Six teams ready to surprise
Ben simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, the 76ers are young but they are ready right now. With a team full of rookies and sophomores, the 76ers control their destiny in the eastern conference as they have seemingly locked up the 3rd seed heading into the playoffs. The 76ers average a league best 46.9 rebounds per game, which can ultimately speed the game down making Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid a more formidable threat for runs at the rim. With all that being hopefully the sports world will reflect and finally trust the process.
With an experienced coach in Nate McMillan the pacers have seemingly taken on a new identity. The Pacers rank among the NBA’s bottom six in both 3-point attempt rate and free-throw attempt rate according to fivethirtyeight.com a blogging and analysis organization. This statistic is the complete opposite of the league best Houston Rockets (58-14) who shoot a little more than 50 percent of their shots from 3-point range. The Pacers have seemingly found a way to win without shooting perimeter shots, they are currently in fifth place in the east at 48-33.
The Miami Heat aren’t a team that jumps off the paper at you, being that they rank fifteenth in defensive and offensive efficiency. However, adding a veteran leader in Dwayne Wade (three-time champion) at the trade deadline is something that can help some of young talent on their grow. The heat have what most teams don’t have a coach who is experienced that being Erik spoelstra who has won two championships.
1.San Antonio Spurs
Even though Kawhi Leonard is still questionable for a return this postseason, the Spurs are still in position for the 6-seed in the playoffs. With a perennial all star in Lamarcus Aldridge, who averaged 23.4 points per game (ppg) this year, arguably the best 40-year-old in nba history (Manu Ginobili), and veteran rotation players like Tony Parker have the Spurs still in attack mode as the playoffs draw near.
Ladies and gentleman, Donovan Mitchell has arrived. He just had one of the best rookie campaigns in the modern-era of basketball (20.5 ppg, 4.0 rebounds, and 4 assist per game) With a star quality big-man in Rudy Gobert who happens to be the favorite in this season’s defensive player of the year award, and an underrated forward in Joe Ingles who makes 44.1 percent of his three-point attempts has basketball savants eager to see the noise they can make in the playoffs.
- Portland Trail Blazers
One of the most underrated teams in the NBA, The Blazers’ lethal backcourt of CJ McCollum (21.5 ppg) and Damian Lillard (27.0 ppg) has led the third-seed in the western conference. In a conference who once had a five teams needing their last few games to clinch a playoff spot. Meanwhile the Trail Blazers have shown they can separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
By: Joshua Nicholson