Fans vs. expert predictions on the NBA playoffs


Aditya Thaker

Sebastian Valencia, eighth-grader at RCMS is restless to see his favorite team win the NBA Championship

The NBA has shaped an interesting variety of experts and fan predictions. As the day of June 1 nears, experts analyze performances and millions of fans hope and pray their team will win, but which one of these predictions will prove to be right?

Favorites for the Title?

According to expert opinions, coming off of a 58-24 record, the Milwaukee Bucks are predicted to win the NBA Finals. This prediction was made to nobody’s surprise, since the Bucks have been in red hot form recently and have also passed the Celtics, to claim the top spot on the record bracket. Undoubtedly though the Bucks have an extremely tough road ahead if they are to live up to the expectations, as they are down 3-1 to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

Ansh Gupta, eighth-grader on the Voyagers team at RCMS, on the other hand, backs the Phoenix Suns to clinch the title. He adds that the Suns have not only made history with one of the biggest trades in NBA history (Kevin Durrant to the Suns), but have also equipped their offense with the ultimate trio of Devin Booker, Kevin Durrant, and Chris Paul.

“No other team can match a godly trio like this,” adds Ansh.

In contrast to these predictions, Neev Naguboyina, eighth-grader on the Explorers team at RCMS, backs the Celtics to lift the Championship. According to Neev, after the Nuggets and the Bucks, the Celtics have the second best Offense and Defense in this year’s playoffs. Not only in recent times, but over the last five years, the Celtics have dominated the league with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown turning up at right times.

“The Dream Duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum puts the Celtics at number one for me,” says Neev.

Which Team is the Best Team on Paper

According to an article published by SportsNaut, The Boston Celtics have claimed the spot for being the best team on paper. The article says, “The Boston Celtics have been the creme of the NBA crop all season and continue to show that in the NBA Playoffs.” It would be hard to go against this prediction. Betting against Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum after their season performances may not seem like the best thing to do.

“The Celtics are a team full of big match players,” says Ansh. 

Ansh also believes that the Celtics are the best team on paper. This is because they are a  team consisting of an MVP candidate (Jayson Tatum), D.P.O.Y. in the 2021-2022 season (Defensive Player of the Year), Marcus Smart and an All Star in the form of Jaylen Brown. He believes that the Boston Celtics are a big team, made for the big occasion. 

“The Celtics have a flawless starting five,” says Neev.

To take care of their offense, they have Jatson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown. Neev assumes that with their young and instinctive playmaking ability, the Boston Celtics’s offense cannot be stopped. To balance their defense the Celtics have Marcus Smart and Blake Griffin. Their lockdown defense makes them one of the best defensive players in the league. 

Mr. Demetrios Kappatos, P.E. teacher at RCMS on the other hand, back the Golden State Warriors to be the best team on paper.

He says, “I don’t think their dynasty is over.”

Most teams are carried by one or two star players, but the warriors, they play as a team. They possess, arguably the best, three point shooters ever, in the form of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Experienced campaigners like Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala provide balance in the team. Moreover, the Warriors also have young blood in the form of Jordan Poole who could be the dark horse for the Warriors during their Playoff run.

Predictions for the Finals MVP

Mr. Kappatos backs Giannis Antetokounmpo to win the title of Finals MVP. The way that Giannis has played this year puts him at the top of the list for me. His sheer dominance on teams has put the opposition trembling in their shoes. Moreover, Giannis is playing on a well-rounded team, unlike previous years where Giannis had nobody to support him.

Ansh, on the other hand, believes that Devin Booker is the strongest contender to win the Finals MVP. 

“The way he has played this year has surprised a lot of people. At a time when nobody was able to perform, Devin Booker put his hand up, and got his team over the line,” adds Ansh.

“It’s not an easy choice to make,” says Neev, “a lot of players have played exceptionally well this year, but for me Jayson Tatum has to be the Finals MVP.”

Expert Opinions say that Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the Finals MVP for the 2022-2023 season. Coming off of a 58-24 record with the Bucks and averaging 31.1 points and 11.8 rebounds, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the strongest contender for the Finals MVP.

Don’t Put Your Money on the Experts?

Expert opinions said that Milwaukee Bucks were the strongest contenders for the NBA Title for the 2022-2023 season. Reality on the other hand, handed the first seed Bucks a ticket back home as they were swept in game five by the eight seed Miami Heat. An unreal effort from Jimmy Butler, who averages 37.6 in the Playoffs, sent the Bucks back home.

Experts had also said that Giannis Antetokounmpo had the highest chance of winning the Finals MVP, but the hopes for that too ended on the night of April 26 when the Heat clinched game five by two points in overtime. 

The only hope left for the experts is if the Boston Celtics are able to trump the Philadelphia 76ers coming back on their defense. Against the Hawks, the Celtics showed weakness in their defense. Game five was one of their worst performances from a defensive point of view all season. In the same game, Trae Young gave the Celtics a mighty scare, by scoring 12 consecutive points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter. With close to zero support by the rest of his team, Trae Young single handedly pushed the series to game six and the Celtics could come up with nothing to stop him.