The last games of the regular basketball season were played on May 16. Usually, within a week or two, everyone in the playoffs already knew what seed they would be. This year was a different story. All but two teams were fighting for seeding.
This year was also different for another reason. Normally the top eight teams from the Western Conference and the top eight teams from the Eastern Conference are awarded their playoff spots.
This year only the top 6 seeds were guaranteed a spot. Seeds 7 through 10 are playing in a play-in tournament in hopes of being in the playoffs.
Many teams and players love this idea. “I like the opportunity that’s in front of us,” Steph Curry told ESPN’s, Rachel Nichols. “We have an opportunity to make this season mean something down the stretch because of the play-in—the opportunity of peaking at the right time. I’m sure there will be a lot of opinions on it, and we’ll see how it plays out. But I’m with it.”
Other players don’t see the point in having it. “Whoever came up with that s— needs to be fired,” LeBron said of the play-in tournament, after the Los Angeles Lakers loss to Toronto.
As far as teams who are already in, they are prepared for what is ahead of them. This season teams are back to hosting games with fans in the stands rather than playing in a bubble in Orlando.
Some stories going into the postseason are the same over and over again. Other teams are at the beginning of their hopeful Cinderella runs. There are so many questions to be answered this post-season.
The Brooklyn Nets, who are heavy favorites to win it all, have only played with their three best players on the court at the same time a total of eight games. Could that throw off their chemistry and lead to them blowing their chances?
The New York Knicks have been the laughing stock of basketball since 2014, being one of the worst teams each season. This year they beat the odds and ended up as the 4th best team in the Eastern Conference, giving them home-court advantage in their first series against the Atlanta Hawks.
Atop the Western Conference standings is the Utah Jazz as the 1 seed and the Phoenix Suns as the 2 seed. This is the best either team has finished since the early 2000s. With both teams playing their best ball in almost two decades, can they capitalize on it, or will they fail to make it to the finals again?
In last year’s Eastern Conference finals, the 4 seeded Miami Heat defeated the 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks in a best of 7 series, only needing 5 games. This year they play in the first round of the playoffs.
Lastly, the defending NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, faced many injuries this year, just like every other team did.
Except the Lakers played without their two best players for over half the season. Both players returned in the final two weeks of the season and are looking like they are ready. At the 7 seed, will they even make it to the playoffs or lose the play-in game against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors?
Steph Curry is practically playing basketball all by himself this season, being without his best teammate for the second year in a row due to injury.
This hasn’t affected Steph one bit as he breaks records and puts up stats you thought were only possible in video games.
The first official round of playoffs is set to begin on Saturday, May 22.