With the NBA’s Bubble Playoffs well underway in surprisingly successful fashion, Stephen Varanko III looks at the top teams competing for the rare 2020 Bubble Title, gives his thoughts on the top eight franchises, and explores the chances of each of the teams’ chances.
The top three teams in the Bubble Playoffs are the top-three teams that have dominated all season, and the top-three teams that sports experts have chosen. These teams are the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Lakers are obviously the favorites to win it all this year. Even at his age, Lebron James is still very much a force to be reckoned with, as he has shown in an MVP-caliber season. But it was the acquisition of dominant center Anthony Davis that has catapulted the Lakers to the top of the rankings.
The biggest threat to the Lakers’ chances are none other than their cross-city rivals, the Clippers. With all-stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George surrounded by a group of highly effective role players, the Clippers look to be even more complete than the Lakers.
In the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks still sit on top of the mountain. With reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo still playing very much like the league’s top player and the Bucks’ core still intact, they are still the team to beat in the East.
Having said that, Stephen Varanko III looks at three teams that can very well challenge the Bucks for Eastern supremacy. They are the Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat, and the defending champions Toronto Raptors.
If there’s anything that can be said about the Celtics’ game in the Bubble season so far, it’s that they’re peaking at the right time. Everyone is maturing well, and with Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and rest of the Celtics on top of their game, things are looking interesting for the sons of Boston.
Similar to Boston, Miami’s young core led by Jimmy Butler has been nothing short of impressive this year. They have yet to be tested though in the playoffs, and it is this inexperience that may be their Achilles heel.
The Raptors’ chances of defending their title have taken quite a blow with Kawhi Leonard leaving the team. The good news is that, since then, guys such as Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet have upped their games.
On the outside looking in, Stephen Varanko III names two teams – the Houston Rockets with their twin-MVP, one-two punch of James Harden and Russell Westbrook and the consistent dark horse Denver Nuggets — as potential party spoilers.