This year’s NBA playoffs are just getting to the good part and you want to talk next year? Why not? The teams who are still playing will all be back next year anyway. Half of this year’s playoff teams are home now, and those will be the ones who may not be back. So who will be in next year? Or at least have a decent chance? Here are a few teams that could make it.
First the Eastern Conference:
Philadelphia 76ers- This is predicated on a big “if”. And that is if they can get Andrew Bynum on the court. He is a free agent, and the Sixers may have had it with him. They never got one minute out of him this year and some are saying his knees are degenerating. But IF he can get back on to floor and IF he signs with Philly and IF he is close to his former self, with Jrue Holiday, they could get to the playoffs.
Toronto Raptors- The Raptors got off to a horrible start. But as they got healthier, they were pretty tough. Then they added Rudy Gay and got very tough. If they can add another player in the off-season, then watch out for them next year. Also, if they an keep their starters on the floor, they should be pretty good.
Washington Wizards- A team decimated by injuries and got buried early in the season, was really good in the second half when John Wall came back. If he is healthy all year and with Bradley Beal getting better all the time, the Wizards WILL make it next year, provided they can stay fairly healthy.
OK. So if one or two of them get in, that means somebody who made it this year won’t be back next year. Who might they be?
Atlanta Hawks- A team that seems to be regressing. They were an up and coming team a few years back, but now they just don’t seem to be very good.
Boston Celtics- Old and getting older. Kevin Garnett is likely done. Paul Pierce may be too. The Celtics barely made it this year.
Milwaukee Bucks- They didn’t even play .500 this year. Brandon Jennings is a head case. They could easily slip out of the playoffs.
Now the Western Conference:
Portland Trail Blazers- Rookie of the Year Damien Lillard is only going to get better.
Dallas Mavericks- If they have Dirk Nowitzki all year, Mark Cuban will spend money to get them back into contention.
So who do they replace?
Los Angeles Clippers- It was fun while it lasted, but when Chris Paul signs with the Lakers, it is all over.
Houston Rockets- They barely got in this year. They could slip back a bit next year and find themselves out of it.