How Coronavirus Has Derailed the Sports World (Part 2)

How+Coronavirus+Has+Derailed+the+Sports+World+%28Part+2%29

Matthew Swanenburg, Staff Writer

April 18th should have been the start of one of the greatest events sports has to offer: the NBA Playoffs. But instead, everyone is stuck at home, social distancing with nothing but old re-runs on T.V. As the days keep passing, it’s becoming more and more likely that we never see a champion crowned this season in the NBA, leaving the rest of the season up to imagination. Any person’s prediction could be right. Any wild or crazy theory will never be proven wrong. Instead we are left with endless speculation. And, since there isn’t anything better to do, let’s do some speculation too. Assuming the playoffs started on April 18th and seeding remained the same as it was when the season was postponed, here is how I would have seen the playoffs going down.

 

Round 1:

1 seed Milwaukee Bucks vs. 8 seed Orlando Magic

My prediction: Bucks- 4, Magic- 0

This series is by FAR the easiest to predict. The Bucks have reigning most valuable player Giannis Antetokounmpo and boast the best offense and defense in the league. They have the best record in the league while the Magic are five games under .500. In the Western Conference, the Magic would not even sniff the 10 seed, so the best team (record wise) in the league would definitely take them down easily.

 

2 seed Toronto Raptors vs. 7 seed Brooklyn Nets

My prediction: Raptors- 4, Nets- 0

It would take a miracle for the Nets to have a chance to win this series. And unless superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been faking injuries all year long and have just been waiting for the playoffs, that miracle is not happening. The Raptors are undoubtedly one of the scariest teams in the Eastern Conference. They have the experience from their championship run last year, and for the most part, have a very similar roster. For most teams, losing one of the top five players in the league (Kawhi Leonard in this case) would probably knock you out of the playoffs completely. But the Raptors are tough, they are well coached, and they still have two all-star players, in Kyle Lowry and Paskal Siakam, who can get it done in the clutch. Couple their awesome coach and their all-star talent with great veterans like Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, and that is an easy 4-0 sweep.

 

3 seed Boston Celtics vs. 6 seed Philadelphia 76ers

My prediction: Celtics- 4, 76ers- 2

Philadelphia just never hit their stride over the course of the season. They have arguably the best roster in the league, yet they constantly underperform. Guard Ben Simmons is a rising star in the NBA but is either too stubborn or too scared to start taking jump shots consistently. Partner that with a big man in Joel Embiid who is best at operating in the post and all of the sudden the court has shrunk. There is not enough room for the two paint centric players. This leads to the all-star big man Joel Embiid leaving his post game behind to attempt threes and mid-range jumpers.  Meanwhile, the Celtics have been an incredibly cohesive unit. They have three players averaging over 20 points per game and are long and athletic enough to get the job done on defense. While the 76ers struggle to get more than one person involved at a time, the Celtics thrive at having five guys involved. Pair that with defensive genius Brad Stevens, and the Celtics are locks to win round 1.

 

4 seed Miami Heat vs. 5 seed Indiana Pacers

My prediction: Heat- 4, Pacers- 3

This series would definitely be very competitive and can probably predict how it would go game by game. The Heat win games one and two, as they are dominant at home. The Pacers win three and four as the Heat are awful on the road. The Heat win game five in Miami but can’t end the series in Indiana. Then, back for game 7, and the Heat use their incredible home court basketball to win them a series. The Heat are tough nosed and defensive minded, leaving them wiggle room if they have a rough offensive game. The Pacers do have a lot of great players, that have fit incredibly well, but unless Pacers’ all-star Victor Oladipo returns to his pre-injury self, this would most likely go to the Heat.