Early in the NBA season, there are a lot of teams with false hope. Winning a couple of games early doesn’t always translate to late success. Today, we’re going to play fact or fiction with teams that would be in the playoffs as of today.
After the games ended on November 8th, the playoff teams in each conference weren’t what we’d expect to see. This is what the playoffs would look like if they started today:
1. San Antonio Spurs (4-1)
2. Dallas Mavericks (4-1)
3. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-1)
4. Golden State Warriors (3-2)
5. Los Angeles Clippers (3-2)
6. Portland Trail Blazers (2-2)
7. Oklahoma City Thunder (2-2)
8. Memphis Grizzlies (3-1)
We’re going to take a look at five things that stick out and address whether the statement is fact or fiction.
The New York Knicks Will Continue To Be The No. 1 Seed In The East
Fiction – The Knicks have been tremendous behind Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton. They boast the No. 3 offense and the No. 1 defense in the entire NBA, and that’s without Amare Stoudemire on the court.
The Knicks will get Iman Shumpert back in January or February, which will definitely help, but the Knicks are not better than the Miami Heat and will not hold the No. 1 seed. They’ve beaten the Heat in New York, which was a good win, but they’ve beat the 76ers without Andrew Bynum twice. They’re good, but not that good.
The Minnesota Timberwolves AND Golden State Warriors Will Make Playoffs
Fiction – Both the Timberwolves and Warriors were expected to make the leap into playoff contention this year and would both host first-round series if the playoffs started today. The Wolves are doing it without their top two players in Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio and will be in the playoffs this year.
The Warriors won’t be so fortunate. The Nuggets, Jazz and Lakers are at the bottom of the Western Conference right now, and that won’t last. The Nuggets and Lakers will make the playoffs for sure. That means the Warriors and Blazers will fall out.
The Los Angeles Lakers Will Fire Mike Brown And Will Make Playoffs
Fact – When a coach loses the team, there’s no getting it back. The Lakers just don’t want to listen to or play for Brown. It’s not the new schemes, because the offense has actually been solid. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard have been good.
The real problem is that the Lakers aren’t playing disciplined. It doesn’t matter what offense they play, if they turn the ball over and can’t defend, they won’t win. That’s a matter of focus and desire, which is something the coach is in charge of.
Chicago Bulls Belong In East Elite
Fact – They’ve always been a tremendous defensive team. Offense has been an issue without Derrick Rose, but they are doing it as a unit this year. Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Richard Hamilton and Nate Robinson are all in double-digits.
Defensively, they’re still doing it. They are the No. 1 team in the NBA for defensive rating. They force turnovers, rebound well and hold their opponents to a low shooting percentage.
Denver Nuggets Will Still Host First-Round Playoff Series
Fact – As one of the deepest teams in the NBA, coach George Karl is having some trouble making all of the pieces fit. Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee and Corey Brewer are ALL averaging between 10.2 and 15.6 points.
They’re so talented that Wilson Chandler and McGee are only playing 18 minutes per night. It’s a puzzle that’s been dropped and pieces are everywhere. Karl will get it back together and the Nuggets will ascend to the No. 3 or 4 seed by year’s end.
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