The NBA season is postponed until July 31, when a 22-team tournament will take place as the league returns from its COVID-19 hiatus. After scrimmaging and finishing the regular season, the playoffs will begin.
In the Eastern Conference, it’s the Milwaukee Bucks versus the field. They are the heavy favorites to represent the East in the NBA Finals. Is there another team that could challenge them and upset the number one seed? Our TGH NBA staff weighed in:
Spencer Poole- Miami Heat
The 2019-2020 Miami Heat are very reminiscent of last year’s Toronto Raptors squad that went on to win the NBA Finals. They are led by a recently acquired superstar in Jimmy Butler and have a very deep team around him led by All-Star center Bam Adebayo, rookie phenoms Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn, and experienced point guard Goran Dragic.
The Heat have two incredible defenders in Adebayo and Butler who are very capable of locking up
any player in the league. They’ve proven in the regular season they can go toe-to-toe with
teams like the Bucks and Celtics and there’s no reason they can’t do the same in the
playoffs. Don’t be surprised if they make a deep run to the Conference Finals or beyond.
Tyrese Boone- Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler and the Heat have exceeded expectations this season and I wouldn’t be surprised if they make it to the Finals. The Heat have a good balance of vets and younger guys who can move the ball. Defense wins championships and when you include players such as Bam Adebayo, Jae Crowder, and Andre Igoudala, the Heat will play the lockdown defense needed to win games.
Adam Hushion- Boston Celtics
The Celtics have just about everything they need to win a championship; Brad Stevens is
regarded as one of the best and brightest young coaches in the league, and Boston has a collection
of skilled ball handlers that can make plays for themselves and others in addition to their budding star in Jayson Tatum.
The Celtics also have a top-5 defense going into the restart, allowing the second-fewest points per game this season. How teams play on the defensive side of the court will be a huge factor during the restart as offenses will need time to get back in a rhythm.
Disciplined coaching, a roster full of playmakers, a star ready to take the next step in
his development, and an elite defense could give the Boston Celtics a chance to shock the world in the NBA restart.
Ben Hendricks- Miami Heat
The Heat may have not been any kind of favorite if the season rolled on without any hiccups, but as it stands now, they have a decent chance of making it farther than anyone might think. Jimmy Butler never slacks on defense, Tyler Herro is eager to prove himself and veterans like Meyers Leonard and Jae Crowder can anchor the team. That is without even mentioning Erik Spoelstra, who continues to win even without LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. There is enough talent here to make a splash, and one good streak could make all of the difference.
Zach Russell- Boston Celtics
The Celtics have the best shot of reaching the NBA Finals of teams besides Milwaukee. This season, the addition of Kemba Walker, the development of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and the continued resurgence of Gordon Hayward has made Boston a legitimate title contender.
With any combination of two or more of those wings and guards on the floor, the Celtics are a scoring threat at all times. In any given series, Boston has enough offensive options to stretch the floor and outscore anybody. Hayward in particular will be the team’s x-factor in the Orlando bubble given his playmaking abilities.
Boston’s relatively thin frontcourt rotation may be their downfall in the postseason, but the team’s versatile wing-depth and overall defensive play gives them the best shot to take down the Bucks and win the conference title.
Featured image credited to Miami Herald.
Stats credited to Basketball-Reference.
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