The newly installed play-in tournament has been successful so far, garnering millions of viewers and engagement, the highest since the 2019 Western Conference Finals.
Now that the casts for the actual playoffs are complete, here are some of the most significant predictions for the 2021 NBA Playoffs:
Michael Pina of Sports Illustrated predicted that the Milwaukee Bucks are the ones who will represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals. He picked reigning back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokoumnpo and his Bucks over the Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden.
Despite the frustrating second-round exit in the NBA bubble against the Finalist, Miami Heat, Pina put faith in the Bucks, who added Jrue Holiday to the roster during the offseason.
Meanwhile, Ben Pickman surprisingly picked the second-seeded Phoenix Suns to beat the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers in the first round and win the Western Conference title to compete in the NBA Finals.
He reasoned that although Deontay Anton will have a hard time guarding Anthony Davis, the Suns can contain LeBron James. With this being said, he added that the backcourt duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker would be unstoppable against the Lakers as he can’t find any player in the Lakers’ roster to contain the two stars.
So, the prediction: the NBA Finals will feature a Bucks-Suns matchup.