A Look at the NBA Playoff Bracket Right Now
As most of the world knows by now, the NBA has been directly hit by the Corona Virus. After Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus, the league was suspended until further notice. Now, more players and staff around the league have also tested positive for the virus. Recently, we have just found out that play will most likely be postponed all the way to July. With that in mind, the NBA is going to have to make a decision on how to proceed with the season. One option is to go straight into the playoffs with the way the seedings are as of right now. If the league does go this route, the league will get some interesting playoff matchups in the first round.
The Current NBA Playoff Bracket
NBA Playoff Bracket: The Western Conference
The Western Conference is bound to have some entertaining battles. At the eighth seed, we have the surprising Memphis Grizzlies led by Rookie of the Year candidate, Ja Morant, going up against the Los Angeles Lakers led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers would most likely take this matchup, but the Grizzlies could maybe give them a good fight and take two games against the Lakers. For the two vs. seven series, there is the Mavericks against the Clippers.
The Los Angeles Clippers have their star duo in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, which makes them a legitimate contender. This means the Clippers would most likely win this series, but the Mavericks would net a couple wins led by their star duo in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Now, we have the three vs. six series. The Denver Nuggets have surprised NBA fans again this year as they find themselves at the top of the conference led by their duo in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
At the sixth seed, the small ball Houston Rockets reside led by their superstar duo in Russell Westbrook and James Harden. It is hard to envision the Rockets with no center and using only small ball win a seven-game series against a team led by one of the best centers in the league. The Nuggets would most likely win this series handily as they would utilize their front-court advantage. At the four vs. five bracket position, we have a very intriguing postseason series.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been one of the most surprising teams this year. Many thought they were going to be a lottery team, however, Chris Paul has elevated the play of both the Thunder and the young guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Then, there is the Utah Jazz. It will be interesting to see the dynamic of the team after the Rudy Gobert situation escalated. Not to mention, there are rumors swirling about their star, Donovan Mitchell, being frustrated with Gobert after how he handled the Corona Virus situation.
This series could go either way, but I would give the edge to the Thunder due to the experience of Chris Paul and his ability to bring the best out of the Thunder’s young core.
The Eastern Conference
Just like the West, there are some interesting matchups in the East. At the one and the eighth seed, there is the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic. Of course, the Bucks are led by the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo and two-time All-Star, Khris Middleton. The Magic would make the playoffs for the second year in a row led by Nikola Vucevic. Sadly, for Orlando, they would be outmatched by the juggernaut that is the Milwaukee Bucks.
At the two seed, there is the defending champion Toronto Raptors who have been surprisingly effective despite losing Kawhi Leonard this past summer. At the seven seed, we have the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have been injury-plagued all year and we have not even seen the duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving play together as of yet. The Raptors would most likely take this series easily. For the three vs. six playoff series, the Boston Celtics would host the Philadelphia 76ers. There is a lot of history involved in this matchup making it more intriguing.
The Celtics have seen their star duo in Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum blossom before their very eyes this season. It will be interesting to see if they can compete with the duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in a seven-game series. The 76ers won the season series, but the Celtics have the higher seed making this for arguably the most interesting postseason matchup. Last, but not least, there is the four vs. five playoff series in the Eastern Conference.
Despite being without Victor Oladipo for most of the season, the Indiana Pacers are still in the thick of the playoff picture in the East and they would take on the Miami Heat. A matchup consisting of Jimmy Butler and their surprising young core and the All-Star, Domantas Sabonis, is sure to be entertaining. This series could go either way with how evenly matched the Heat and Pacers are this year. The playoff picture is sure to be one to entertain if the league goes straight to the playoffs in the midst of the Corona Virus pandemic.
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