This week, we will take a look at who I believe have emerged as contenders this season. I believe these 5 teams are the best manned and equipped to make a deep postseason run, and compete for a championship. After careful consideration, this is the list!
1.) Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets are a juggernaut of a team led by the trio of superstars James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. The Nets have a team of veterans mostly with championship and playoff experience. When the Nets are healthy I don’t think there is a team who can beat them in a 7 game series. Additionally, the Nets have other role players such as Sharpshooter Joe Harris, Power Forward Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, and DeAndre Jordan whose play style compliments the Big 3 in Brooklyn.
2.) Los Angeles Clippers
The duo of PG & Kawhi Leonard is one of the best two-way scoring combos the league has to offer. Despite injuries, the Clippers have remained near the top of the Western Conference due to having such a deep bench. Playoff Basketball is a very different atmosphere from regular season basketball, so I believe the Clippers will turn it up a notch and correct their mistakes from the season prior. Look ahead for Paul George and Kawhi to steer the ship and carry the load for a STACKED Clippers lineup.
3.) Milwaukee Bucks
After winning back-to-back MVPs Giannis and the Bucks are still on a mission this year. They added one of the best two-way point guards in the league in Jrue Holiday, and they have also added P.J Tucker to solidify their defense for a deep playoff run. When hitting on all cylinders the Bucks are one of the league’s most elite teams on offense and defense, when Coach Bud puts out his best 5 they can all score, and they can all defend. Keys for the Bucks to make a deep playoff push consist of Giannis remaining dominant, and the Bucks bench contributing to compliment their starters.
4.) Philadelphia 76ers
The success in Philly can not be ignored this year. Despite MVP candidate Embiid suffering a bunch of bumps and bruises and other injuries, the 76ers remained the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Remaining at the top of the Eastern Conference ahead of the Powerhouse Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks is very impressive considering the 76ers also had their fair share of injuries. Joel Embiid will have to continue his stellar play as his 76ers are headed for the postseason. Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris will have to continue playing well to compliment Embiid to make a postseason push.
5.) Los Angeles Lakers
If you haven’t learned already, you can never count LeBron James out. LeBron has played on significantly worse teams and has carried them to the finals. This year’s Lakers team is not bad by any means, they just need LeBron and Davis to steer the ship. In their last three games, the Lakers are 3-0 and are looking to turn things around and avoid the play-in games. In an injury-riddled season where the Lakers missed Davis and James for a significant amount of time, this has allowed other players such as Dennis Schroder, Marc Gasol, Andre Drummond, Harrell, and more players to find their place and get comfortable. Fueled by their goal of going back to back I believe when healthy the Lakers will emerge as one of the teams to be headed for title contention in 2021.