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By Michael Aleksandrov – Content Development Strategist
The NBA season is back and the league’s most talented teams are looking to make their impact in “The Happiest Place on Earth”. Here are the top five teams heading into the bubble’s regular season…
5.) Boston Celtics
The Celtics are a well-rounded team with many good players such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker. Boston has the #4 defense in the league but has struggled to make shots consistently. They also have no big man inside to snag boards and provide an extra defensive presence. Kemba Walker’s health is also a concern. Regardless, the Celts are hungry to prove themselves after disappointing finishes in recent years. Before the cancellation, the Celts had lost in OT to the Rockets and Nets, narrowly lost to the Lakers, and barely beat the Pacers.
4.) Houston Rockets
Former MVPs James Harden and Russell Westbrook are the kings of small ball in the NBA. Not a single player on the Rockets is taller than 6 foot 6- center PJ Tucker is only 6 foot 5. Perimeter shooting in high-volume is the hallmark of Houston’s offense. The team is towards the lower half of the league in defense. Houston’s offensive efficiency will be crucial to a deep run in the playoffs. Eric Gordon had an injury scare on Tuesday but should be back in 1-2 weeks. Before the cancellation: The team traded defensive stalwart C Clint Capela to the Hawks and opted to run former SF PJ Tucker at the 5. Houston went 9-6 with this lineup. Will the strategy work or is it just pure insanity?
3.) Los Angeles Clippers
Despite the success of the Lakers, the Clips aren’t “the other team in LA” anymore. LA has All-Stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. The team has the best depth in the league and only added to it in late-season moves like adding Reggie Jackson and former DPOY Joakim Noah. The Clippers struggled to stay healthy and find consistent minutes together. They also had many off-the-court issues. LA has the most all-around talent in the league-when they get their stuff together, they might just be hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in a few months. Before the cancellation, the Clips had lost to the Lakers, but had beaten the Rockets, Thunder, Nuggets, and Sixers in decisive fashion
2.) Los Angeles Lakers
Lebron and Anthony Davis are two of the top players in the league. James is 36 and is still in the MVP conversation at a time most superstars would be retiring. Los Angeles’ biggest weakness is their depth, with their third-leading scorer being Kyle Kuzma and the team’s production taking a significant hit when James takes a rest. The recent resurgence of Waiters Island and the acquisition of JR Smith may not be enough to fix this. If ‘Bron and AD can continue to produce, there is no doubt this team will make noise in the playoffs. Before the cancellation, the Lakers secured key victories over the Clippers, 76ers, and Bucks. LeBron had stayed healthy and the team had bounced back from a lottery season last year.
1.) Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have MVP favorite Giannis Antetokuompo, All-Star Khris Middleton, and the best system in the league. The team is still good with Giannis off the floor, and nearly unstoppable when he is on the court. Milwaukee has the best record and the largest point differential in the league. Improved three-point shooting will greatly help the Bucks as it is something they have struggled with all year. Before the cancellation, Milwaukee had lost 4 of their last 5 games, falling to the abysmal Phoenix Suns.
Blitz Writer Pick: Milwaukee Bucks – Giannis and Big Sean have a lot in common: Who’s Stoppin Them? In the East: The Raptors were able to contain the Greek Freak last year in the ECF, but Kawhi is gone now. The Celtics are a great team, but are still struggling offensively. On the West: Playoff LeBron is scary, but so is the team’s lack of depth. Houston had mixed results with the PJ Tucker lineup. No other team comes close to the mix of bench depth, effective system, and production on both sides of the ball than Milwaukee. The Clippers will make the NBA Finals and fall to the Bucks in 6 games.
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