The NBA Playoffs are almost over as we are now in the NBA Finals. So What happened to each team that competed in the NBA Championships and Who is playing in the NBA Finals today? Well I decided why not dive deep into each team in the playoffs starting with the teams that were eliminated in the order of Play In Tournament, 1st round, 2nd Round, and Conference Finals.
Play In Tournament Eliminations
Not a surprise that the Cavs did not advance past the Play In Tournament. Just being a part of the tournament is a good thing for the Cavs. Mostly, because it shows that they are on the right track when it comes to there rebuild. There is a lot of exciting youth that is intriguing for the future and I would absolutely keep my eye on the Cavs.
San Antonio Spurs
Not many expected the Spurs to do much in the Play In Tournament. After all they really only have one superstar on this team in Dejounte Murray. They still need a few more years before they are ready to take the next step. At least Popovich is the most winningest coach in the NBA.
As a fan of this team, I saw the writing on the wall months ago when I saw them play in person at Madison Square Garden. There defense was horrendous all season and James Boreggo was coaching himself out of a job. Do you know how hard that is to do for someone who signed an extension not 9 months ago? It was not surprising when the organization relived Boreggo of his coaching duties. Hopefully, the Hornets can get a better coach and get past the play-in tournament. Please do the right thing by signing Miles Bridges to an extension and acquire some defensive players in the offseason.
Los Angeles Clippers
Imagine this team with a healthy Kawai Leonard and Paul George. Yes I know George did play, but he has dealt nagging elbow issues throughout the season and was even out for a game due to health and safety protocols. Maybe they would have made it to the 1st round of the playoffs. Well at least they made the Play-In Tournament along with getting a lottery pick. Oh Wait, I forgot, that pick Oklahoma City Thunder property due to the Paul George trade.
1st Round Eliminations
Are you shocked that the Nets got swept in the playoffs this year? I wasn’t as this team has been a complete dumpster fire this season. Not as bad as the Los Angeles Lakers, but they are a close 2nd. The only thing more surprising to me is that Steve Nash is still here as the head coach after the poor tactics he used throughout this series.
One thing is for sure, Brooklyn is in deep trouble right now. Apparently Kevin Durant might be angry and may want to leave as he has yet to talk to this franchise since since the sweep. If he is gone, this team is so screwed. I can’t trust Kyrie Irving or Ben Simmons to be the guy on this team and Durant’s talent is just too good to loose. They maybe entering a Billy King 2.0 era soon with all the draft picks they gave up due to the James Harden Trade.
Out of all teams eliminated in the 1st round of the playoffs, I really don’t know what to think of the Toronto Raptors. It looked like the team gave up earlier in the series, but they rallied to try and reverse sweep the 76ers. The Raptors have a talent, but they desperately need a superstar face on this team. Also the Raptors need an upgrade at center as the defense was not good. I am not going to give up on the Raptors as they are still young and have plenty of pieces. Plus, I would trust any team that has Masai Ujiri in there organization. Oh, and one other thing the officials in this series completely screwed the Raptors as well.
Nobody expected the Atlanta Hawks to do much in the NBA Playoffs. The only player on this team that was consistent and impressed was Trae Young. One thing is for sure the Hawks need to fix there defense in the offseason. Clint Capela has suffered a lot of regression this season and John Collins did not impress as well. They need a big piece on defense and for the team to get healthier next season.
Well at least the Bulls made it to the playoffs. Thats a plus, but they had to face the Milwaukee Bucks as a result. It was not a terrible performance by the Bulls as they had moments, but they checked out in the later part of this series. The Bulls maybe on the right track, but they better hope that Zach Levine resigns as he is due to enter free agency this offseason. If he doesn’t then this team will not be the same, as he is in my opinion there best player on the team.
