The NBA Finals are nearly here basketball fans, it’s time to get excited.
Not only that, this year sees a new style Play-In tournament, which means a total of 20 teams will be involved in the postseason instead of the conventional eight-team fields in each conference.
May 18th – 21st sees the culmination of the Play-In Tournament, swiftly followed by the NBA Playoffs, starting May 22nd to July 22nd.
So, with the regular season drawing to a close it’s time to make some playoff predictions, and pick the teams that are going to qualify for the postseason from the Eastern and Western Conference.
Eastern Conference Predictions
Although many people consider the NBA Eastern Conference as the easier of the two conferences, there are still several Eastern playoff contenders capable of a great postseason.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers clinched their play-off spot back on April 28th with a win over the Atlanta Hawks. Joel Embiid is a favorite for the NBA MVP award in the NBA finals betting, he’s also competing with teammate Ben Simmons for Defensive Player of the Year. Coach Doc Rivers has a team that looks set to clinch the number one seed spot.
2. Brooklyn Nets
Sealed their play-off spot with a win over Toronto Raptors on April 27th. The Brooklyn Nets have one of the best offences in NBA history, plus three of the best offensive players in the NBA. Despite bad luck with injuries, the number two spot looks to be theirs.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
Despite boasting three of the best defenders in the NBA, with Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, Bucks haven’t had the season they’d hoped for. But with Bobby Portis and Donte DiVincenzo in form the number three spot is going to Milwaukee.
4. New York Knicks
The injury to Mitchell Robinson could be a problem but we expect to see the Knicks make the play-offs as the number four seed.
5. Atalanta Hawks
Injuries to Trae Young and De’Andre Hunter have hurt the Hawks but they’ve looked impressive offensively. Number 5 seed goes to the Hawks.
6. Boston Celtics
With Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart in the team, you can’t rule this Celtics team out. Don’t be surprised if they go deep, injuries permitting. Number six seed for Boston.
7. Charlotte Hornets
With Ball and Malik Monk expected to return from injury before the play-in tournament starts, we predict the Hornets will seal the number 7 spot.
8. Miami Heat
They may be destined for the Play-In tournament but we see the Heat coming through and taking the number eight seed.
Western Conference Predictions
1. Utah Jazz
Sealing their play-off spot back on April 25th, the Jazz won 20 of 21 games in an incredible run that lasted from Jan 8th – Feb 17th. They are our number one seeds.
2. Phoenix Suns
Victory over the Los Angeles Clippers saw the Suns claim their play off spot back on April 28th. With one of the top defenses in the NBA, Phoenix take the number two seed.
3. Denver Nuggets
Losing Jamal Murray to a torn ACL is a big blow to any team, but the incredible Nikola Jokic is stepping up and looking like this season’s NBA MVP.
4. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers will want Kawhi Leonard back from injury and hope Paul George continues his good form.
5. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks form has been up and down to say the least and doesn’t inspire much confidence for the postseason playoffs. But you can’t rule them out and we see them taking the number five seed.
6. Los Angeles Lakers
The defending champions have had to cope with the loss of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But with Davis and James on the comeback trail from injury, you can’t rule out the 17-time winners.
7. Portland Trail Blazers
They’ve suffered a poor run of form but with Damian Lillard on the team, we expect the Blazers to make it through and take the number seven seed.
8. Memphis Grizzlies
This young Grizzlies team boast shooting star Grayson Allen and the impressive Ja Morant. With the return Jaren Jackson Jr, we expect Memphis to clinch the number eight spot.
The NBA Finals Prediction
There’s no doubt this is a tight call, but the 2021 NBA Final sees Utah Jazz take on the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets are having an impressive season, even with Kevin Durant and Harden missing several games.
Harden leads the NBA in assists per game at 11.1 but a hamstring injury has ruled him out for the time being. However, softening that blow has been Durant’s return from injury which has seen him produce some staggering numbers.
Durant is averaging 28.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists on a 55/48/88 shooting line. He’s also shooting 90 percent from the free throw line, giving him a 61/59/90 shooting line and a 75 percent true shooting percentage.
When Irving, Durant and Harden are on their game, there’s no stopping the Nets offense, with the trio averaging 78.9 points per game.
The Jazz are the real deal when it comes to 2021 NBA championship odds. Don’t forget, they were the first NBA team to clinch their spot in the playoffs.
Utah rank fourth in scoring defense (107.3) and have ranked in the top five in that category in each of the last five years. The mighty Rudy Gobert, the favorite for NBA Defensive Player of the Year is largely responsible for those figures.
But what’s really impressed us is the Jazz offense, ranking third in points scored per game while also taking the most three-point attempts per game.
The 2021 NBA Champion
What’s our prediction? We’re calling it for the Utah Jazz to just edge out the Nets and make history by taking home their first ever NBA Championship.
But no matter who takes home the title it’s going to be a month full of basketball drama as the best teams in the world go head-to-head, and we can’t wait.
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