Worst-Case Scenarios Heading into the NBA’s Postseason
by Rick Bouch Scores & Statson
The NBA’s 2018-19 regular season is heading into its final stretch. Teams will play their final 10 games or so and then it’s off to the postseason for 16 teams and to the offseason for the 14 others. As the teams prepare for the postseason, what would their worst-case scenario be? Let’s take a look.
Thunder Buddies In the Western Conference, places No. 5 through No. 8 all share the exact same record, 42-30. Let’s say the Thunder, currently fifth in the standings, at least stays in fifth. Maybe they even gain a game and a half and take over fourth from Portland. It wouldn’t matter. If the Thunder win their first-round playoff series, they would face the unenviable task of facing the Golden State Warriors. OKC might want to rethink its end-of-season strategy.
Lakers Whiff The Lakers will miss the playoffs this season for the sixth consecutive season. They also will not be able to pull off a trade for Anthony Davis, that is unless they want to trade LeBron James. The Lakers probably can’t afford Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, or Kyrie Irving either; but maybe they opt for a guy like DeMarcus Cousins. Yep, that’s the worst-case scenario.
To Win or Not to Win in Dallas The Mavericks have 10 games remaining in the regular season. As it stands right now, the New York Knicks have the NBA’s worst record (14-58) followed by Phoenix, Cleveland, Chicago, and Atlanta. Coming in at No. 5 is Dallas (28-44). The Mavericks need to stay at No. 5 in order to keep their first-round pick in the upcoming draft. If they happen to win too many games down the stretch and they finished outside of the top five, that pick goes to Atlanta.
Houston, We Have a Problem The Rockets, currently third in the Western Conference standings, are very close to clinching a playoff berth. They have been streaky all season and in their worst-case scenario, the Rockets are revealed for what they are – a team that is too reliant on James Harden and the 3-pointer. The Rockets’ shooting goes cold and Houston gets upset in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Philadelphia Story The 76ers did clinch a playoff berth and appear headed to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Regardless of who Philadelphia gets in the first round, losing in the second round is the worst-case scenario for this year’s Sixers. After losing in the conference semifinals last year to Boston, a trip to at least the conference finals was the goal in 2018-19. Double worst-case scenario – Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris leave the City of Brotherly Love after the season ends.
Detroit Flop City It would be a shame if the Pistons waste one of the best seasons of Blake Griffin’s career. Griffin is averaging 24.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists and the Pistons are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference standings. Only 3.5 games separate ninth place from sixth place and the Pistons final 11 games are as follows: Portland twice, Golden State, Denver, Orlando, Indiana twice, Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Memphis, and New York. Worst case scenario for the Pistons is they don’t make the playoffs.