By James Gleason (@Gleasonavenue)
We are still a bit far off from the start of the NBA Playoffs, and seeds could change in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. But if the playoffs did start today, there would be some interesting and some fun match-ups going on. The Bucks could return to the playoffs for the first time since 2013, the Wizards could be a strong contender for second in the east a year after one of the more disappointing seasons for that franchise. The Cavs look good to lock up another top seed in the east, even if they are not as strong recently as they have been before. The West has a few interesting possible match up as well, and the Utah Jazz might be the most intriguing team to watch down the stretch. Here are some playoff games i would not mind seeing myself.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Milwaukee Bucks
This might be the one of the few matchup in the post-season that could end up in a sweep. The Bucks are young, athletic and have a rising star in Giannis Antetokounmpo. But they lack outside shooting, they sit 10rh in 3pt% and alongside giannis they don’t really have another solid and reliable player to lean on.Meanwhile the Cavaliers are an offensive giant that can turn it on in a heartbeat. They are second in 3p% and contain an offense that is really deep and can deliver, especially if Lebron is healthy and is in god mode. Still think this will be a fun series, seeing as Giannis Antetokounmpo would be making his playoff debut, and we see how the Cavs can adjust defensively in the playoffs and completely clamp it down on an opponent.
The Cavs would set the tone and temp of the series, Lebron can switch from on and off in a second, and how the Cavs can run up and down the court will force the Bucks to be out of their comfort zone.
I would still really love to see this series mostly cuz I wanna see how a Giannis stacks up against a playoff Lebron for a seven game series. How the Cavs can adjust to his length and skill will be interesting, and also seeing how Jabari Parker can grow as a player when in a post-season roll for the first time. For the Cavs though, if they can get a good roll going and can end games early it could mean a little rest for Lebron, which would be huge if a second round matchup against a team maybe like the Raptors is possible.
Houston Rockets Memphis Grizzlies.
This would be a very interesting pair heading into the playoffs should they meet. The Rockets are an offensive wizard if things are going well. Mike D’Antoni might win coach of the year as he is leading a very unique offence, they lead the league in three point attempts at around 40 per game, but sit 15th in the league when it comes to percentages at around 36 percent. So they can make threes in a bunch, but like a D’Antoni offence it can either keep you in a game or make you be down 15-20. The Grizzlies have made a blueprint in their Organization in shutting down teams in terms of shutting down the perimeter and getting steals. The Rockets are a top team in turnovers and could maybe have a lead trim down due to them giving away the ball.
I will take the Rockets in this one in five games, think they will be tough games but the Rockets have too many shooters and offensive threats to make this a 7 game series. James Harden is having his best season ever and could win mvp. A sixth man of the year candidate in Eric Gordon is remaking his career as the go to bench guy for Houston, and is fitting really well in the rockets shoot and drive offence. Expect this to be a fun and for the games to be entertaining, but the Rockets got this in the bag.
Golden State Warriors Denver Nuggets
This could be a real show offensivly, as both teams sit in the top ten in field goal percentage, Warriors first and Denver 5th respectively. Golden State would be with a healthy (we assume) Kevin Durant, so I don’t expect this to be a close series at all, but two of the highest scoring teams could provide some fun back and forth action. Nikola Jokic is another one of those do it all big men, and his speed for his size could provide trouble for the Warriors, who don’t really have protection in the paint aside from Draymond Green. Will Barton is getting better year after year, and a bench matchup between him and Warriors Shaun Livingston, who is one of the Warriors better bench defenders.
A Danilo Gallinari vs Klay Thompson matchup could either be a shooting fest, or Klay could just shut down Galo completely. One of the less talked about things with Klay is how well his defense is on the perimeter. So if Draymond can shut down Jokic, the Nuggets might rely heavily on Galo to produce points, which may or may not go well depending on how well Klay can defend him.
I expect the Warriors to make this a quick series sweep, they really turn it up during the playoffs and can play both ends super well when they want to. The Nuggets will put on a show of their own, but really rely on getting points in quick fashion and struggle heavily on the defensive end. They are second worst in opponent field goal percentage and fourth worst in opponent three point percentage, and if you face the Warriors and give up that high of a chance to score inside and out you really have no chance.
The seeding and standings in the Eastern and Western Conferences could change from today, teams like the Bucks or Nuggets could be out of the top 8. But for now I just wanted to write about some potential first round playoff games I would love to see. The NBA Playoffs are one of the more exiting times in sports, and good match-ups and games are important to a memorable spring and early summer.