With the NBA season coming to an end soon, the Playoff Picture is heating up and teams are are starting to take shape in respective conferences, but there are still a couple of predictions that need to be made just for good time’s sake.
1). The Philadelphia 76ers finish as the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference
As of March 19, the 76ers are currently 38-30 which puts them at the 6th seed in the East and 1 ½ games back from being the 3rd seed in the East. The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently at the 3 seed, and they haven’t been exactly their usual dominant selves this season. The Cavs will continue to lose and slide down the standings if their defensive effort stays the same. As for the Sixers, they have the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA, and they have to face off against the Cavaliers one more time this season. As long as the Sixers can take care of their easy schedule and the Cavs continue to lose, the Sixers can make a huge move up to the 3 seed and secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
2). The Cleveland Cavaliers Make It Back to the Finals (Again)
I know I just went on a slight tangent about how the Cavs’ defense is just all around bad this year and has lacked effort, but we’ve heard this story before. Every year the Cavs have a second-half struggle that makes everyone think that they are finally vulnerable. While those slumps were not as bad as this one, it all goes back to one factor: the Cavs have the best player in the world, LeBron James. One thing every NBA fan has learned is to not count LeBron James out. After all, the man did lead the charge in coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the 73-9 Warriors back in the 2016 NBA Finals. Once the playoffs begin, LeBron will show us exactly why all of this talk about the Cavs missing the finals was completely bogus.
3). San Antonio Spurs Miss the Playoffs
This is some uncharted water that the Spurs are walking in. In one of the tightest Western Conference playoff races in recent memory, the Spurs sit right at 7th seed, and they are half a game back from being at the 8th slot and two games back from falling out of the playoffs. The Spurs have 12 games left and they are still without their star player Kawhi Leonard, who has missed a huge chunk of the season. Now it’s looking doubtful that he’ll even be back this season. Even some Spurs players are losing hope. The long-time Spurs point guard Tony Parker has admitted time is running out for Leonard to make a return, saying in an interview to the press at a Spurs practice on March 15, “At some point, it makes no sense (to bring him back).” The Spurs still have Gregg Popovich who just so happens to be the greatest coach in NBA history, but at some point, it will catch up to them that they are missing star power in Kawhi Leonard, who provides lockdown defense and scoring at will. With Kawhi missing time they could miss out on the playoffs, something that we haven’t seen in decades.