The playoffs are the most entertaining part of NBA basketball. Additionally, it ends with the NBA Finals, the most anticipated event of the whole season. There are 30 teams in the league but only 16 can make it to the playoffs. The champions of the Western and Eastern conferences face off against each other in the Finals. Here are our early predictions for the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
The playoffs are fun for many reasons. Usually, all of the regular season awards are handed out to the winners, most valuable player, sixth man of the year, rookie of the year, coach of the year, all the most prestigious awards. Except for the championship trophy of course. The stadiums have incredible energy during this time as thousands of fans cheer for their team both at home and on the road. Every player is looking to deliver in the playoffs. It doesn’t matter how good you are during the regular season if you get eliminated in the first round. Teams want to go all the way, and that means lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
A brief Introduction to The Playoffs
The structure of the playoffs is not complicated at all. There are four rounds in total including the Finals. Teams have to make it through the first round, second round (conference semifinals), and the conference finals before entering the Finals. In each round, a best out of seven games method is used so whoever wins four games, advances. Most of the time the playoffs start in April and end in June. However, there have been a few exceptions in history, where the regular season was either shortened or the playoffs postponed. The eight teams in each conference face off according to this method: the 1st seed against the 8th, 2nd against the 7th, 3rd against 6th, and so on. So now that the basics are clear let’s see how teams are performing before the All-Star break.
Warriors Back On Top Again
The Golden State Warriors currently have the best record in the NBA with 23-5. With Klay Thompson still out of the lineup, nobody expected the Warriors to be the 1st seed. Andrew Wiggins has found his place and plays a pivotal role in Golden State’s success this season.
The Warriors’ offense is currently ranked 4th and their defense 1st in the league. The addition of Gary Payton II has been very successful as the young guard is playing great defense. Stephen Curry just broke the all-time 3-point record and solidified himself as arguably the greatest shooter in basketball history. He now has 2.977 made 3s in only 789 games.
Online sportsbook news in the US reports that Klay will be back from his injury around Christmas. Thompson hasn’t played in an NBA game in over two years so his return is much awaited. We’ll have to see how he will fit into the new Warriors lineup. One thing is certain, Klay can potentially strengthen the offense even more and once he gets hot, the game is over. With more than half of the NBA season remaining, the Warriors are playoff-bound. We predict them to be anywhere between 1st and 3rd seeds.
Can Phoenix Run It Back At The 2022 NBA Playoffs?
The Phoenix Suns are 22-5 in the league right now and have been head-to-head with the Warriors all season. Led by the veteran talent of Chris Paul the Suns are performing exceptionally. They managed to reach the Finals last year but lost 4-2 to Milwaukee. The power duo of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton is amazing. Even though Booker has been sidelined with a hamstring injury the Suns have won 8 of their last 10 games. Online sportsbook news in the US reports that the star player is targeting Dec. 21 as the return date. The Suns are currently 1-1 against the Warriors. Both teams are in a constant race with each other for the Western Conference top seed.
Due to their incredible performances this season they’ve been rewarded with the Christmas Day Game on Dec. 25. Sites like Bovada are great to stay up to date with these games. The Suns have been nothing but great since Chris Paul’s arrival last year. This resulted in Phoenix reaching the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. Things are looking good for the Suns as they are most likely to have a great season ahead of them and challenge Golden State for the first seed. The Phoenix Suns can end up anywhere between the 1st and 4th seeds. Considering the probability of injuries of key players like Paul, Booker, or Ayton the Suns should be good. We eagerly await their rematch with the Warriors on Christmas Day.
The Good Old Reliable Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz has been a great regular-season team for a few years now. They always have a great season, finish at a high position, but then fall short in the second or third rounds of the playoffs. With that being said, the Jazz is up there with the best teams in the NBA.
They have a great offense and great defense. Both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have been playing very efficient basketball and they won 9 of their last 10 games. It’s a safe bet to go with the Jazz for the 2022 NBA playoffs predictions. Similar to Phoenix, they have the potential to end up anywhere between the 1st and 4th seeds at the end of the season.
The 2022 NBA Playoffs Predictions Won’t Change Much In The West
The Memphis Grizzlies won 9 of their last 10 games even though they’re missing their franchise player. They are currently the 4th seed in the West but Ja Morant remains out indefinitely. The Grizzlies managed to sneak into the playoffs last year after beating out the Warriors for the 8th spot. Funny how things change over time. The Clippers, Lakers, Mavericks, and Nuggets currently have the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th seeds in the West but they’re all more or less disappointing this season. With an injured Kawhi Leonard, Paul George has to be the main piece of the Clippers’ offense. George is having a great season so far and the Clippers have a chance to make it to the first round. After that, it gets complicated.
The Lakers still have some role and chemistry issues that might take some time to resolve. LeBron turns 37 this month but he’s still the best player on the star-studded Lakers roster. If the Lakers figure out how to solve their issues they can even reach the Finals, with a rested James of course. Online sportsbook news in the US reports that Ben Simmons is linked to a possible move to the Dallas Mavericks. This can become interesting as the Mavs need just one piece to make it to the Conference Finals. We’ll have to see if anything big happens before the trade deadline. The Nuggets seem to be struggling a bit even though reigning MVP Nikola Jokić is having another great season. They’re the 8th seed now but we expect Denver to climb a few spots higher until April.
The Road Goes Through The Nets and Bucks
The situation is much tighter in the East. The Brooklyn Nets are 20-8 but there is no clear leader as it’s a close competition conference. Kevin Durant and James Harden are a match made in heaven. They’re the highest-rated small forward and shooting guard this season, respectively. Durant leads the league in points per game, and Harden has moved into an assisting role with 9.6 assists per game. The Nets have dealt incredibly well with the absence of Kyrie Irving. The more Brooklyn plays, the more dangerous they look. If their stars remain healthy they’re a guaranteed 1st seed in the East for the 2022 NBA playoffs. If you don’t believe us, check out their odds on Bovada.
The reigning champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, are in the same spot they’ve been in for years. They’re always in the top half of the rankings and have made the playoffs for five years straight. This year will be no different. The Bucks are guaranteed to make the 2022 NBA playoffs but the question is if they can defend their title. Giannis and co. are currently 19-11 which is good, but not incredible. That doesn’t take away from the fact that anyone that’s eyeing the Finals will have to get through Milwaukee first.
Surprising Teams in the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Predictions
There are many surprise teams in the East this season as the Bulls, Cavaliers, and Hornets are all playing relatively well. This is a refreshing change as these teams were usually near the bottom end of the conference in the past years. If the trio of Ball, Lavine, and DeRozan remains healthy for most of the season the Bulls can easily finish in the top four. These three are all teams with a young player-core that’s extremely entertaining to watch. All they need to be concerned about is to keep the same level of intensity throughout the season.
The Indiana Pacers are in the 13th spot but they’re only 3 wins behind the 7th seed 76ers. The 2022 NBA playoffs predictions for the East are sure going to be interesting as the competition toughens down the road. Online sportsbook sites in the US feature all of these entertaining games, and it will be soon time to ready your playoffs picks.