2016 NBA Playoff Predictions
This 2016 NBA season has honestly been pretty predictable. We knew how unstoppable the Warriors would be after bringing back almost the whole squad from last year. We also knew the Spurs were going to be incredible after they were able to bring Lamarcus Aldridge to Texas. Of course, we also knew the Cavaliers would kind of, sorta struggle but still would win the Eastern Conference because I mean come on, they have LeBron. The regular season is almost over now though and I think we might be in for a wild ride in the playoffs. Here are my predictions if seeding stays how it is now.
- Golden State Warriors v. 8. Utah Jazz- We all know how this is going to go right? Its the Warriors who have been the best team in the NBA all year of course they will sweep this eight seed. Not so fast. The Jazz is like that fat kid you have to guard in pick up basketball. You know you are better than them but they just make your life a little bit harder because they have that size and that mean attitude. The Jazz could make this series interesting against the champion favored Warriors. Gordon Hayward has turned into a legitimate scorer this year, averaging 20 points, and they also have Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert down low which could create a mismatch if the Warriors do decide to go small ball with Draymond at the 5. Not saying the Jazz have a real chance to win the series but I don’t think it will be a sweep like the Warriors vs. the Pelicans last year. Warriors in 6
- San Antonio Spurs v. 7. Dallas Mavericks- The Dallas Mavericks have had a very weird season. A lot of people wrote them off for this year after the whole Deandre Jordan saga. They have shown some fight and grit this year though. Dirk is still doing Dirk things and JJ Barea has been a little firecracker for this team as of late. They have some promise for their team if they can try to bring in one of the big named free agents this summer, but they are playing the Spurs in a few weeks and it wont be pretty. Spurs in 4. SWEEP
- Oklahoma City Thunder v. 6. Portland Trail Blazers- Now Portland is one of those teams that I really think could give one of the elite teams some trouble in the playoffs. The Thunder have shown how inconsistent they can be at times and even though they do have two of the best ball players on the planet, I still think Damian Lillard and company could give the Thunder some trouble in the playoffs but I still have to go with Russ and KD on this one. Thunder in 6.
- Los Angeles Clippers v. 5. Memphis Grizzlies- These two teams really confuse me. The Clippers are obviously one of the most talented teams in the league. Chris Paul is a leader that you would think deserves a title at some point in his career. They have the shooters, JJ and Jamal, they have the big men(if one of them could stay healthy and stop punching equipment managers) but the team still cannot click and make a championship run. That is a story for another day though. The poor Memphis Grizzlies are so beat up though, they do not stand a chance in this first round match up. I think Z-Bo, Vince Carter and Matt Barnes will try to play the Clips very tough but in the end it will be all Clippers. Clippers in 6.
- Cleveland Cavaliers v. 8. Detroit Pistons- The Pistons when they were really hot at the beginning of the year looked like they have a make up of a top four team in the east. Andre Drummond and Reggie Jacked looked unstoppable for about the first month of the season, but everything good must come to an end. Van Gundy is definitely building a squad for the future in Detroit and they will be a tough squad in the East in the coming years but this will be all Cleveland. Cleveland in 5.
- Toronto Raptors v. 7. Indiana Pacers- The Toronto Raptors really really frustrate me. They looked to have already peaked like last year’s Hawks but I really hope that is not the case. They are a very talented team and this first round match up against Paul George will be a very interesting match up. I’m going with the 6ix though. Raptors in 6.
- Atlanta Hawks v. 6. Charlotte Hornets- Assuming that tight race between the Hawks, Hornets, Heat and Celtics stays how it is now, that means the Hawks would face of against a Hornets team that has been peaking at the right time. Linsanity is back in Charlotte and should help Kemba in that backcourt but Atlanta is a well balanced team that I think has something to prove in the playoffs and they should win this matchup. I could see this turning into one of those tough eastern conference rivals for the coming years. Hawks in 5.
- Boston Celtics v. 5. Miami Heat- This match up to me has the potential to turn into a really intense seven game series. Boston has been the best team in the east for the past few months and Miami has that star power and will power to want to be able to play against LeBron in the next round. I think Isaiah Thomas is really going to show he is one of the NBA’s elite point guards in these coming playoffs. Dwayne Wade is definitely not going to want to go out in the first round but I think this Boston team is too tough. Boston in 7.
Western Conference Second Round:
- Golden State Warriors v. 4. Los Angeles Clippers- The Clippers are going to want to win this series so damn bad. Doc Rivers must be getting frustrated by now. His team is so talented and yet they can still only get the four seed and are going to have to play the Warriors in the second round. This series should be all Golden State. Warriors in 5.
- San Antonio Spurs v. Oklahoma City Thunder- I wonder what Coach Popovich thinks about having to play the Thunder and the Warriors in back to back series. That is going to be a tough task even for the Spurs, but I think they have it in them and I hope they put Kawhi on Russell again because that would be so much fun to watch for a series. I think San Antonio have a good chance to win this series in a small amount of games. San Antonio in 5.
Eastern Conference Second Round:
- Cleveland Cavaliers v. Boston Celtics- I think Cleveland is definitely beatable in an eastern conference that is improving a lot and I think Boston will be playing with a chip on their shoulder since Cleveland absolutely demolished them in the first round last year. I think Boston will win one of those games in Cleveland and scare all Cav’s fans a little but in the end LeBron is not going to lose in the second round of the playoffs. Cavs in 6.
- Toronto Raptors v. 3. Atlanta Hawks- The match up to see who has to play LeBron in the Eastern Conference Finals, always a fun one. I think either of these teams has the potential to beat Cleveland. This is almost the same story as last round with the well rounded Hawks playing a team with a few guys with star potential but the Raptors are a little better. I bet Lowry and Derozan want to redeem themselves for their dissapointing playoff outing last year when they were swept by the Wizards but I still think Atlanta is going to win this series and set up that Eastern Conference Finals from last year. Hawks in 6.
Western Conference Finals:
- Golden State Warriors v. 2. San Antonio Spurs- T0 me, this is the match up between the best two teams in the NBA. I guarantee this will be one of the most epic playoff series in the history of the NBA. The Warriors are such a complete star studded team vs. the always reliable Spurs who look to have their next star in Kawhi. I think this series is definitely going seven games and I think San Antonio goes into the Bay and beat the Warriors in that pivotal game 7. Spurs in 7.
Eastern Conference Finals:
- Cleveland Cavaliers v. 3. Atlanta Hawks- Atlanta has to get over this hump at some point. They have the team to make a deep run and to atleast reach a finals at some point. I just don’t think that is going to be this year. Cleveland has such a complete team and LeBron is going back to the finals. No matter what he has to do. Cavs in 6
- Cleveland Cavaliers v. 2. San Antonio Spurs- I think this series will be a lot different than the NBA finals last year. This Cleveland squad, if still healthy, come Finals time will be very dangerous. I love LeBron vs. Spurs finals match ups as much as the next person but I really think this series will not be as close as even last year’s finals. Advantage Pop. Spurs in 5.