The NBA 2020-2021 Playoffs are wide-open, and any team could very likely take the throne
For the first time since 2015, the second round of the postseason will not feature the defending NBA champions. The Los Angeles Lakers were knocked out of the first round by the Phoenix Suns, and the defeat was symbolically fitting.
Currently, of all the remaining teams in the playoffs, there are only three teams with a championship history:
- Milwaukee Bucks in 1971
- Philadelphia 76ers in 1955, 1967, and 1983
- Atlanta Hawks in in 1958
The rest of the teams in the playoffs (Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns) have never won a championship in their franchise history. In other words, we’re officially in uncharted territory. With the second round and absence of old guards like Lakers, Celtics, Miami, even Golden State in the past decade, there is a likelihood we will see a newly crowned champion and history made.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Atalanta Hawks
Series Odds: Philadelphia 76ers (1.75) to Atlanta Hawks (2.55)
Trae Young led the Hawks in scoring in each playoff game vs the Knicks, averaging 29.2 points and 9.8 assists.
The Sixers were 10-11 SU and 9-12 ATS in 21 games during the regular season without Joel Embiid. PHI won Game 5 vs the Wizards by 16 points without him.
Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks
Series Odds: Brooklyn Nets (1.46) to Milwaukee Bucks (2.70)
Despite James Harden’s injury, Blake Griffin matches up very well against the Milwaukee Bucks stars. Giannis will have to play lengthened minutes to stand a chance.
Los Angeles Clippers vs Utah Jazz
Series Odds: Utah Jazz (1.30) to Los Angeles Clippers (2.10)
Kawhi Leonard was a machine – sporting incredible efficiency against the Dallas Mavericks, unfazed despite dropping the first two games. He has shot above league average on every spot of the court as per analytics. Matching up against them will be the healthy Utah Jazz with a recovered Mitchell.
This is arguably the closest of all remaining series and it would predominantly factor on lineup adjustments and bar on potential injury management.
Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets
Series Odds: Phoenix Suns (1.52) to Denver Nuggets (2.60)
The Nuggets are led by presumed NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and finished 13-4 SU in 17 games after guard Jamal Murray went down with an injury. However, Deandre Ayton have always been a formidable matchup against Nikola Jokic.
Both teams have a supreme playmaker, but Chris Paul may have trouble playing for long stretches due to his shoulder injury.
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