New Orleans Pelicans
Not surprising that the Pelicans could not beat the Suns. I will give kudos to the entire Pelicans roster as they fought hard against the Suns and won more games then I thought they would. There is a lot of positives to look forward to in regards to the Pelicans. CJ McCollum played well and is looks like he will be a piece on this team long term. Brandon Ingram is a player that is making the Lakers regret trading him. Speaking of the Lakers, remember the Anthony Davis trade, well the Pelicans have there 1st round pick and it is in the Top 10. The Pelicans are in a good spot right now and hopefully they make the right moves in free agency to have a deep playoff run. Until Zion leaves for the New York Knicks in a few years.
The Timberwolves are a team in this playoffs that just frustrated me. They got all of the talent in the world, some solid depth pieces, yet it is not enough to make it past the 1st round. It did not help as well when this team keeps blowing every lead that they have. Including a 26 point blown lead in a game. One thing Timberwolves have to work on, is playing more consistent in the 4th quarter. As this team blew double digit leads constantly in this game and the regular season.
The Nuggets played really sloppy against the Golden State Warriors. I am honestly shocked they did not get swept after the performance they had in many games. Let’s be real the Nuggets just are not the same without Jamal Murray on this team. If Murray played, the Nuggets would have probably made this series tighter and the Nuggets would have gotten to the third round. Nikola Jokic tried in this game, but the Warriors were just too talented. They better hope Murray can return to form after he recovers from his brutal knee injury.
I am starting to loose confidence that the Jazz will do anything with the current core that they have right now. You mean to tell me that with all the talent this team has could not beat a Mavericks team that did not have Luka Doncic for half of the series. Yes I know Jalen Brunson emerged in this series for the Mavericks, but would it kill the Jazz to you know, do better on defense. This maybe there last chance as yet again rumors are starting to fly of the Jazz potentially splitting Mitchell and Gobert. I honestly would not be shocked if the Jazz decide to do it as this series loss was very telling.
2nd Round Eliminations
I want to start by saying kudos for the Bucks performance in the playoffs as it was a hard fought battle. Especially with how they performed without Kris Middleton who was out the series due to a knee injury. Also, It may just be me, but did Giannis look hurt in this matchup? He just did not look like the same player he would normally be and he looked a bit slow at times. Overall, Milwaukee tried there hardest and I will be excited to see how they improve next season.
Are you surprised the 76ers once again disappointed? I wasn’t. Especially when they have the Mike McCarthy in the NBA coaching the 76ers in Doc Rivers. I honestly don’t understand why the 76ers decided to hire him at coach when they did. Along with acquiring a declining James Harden, the writing was in the playbook for the 76ers. Have you seen how bad Harden played against the Miami Heat? To be honest, I gave up on this team years ago since Kawai hit that shot when he was a Raptor. The 76ers need to blow it up as they are not winning with the players they have on this team and should start from scratch again. It is such a shame that many including myself “Trusted the Process” and likely will have the 76ers not get a championship.
What the heck was that performance in Game 6 and 7 against the Mavericks? Did this team take notes from James Harden on how to be lazy and take plays off? This team did plenty of that throughout this series along with not caring in regards to there play on defense. Speaking of which good luck trying to bring back Deandre Ayton who is a RFA this offseason. If he is gone then that is a massive loss for the Suns. I really thought this team would be in the Conference Championships as the Suns looked to be a complete team. I just hope Chris Paul gets a ring before he calls it a career as he is one of my favorite NBA players ever.
If there is one thing that has been proven the past few years, is that Ja Morant is one of the best young basketball players in the NBA today. He is a transcendent talent and is big reason to why the Grizzlies are a playoff team. I believe that he should have went 1st overall instead of Zion. The Grizzlies could be a team that plays in the finals if everybody is healthy. So, Ja Morant suffered a knee injury and did not play a majority of the series. Welp Memphis you are done for the playoffs, but I would not be too upset. If I was a Grizzlies fan right now I would be super excited with the direction this team is heading.
Conference Finals Eliminations
It was a disappointing end to a strong season for the Mavericks. Although, they got lucky that they were here to begin with and got the best player in the NBA today in Luka Doncic. There is one player I want to shout out on this team and his name is Jalen Brunson. Brunson emerged as a strong piece to this team. He honestly earned a gigantic extension with his performance in this game and the Mavericks would make a huge mistake if they did not extend him. Imagine if they did not lowball him in contract negotiations in April.
