The NBA season is winding down, and a handful of teams have separated themselves from the pack. In the East, the contenders are the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, and Philadelphia 76ers, while in the West, the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, and Golden State Warriors could contend for a title.
These teams are excellent and hard to beat, but the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors will win their conferences and go to the NBA Finals.
Up until the NBA Trade Deadline, the 76ers’ offense was focused around Joel Embiid. They had Ben Simmons on their roster, but he was not playing because of mental health issues. However, everything changed at the Trade Deadline. The 76ers traded Ben Simmons for James Harden, and their roster became infinitely better.
Harden has only played in a handful of games, but he has shown that he can make the 76ers significantly better. Harden is one of the best scorers in the NBA and a gifted passer. In the eight games he has played with Philadelphia, he is averaging 23 points and 10.5 assists. He commands so much attention on the court, allowing his teammates to get good scoring opportunities. This has been most notably seen with guard Tyrese Maxey. Maxey is averaging 19.3 points on 52.8% shooting in the last ten games. Maxey is a good player, but he is only made better by Harden.
In the West, I expect the Golden State Warriors to go to the Finals once again. They may be sitting in third-place and 7.5 games behind the first-place Phoenix Suns, but when healthy, they are the best team in the NBA.
The Warriors of 2022 look a lot like the Warriors of 2017. Sure, they have the addition of Andrew Wiggins, but they still have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Those three have not played together in a few seasons, but Draymond Green should be healthy soon, and they will all be reunited.
The Curry-Thompson-Green trio should be better than ever when they make their return, and the Warriors will return to dominance. It is also worth mentioning that the Warriors would not be where they are without Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has revitalized his career and been a critical piece to this Warriors squad. This could be the Warriors’ last run, so I would enjoy it while it lasts.
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| Title: The two teams that will be in the NBA Finals this season!
| Author: Max Heering
| Date: March 18, 2021