The NBA Play-In Tournament 2021 is scheduled to begin on May 18th, 2021. Safe to say that the NBA Western Conference has thrown in its fair share of surprises as far as the top conference seeds are concerned. Traditionally considered to be the more difficult of the conferences, the 2020-21 NBA season saw multiple teams surprising almost everybody and making their way to the top of the conference.
This includes the Utah Jazz, who, led by Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, have absolutely dominated proceedings and find themselves at the top, along with the Phoenix Suns. Regardless, there are still quite a few permutations and combinations that might come into play as far as the 4 teams that make the Play-In tournament are concerned.
NBA Play-In Tournament 2021: Predicting the 4 teams from the Western Conference
With the likes of Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns hogging the top of the conference and the defending NBA champions seeing their season go a different direction after injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, there is little room to maneuver as far as the playoffs seeds are concerned. Regardless, we attempt to predict the four teams that should make their way to the NBA Play-In Tournament 2021.
#4 Golden State Warriors
Holding on to the 10th spot in the NBA Western Conference are the Stephen Curry-led Golden State Warriors. Injury to Klay Thompson meant that the season was not going to be as easy as the Golden State Warriors initially thought.
But the form of Andrew Wiggins, along with the impressive performances of NBA rookie James Wiseman, have been some of the bright spots. Draymond Green has produced triple-doubles left, right and center, while Stephen Curry has been in the form of his life this season as well. The Golden State Warriors will still be optimistic about sneaking their way into the playoffs.
#3 Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies currently have a 30-28 record in the NBA and find themselves in 8th position in the Western Conference. Ja Morant, in his second season, might well lead his side to the playoffs this season, with the likes of Jonas Valanciunas and Dillon Brooks also producing multiple big performances in recent weeks.
The Memphis Grizzlies have been solid on both ends of the court with multiple offensive options finding form off the bench in recent weeks. If they do end up making their way to the playoffs, it will be a huge achievement for a young team that has fought their way back into the reckoning since the All-Star break.
#2 San Antonio Spurs
Betting on the San Antonio Spurs to not make the NBA playoffs is never a bright idea, although DeMar DeRozan and co. might well have to take the longer route there this time around. They have turned a corner since the All-Star break and have shown improvement on both ends of the court in recent weeks.
Dejounte Murray has supported DeRozan to good effect in recent weeks, while the shooting form of Jacob Poeltl has also been a boost in recent games. The San Antonio Spurs might find it difficult to get through the Play-In tournament, but should be able to get there just fine.
#1 Dallas Mavericks
At the time of writing the article, the Dallas Mavericks had appeared to turn a corner after a stumble of sorts with a two-game winning streak over defending champions LA Lakers. The Dallas Mavericks find themselves as the top-ranked team to enter the Play-In tournament in our prediction due to the defensive inconsistencies that they have shown.
Luke Doncic is an MVP candidate, although if his team does not end the regular season with a huge uptick in form, he will most likely be out of contention. Kristaps Porzingis has also been consistent while Tim Hardaway Jr. has been one of the most consistent scorers off the bench this season in the NBA. The Dallas Mavericks will be looking for a direct playoff seed, although this year’s Western Conference might not allow that.