The NBA season is drawing into its closing stretch, with only about 8-10 games left before the playoffs start up. We see who the foremost teams are, of course, the incredible Miami Heat, the overlooked San Antonio Spurs, the exciting Oklahoma City Thunder, and the defensive Indiana Pacers. This we will look at another time in a future piece.
But today we will look at the teams who are fighting and jostling for the final seed, the dreaded 8th seed. The seed that no team wants, because clearly you’re playing the best of your conference. Which likely spells an early exit, as the top seeds are there for a reason.
So, at present, we have about 6 teams who are all within striking distance of landing the lovely and brilliant 8th seed. We have the Bucks and the Celtics under pressure in the East for positioning. The Lakers, the Jazz, even the Mavericks and Rockets are all in very vulnerable spots right now to end up in the 8th spot. They are all within earshot of each other in their conference.
Firstly, let’s look beyond the Jazz, they are playing awful, and I see them likely plummeting out of the conversation shortly. Based on the fact of they cannot win on the road. But, the others, there are some interesting things to take into effect with each of them.
Of course, we have the Celtics; they seem to have something good going for themselves. They have leadership but they also have age, which could all play out, they have been playing really well as of late, but they also have a lot of road games coming up, which could lose them some ground and drop them into feasible 8 seed. Now, if they were to get in at the 8th slot, they would play the Heat, both teams have no love lost for each other, and would make fantastic television, and the fact that the Celts usually play the Heat very good.
Star power-wise the LA Lakers, loaded up with tons of it, with Kobe, of course, being their main man to put the ball in the basket. His 27/game could be enough to cause some problems for anyone, if they get into the dreaded spot. The team on a whole can score the ball, hitting at a 102 ppg clip. Problem of course, is getting them together as one on the same page, and if Kobe’s injury doesn’t slow him down.
And another team, I think is highly overlooked are the Houston Rockets, who are still holding steady in their spot. But if they slip down, which is a careful race between them and the Lakers, and they fall into the 8th spot, they have a very good deep ball game, behind Harden and Parsons, in particular. And if they can get the game up and down the court like they normally do, they can win games, and again, how enjoyable would it be to see Harden playing vs a coming on, OKC, is it possible?
In NBA history, no 8th seeded team has ever won the title, so it’s certainly not the place you want to land. Only one 8th seeded team even made the NBA Finals, and that was the Knicks in 1999, led behind the amazing play of Marcus Camby.
Does that mean no team can ever do it? Absolutely not. Likely? Absolutely not. In the NBA, the better team characteristically wins, because of a series format, which definitely favors the better and more talented team. Can a team overlook a bit and play down, without doubt, and if matchups work in ones favor, things can get ugly real fast for the 1 seed as well.
Of course, do I expect any of these teams to win the title, no. but don’t be astonished to maybe… just maybe, see one knock out a powerful 1 seed.
Written by Frank Jordan of VegasTopDogs.com