Ok, the NBA Bubble has already began and there are some surprises happening already, such as the Phoenix Suns who won all 8 regular games but yet not included in the play-in to compete for the 8th seed, how ironically and weird? That’s what an NBA Bubble does to a team, any team that can jell the quickest with hot hands and can surprise many teams.
So…..I have a number of my followers asking for my NBA Bubble Playoff Predictions. Which team I think will win the championships and what are my NBA predictions. In particular, Josh Tenn-Yuk (@joshteewhy) always wanted to know my thoughts about the NBA teams. Special shoutout to Josh. And this MoVernie BLOG is dedicated to him for his loyalty & support for my MoVernie on the MOVE. This is also a good way for me to come back after and check my predictions after the NBA playoffs is complete.
Anyhow, many of you know that I am putting an asterisk over this NBA Bubble season as there are just to many factors that just doesn’t make this NBA season a regular playoff environment. So many factors out there that I am putting an asterisk beside this season. I don’t mind watching live games just I wouldn’t put the NBA Champions of this weird year with the rest of other NBA Champions. Hey, that’s just me, you can feel or think whatever you want.
Eastern Conference – Top 4 Teams
(In no particular order): Toronto Raptors; Milwaukee Bucks; Boston Celtics & Miami Heat
Eastern Conference Finals – Top 2 Teams:
Toronto Raptors vs Miami Heat
Eastern Conference Dark Horse – A team that I think may surprise many, is capable of upsetting the top teams and is a team that no one should underestimate.
Western Conference – Top 4 Teams
(In no particular order): Denver Nuggets; LA Clippers; LA Lakers & OKC Thunder
Western Conference Finals – Top 2 Teams
LA Lakers vs LA Clippers
Western Conference Dark Horse – A team that I think may surprise many, is capable of upsetting the top teams and is a team that no one should underestimate.
NBA Finals: Toronto Raptors vs LA Clippers
NBA Champions: Toronto Raptors (Back 2 Back Champions)
You can call me bias coz I am a die-hard forever Toronto Raptors fan, but this team, despite losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, the entire team is pretty much intact. Yes, we lost Kawhi who provides strong offense and defense and a lead-by example leader when the game counts, but this Toronto Raptors squad has most of the players to run it back and they been there, they done that, they know what it takes to win. Lowry is still the leader and the floor general. They know anything is possible even when they were down 2-0 against the Milwaukee Bucks. They won the game #7 vs the Philadelphia 76ers, the road to winning the championship wasn’t easy but they got the job done. Although, the Raptors loses Danny Green veteran leadership and his defense, I am glad he left coz he was overpriced at $15M a season with the Lakers and he lost a few steps and his 3pter isn’t as reliable anymore.
In order for the Raptors to win the NBA Championship the 2nd time, they need to be healthy. Coach Nick Nurse needs to use its depth and utilize his players more, if he continues to just use 7-player rotation like he did in last year’s playoffs, the players will be worn out. They have depth, give Terrence Davis some minutes, Matt Thomas some minutes, Chris Boucher some minutes, Rondae Hollis Jefferson some minutes.
The X-Factor in my opinion is Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. Pascal is the focal point in the offensive end, he should expect to be double and triple teamed by the opponents, he needs to be composed and find his way to score and make those key shots down the stretch. Or else, it will be Demar Derozan all over again when the game is on the line, DeRozan fails to make things happen time and time again. But I am confident with the learning curve of Pascal that he will get it done.
OG Anunoby, as you may recalled from last year, he didn’t suit up at all during the playoffs as he had a surgery. This year, he is back. We know his defense is his forte, guarding the opposition toughest players, but we also need him to score a bit, be more aggressive to attack the basket and have a more balance game plan. Moreover, he needs to be consistent night-in and night-out. We can’t afford to see him scoring 20 pts a game and then disappear with 6 pts another night. We need his all-around game. If both Pascal and OG can provide consistent good games, then Raptors will have a good chance of repeating as NBA Champion once again.
With all the media out there who never give this squad any respect even they won their 1st NBA Champions, there is so much motivation for this team to go out and play hard and with a purpose to prove people wrong as they want to show they can still win the NBA biggest prize without Kawhi and Danny Green and I think they have what it takes to get it done.
I know many would wonder why I wouldn’t choose the Milwaukee Bucks. Well….they do have lots of tall players, size and depth, but I am still not convince if Greek Freak has what it takes to the next level. I still think his shots are unreliable when the game is on the line. His 3pter shooting and free throws are suspect when it matters most. I just don’t think Greek Freak has the mental toughness to guide his team to the trophy. He reminds me of Kevin Durant with the OKC Thunder and that’s self-explanatory. The Bucks have a bunch of B-listed players, I just don’t think they have what it takes to the next level.
In case you wonder, really? No Philly 76ers? That team has lots of individual talent but they just don’t jell for some reason. Embiid, I luv his game, but he talks lots of smack but he isn’t hungry or have the drive to share the ball and play a team game. Embiid always look like he is sick or tired out. Al Harford is a great player but just don’t jell well with the rest of the youngsters. Ben Simmons, quite honestly, even if he was healthy, I still wouldn’t pick Philly to get far.
I think Miami Heat will be the “Dark Horse” of the East. They have an experienced coach in Erik Spoelstra who can make creative plays for his players. He can also motivate his squad. With Jimmy Butler on the team, he will make sure his teammates are focused and working hard. There are also many good role players on the squad, kind of remind me of the players on the Raptors roster. Miami has Tyler Herro, Kendrick Dunn, Duncan Robinson who are up and rising players, coupled with veterans such as Goran Dragic, Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, that team can go head-to-head with anybody. I think they will surprise many people and go deep into the playoffs. I know it’s a bold prediction to pick them to head into the Eastern Conference Finals, but I have lots of respect with this Miami Heat team and they are in the NBA Bubble, any team with a hot hand and chemistry will stand a chance.
What do you think of my thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Let me know your predictions, I want to know.