Previews and predictions: NBA second half

As the NBA season reaches its halfway point, teams are still on the hunt for that postseason spot. The team standings as of now in the Eastern Conference have the Philadelphia 76ers in the number one spot; at number two, the Brooklyn Nets; at number three, the Milwaukee Bucks. Fourth is the Boston Celtics. Coming in fifth is the New York Knicks. Sixth spot is the Miami Heat. The Charlotte Hornets are in seventh, and the Toronto Raptors are in the eighth spot. Were the Playoffs to start tomorrow, these teams would be the ones still playing. However, the Eastern Conference is the weaker conference rather than the West Conference. The way the teams are playing right now, I do not see a whole lot of switching up. It will be a toss up between first and second seed in the East, with the Phildephila 76ers and Brooklyn Nets both vying for the top slot. But now with Blake Griffin joining the Nets, Brooklyn is just that more lethal. The third, fourth and fifth spots seem reasonable and may easily undergo no change. Yet it is absurd to see the New York Knicks so high in the conference, regularly being one of the worst teams in the NBA since 2014. They may have some potential, and could be hungry and move up in the standings, but the improvement still shocks. The Hornets are also playing well, and so is Lamelo Ball. The Miami Heat are the same way, after making it to the Finals last year, and they are determined to make the playoffs. Toronto is a toss up, and ninth in the standings is the Chicago Bulls, with Zach Levine and Coby white they are a force to be reckoned with. All one can do is wait and see who will be in the postseason.

The Western Conference, anything could happen. As of right now the standings go, In the one spot is the Utah Jazz; at number two, Phoenix Suns; at number three, Los Angeles Lakers. Fourth is the Los Angeles Clippers. Coming in fifth is the Portland Trail Blazers. Sixth spot is the Denver Nuggets. The San Antonio Spurs are in seventh, and the Dallas Mavericks are in the spot. Ninth in the standings is the Golden State Warriors, and tenth is the Memphis Grizzlies. I listed ten teams instead of eight because these ten teams are all between .5-1.5 games behind each other, so one game can change the whole dynamic of the standings. If the Suns keep playing the way they are and following behind Chris Paul, Devin Booker and DeAndre Anyton, they may actually stay in the top three, which is hard to believe. They are on a four game winning streak, but anything can happen, and realistically it seems more likely that they will start to fall nearer the sixth, seventh or eighth seed. What will really be interesting is how the Spurs, Mavs, Warriors and Grizzlies will end up being. All four of these teams have the potential to be in the postseason and know what it takes, save for the young Grizzlies squad. It is Steph Curry’s comeback season, and he is having MVP numbers. Luka, the initial favorite to win MVP this year, has likewise been phenomenal. The Spurs do not necessarily stand out as much, but with Gregg Poppovich as the coach, a future hall-of-famer, he knows how to win and make the Playoffs. The seeds right now seem likely to end with Utah, Lakers and Clippers as one, two and three in any order, four and and as the Trail Blazers and Nuggets, and six through eight as the Warriors, Mavs and Suns in that order. The Playoffs start May 22, so one will see what ends up happening.

Post Author: Joseph Breedlove