucks to beat the Heat this year. I know the “sexy” pick is for the Heat to advance, but they are just too inconsistent for me to see that happening. Also, the Bucks getting bounced in the 1st round would be a huge blow to the city and Giannis’s future. No one would have him in their top 5 players list next year at all and people would question his play even more than they have already. Would it also open up the floodgates of Giannis wanting out or the media really ramping up the Giannis trade talks? So much is on the line for Milwaukee and I think they know that. I fully expect them to win this series in 6.
- The Nets make the ECF
I know they haven’t played together much and teams that are thrown together usually take a year to mesh, but I fully expect them to be an absolute giant in the playoffs. We are talking about 3 of the best scorers of this generation and I think that fire power may be too much to handle for any team not named the Philadelphia 76ers. I expect them to make it past the Bucks or Heat in the 2nd round even without a great defense.
2. LeBron and Steph put on a show
I am so excited to watch this play-in game tomorrow. The stakes are so high every time these two step on the court against each other. They are two of the most influential players of this generation and of all time. This game could be one of the “All-Timers” and has so much on the line. Who do you think the Lakers would rather play first, The Jazz or the Suns? That’s an easy question to me.
3. Nikola Jokic has a historic series
This is less of an expectation and more of a prediction. I expect Jokic to continue his dominant MVP play into the series against the Blazers. What I predict is, one of the most historic all-around play of all time from him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wills this to a 7 game series while averaging a triple double. Also, if he was going to put up historic numbers against anyone, it would be the Blazers who struggle defensively. They are 29th in def rtg% and 23rd in points allowed. They are also middle of the pack in terms of points given up in the paint as well. If Jamal Murray never got hurt, the Nuggets would be my selection to make the NBA Finals. It just shows what a small window of opportunity you have in this league.
4. Joel Embiid to have a dominant playoff run
This is Joel Embiid’s year to really show everyone how dominant he truly is. He needs to channel his inner 2000-01 Shaq and just bully everyone on his way to 30 and 12 every night. He has it in him and I fully expect him to walk away from the playoffs with the title “most dominant player in the league”. It is time for him to take that leap in the playoffs for the next month and a half.
5. The Clippers to fold
I can’t get over the fact that they completely ducked the Lakers by tanking the last few games. That just left a sour taste in my mouth and from the lyrics of the great RZA “You can see the weakness of a man right through his iris”. The Lakers know that they are afraid of them and have already won the mental advantage over them. I don’t think this Clippers team is built for a deep run. Although with the talent they have, they should be able to make one.