Around the Hill: How Do You Expect the 2016 NBA Playoffs to Unfold?

Jake Rosenstein, Maroon-News Staff

The basketball playoffs are upon us and it’s time to make some predictions. Every year around this time fans of all teams think this is their year when in reality, only one team will take home the trophy. The Golden State Warriors have been lighting it up all season long and are primed to be a dominant force in the playoffs. San Antonio has quietly accumulated the most wins in franchise history and the East is looking stronger than it has in recent years. Cleveland is likely to move on, as LeBron James has never made a first round playoff exit. Toronto is looking good with a very strong backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Analysts are sleeping on Charlotte but Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum are in a position to be a top seed in the East. The West is frontloaded with Utah and Dallas poised to make a playoff appearance but likely not out of the first round, as they would be playing the Warriors and Spurs. The team that will make a surprise playoff run will be the Boston Celtics. Everything about them screams scrappy and tough without a true all star leading man. Their best player, point guard Isaiah Thomas, puts up remarkable numbers and toughness for his 5’9 frame. Other pieces like big man Jared Sullinger, versatile Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley make this a team to fear in the playoffs. Head coach Brad Stevens has all of the knowledge and tools to take this talented Celtics team deep into the playoffs.

Reed Schultz, Maroon-News Staff 

The NBA playoffs are fast approaching and it is clear the two most dominant teams are the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. In my opinion, the championship will be won by one of those two teams. However, I think a team that could make an unexpected deep run in the Eastern conference is the Miami Heat. Right now, they are the 5th seed and if the season ended today they would be playing the Boston Celtics. I would pick the Heat to win this matchup based on their experience, veteran talent and the quality of their players. Based on their roster alone, the Heat should win this matchup albeit they have underperformed this year. I think they have the talent and star power to be the number two team in the East. They have a rising star in Hassan Whiteside, superstars in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and a solid point guard with Goran Dragic. They also recently picked up veteran Joe Johnson who is known for his clutch shooting and will be a strong role player come playoff time. The health of Wade and Bosh will ultimately determine how far a run the Heat are able to make, but I am confident they can make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Although Wade is an injury plagued and declining superstar, he still has the potential on any given night to be a top-five player in the league. While  I don’t think they can get passed the Cleveland Cavaliers, they have the potential to give them some trouble.

Jacob Adams, Maroon-News Staff

While the Western Conference finals are almost assuredly going to contain the high powered matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors, the East is not nearly as cut and dry. The Cleveland Cavaliers will likely be one of the teams competing in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the weak nature of the conference means that a series of different teams could win the chance to play the Cavs.

Depending on the playoff seeding at the end of the season, a team that is very much poised to make noise within the East is the Miami Heat. While the spotlight has recently moved away from Miami following LeBron James’ return to Cleveland, Dwyane Wade has quietly led a quality basketball team in South Beach. Currently, Miami sits at fifth in the East behind the Raptors and Cavs among others. In addition to future Hall of Famer Wade, the Heat are full of talent, especially  considering the emergence of Hassan Whiteside as one of the league’s most dominant centers. Other notable players on the Heat that could have an impact in the playoffs are point guard Goran Dragic and small forward Justise Winslow, who has contributed nicely in his

rookie season.

Without Chris Bosh, who has been unable to play due to health issues, the Miami Heat are not legitimate contenders for the NBA title. The team could undoubtedly make some serious noise in the playoffs and maybe even cause the Cavs some problems, who lost to the Heat in the last two matchups.