For once, the NBA playoffs are a complete unknown.
What a treat the 2018 post-season is going to be in the NBA. After three years of whether the Warriors and Steph could beat the Cavs and LeBron, or vice versa, we have a field that is as wide open as it’s ever been. Seriously.
From the top-seeded Raptors to the eighth-seeded Wizards in the Eastern Conference, the Rockets with James Harden to the Pelicans with Anthony Davis, almost any team can win any series. Seriously. Injuries are unfortunate, but they have further scrambled the NBA eggs.
For example, the surprising Boston Celtics are the second seed in the East but are all but out of it after losing Kyrie Irving at the end of the regular season like they lost Gordon Hayward at the beginning. Don’t be surprised if the seventh-seeded Bucks with the Greek Freak knock Boston out in the first round.
Houston has the best record in pro basketball with the MVP of the season, thanks largely to the bearded wonder Harden. They should get by the Timberwolves in the 1-8 series in the Western Conference, but nothing is assured this post-season. Ain’t it great!
While the defending champion Warriors and Rockets are favored to meet in the Western finals, Curry’s status is the big wild card, although former Dukie Quinn Cook has come from the G-League to star in his place. Golden State finished a full seven games behind Houston, so who’s to say the Dubs get that far.
How about the third-seeded 76ers in the East, who won their last 16 games of the regular season and go into the playoffs as the hottest team. The long-time doormats have followed what they call the “building process” and are still a dangerous team even if injured Joel Imbiid doesn’t come back soon. They can ride rookie sensations Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons and ex-ACC stars J.J. Redick and Justin Anderson to the Cavs in the finals.
But fourth-place Cleveland and LeBron are only a slight favorite over the Pacers, which is what makes their series so intriguing.
In the West, Golden State has to deal with seventh-seeded but wise-old San Antonio with some surprising young stars. Who wins the Trail Blazers-Pelicans series called a toss-up, or the Thunder with Russell Westbrook versus the Jazz with Rookie of the Year candidate Donovan Mitchell?
So many great games and yet-to-be household names make the NBA playoffs must-see TV.