The Western Conference Playoffs
#1 Denver over #8 Oklahoma City
#4 Sacramento over #5 LA Clippers
#3 LA Lakers over #6 Minnesota
#2 Phoenix over #7 Golden State
Chet Holmgren is not quite ready to shut down Nikola Jokic in a playoff series. De’Aaron Fox and Domntas Sabonis were so close to beating the Warriors in the playoffs last spring, and you can not count on either Kawhi Leonard or Paul George to be healthy. LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be too much for Minnesota, while Kevin Durant will dispatch his former team, and Chris Paul will not get his chance to exact revenge on Phoenix.
#1 Denver over #4 Sacramento
#3 LA Lakers over #2 Phoenix
The Kings and Nuggets match up evenly on paper, but one has Jokic, and the other does not. The Lakers play much better defense than Phoenix, leading to LeBron knocking Durant out of the playoffs in a highly-watched series.
Western Conference Finals
#1 Denver over #3 LA Lakers
The Nuggets swept the Lakers in this same series six months ago. Why will it be any different this time? The Lakers have a deeper and more veteran-heavy team but have not improved enough to close the gap last spring’s conference finals showed existed between the two teams.
#1 Milwaukee over #1 Denver
The two best teams in basketball and the two best players in basketball meet in the 2024 NBA Finals. Giannis and Jokic, both searching for their second ring, play an epic seven-game series, but Milwaukee, who has home-court advantage, wins the Larry O’Brien.
Giannis and Lillard prove to be a historic duo, and the Bucks, who also roster veterans Pat Connaughton, Brook Lopez, Bobby Portis, Khris Middleton, and Jae Crowder, prove to be one of the deepest teams of the last decade.