NBA playoffs excite basketball fans


Ethan Henkus and Daniel Mirsky

As the regular season comes to an end let’s take a sneak peek at the NBA playoffs. The playoff teams are set in both the Eastern conference and in the Western conference. 

Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks are the consensus favorite among the students and faculty at Edison Intermediate School. Out of the interview of ten people 3 people chose the Bucks. While the reasons varied the Bucks have statistically been the best team in basketball throughout the past month. Eighth grade teacher Mr. Zachary Crutcher chose the Bucks to win the finals. He stated, “They are the healthiest and best team currently.” 

The team led by two time MVP(Most Valuable Player) Giannis Antetokoumpo is having another great season averaging 31.1 points per game, 11.7 rebounds per game, and 5.6 assists per game. The team also has former All stars Khris Middelton and Jrue Holiday and Defensive Player of the Year Brook Lopez. This team meanwhile also does have some controversy with player Meyers Leonard. In 2021, the player was suspended after saying a anti-semetic slur on a live stream. However the team is one of the top defensively and when their hot can have one of the best offense in the leagues. Another championship could be in the picture for a team that won just two seasons ago. The Bucks will play the Bulls or Heat in round one.


Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics have been the second best team in the East this year only behind the Bucks. Their dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown have led Boston to a two seed in the East. Seventh grader Gabe Singh believes that the Celtics will win the NBA Finals. “Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both playing really well right now.”

Tatum is currently averaging 30 points a game, while Brown is averaging 27. The Celtics are currently the only team in the league to have both a top five offense and defense in terms of average points per game. In addition, the Celtics also have Marcus Smart as well as Al Hortford. Boston also has former Rookie of the Year and possible sixth man of the year Malcom Brogdon. Boston can definitely go back to the Finals this year, but they will have to get past Milwaukee. Boston will face the Hawks in round one.


Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers are slept on compared to Boston or Milwaukee, but they are still one of the top teams in the NBA. Philadelphia is led by MVP candidate Joel Embiid. Embiid led the league in average points per game with 33. Embiid also leads the team with an average of 10 rebounds per game. In addition to Embiid, James Harden led the NBA in assists. Philadelphia also has young guard Tyrese Maxey. Tobias Harris also has played a big role this year, being fourth in average point per game for the team. 

Philadelphia has an elite defense, being third in points allowed per game. They also have the third best point differential, with an average win by four points a game. A trip to the NBA Finals could be a possibility but will need Embiid and Harden to be dominant. The 76ers will play the Nets in round one.


Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets are widely considered the favorites among the Western Conference. Led by Reigning and back-to-back MVP and current frontrunner Nikola Jokic the team has a strong lead over the rest of the field. Jokic is averaging 24.9 points per game, 9.9 assists, and 11.9 rebounds. The Nuggets also got back this season point guard Jamal Murray who was recovering from a torn ACL and Michael Porter Jr. Despite trading away young guard Bones Hyland to the Clippers at the trade deadline they still have one of the most effective benches in the NBA. The Nuggets currently have a three game lead and barring any unforeseen upset they could be on their way to a NBA finals appearance. The Nuggets will play the Thunder or Timberwolves in round one.

Memphis Grizzlies

Possibly the most controversial team in the Postseason the Memphis Grizzlies have had an interesting season. Led by star Ja Morant who had a controversial season by being suspended for eight games due to legal reasons. The team also features Defensive player of the Year candidate, Jaren Jackson Jr., and arguably the most hated player in the NBA Dillon Brooks. The team will be without starting center Steven Adams as he will miss the Postseason with a PCL strain. However, the team does have a lot of fire power. Ja Morant ranked 15th in points per game averaging 26.2 and Jarren Jackson Jr led the NBA in blocks per game. Seventh grade Social Studies teacher Mr. John Stasi picked the Grizzlies to win the NBA Finals. He states, “Ja Morant’s suspension will motivate him.”