All I got to say is that this series should be a wakeup call for the Miami Heat as they were legit one player in this series. If I were to say one player who absolutely deserved a ring in this playoffs it would be Jimmy Butler. He singlehandedly carried this team to the Conference Finals. Yes you could say that Tyler Herro’s injuries had a big effect on this team, but even with Herro they did not perform very consistently. Even Bam Adebayo was not the most consistent in the playoffs this year. Who was the most consistent player is obvious, it was Jimmy Butler. I don’t think this is the end of the Heat, but they better get depth pieces on this team during the offseason.
Alright so that was the NBA Playoffs and now we are at the Finals. Let’s see who are the two teams that will be playing in the NBA Championship.
Golden State Warriors
Oh god, not again. Please no, the Golden State Warriors are once again back in the NBA Playoffs. Remember the insane amount of times we got Warriors vs Cavs. There was a time I legit took a break from watching the NBA (Excluding Charlotte Hornets Games) because of the NBA Finals being super predictable with the Warriors and Cavs being finalists.
To be honest I don’t mind the Warriors now then when they were last here. Maybe it is because KD is gone, but the Warriors have found a way to reconnect the missing pieces for this team. First off lets get this out of they way now this team is a lot more healthy now. Especially with Klay Thompson being back to his old self. After suffering two straight years of injuries many including myself thought that he would never be the same player. Well he proved us wrong and I have a ton of respect for Klay Thompson and his journey back to his old self. Steph Curry, I mean what else is there to say that has not been said. He is one of the best players in the NBA no question. Draymond Green playing amazing as well.
There is one player I want to talk about that has been a piece on this team and deserves recognition, Andrew Wiggins. After his tenure with the Timberwolves was not going anywhere and he was traded to get out of his cap anchor contract It looked like his career was on the decline. But, Wiggins going to Golden State is the best thing that could’ve happened to his career. Wiggins has been a lot more effective for the Warriors as a defensive role player and has been put i a better situation. Wiggins has undergone a great transformation. He should be lucky that he has Steve Kerr as his head coach. Kerr is one of the best coaches in NBA history and this season proved it yet again.
Along with James Wiseman, Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter, Jonathan Kuminga, and Kevon Looney also contributing, it is no wonder why the Warriors have returned to the Championships. So lets see who they will face next.
When looking at the other teams in the Eastern Conference I had two teams pegged in as who will be in the finals. The first was the Milwaukee Bucks (Before Middleton got hurt), and the other was the Boston Celtics. There are three things the Celtics should be thankful for this season. The first is that they were healthy throughout the playoffs. The Celtics had little serious injuries to deal with during the playoffs.
The second one is for Billy King. Who gifted this team all of the riches in the world in draft picks for aging veteran players. It gave them with talented players like Jaylen Brown. Remember when he got signed to that massive deal and everybody thought it was an overpayment, well it turns out to have been a great deal and he has been a fantastic player for the Celtics. The other player they got in a trade that involved those picks is Jaysom Tatum, who has been an unbelievably gifted player throughout his time in Boston.
The Third is that the Celtics brought back Al Holford who just is a great fit to this team, instead of being lost in the shuffle in Philadelphia and not being used in Oklahoma City except for trying to be used in a way to grow Sam Presti’s pick collection. Along with Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis, Derrick White, and many more; This team is built right and deserves to be here.
My Prediction on who wins the finals: Warriors win another championship in 6 games.
Hello my name is Nicholas and I am a writer for Moore Than Sports. I am a graduate from Farmingdale State College. Currently I am enrolled at Canisius College going for my Masters Degree in Sports Administration. My favorite sports teams are the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Charlotte Hornets, Buffalo Sabers, New York Rangers, and New York Yankees. I enjoy watching sports, analyzing transactions, scouting football players, and of course writing sports articles.