DYC NBA Playoff Preview
I know you’re still basking in the greatness that was the DYC NBA Awards post, but there’s playoffs to be discussed, and not a whole lot of time in which to do it. Seriously, the last night of the NBA season started with two playoff spots up for grabs, and
six EIGHT different seeds still undecided. So yes, while it is typical of this site and this author to wait as long as possible to write things, it’s not (entirely) our fault this time.
We’re gonna break down the teams that made it in, mock some teams that didn’t, and make some picks for the first round. Chad’s sent me another email of first round odds, and while we agreed on a lot of the awards last post, he’s gone full Joker with some of these predictions. Let’s get it started.
Close, but no cigar…
Oklahoma City Thunder: Their season was plagued by injury, as Durant went down, then came back too soon, went down again, and then had season ending surgery. Along the way, Serge Ibaka was lost for the year, Dion Waiters remained allergic to passing, Scotty Brooks fell asleep every night weeping holding a photo of James Harden, and Russell Westbrook evolved into a real life superhero. Still, they were a win away from sneaking into the playoffs, and even that may cost Scott Brooks his job. After next year, KD can opt out, and going cheap on the coach is a great way to lose a top 3 player of this generation.
Indiana Pacers: I actually have no Pacer jokes. I’m glad Paul George looks moderately healthy, and anytime Larry Legend succeeds, we’re all doing better. Honestly, I’m just really happy the Hawks don’t have to play them in the first round, because their defense has been on point all year, and PG playing himself into shape against my team scares me. There. I said it.
1. Atlanta Hawks (60-22): I may have mentioned them once or twice this season in celebration of their unprecedented greatness, but it bears repeating: they’ve been not only great on the floor all year, but an absolute must-watch from an entertainment perspective.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29): They were interesting and then they weren’t and then they were a juggernaut. They playoff run will be educational, as teams tend to lock down one-on-one players, but the Cavs have two of the top five one-on-one players in the world. The interesting thing that could decide how far they go will be the state of Kevin Love’s back for the next two months.
3. Chicago Bulls (50-32): Derrick Rose is only kind of hurt at this point, but tip of the cap to the Hawks for letting Chicago win the last game of the season. They’ll probably win the first round, and the WAR looming between Cleveland and Chicago should make hoops fans salivate.
4. Toronto Raptors (49-33): When Rose went down, and the Cleveland LeBrons started slow, it looked like the top of the East was ripe for pillaging. Too bad the Raptors are the Raptors, and faded after a hot start, maintaining home court only through the overall putridity of the East.
5. Washington Bullets (46-36): Look, they’re updating the logo and BEGGING us not to call them the Wizards. I’m just an early adopter. John Wall had his best year ever, coming off of Team USA and last year’s playoff run, and Washington wasted it with Scott Brooks East AKA Randy Wittman. And this 5 seed might let him keep his job. Damn shame.
6. Milwaukee Bucks (41-41): GREEK FREAK IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!111!!!!
7. Boston Celtics (40-41): Brad Stevens and his crew somehow got better after trading Rondo for spare parts, and muscled their way into the playoffs. They’re going to get murder-death-killed by the Cavs, but with a million first round draft picks this year, the playoff experience will actually help this squad.
8. Brooklyn Nets (38-44): Your punishment for costing the Hawks a lottery pick will be four games of me picking on Joe Johnson. You did this.
1. Golden State Warriors (67-15): Everything you’ve heard is true – they are a buzzsaw and a machine and a problem. They got to avoid Russy, and will be largely unchallenged until the conference finals where the Spurs wait like Shang Tsung: old but constantly dangerous.
2. Houston Rockets (56-26):James Harden has been automatic in his efforts to frustrate teams and get to the line easily for his squad. Teams will adjust to this winning strategy in the playoffs, but it is yet to be seen how effective that will be.
3. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26): Congrats to this team for overcoming adversity all year, whether it be injuries or a weak as hell bench. Coach Rivers did an outstanding job winning despite the deporable job GM Rivers has done, and his reward is the Spurs in round 1.
4. Portland Trailblazers (51-31): The Blazers have a worse record than the 5 and 6 seeds, but get a top four seed because of winning their division. However, because of their record, they do NOT have home court which is based on record. Confused? PERFECT.
