NBA Playoffs 2020: Who should be the favorites at this point of the season?
- We look at the favorites from each conference and pick who will make it to the NBA Finals from the East and the West.
Nearing the end of one of the best regular seasons with younger players exceeding expectations and players in their prime putting up huge numbers, who should be title favorites at this point of the year?
In the Eastern Conference, the leading favorites are the Milwaukee Bucks being led by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. Teams such as the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers all seem to have good squads with talent, but none of them have a player like Giannis.
The 76ers seemed to be the favorites to compete with the Bucks before the regular season, but with their new additions such as Al Horford not playing well along with injuries to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the Sixers look like a 1st or 2nd round team until they prove otherwise.
The Celtics seem to be the next best team when fully healthy, with Tatum playing at an MVP level currently and leading the team with 23.4 PPG. Outside of Tatum, they have Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker who come playoff time I expect them to average at least 20 PPG respectively.
The real X-Factor for Boston is Gordon Hayward. He has had an inconsistent season but has had stretches where he can give the Celtics 20-25 points a night. If he can do that consistently in the playoffs they will find their way into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bucks. Even with the Celtics playing at full strength, Giannis is by far the best player on the court and I expect them to take care of the Celtics and be in the finals.
The West playoffs are what every fan has been looking forward to since last summer when the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Anthony Davis and the LA Clippers were able to acquire Kawhi Leonard and Paul George with an already relatively good roster at hand. These two teams are the clear favorites to meet in the Western Conference Finals and I expect that to happen. This is the matchup everyone wants to see and with the Lakers as the 1 seed and Clippers in the 2 seed, it looks very likely it will happen.
The battle of LA will feature the two best duos in the NBA competing for a trip to the finals. With the reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard leading the Clippers against the guy who has been there 8 straight seasons until an injury took him out and caused the Lakers to miss the playoffs, expect some breathtaking basketball to be played.
With all the talk around LeBron James being washed, I see him going out there and activating that playoff LeBron we didnt get a chance to see last year. LeBron has proven that you can't fully judge him in the regular season because come playoff time, he turns it up to a different level. The series will be very close, but I just can't see LeBron losing this series.
Come finals time, I have the same argument as to why the Lakers will win the finals. Giannis will give LeBron a great fight, but with AD also on the Lakers and the Bucks not having a second superstar, it will prove to be too much.
Playoff LeBron is a real thing and has proven every year that he is better than everyone come playoff time. I expect LeBron to have an all time great playoff run and lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the first NBA Championship to kick-start the new decade.Published 11 Mar 2020, 18:11 IST