It’s my personal favorite time of the year, crunch time. The NBA season is coming to an end, but there’s still quite a bit to look out for. Who will secure the 8 seed in the West? How will the seeding look like in the stacked Eastern Conference? What teams will rise, what teams will fall? Here’s what my answers are to these questions.
The 8 seed in the West, AKA the team that will get swept by the Lakers in the first round (might be a little biased opinion). We have a couple solid teams in the hunt; the Grizzlies, led by the rookie sensation, Ja Morant. We also have the now Zion-led Pels, who have a ridiculously good amount of offense, and the teams who are on life support, the surprisingly bad Blazers, the Spurs, and the team no one expected, the Suns. Looking at this list of teams, I see 3 real candidates, the Blazers, who have one of the clutchest players in the league w Damian Lillard, the Pelicans, and the Grizzlies. I expect these teams to finish 8-9-10. But there’s no way I see the Grizzlies not securing that spot. They just defeated the Lakers Saturday night (ok, maybe we won’t sweep them), and have a young core that is maturing faster than anyone else’s around the league, so the Grizzlies will secure the spot.
As for the eastern conference, your guess is as good as mine. After the Bucks at number 1, it’s just chaos. And this seeding is very important. If you’re a team in the East you want to avoid being these following seeds; 8, 4, and 5. Because that means the Bucks are on your side of the bracket, and you most likely will only get a chance to win one series. That 8 seed will most likely be the Nets or Wizards, the 4 the Heat, who are very underrated, and the 5 could be the healthy Pacers or a healthy 76ers team. Either way, these teams are not going to have fun come playoff time.
Finally, some smaller things to look out for. Zion Williamson trying to claw his way back into the ROY race. Can anyone catch up to Giannis to win MVP? Can the Rockets and 76ers prove the haters wrong? Will the somehow amazing Raptors prove they have a legit chance to repeat? Definitely some things to watch. And that’s it, your guide to the final 20 or so games of the NBA regular season. It’s going to be a close one down the stretch, so let’s all watch to see who gets to play basketball in April, May, and June.