Barring the unexpected, the NBA is back. The owners approved for the league to continue, sending 22 teams down to Orlando, Florida to round out the 2019-20 NBA season. How the end of the season will work is this: the 22 teams invited to Orlando will play eight “seeding” games to conclude the regular season.
Seeds one through seven in each conference will be locked in. If the nine seed in either conference is within four games of the eighth seed, there will be a play-in series for the final spot(s). From there, a traditional playoff format will commence. With that being said, let’s take a look at each of the remaining 22 teams and their theme song, which depicts what their situation is heading into postseason play.
#9: Washington Wizards
We start with the one and only Vince McMahon to best describe the Washington Wizards’ NBA Finals chances. Currently sitting five games back of the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic, Bradley Beal and the Wizards would only need to gain one more game back on the Magic to play….the MILWAUKEE BUCKS. You heard it, folks. They have no chance, no chance in hell on winning the NBA Finals, making it a perfect theme song for the team from D.C.
#8: Orlando Magic
For the Magic, they are slated to match-up with the Milwaukee Bucks. A date with this year’s MVP spells trouble for a youthful Orlando team heading into the postseason. Therefore, I am going with a Disney theme song for this team. Let the Magic’s finals chances go as there is minimal hope they will be able to get out of the first round.
#7: Brooklyn Nets
With the recent news that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will not be returning for this year’s playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets’ focus shifts to next year’s NBA Finals. The lyric “I’ll be comin’ home next year” is going to mean a heck of a lot more around this time in the 2020-21 season, as the Larry O’Brien trophy might be coming home to Brooklyn and the Nets.
#6: Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers have not had the season many predicted them to have. Yet, that could all change very quickly in the playoffs. A healthy Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid brings a lot of star power to the table. Add in Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson, and the Sixers can pose problems to every team in the playoffs. Although he has not lived up to his contract, a seasoned veteran like Al Horford will bring in even more defensive prowess to an already stout defense.
A first-round match-up with the Celtics could start a championship run or derail ‘The Process’. So when I say anything could happen, literally ANYTHING could happen, making this a perfect theme song for Philly. They could get hot and win a championship. They also could get swept in the first round, fire their coach, and have trade rumors swirling around them. So be wary Philly, because Ellie Goulding said it best, anything could happen.
#5: Indiana Pacers
In order for the Indiana Pacers to have a chance to make it to the NBA Finals, the team has to focus on doing all the small things right. This includes winning the battle on the boards, limiting turnovers, winning every loose ball, and playing their game offensively. This will increase the Pacers’ NBA Finals chances. Face the facts, Victor Oladipo was a shell of himself after coming back from injury, so minor victories will go a long way for Indiana.
#4: Miami Heat
NBA fans have fallen victim to giving the Eastern Conference championship to the Milwaukee Bucks. But I ask you kindly, respect the Heat. Bam Adebayo has proven to be a formidable defender against Giannis Antetokounmpo. They are led by a veteran in Jimmy Butler. Making the move for Andre Iguodala added in a player with championship pedigree. Combine that with rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro, and Miami is proving to NBA fans that they deserve respect.
#3: Boston Celtics
Remember in the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals when all the hype was on how young Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were? Well, Tatum is heading into third NBA Playoffs now and Brown is heading into his fourth. Look at them now, leading Boston to the third seed in the Eastern Conference alongside first-year Celtic Kemba Walker. Who knows if they have a shot at winning the title. But with the youth of this team, the Boston Celtics have proven they will be a mainstay in the NBA playoff picture for the foreseeable future. Look at them now NBA fans.
#2: Toronto Raptors
A Drake song had to be the theme song for Toronto! Plus, Pascal Siakam flipped a switch this season, and because of his improved play, the Raptors did not stop having success after winning the title last year. Coming into the playoffs as the two seed, Toronto is proving to be a contender yet again. The team’s ‘Nonstop’ effort on both sides of the ball night-in and night-out is a huge reason for their success this season, and it will be a reason for continued success in the postseason.
#1: Milwaukee Bucks
Folks, we head back to another WWE theme song, because the time is now for the Milwaukee Bucks. With questions looming around Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future in Milwaukee, the Bucks’ focus has to be on winning this year’s title. With the looming 2021 free agency and role players such as Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, and Wesley Mathews not getting any younger, the time must be now for Giannis and the Bucks to best capitalize on their window of opportunity.
