The National Basketball Association, more commonly known as the NBA, hold play offs each year leading up to the NBA playoffs. The best-of-seven elimination tournament leads to the final game that decides the champions of that season, and each year promises to be just as thrilling as the previous.
The 2018 season is looking to follow that pattern, and fans worldwide are already breaking out their team’s jersey in full support. However, with the play offs not underway yet and no set match ups due to be announced, all we can do is predict and that’s just what we’ve done.
Without further ado, here are our predictions for which teams will make the NBA playoffs this year.
The Current Predicted Playoffs: Each year, the run up to the playoffs is filled with all kinds of predictions and ‘what ifs’ and this season is certainly no different. Just like any other year, keeping up with the hype around the match-ups is half the fun!
Match-ups are formed by taking the best and most lacking team, and matching them together until they meet in the middle. This is where underdogs get the chance to shine, but with the playoffs still a while away, all we can do is go by rankings! At the time of writing, ESPN predict the playoffs will look a little something like this:
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|(1) Toronto v Miami (8)||(1) Houston v New Orleans (8)|
|(2) Boston v Philadelphia (7)||(2) Golden State v Portland (7)|
|(3) Cleveland v Milwaukee (6)||(3) San Antonio v Denver (6)|
|(4) Washington v Indiana (5)||(4) Minnesota v Oklahoma City (5)|
It’s important to remember that this is constantly changing, so it’s worth going back and visiting every couple of days if you truly want to get a head start on placing your bets. The teams listed are generally thought to be the most likely to make the play-offs, so it’s all a case of keeping up with the match ups.
However, this can all change, so don’t get too comfortable just yet! However, despite these match ups, there are, of course, favorites to win each and every year, which we’re exploring in more detail below.
Cleveland Cavaliers – LeBron James: The Cleveland Cavaliers are the favorites to win practically every year, and a good chunk of their success can be put down to crowd favorite and household name LeBron James. James himself has reached the NBA finals for seven consecutive seasons, and so it’s arguably foolish to bet against them this year.
However, James can only keep going for so long. When will he start to slow down?
The biggest thing about this year’s Cavalier squad, however, is that they haven’t changed anything. Why fix what isn’t broken, right? But this could prove devastating for the team, as other rosters within the Eastern Conference are looking bigger and better than ever. Could their lack of change be their downfall?
Toronto Raptors: This Canadian professional basketball team are the ones to watch this year. After losing to the reigning champions last year, the Raptors drew attention to their gameplay and style, so if you’re going to place your bets on anyone, this Toronto team could be the right place to look. With Bobby Webster managing them for the second year in a row, could this year prove to be better than the last?
Golden State Warriors – Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant: The Golden State Warriors are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the whole of basketball, and this year certainly isn’t looking any different. However, as prepared as they appear to be, there are more threats they could have to face this year.
Teams are getting better with every season, and plenty of their opponents are looking just as healthy, if not more so, as the Warriors do. Other teams are bound to catch up eventually, but will this be the year? Are the Golden State Warriors proving vulnerable? This team’s playoffs are the ones you don’t want to miss.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Oklahoma City Thunder have made their mark in years previous and this year is looking to be just as fun of a watch. Currently ranked at 5, they’re in a good position to prove the predictions wrong.
They might be the middle men, but with a good gameplay and Russell Westbrook ready and raring to go for the new season, who knows what these play offs could bring. New techniques, a dose of team morale and a sprinkling of fan support and they could be well on their way to proving themselves worthy of the Champions title.
The NBA playoffs are an adrenaline rush worthy of watching each and every year and this year promises to be no different. Will the Golden State Warriors cling onto their best team reputation, or will Oklahoma City Thunder race up the ranks and steal the crown? You’ll just have to watch to find out.