The Grizzlies drew the second seed in the West only behind Denver and will play the Lakers in Round one of the playoffs.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns are one of the most intriguing teams in the playoffs. When healthy they are one of the best teams in basketball. Led by the big four of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton the team is one of the most exciting offensively but they lack defense and the team does not have a true power forward. The biggest concern with them is the injury concern since being traded to Phoenix, Durant has only played in eight games and without him the Suns lack depth at small forward. The team is filled with veteran presence and a team that made the Finals could be in line to make another deep run when healthy. With any injuries to their stars the Suns are cooked. The Suns will play the Clippers in round one.

Golden State Warriors

The reigning champions are back in the playoffs and currently look better than ever. Led by Steph Curry the Warriors have a lot of depth and fire power. The team reacquired defensive forward Gary Payton at the trade deadline and Andrew Wiggins has returned after a long hiatus dealing with a personal matter. The team also still has Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and young star Jordan Poole. The team is filled with great shooters and defenders however the team lacks at the center position after trading away the former second overall pick James Wiesman. While Golden State is not at the peak of their dynasty you still do not want to run into them in the Finals. Golden State will play the Kings in round one.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland is finally back in the playoffs for the first time since Lebron James left for the Lakers in 2018. A big factor of Cleveland’s success has been due to them acquiring Donovan Mitchell from the Jazz. The Cavaliers gave up a lot to get Mitchell, but it has been worth it as he averaged 28 points per game. Mitchell also leads the team with one and half steals per game. Cleveland also has big man Jarrett Allen who averages just shy of 10 rebounds per game. Young Cavaliers guard Darius Garland leads the Cavaliers in assists, while also averaging 22 points per game. The Cavaliers have the best defense in the league only allowing 107 points per game on average. The Cavs will play the Knicks in round one.

New York Knicks

New York basketball is back. Led by the dynamic duo of Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, the Knicks finished with the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Brunson, who was widely regarded as one of the worst signings in the NBA this offseason, helped the team win 47 games this year. Julius Randle who was thrown in trade rumors all offseason returned to his all star form from two seasons ago landing him another all star appearance and was the teams leading scorer averaging 25.1 points per game. The Kincks also have a ton of great role players with Rj Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and Josh Hart who was traded for at the deadline. The Knicks were the team who most people were rooting for in our poll. The Knicks finished with a top five offense and defense. The majority of their roster is very young with an average age of 25.6. The Knicks will play the Cavs in round one.

Los Angeles Clippers

Ever since acquiring Russel Westbrook the Clippers have been on a roll. The team led by Kawhi Leonard finished with the fifth seed in the Western Conference. The team is filled with good role players and young players like Bones Hyland, Norman Powell, Ivica Zubac, and Eric Gordon. However the Clippers will be without costar Paul George as he will miss the first round of the playoffs with a knee injury. Kawhi had something to prove as the past two years have been injury riddled seasons for the former two-time NBA Finals MVP. Leonard this year is averaging 23.8 points per game. If healthy the Clippers have a real shot as both Kawhi and Paul George are both two of the greatest players in the playoffs per experts. The Clippers will play the Suns in round one.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings have made the playoffs for the first time since 2006 which was the longest active drought in sports. Led by the dynamic duo of Domantis Sabonis and De’aaron Fox the Kings finished with the three seed in the Western Conference. This was a make or break year for Sacramento as many executives around the league thought that if they failed to make the postseason star De’aaron Fox would request a trade from the organization. The team did not fail, hiring former top coach Mike Brown and signing Fox’s backcourt buddy from college in possible sixth man of the year candidate Malik Monk. The team also drafted Iowa forward Keegan Murray with the fourth pick in the 2022 draft. The Kings will play the Warriors in round one.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have returned to the playoffs after missing out last year. The Lakers edged out the Timberwolves in overtime setting up a first round matchup versus Memphis. Lebron James, who broke the all time scoring record this season is averaging 29 points per game at age 38. Anthony Davis has been dominant this year leading the league in rebounds. Los Angeles also acquired D’Angelo Russell at the trade deadline this year. Russell played his first two years with the Lakers before going to the Nets. Furthermore, shooting guard Austin Reaves has shown improvement in his sophomore season in the NBA. The Lakers may have a chance to upset Memphis in round one.