By Matt Fischer
After a fantastic play-in game Saturday, the NBA is headed to the 2020 Playoffs in the Bubble at Disney World in Orlando with 16 NBA Title Contenders.
16 – Orlando Magic – The NBA Bubble’s “home team” is depleted by injury and should be enjoying the offseason a week from now. The Bucks will sweep them.
15 – Brooklyn Nets – They’re simply playing for next year when Kevin Durant will join them and Kyrie Irving will be back from injury. Look out for the Nets next season as they will be title contenders. With the reigning NBA Champion Raptors their first round draw, the Nets won’t be around much longer.
14 – Dallas Mavericks – Luke Doncic is a top 5 player in the league so the Mavs will always be in the game. They still just can’t seem to finish close games and that’s a must in the playoffs. The Mavs simply can’t match up with the Clippers and I don’t think will win a playoff game.
13 – Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons is out and the Sixers are still out of sync. This is a team that is going to need to make a major shakeup in the offseason. Their rivalry with Boston won’t last long in these playoffs. They could maybe get 1 game against the Celtics but Brad Stevens will find a way for his team to dispatch the Sixers from the Bubble quickly.
12 – Indiana Pacers – The Pacers have surprised this year despite injury. They draw Jimmy Butler and the Heat. TJ Warren was one of the best players in the Bubble until his rival Butler returned and shut him down.
11 – Utah Jazz – The Jazz are a solid team but they don’t have the firepower to go far in the Western Conference. They’re locked into a tough battle in round 1 against the Nuggets, a team they battled to double OT in the bubble already. If they can pull the upset there they draw the Clippers who should dispatch them.
10 – Houston Rockets – The Russell Westbrook injury is big. I don’t think he’s going to be back and that puts them at a disadvantage against the Thunder. With the Rockets style, they could catch fire and run through the playoffs…I just see them flaming out early.
9 – Oklahoma City Thunder – A long series with the Rockets awaits the Thunder in round 1. I like Chris Paul to lead his team to a series victory here but this should take a lot out of these teams and put them in a tough spot for round 2.
8 – Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets are loaded with young talent and will be a problem. I think they’re going to be competitive and should survive round 1 but I see a veteran laden Clippers team making quick work of them in round 2.
7 – Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers just seem out of sync and the absences of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley have definitely hurt them. I think they’re one of the weakest top seeds to hit the NBA Playoffs in a long, long time. The Lakers offseason isn’t far away.
6 – Miami Heat – The Heat have a great draw and that’s why they’re this high in my NBA title contenders. I think they have great coaching and leadership and that’ll make them contenders. They’re going to be a tough out for the Bucks in round 2.
5 – Portland Trail Blazers – The Blazers come in hot having made a run in the seeding games and then winning the play-in game to get to the 2020 NBA Playoffs. With an outstanding duo in the backcourt, the Blazers will be in every game. Melo has been clutch from 3 late in games for them and Nurkic has been trouble down low for the opposition. The Blazers will advance beyond round 1 and I like them to make the Western Conference Finals.
4 – Milwaukee Bucks – Another year of the Bucks having the league’s best record. I still don’t like them in the playoffs. I think they’re going to have trouble with Boston or Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals. The NBA Playoffs will end in disappointment again for the Bucks.
3 – Boston Celtics – The Celtics need Kemba Walker to get to the NBA Finals. Will he be healthy enough to get there? I see them and Toronto as equals. Can Jayson Tatum break out and lead the C’s to the NBA Finals?
2 – Toronto Raptors – The reigning, defending NBA Champions have been flying under the radar all year it seems. I think they’ve just been waiting for this moment to keep rolling and make another run to the NBA Finals. Nick Nurse does a great job coaching this team and their chemistry is still outstanding despite losing Khawi Leonard from last year’s team.
1 – Los Angeles Clippers – This Clippers team was built to win the title this year. They’ve got veterans they’ve been resting so they’re 100% in the NBA Playoffs. Khawi came here to win and forced them to get Paul George so they can win now. It is their time to shine and the Clippers are my pick to win the 2020 NBA Championship.
2020 NBA Finals Prediction
I predict the 2020 NBA Finals to come down to game 7 between the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers. Yes the LA Clippers will be 2020 NBA Champions!