Western Courier

NBA playoffs are underway

Michael Harms, Courier Staff

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The NBA playoffs have started, but at the same time nothing truly exciting is occurring. This is because there are only three teams that have a realistic chance of winning the NBA finals and many want to see them fail. The Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are the only three teams that could be considered winning it all.

First, we have to discredit the 13 other teams and why they don’t hold enough talent to make it to the Finals. To start in the East, everyone knew seed five and below don’t hold a chance. Those teams are the Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat.

The Indiana Pacers do not hold a star on their roster. Their most coveted athlete would be guard Victor Oladipo who is the strongest Most Improved Player candidate, but barely made the all-star team. He did not start for the Oklahoma City Thunder last year and his breakout year has turned some heads, but the roster does not hold enough talent to make it past James and the Cavs.

Last year Cleveland swept them and that was when they had all-star talent with Paul George. Oladipo and company does not stack up to that loss of talent and hold no real threat to the Cavs making the finals.

The Miami Heat have the same issue. Hassan Whiteside is the strongest talent on the Heat and he is too inconsistent to create any sort of conversation about how good the Heat really are. They don’t hold enough depth or starting lineup talent to take down James. The Milwaukee Bucks have an MVP candidate with Giannis Antetokounmpo, and have a supporting cast, but the Cavs have beat the Bucks three out of four times in the regular season without breaking a sweat. In a series of seven the Cavs should not have a tough time taking out the Bucks even with Antetokounmpo’s up and coming talent.

Finally, the Washington Wizards have two all-stars on their team with John Wall and Bradley Beal. After them the talent drops. This is why without Wall, the Wizards barely survived for a playoff spot. Do not expect them to get past the first round. These teams simply do not hold enough talent beyond their first few good players to keep up with the Cavs and James’ playoff experience.

The next team to go would be Boston. Sadly, the reason they cannot compete is because of injuries. First Gordon Hayward, missed the entire season due to a broken and dislocated ankle in the first game of the season. Then, Kyrie after a failed surgery is out for the playoffs, then Marcus Smart breaks a bone and is out for the first round.

They have not been healthy all year and will not be able to challenge James with simply young talent. Has not worked in the past and it won’t be any different this year.

The Raptors have the talent, but no experience past the first round. Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan have not seen the Finals and cannot seem to challenge anybody in the East because they cannot get the job done.

They choke in the playoffs and James does not. Simple as that. The series to watch in the east is the Philadelphia 76ers vs. the Cavs. Sadly the 76ers have no playoff experience. This is the first time the process has seen the playoffs and Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and company will not be ready for the playoffs. The Cavs have been there before, hungry for more, and want to see the Warriors one more time. They will fight to get there’s, but my guess, it will not take more than 16 games to get there.

The West is a different monster all together. It took 82 games to finalize playoff seeds, and the competition was fierce from seed four to 10 all year long.

The studded cast of the Minnesota Timberwolves including Jimmy Butler, Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins are the last seed in the playoffs. MVP candidate Anthony Davis, Jrue Holliday and playoff Rajon Rondo is a cast that can compete in the east. Another MVP candidate Russel Westbrook with all-stars George, and Carmelo Anthony are competitive, and yet none of this matters. Why? The Houston Rockets have Chris Paul, MVP front runner James Harden, athletic big man Clint Capela.

With those three on the floor they have lost only a handful of games. That is it. This team has talent everywhere and holds the number one seed to prove it. They have much to prove and need to come up clutch, but in three years they seem to be the only team in the West to challenge the Warriors.

Finally, the Warriors are still the favorite to win it all. They hold four Hall of Fame candidates on their team, two MVP candidates and one of the best second units in the NBA. If that is not the recipe for success, then no one knows what is. Hopefully we will see the Houston Rockets, and Golden State Warriors go to game seven in the Western Conference Finals, and see who holds the best team to challenge James and his royalty title of “The King.”

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NBA playoffs are underway