My NBA Crystal Ball

Jayson Tatum Brings the Ball Up the Court

Jayson Tatum Brings the Ball Up the Court

With the NBA playoffs having started on April 16th, the playoff bracket has officially been set. With the first set of games already completed, we have seen that there are many good round one matchup, and many title contenders. Here are my top teams from each conference for whom I think could win the NBA finals this year:

In the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns, who ended with a record of 64-18 this season, have stayed the number one team in the conference almost the whole year. However, due to their star player Devin Booker recently getting injured, the Suns’ title hopes may be ruined as Devin is set to miss 2-3 weeks of the playoffs. Therefore I think it’s unlikely they will make it to the finals.

Golden State over the past decade has run the league winning 3 NBA titles and finishing with the best regular-season record ever in 2016. This year Golden State is listed as the 3 seed, ending the season with a 53-29 record. However, even though Golden State is only the 3 seed, after seeing them in their round one matchup against the Denver Nuggets, it is clear that they are one of the best teams in the playoffs this year and my pick for the winner of the Western conference. Led by All-Star starters Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors have quickly taken a 3-0 lead in the series against the Nuggets, leaving them as the only team in the West to be up 3-0 in their series. In addition to the play from their All-Stars, we have seen some flashes of stardom from their young guard Jordan Poole. Jordan Poole started the series off hot for the Warriors combining 86 points between their 3 games. In addition, veteran Klay Thompson showed flashes of his old self in Game 3, scoring 26 points. If the Warriors players can keep putting on big performances they might have the best shot to win the Larry O’Brien trophy this year. 

In the Eastern Conference this year, the race for the number one seed was one of the tightest we have ever seen. The top 4 seeds were all within 2 games of each other. In addition, the 2-4 seeds all had the same record of 51-31. Therefore the East could very well be anyone’s game this year, but I think one team stands out more than the others; our city’s own Boston Celtics.  

From a team that started as the number 10 seed in the Eastern Conference, with a record of  23-24, the Boston Celtics are now in the playoffs and are in the hunt for their 18th Larry O’Brien championship trophy. Since January 22nd when the Celtics were 23-24, the “Cs” have been on a tear, winning 28 of their last 35 games moving them up to the 2 seed. 

Led by superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics are considered one of the best teams in their conference. In addition to being one of the best overall teams, they are also the number one defensive team in the league and even have the Defensive Player of the year, Marcus Smart, starting in their backcourt. 

After watching the first few games of the Celtics playoff series against the star-heavy Brooklyn Nets it is clear that the Celtics came to win this year. Similar to the Warriors, the Celtics are also the only team to go up 3-0 in their series, and they did it against a team that is considered to also be one of the best in the league. Throughout these games, it is clear that the Celtics defense will be the main problem for opposing teams, as superstar Kevin Durant has been held to under 20 points in multiple games, completely shutting down the Nets offense. However if the Celtics want to win it all, it is clear that Tatum and Brown will need to throw up big numbers on the offensive side, along with continuing their star defensive play. 

All things considered, if both teams can stick to their game plans, and continue to receive big performances from both their star and role players then I predict these teams will be facing off against each other in the NBA finals. Now who will walk away with the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy is anyone’s guess!