Adam Ziobrowski, Staff Writer
The six-month grind that is the NBA season came to an end last week, which means the NBA Playoffs have officially arrived.
With that, NBA fans on campus are thrilled to see if the playoffs can top the already-thrilling regular season.
It was a historic season that saw Russell Westbrook become the first player in history to average a triple-double in back-to-back seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers trust the process all the way to the Eastern Conference No. 3 seed and the Minnesota Timberwolves break the NBA’s longest postseason drought after 14 seasons without playoff basketball.
“It was a very exciting regular season, especially with how tight the Western Conference ended up,” said sophomore Colin Nicklaw. “I just can’t wait to see the Houston Rockets continue their dominance like in the regular season, they are fun to watch.”
Other students, such as sophomore Michael Schebel, are curious to see how underachieving teams will perform during the playoffs.
“I feel like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t do as well as they should have in the regular season,” Schebel said. “I feel like they will look like totally different teams come the playoffs.”
Sophomore Kaitlyn Krasney was impressed with the many close games the NBA had to offer this regular season. She is looking for more of the same come playoff time.
“I am really excited for some more close games,” Krasney said. “There are a lot of very good matchups, and I want to see how the teams who lost their star players perform, such as the Celtics without Kyrie Irving and the 76ers without Joel Embiid. Also, I’m interested to see how the defending champions (Golden State Warriors) do since they are without Stephen Curry and have been playing down to their level.”
The playoffs also feature the 76ers and Timberwolves, two teams that have had their fair share of struggles over the years. Fans are excited to see both teams play in their first playoff series in quite some time.
NBA fan Joe Capuano cannot wait to see how Ben Simmons and the 76ers play.
“Ben Simmons has been on a tear lately, and the 76ers are the hottest team in basketball right now,” Capuano said. “I can’t wait to see if they can make an unexpected run or not.”
Schebel is excited to see how far the Timberwolves can go since they have not been to the playoffs since 2004.
Although it has been a competitive year in the NBA, some fans on campus still feel confident predicting the NBA Finals champion.
“The Timberwolves will win because Karl-Anthony Towns is a beast, and they are also my favorite team,” Karasney said.
Nicklaw believes it will be an Eastern Conference team taking home the hardware this season.
“The Celtics will win because they have the depth to compete and make a run without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward,” Nicklaw said.
However, other fans think that because of the many close games over the regular season it is too tough to tell who will win the NBA Finals this season.
“Honestly, I don’t think that I can predict a winner this season,” Schebel said. “I feel like the teams have been a lot more even this year than in recent years. There are a lot of good teams in the playoffs that have a good chance of winning the championship this year.”
Capuano said that because of how close the standings were this year it is too hard to predict who will be crowned this years champion.
“Both conferences are wide open this year,” Capuano said. “Even though there are a few teams that stick out, they each have weaknesses that can make them susceptible to an early exit or a disappointing finish. It’s just too hard to tell this year.”