#13: Phoenix Suns
Currently six games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, the Phoenix Suns’ finals chances are long gone. With minimal chance to even make the top-16, the Suns have proven they are still not a player in the Western Conference.
#12: San Antonio Spurs
With the recent news about Lamarcus Aldridge missing the remainder of the season, it is safe to assume that the curtains will be closed on the San Antonio Spurs’ 2019-20 season. Sitting three games back in the loss column, it would take some Popovich magic to squeeze the Spurs into a playoff spot.
#11: Sacramento Kings
You’re telling me the Sacramento Kings have to get by the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans in the standings just to get a chance at beating the Grizzlies for a playoff berth? Thank you Luke Walton, but maybe next season.
#10: New Orleans Pelicans
A fully healthy and youthful New Orleans team with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson could cause them to go wild and sneak into a first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Do the Pelicans get any further into the postseason after the first round? Probably not; however, NOLA’s youth can go wild and sneak them into an ENTERTAINING first-round match-up.
#9: Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers have had a shaky 2019-20 season, but nevertheless have a chance to slide into a playoff spot. The team has had its ups and downs in the playoff race, and it will continue after the NBA resumes in late July.
#8: Memphis Grizzlies
Whether the Memphis Grizzlies end up in the eighth spot at the end of the year or not, there is much hope for the very young core on this team. Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, and Jaren Jackson Jr. have the potential to become one of the more feared trios in the NBA in the coming seasons. With a lot of the hype around the youth now focused on Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, the Grizzlies flew under the radar while holding the eight seed. Hope for the underrated youth in Memphis.
#7: Dallas Mavericks
It is no secret to say the duo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis is the driving force behind the Mavericks’ success this year. With all due respect to a solid supporting cast around the two stars, Porzingis and Doncic have proven they will be a problem in the coming years. Currently sitting at the seven seed, the Mavs are slated to play the Clippers, so it may take more than two for things to go right in that series. Even if Doncic and the Mavericks do not have much playoff success this year, there is nothing to be ashamed of, as better days are ahead for Dallas basketball.
#6: Houston Rockets
Pretty self-explanatory for Houston’s theme song here. Led by James Harden, the Houston Rockets take almost 45 three-point shots per game. When the Rockets are hot and hitting on all cylinders, it will be very tough to beat them. When the Rockets get cold from behind the arc, it’s a different story.
Honorable Mention for Theme Song for Houston Rockets
“I wish I was a little bit taller” is the first line of the song, and for the first full-time users of small ball, there is not a better fit for this song.
#5: Oklahoma City Thunder
After dealing away Paul George and Russell Westbrook this offseason, not much was expected of the Oklahoma City Thunder. They had stockpiled a plethora of first-round draft capital and picked up a hefty contract for veteran Chris Paul. Nevertheless, with their hard-nosed style of play and team chemistry, the Thunder were able to have a successful season, proving hard work does pay off. Now matching up against the fourth-seeded Utah Jazz, the Thunder have a good chance to move onto the Western Conference semi-finals behind a solid young core and strong veteran presence.
#4: Utah Jazz
Do we know if Rudy Gobert will get to touch the ball? Is Donovan Mitchell going to be able to stay in the same room as Gobert? How about Joe Ingles, will he even show up to the playoffs, or will he stay in Australia? As reports have said, it is safe to say there is a lot of hate and animosity in the Jazz locker room. The team does not have much of a chance at the title if everyone hates each other.
#3: Denver Nuggets
All the talk and focus in the Western Conference has been on the two teams in Los Angeles. But much like the Miami Heat, do not lose the Denver Nuggets in the shuffle. Do not forget about the amount of talent on this roster. Denver may not be the title favorite, but it certainly is in the conversation for the NBA Finals if one of the L.A. teams stumbles in the playoffs.
#2: Los Angeles Clippers
Some NBA fans were questioning the Clippers’ talent and ability to turn it on and off. The team made it clear their intention was solely on the NBA playoffs. Their two stars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, were under the ‘load management’ program throughout the season. The postseason is here now, and the Clippers have last year’s Finals MVP and an MVP finalist together on the court. LAC has nothing to worry about heading into the playoffs.
#1: Los Angeles Lakers
We finish where we started, the WWE! The Lakers’ NBA Finals chances ride with the king, LeBron James. Coming in as the top seed in the West, the Lakers will go as far as King James will take them.
Stay Safe Folks
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