After making preseason NBA predictions for two consecutive years I failed to do so for the current NBA season. REO received thousands of emails from distraught readers wondering why they were not getting any predictions. To be perfectly honest, I have no excuse and I am sorry for the pain I have caused. The following article is my attempt to make it up to our loyal readers. Here are five predictions for the 2019 NBA playoffs.
1. There will be an inordinate amount of close playoff series.
Each year there are a total of 15 best of seven playoff series. I am defining a close series and one that lasts six or seven games. On average, over the last five seasons, eight series per year have been extended to at least six games. I predict we will have at least 11 such series this year. The first round generally gives us several sweeps and for the last few seasons the Golden State Warriors have dominated and finished off quite a few teams in four or five games. I don’t see that happening this year. The talent is spread out pretty well around the majority of the playoff teams and we should see quite a few close series. Closer series usually mean exciting series so if this prediction comes true it will be a very good thing.
2. LeBron James’ name will be mentioned at least 874 times during NBA broadcasts throughout the playoffs.
For those who haven’t been paying attention, LeBron won’t be in the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Even more remarkable, it will be the first time since 2010 that LeBron won’t be playing in the finals. So why would a guy who is not even participating in a single playoff game this year be mentioned so many times? Many people don’t realize that the league’s television and radio broadcast partners are contractually obligated to mention LeBron’s name at least 10 times per game whether he actually is playing in the game or not.
3. Someone you interact with on social media will enlighten you with their vast basketball knowledge.
This is an easy one to predict because it happens every year. A Facebook friend will watch five minutes of a playoff game (the first actual NBA game he or she has watched all year) and suddenly become an expert on everything that is wrong with the league. He or she will then proceed to lecture all of us on the finer points of playing the game the right way. If you are really lucky your friend will take his or her basketball complaint and attempt to make a broader point about society in general. Good times for everyone involved!
4. Steph Curry will lead all players in total points scored during the playoffs.
Several factors come into play here. First, Golden State will need to advance pretty far in the playoffs for Curry to play enough games to lead all players in scoring. I believe they will and I’ll elaborate on that in my next prediction. Second, Curry himself will need to stay healthy (not a given) and lead his own team in scoring (also, not a given). I predict he will and I think the team wants him to win finals MVP so they will do their best to feature him during that series. Which leads me to my final prediction . . .
5. The Golden State Warriors will win the 2018-19 NBA title.
This will be their third straight championship and fourth title in the last five years. Many are tired of the predictability. Others celebrate their greatness and their unselfish style of play. Wherever you stand, it is foolish not to rank them among the all-time best teams. They certainly deserve to be in the conversation. With the impending free agency of several of their top players, this could be their last title run. I believe they realize this and will be ready. I don’t expect them to breeze through the playoffs, but I do expect them to win it in the end.