What are your NBA predictions?
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
The Lakers will have to beat the league’s leading scorer Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in order to secure a playoff spot. If they win that, then the Lakers would then have a first round battle against NBA MVP candidate Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns.
The road to the NBA finals kicks off now, and there are plenty of storylines to keep up with. Whether it’s new teams rising to the top, older players playing like their younger selves, or a potential shift in who’s most powerful in the league, this year’s playoffs are sure to be interesting. Here are three storylines to keep in mind:
Can the Lakers repeat?
The Lakers will have to go through a heck of a lot if they want to become back-to-back champions year. Recent injuries to star players LeBron James and Anthony Davis essentially caused the team to drop all the way to seventh in the western conference. Although both players are now fully healthy, this ultimately puts the team in the recently introduced “play-in” tournament. This is where teams seeded 7 to 10 will battle in a mini tournament to determine who gets the final two western conference playoff spots.
The Lakers will have to beat the league’s leading scorer Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in order to secure a playoff spot. If they get through them, the team would then have quite a tough first round battle against NBA MVP candidate Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns. It will be interesting to see if the Lakers can persevere through some tough early matchups and go on to win the championship.
Is this the Nets’ year?
The Brooklyn Nets have a lot of pressure to win a championship this year. In addition to having Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the team cashed in many of its future assets for former NBA MVP James Harden in early January. The team also picked up six-time all-star Blake Griffin to boost its frontcourt. The team is currently the second seed in the east and will face the winner of the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics play-in matchup.
Can Utah be a threat in the postseason?
No one could’ve predicted that the Utah Jazz would’ve finished this year as the team with the best regular season record. Star player Donovan Mitchell has averaged a career-high in points this season, while Rudy Gobert has been a defensive anchor. The big question for this team is can they keep up this momentum into the playoffs? Utah has been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for two straight years heading into this season. This includes losing a tight seven game series to the Denver Nuggets last season. If the team can keep their regular season momentum up for the playoffs, they could be a big problem for the rest of the league—but they still have a lot to prove.
As for who will win this year’s NBA championship is still to be determined. However, it will be interesting to see if we’ll see anything out of the ordinary this year.