Potential NBA Season Outlook by Matt Weber
With an absolute wild NBA season filled new power teams forming in the west with Lebron, AD and the Lakers along with new brought together teammates of All-Star Paul George and last season finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, it came to an abrupt end when the head medical staff member of the Utah Jazz ran out onto the court and told officials that one of the Jazz players had tested positive for COVID-19, the team member happened to be the first time French All-Star Rudy Gobert. Who has been a defensive monster in the NBA for the last two seasons, winning back to back Defensive Player of year awards It came as a piece of sudden and shocking news to the NBA world as friends texted each other and social media going crazy.
It was at the time the right decision by Adam Silver to postpone the NBA season at the time he did. The current players who have tested positive for COVID-19 are, Kevin Durant, Marcus Smart, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Christian Wood. That team would win 75 games in the NBA if they were assembled into a team. But looking back on the games on that have happened, we can look at a couple of themes emerging from the NBA season so far, The Lakers are the team to beat in the west, The Milwaukee Bucks are a scary deep team led by the current leader for this seasons MVP award, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Teams like the Raptors, Celtics, Heat, Nuggets, Rockets all need to be looked at serious contenders when it comes to playoff time, whether that happens in the summer or at all.
Current NBA standing
(1) Milwaukee-Bucks: 53-12
(2) Toronto Raptors: 46-18
(3) Boston Celtics: 43-21
(4) Miami Heat: 41-24
(5) Indiana Pacers: 39-26
(6) Philadelphia 76ers 39-26
- Los Angeles Lakers 49-14
- Los Angles Clippers 44-20
- Denver Nuggets 43-22
- Utah Jazz 41-23
- Oklahoma City Thunder 40-24
- Houston Rockets 40-24
I don’t see the 7th or 8th seeds being able to make that much noise playoff team how the top 2 seeds in each conference are powerhouses with multiple Super Star players on each team.
Bucks: The Bucks have one of the most playoff-ready teams in the NBA, only being second because they just don’t happen to have All-Time great Lebron James on their team. They have an already established MVP player in Giannis Antetokounmpo who is averaging career-highs putting up 29.6/13.7/5.8 on 55/30/63 percent shooting splits. In the last couple of seasons, he has developed into an All-NBA defensive team type player making his impact on both ends of the floor on a daily basis. The scary thing about Giannis is he’s putting up these numbers in 32.6 minutes, which is less the 3 quarters of actual basketball. Insanity. Also having established playoff vets like Kyle Korver, George Hill, and the Lopez brothers they will have a deep bench to rely on along with the upcoming role players of Donte DiVincenzo, Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton (shout out St. Johns Prep) they should be okay with taking Giannis out for short minutes in the playoffs. The most important player for the bucks come this postseason is going to 2x All-Star Khris Middleton. Known Celtics killer has been known to become an absolute flamethrower come postseason, but has also had stretches of not being able to be to hit shots when they take out Giannis in the playoffs. If the postseason he is going himself have to maintain the play that made him an all-star this season and that in turn will bring the Milwaukee bucks to true championship contenders.
Toronto Raptors: Toronto has been flying under the radar all season after coming off an NBA Finals Championship in the previous season. With the departure of Kawhi Leonard, fans and media thought that Raptors would take a significant step down this season without a superstar level player on their team. But with the Veteran Leadership of All-Star Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, they have been able to maintain a steady pace for second place in the east behind the Bucks. One thing to also note is the emergence of Pascal Siakam as a top player in the eastern conference. After being drafted out of New Mexico State in 2016 he has improved every season in the NBA while being able to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season. This season he is averaging 24/7/4 in his fourth NBA season. This team will be a problem come playoff time because of a deep bench being led by Fred VanVlet, while also having championship experience and having one of the best coaches in the league in Nick Nurse.
Boston Celtics: The Celtics this season have been have a pleasant surprise although not being able to close out tight games at certain points in the season. Jayson Tatum has become a superstar in the NBA post-all-star break. It looks like a certain weight had been lifted off his shoulders after finally being announced to his first al team selection, allowing him to play more freely and smoothly on the offensive end of the floor. Not to mention his great defense this season, with having a defense rating of 105 and the league average being 108.3. he has taken to leap to superstardom. Another thing to note when looking at the Celtics team are how good their wings are. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Gordon Hayward can all be considered elite wing layers by NBA Standards. Not to mention the defensive beast Daniel Thesis. Although undersized he has limited some of the NBA best big men to below-average numbers. The Celtics are sounds defensively but do have a problem with their bench concerning their depth but have elite defenders.
Miami Heat: The Miami Heat have been a surprise this season-ending up in the 4th spot in the eastern conference. Pat Riley did it again finally adding the star that they needed to bring themselves into the top tier of Eastern Conference teams. Jimmy Butler has brought toughness and swagger back to the Heat. With a young core of Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Derrick Jones Jr, the Heat are a team you want to see in the playoffs in the coming years. Of course, having a Hall of Fame coach in Erik Spoelstra helps as well. And who could forget Wizards killer Kelly “The Klinic” Olynk”, all he needs is one game, preferable a game seven to end your season’s hopes of a championship? Duncan Robinson has made himself into a threat this season being top three in 3-Pointers made this season and 4th in 3-point percentage.
Indiana Pacers: To be completely honest, the only reason the pacers aren’t a lottery team this year is that Domantas Sabonis has been an absolute monster. The first time all-star has been the focal point of the offense this season averaging 18 points a game along with 5 assists. He keeps the flow of the offense going by averaging the third-most passes made per game in the NBA at 67.7. Malcolm Brogdan, the former rookie of the year, has also had a surprising emergence proving himself to an above-average starting point guard after his departure from the Bucks. What is most impressive is that the pacers have stayed in the playoff race without perennial all-star Victor Oladipo, who only returned for the last few games of the season. Although these players won't make a deep playoff run, they are definitely a team you do not want to see in the playoffs. With help from role players Myles Turner, TJ Warren and the Holiday brothers, Saboner and the boys will come ready to play no matter who they draw in the first round, and could be poised for a meaty first round upset.Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers have been off this season, I don't know how else to put it. With the addition of Horford and Josh Richardson in the past season, many fans and analysts thought that the Sixers were going to be a force to reckon with in the east and were definitely a title contender. But as the season progressed it seemed that with Horford and Simmons being elite passing bigs taking up a lot of space on the court, that when Joel plays with them, there is simply not enough space Run and efficient offense. But when it’s just Horford or Simmons with Joel the Sixers offense seems to flow much better.