NBA playoff predictions Bracket picks & 2022 nba 2020 predictions championship Finals champion

Kyrie Irving and James Harden were both out down the stretch of the postseason for the Brooklyn Nets. If they were healthy, we’re probably not talking about a Bucks championship right now.
Golden State’s resurgence would ultimately run out of steam in this scenario, however. With Murray back in the fold, Denver would have just enough to sneak past the Warriors and into the NBA Finals.
Second: Will Michael Porter Jr. develop enough on the defensive end to help contain the Nets’ Big Three? If MPJ can do that and continue his stunning proficiency as a scorer, Denver might have a legitimate chance to knock off Brooklyn in a hypothetical series.
After seeing Giannis win a title in Milwaukee, you can bet Donovan Mitchell will be driven as ever to will the Utah Jazz to a Larry O’Brien Trophy.
twitter Instagram linkedin Ravens NFL Record Andy Reid Status NFL games today CFB Rankings Chargers Big Win Heisman Watch Featured NBA · Published September 8, 2021 NBA playoff predictions: Bracket picks & 2022 Finals champion Matt Fitzgerald facebook twitter With the 2020-21 season all wrapped up and the Milwaukee Bucks crowned NBA champions , it’s time to update our NBA playoffs and Finals predictions for next season, and project how the playoff bracket for the Eastern and Western Conferences will look next year.
The Miami Heat are projected so high for a couple reasons: They’ll be a lot fresher than they were last year off a quick turnaround from their Finals run in the Orlando bubble, and are giving Jimmy Butler some help by acquiring a viable, veteran floor general in Kyle Lowry.

Related: 50 Top NBA players of 2021 – Giannis, Kawhi, LeBron battle for #1
If these two squads meet, it’ll probably feel more like a Finals matchup than whoever the winner plays coming out of the West in the next round. We’re projecting the Nets to get the edge over the reigning champs in six games for now.
Another nice story in here is the Charlotte Hornets, led by reigning NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, getting into the postseason. Ball and Gordon Hayward give Charlotte a shot, and the young phenom may attract another big name to the Hornets this summer.
True, the Bucks’ size and elite defense would be a lot for Brooklyn to handle even with it superstar trio all in action. Jrue Holiday could absolutely wear down Harden and Irving. Giannis also showed another level of greatness in the NBA Final that can’t be discounted.
The Purple and Gold’s roster has completely transformed, welcoming the likes of Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington and Kent Bazemore. That’s so much turnover personnel-wise, but chances are, LeBron and AD will make it all work pretty well.
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Poor Suns. Running into the new-look Lakers. Speaking of revenge, wouldn’t it be fascinating to see the Lake Show take on Phoenix in Round 1 again? A healthy LeBron and AD may change the complexion of a prospective rematch.
Much of the Dallas Mavericks’ projection is based on Luka Doncic. No matter what else they do to surround him with talent, Doncic’s trajectory alone is going to thrust Dallas into the West’s top three.
Don’t be surprised if Utah locks up the No. 1 seed for a second year in a row. The Jazz added a desperately needed wing defender in Rudy Gay, retained Mike Conley and acquired another elite rim protector in Hassan Whiteside. That’s a darn good offseason right there.
It’s going to take Kawhi Leonard quite a while to get back, which could mean the Clippers barely sneak into the playoffs through the play-in tournament.
The Memphis Grizzlies should continue their steady progress with a strong young core led by Ja Morant. However, they’re not ready to advance in the postseason just yet, especially if they face the Dubs to start.
The Golden State Warriors pop out, don’t they? With James Wiseman on the rise, and Klay Thompson returning, nba 2020 predictions championship the Dubs are going to have a huge resurgence.
First: What on Flat Earth can Brooklyn expect out of Kyrie Irving? He’s an enigma wrapped in a riddle inside a mirror dimensional prism and so on. But damn, can the man hoop when he’s locked in and healthy.
Even when Irving, Harden and Kevin Durant missed extensive stretches of the 2020-21 regular season, the Nets still got the No. 2 seed in the East. They should be all rested up and driven to chase a championship this next year, so look out for Brooklyn to bounce back in a big way — and to challenge Milwaukee for East supremacy.
A Warriors-Lakers duel would be fun, but it’s a bad matchup for the latter. The Splash Bros. are the most lethal combo of 3-point shooters in NBA history. While LA did acquire plenty of shooters this summer, how many of them can you truly count on when the bright lights of the playoffs go on?
As for the rest of the East, we saw how large coaching looms in the NBA when Tom Thibodeau sparked the New York Knicks to a surprise playoff appearance. With Rick Carlisle returning to Indiana’s bench and Billy Donovan getting his culture better established in Chicago in Year 2 — not to mention a roster makeover, as the Bulls were uber-aggressive in free agency — look for the Pacers and Bulls to crack the top eight seeds.
Check out our NBA playoff predictions below, which will be updated leading up to and throughout the 2021-22 campaign. These are obviously subject to change, especially with the mass mobility brought on by free agency and the lingering potential that stars like Ben Simmons and Damian Lillard could be traded.
Third: Nikola Jokic’s one-of-one skill set for a big man is precisely what could cause the undersized Nets to crumble.
KD-Kyrie-Beard vs. Joker-Murray-MPJ? Sign us up, NBA. Chances are, though, this Nets team just has too much offensive firepower to be denied in the end.
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With so much unknown about the Mavs and what they intend to surround Doncic with, they can’t be counted on to advance past the first round, despite the young stud’s best efforts.
Find out where your favorite team stands in our NBA power rankings after the big wave of free-agent signings
A Nuggets-Nets Finals would be a compelling matchup for a variety of reasons, but it’d likely boil down to several factors that are so challenging to forecast.
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ACL tears for Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray and Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard have their teams lower in the West playoff bracket. However, Murray will return months ahead of Kawhi, which will help Denver ascend higher in the West.
A Heat-Bulls tilt in Round 1 would feature tons of premier talent and two elite coaches in Miami’s Erik Spoelstra and Chicago’s Donovan. It’d be a tactical chess match for the ages, but the Heat’s playoff experience edge would help them advance.
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Injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis derailed the Los Angeles Lakers’ hopes of a repeat in 2021. GM Rob Pelinka certainly didn’t sit on his hands once free agency opened, though.
Everyone would love to see the Nets and Bucks square off again after their meeting in the conference semifinals. Well, everyone with the exception of Milwaukee fans.
The 76ers, again, are hard to pin since Ben Simmons’ future hangs in the balance. Depending on how a trade shakes out for him, they could have a much better outlook for next year, or see their standing drop significantly.
Even when Leonard returns, he’ll be conservatively managed, and can’t be counted on to carry LA. Utah will be out for vengeance after blowing a 2-0 lead to the Clippers in the 2021 NBA playoffs, too.
Fourth: Durant and Harden might play so well to render factors one through three irrelevant. nba predictions 2020-21 season