With the NBA (National Basketball Association) season coming to an end, teams are preparing for their playoff run. Usually, the top eight seeds (teams) from each conference get to participate in the playoffs, but due to covid this year, the 9 and 10 seeds get to have a chance to make the playoffs by going through the play-in series.
The play-in series works like this, the 9 and 10 seeds from each conference will play each other, and then 7 and 8 seeds play. The winner of 7 and 8 will officially own the 7th seed and the loser will play the winner of 9 and 10. Then, the winner of that game will own the 8th seed and each conference will have its own play-in tournament. The play-in will start Tuesday, May 18 for the Eastern Conference. The Western Conference starts on Wednesday, May 19.
This season’s favorites to win the NBA championship out of the Eastern Conference are the Brooklyn Nets, since they have three all-stars on their team in James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. From the Western Conference, going into the season the Los Angeles Lakers were favorited, but due to recent injuries to All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the new favorites are the Los Angeles Clippers led by stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
With the season ending, fans continue to speculate who should win what award. The favorites to win MVP (Most Valuable Player) are Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid. For ROTY (Rookie of the Year), Lamelo Ball and Anthony Edwards are favored. Then for the Sixth Man of the Year award (which goes to the best player coming off the bench), Jordan Clarkson is looking like the clear winner.
With the play-in happening this year, teams are not guaranteed their initial match-up come playoff time. The teams that have clinched a playoff or play-in spot in the Western Conference are 1. Utah Jazz, 2. Phoenix Suns, 3. Denver Nuggets, 4. LA Clippers, 5. Dallas Mavericks, 6. Portland Trail Blazers, 7. LA Lakers, 8. Golden State Warriors, 9. Memphis Grizzlies, 10. San Antonio Spurs. In the Eastern Conference, the standings are 1. Philadelphia 76ers, 2. Brooklyn Nets, 3. Milwaukee Bucks, 4. New York Knicks, 5. Atlanta Hawks, 6. Miami Heat, 7. Boston Celtics, 8. Washington Wizard, 9 Indiana Pacers, 10. Charlotte Hornets
East: Celtics v. Wizards & Pacers v. Hornets
West: Lakers v. Warriors & Grizzlies v. Spurs
Set Playoff Matchups:
East: Knicks v. Hawks & Bucks v. Heat
West: Clippers v. Mavericks & Nuggets v. Blazers
The last time the New York Knicks made the playoffs was in 2013.
The last time the Brooklyn Nets formerly known as the New Jersey Nets appeared in the NBA Championship was in 2002 and 2003 where they lost. Now they are the heavy favorites to win this year.
2010 was the last year the Phoenix Suns were in the playoffs, and just two years ago, they had the worst record in the league at 19-63. Now this year, they have the second-best in the league with 51-21.
Tune in this week to TNT and ESPN to view the play-in series.