As the NBA regular season start to head into its tail end, we have seen a lot of things happen this year that a lot of us could not have expected making it one of the most exciting finishes in recent years.
In the Easter Conference there was a lot of drama in Cleveland with Isiah Thomas’ return after injury. During the off season he was traded to Cleveland when Kyrie Iriving asked to be traded to Boston because he decided he wanted to become the leader of a team as opposed to playing behind Lebron James. Dwayne Wade also came to Cleveland following his close friend in LeBron James. However, unlike most people expected, these fundamental changes in the roster did not work for the Cavaliers, and only caused them to struggle transforming them from being the clear favorites in the East to now a lot of people questioning if they were going to make The Finals once again. We had another huge turn of events when in the very last hours of the trade deadline, the Cavaliers traded away Thomas, Wade, Crowder and other players for younger players from the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cavaliers seem to be getting back to real contenders in the East but it is still unsure due to the lack of experience and youth of the new Cavaliers.
Kyrie Irving’s move to the Boston Celtics certainly seems to have been the right one as he is having one of the best seasons of his career and has put the Celtics in the top spot of the Eastern Conference and in strong contention for a spot in the NBA Finals this year.
In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors continue to be the dominant force and it appears that no one can stop them except one team. Unlike last year, they seem to have a real threat in the Houston Rockets with their killer combination of James Harden and Chris Paul. Harden is having the best season of his career and is believed to be the leader to be this year’s MVP voting. With Chris Paul coming to Houston from the Los Angeles Clippers this new fundamental change has shifted the balance of power in the West where the Warriors could face a real threat if they play Houston for the Western Conference Title. The Rockets are only a half game on top of Golden State but the remainder of the season is crucial for both teams to grab home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
The San Antonio Spurs have been a symbol of excellence for a long period of time and this year is no different except for one thing. Their leader Kwahi Leonard refuses to come back from injury despite being cleared which is leading people to believe that his relationship with the Spurs organization is not on a positive note and many people are starting to speculate he might leave San Antonio next year.
The Western Conference is full of dangerous teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Oklahoma City Thunder who can take anyone down on their day. One major change that may be implemented this year is to try a new playoff format where the seedings are done based on the team’s records as opposed to doing it separately with Eastern Conference and Western Conference. NBA Commisioner Adam Silver is considering implementing these changes due to the West being considerably better over the past decade and as a result Western teams that should make the playoffs, do not because of the conference they are in.
While Golden State is the favorite in the eyes of many, there is certainly a lot of excitement to come with the end of the season to see who ends up winning it all.