2020 NBA Playoffs

By Patrick Park, Staff Writer

On Monday, August 17, the NBA playoffs took off with the current teams being the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Milwaukee Bucks. Although normally fans are able to tell which NBA teams are going to win depending on how much talent is on the roster, this does not seem to be the case this year. 

Star players on several different teams have been placed on the injury reserve. Damian Lillard on the Trail Blazers recently dislocated his left index finger and had to get an x-ray, Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets had to leave the game with a horrid strain on his right leg, Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers encountered back spasms, and Patrick Beverly of the Los Angeles Clippers also had to leave due to a leg strain. However, these injuries are not a surprise as health officials have warned that due to lack of practice from Covid-19, players could have soft tissues which could increase the chance of injury. These injuries could lower several teams’ chances to make the championships. 

Although the NBA playoff teams are set, there are several teams that surprisingly did not make the cut. One team, in particular, was the Phoenix Suns. Despite the fact that the Suns did not have any hope to make the playoffs at the beginning of the season, point guard Devin Booker has been having an amazing season. Booker has scored 35 points in 4 games this season. The Suns went 7-0 this season which is a huge improvement from last season. Despite this, the Suns ended up missing the playoffs. Another team that was highly favored to make the playoffs were the Philadelphia 76ers who were swept in the first round thus, ending the season. The 76ers were not lacking skill on their team. One main issue that could have led to the disappointing end was the injury of All-star Ben Simmons. Ben Simmons is the point guard for the 76ers and is one of the biggest game-changers for the team. However, he had to undergo knee surgery, which ended his season. Another factor that may have led to the disappointing end for the 76ers was the fact that All-star center Joel Embid was playing through a sore ankle. 

Speaking of winning, two teams that are favored to win are the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks. However, those odds might change as star player Anthony Davis had to leave the game against the Trailblazers due to back spasms. Although losing one player may not seem like a huge difference, in the case of Davis, it is a substantial loss. Anthony Davis is a unique player with a height of 6 feet 10 inches and a wingspan of 7 feet 6 inches. His height as well as his wingspan makes him both a dangerous offensive and defensive player. Without Davis, veteran Lebron James will have to take full control. The Milwaukee Bucks are also a favorite for winning the playoffs as well as the title. The Bucks have two-star players with Giannis Antemkoumpo and Chris Middleton. Giannis is one of the best players in the NBA with several accolades such as 2019 MVP, 4-time All-Star, All-NBA First team, and just recently won the 2019-2020 Defensive Player of the Year. Along with Kris Middleton, who is also a two-time All-Star player, the Milwaukee Bucks have a strong balanced game. 

Though it is too soon to tell who might win the bracket, we can hope that the players and staff remain safe through Covid-19.