5. Memphis Grizzlies (55-27): Injuries plummeted my favorite Western Conference team to this spot, and now they get to have an injury-off with the Blazers. I just want ZBo and Gasol in a Finals, is that too much to ask for?
6. San Antonio Spurs (55-27): It’s gotta stop at some point right? Apparently not.
7. Dallas Mavericks (50-32): They aren’t gonna bring back Rondo next year because he doesn’t fit in that offense. Still, if someone is going to stymie Harden’s gameplan in the playoffs, I bet Carlisle provides the blueprint in round 1.
8. New Orleans Pelicans (45-37): For those of you JUST tuning into the NBA, Anthony Davis is 1000% a must watch, and he’ll be the best player in the league for the next few years.
He’s only 22 years old. Yeah man.
As I mentioned, Chad prepped this part via email. I will run his picks and comments, with any corrections or mocking to follow.
Hawks v. Nets: Chad says, “Okay, so this is slightly compelling, because bitter Hawks fans will boo Joe Johnson lustily, and had the Nets missed the playoffs the Hawks would be in the lottery with their pick. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez have had career revivals of sorts over the past 6 weeks, which makes the Nets potentially dangerous even as a #8.” Hawks in 6.
Daniel says, “Chad is intentionally trying to get me to overreact to his nonsense. I’m not falling for it.” Hawks in 4.
Cavaliers v. Celtics: Chad says, “Yawn, although these are the two best teams in the East since the trade deadline.” Cavs in 5
Daniel say, “This is some genius level trolling. Did Chad forget this is the first round?” Cavs in 4.
Bulls v. Bucks: Chad says, “an Jason Kidd coach? I think Jason Kidd can coach, as the team overcame the loss of #2 overall pick Jabari Parker and still made the playoffs comfortably, albeit a year ahead of their rebuilding schedule (again, gotta love the weak East). If Derrick Rose can re-integrate himself into the lineup, the Bulls become dangerous again. They at least win the series.” Bulls in 6.
Daniel says, “At least now I know he’s awake.” Bulls in 6.
Raptors v. Bullets: Chad says, “There was a time where the Wizards looked to be a legit 2 or 3 seed this year. That time has passed. The two most unpredictable teams in the league square off in the first round, and I’ll take the home court, because Toronto actually has a decent advantage there in the playoffs.” Raptors in 7
Daniel says, “Dammit. Chad’s right. The Drakes take this one.” Raptors in 7.
Warriors v. Pelicans: Chad says, “The league’s most entertaining offense and a top-5 defense against a team with a hobbled point guard and no playoff experience? I’ll give the Pelicans one ‘Anthony Davis does incredible things’ win.” Warriors in 5.
Daniel says, “That’s a lot of faith to put on a first time playoff kid.” Warriors in 4.
Rockets v. Mavs: Chad says, “I can’t say I fully trust Houston, for whatever reason. The Mavs have playoff Dirk, which is a terrifying thing, along with a balanced Chandler Parsons/Monta Ellis attack. GIVE ME THE UPSET!” Mavs in 7.
Daniel says, “Someone take Chad’s keys! He’s drunk!” Rockets in 5.
Clippers v. Spurs: Chad says, “The Spurs did what the Spurs do, playing on cruise control for 4 months before turning it on (and threatening for the #2 seed as recently as a week ago). I don’t bet against Pop.” Spurs in 6.
Daniel says, “Can Team President Doc fire GM Doc? Or does Coach Doc take the fall for this one?” Spurs in 6.
Trailblazers v. Grizzlies: Chad Says, “If Marc Gasol were healthy, this would be an easy Grizz ‘upset’. It’s worth noting that Memphis actually does have home court advantage because the Blazers get the higher seed and won their division, and sometimes the NBA makes no sense.” Portland in 6.
Daniel says, “CRIPPLE FIGHT!!!! Both teams are too injured to do much in a later series, but this will still be fun.” Grizzlies in 7.
There you have it. WAY too many words about the NBA Playoffs. Check back here Monday for a very special Dude You Crazy announcement, and maybe me cracking Billy King jokes.
The playoffs start Saturday at 12:30 with the Bullets taking on the
Drakes Raptors on ESPN. Enjoy the games.
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