These 6 NBA teams have already established an identity (and locks for the playoffs)

 

The NBA season is a little over twenty games in and ticking along nicely. Though it’s relatively still, we can really see which teams are coming together and those that have established an identity on both sides of the court; enough so to make some safe predictions for teams that are all but locks for the postseason.

Golden State Warriors The Golden State Warriors could sometimes slip through the cracks but, right now, they look like the real deal to make it to the post season. We are witnessing another historic season out of Steph Curry. Curry is playing at a level even beyond the MVP award right now and those around him is one of the best group that he has ever played with and in a system that maximizes talent. This is all without Klay Thompson active too. The Warriors are not only looking playoff bound, but an early favorite for the championship.

Phoenix Suns Over in the Western Conference again we expect the Phoenix Suns will be making it back in. After losing 3 of their first four games, the Suns are riding a 14-game win streak and, despite getting little media coverage, the duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker are still one of the most formidable backcourts in the league. We can’t forget their supporting cast either, which makes them not only a playoff contender but a Championship dark horse as well.

Miami Heat Going back into the Eastern Conference now, we think that the Miami Heat are good value to make the cut. They have been a strong team the last two years now with Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo bolstering their roster. Throw in the likes of Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker, who joined in the offseason, and you’ve got a stellar team. They seem to have a fantastic chemistry too so it’s hard to see them missing out.

Brooklyn Nets Without a doubt, the Brooklyn Nets will be stamping their ticket into the postseason in a few months. Even though they are playing without Kyrie Irving their roster is incredibly deep behind the superstar duo of Kevin Durant and James Harden. Those wo alone are more than enough to warrant a playoff spot. Add on some excellent role players like Lamarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills then you have yourself a championship contender. If Irving comes back then this is a locked in NBA Finals squad – assuming they all stay healthy.

Los Angeles Lakers The Los Angeles Lakers are another team that is odds on to make the postseason even with a middling 10-10 record. Yes, they have struggled the majority of the season, but LeBron James won’t be missing the post season, not with this talented of a roster. They may not be a top three seed like everybody was expecting but James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are strong enough to get them in at some point.

Milwaukee Bucks You would think the defending NBA champions would be much higher on this list, but they’ve been hit by injuries early on. Despite the next level play of two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have struggled on and off. Even with a rocky road, the Bucks have slowly righted the ship thanks to the return of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.

The best of the rest

Outside of those teams it gets messy but for you can still hazard a guess who enters the mix and who doesn’t. In the East, you have the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, the Atlanta Hawks, and Boston Celtics. Then flipping over to the West, there is the Denver Nuggets, the Utah Jazz, the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Portland Trail Blazers. Even the Memphis Grizzlies deserve an honorable mention behind the amazing play of Ja Morant.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, our view on how the NBA playoff picture will shape up. It seems we are up for a very interesting playoff showdown when the regular season finishes.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to check the latest NBA trade rumors as well, to keep yourself in track of possible changes in the team’s rosters: https://edge.twinspires.com/nba/trade-rumors/

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History tells us the Milwaukee Bucks should win the NBA championship, but they won’t

Of all the remaining teams in the conference finals, the Milwaukee Bucks were the team that had earned an NBA championship.

In five consecutive playoff appearances, the Bucks lost in the first round twice, they’ve been eliminated in the semi-finals, they’ve lost a heartbreaking series to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals, and now they’re finally in the NBA Finals. If you’re a fan of NBA history then you know that 97% of the time, NBA champions have to through at least a couple seasons of heartache before breaking through.

Based on that established pattern of losing-before-finally-winning, if you were to do some Naija football betting or putting money on the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks would be a heavy favorite to bring home the title.

Bucks lack identity

Getting into the NBA Finals, a team not only has to go through the trial and tribulations, but they spend those years establishing identity; one with predictable and unstoppable offensive sets. That lack of reliable offense is what will hold the Bucks back from taking home the championship this year.

When it comes down to it, the Milwaukee Bucks are way too inconsistent on offense and the Phoenix Suns too reliable on offense for the Bucks to pull out a win the NBA Finals.

We’re all well aware that two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is their superstar, but he’s yet to figure out a way to dominate the Suns when his heads-down drives are walled off. It doesn’t help that his free-throw shooting has been atrocious.

There’s been a lot of talk that Khris Middleton is their closer, but he’s had as many stinker games as he’s had dominant ones. No one dislikes Jrue Holiday, but he simply doesn’t have a scorer’s mindset. Brook Lopez has looked great in a few games, but his presence is too much of a defensive liability to make him worth playing. How many times have we seen Milwaukee’s offense completely abandon them during these playoffs?

On the other side, you know who the Phoenix Suns are on offense. To a man,  each player knows their role. Devin Booker is their primary scoring option and is capable of going off for 35 points on any night, Deandre Ayton picks and rolls and rebounds, Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges hang out at the three point line when the first few options don’t work out.

And that brings us to the other reason why the Bucks are going to have a tough time winning four games in the NBA Finals: Chris Paul. Let’s forget the motivation that comes from CP3’s first NBA Finals in his 16 year career, it’s more about his leadership and ability to create shots on any given play. Whether it’s pick and roll, the threat of lobbing to Ayton, getting Lopez or Bobby Portis on the island, his deadly handles and his deadlier midrange game. His play over the last few seasons has solidified the 6-2 guard as one of the top five point guards of all-time.

Yes, Giannis and Middleton and Holiday will put together some good games, and they might pull out two wins during the series because of that, but their inconsistency has been their identity throughout their 2021 NBA Playoff run. Unfortunately for their fans, the Deer District, and the city of Milwaukee, that inconsistency and lack of offensive identity will result in another season of disappointment.

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Jeremy Lin Shows Off $4 Smile to Goran Dragic

In Houston’s horrible horrible loss against the Phoenix Suns last Saturday, Jeremy caught an elbow from former Rockets guard and current boy band member Goran Dragic.

The elbow caught Jeremy in the lip, and in this heartfelt pic, Lin shows off the resulting bloodied lip to a curious Dragic. Dragic didn’t just beat Jeremy with his elbow, the left-handed guard scored 13 of his 18 points in the fourth to hold off the Rockets.

Jeremy Lin bloody lip goran dragic

Gah!  Jeremy’s mom must have had a nervous breakdown by now. By my count this season, Jeremy has now had a nasty busted lip, two ankle sprains, an alien laid eggs into his head, had the flu, survived a dragon attack, and about 417 plays in which he falls down on a drive to the hoop.

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