NBA Playoff Storylines
The NBA playoffs are currently in full swing
For the first time in his career Lebron James has been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. As defending champs the Lakers were supposed to contend for a repeat a little longer than they did. The Lakers being gone does not spell an end to the countless storylines still remaining in the NBA playoff landscapes. Here are 5 worth a look.
5. Big Three- A lot of analysts said its title or bust for the Brooklyn Nets and with their biggest threat being a Lebron James repeat they may easily make it to the finals. With Harden injured that does create a little more resistance to the finals but KD and Kyrie are lethal scorers and should provide an X Factor in each outing.
4. Ice Trae- The Hawks silenced the Knicks fanbase and quick and Trae Young has been his ice cold self and shouldering the load. I want to see how far these underdogs can go against the known beasts of the east. It would be fun to see Trae and the Hawks continue their run. I love the tenacity and hustle of Young who reminds me of AI back in the day.
3. The Joker- When Jamal Murray went down a lot of people wrote off the Denver Nuggets but Nikola Jokic is not an MVP front runner for no reason. He has been disruptive on defense and leading the charge on offense and you could not ask for more from your top player. A rematch between the Nuggets and Clippers with a shot at the finals on the line could be a fun way to really let a new rivalry blossom.
2. Smooth Jazz- The Utah Jazz have been a smooth well oiled machine most of the season but now face Kawhi and the Clippers. Kawhi has been in big moments before and this may be the test the Jazz need to show they are legitmate threats beyond the regular season. They certainly have the talent and a young core that could help if the series goes seven. Its going to be a tough series to win for either team.
1.Sins of the Past- Giannis has been on the cusp of greatness multiple times and sees himself there once again. Having just signed his extension a big enticing factor for free agents would be for him to win that championship after taking out the three headed monster (barring James Harden's health). Obviously based on contract it's not now or never for Giannis and the Bucks but if he wants to have a legacy as the man who stayed and won on a smaller market franchise then he does need to make the finals this year. It's a massive step to show potential free agent targets they are one piece away and go after players that fill those gaps.
Each team has its own story and personally I don't have a horse in this race. It would be cool to see some fresh new faces in the finals but the league has premier players that always seem to find themselves in the mix. We have some smaller market home grown systems and some dominant scorers teaming up vying for only two spots. I know some players are great to watch but repetition hurts the spirit of keeping things fun and unpredictable year to year. Some of the older players in the mix have nothing left to prove and can't really prove anything by teaming up with other superstars while others may need to just face that age always catches up to you.
One way or another a franchise that hasnt been in the finals recently will get a shot at glory, it would be nice to see some fresh faces holding the Larry O'Brien at the end of it all.