Frankly an incredibly good and informative, Ah, preview of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, Part 1

Hello, casual basketball fan! Welcome back in the crucible of the champions. The playoffs of the NBA are back on us, probably a few minutes or maybe even before I finish writing this very long (and good) blog. Oh shit!

Who are the teams? Who does things on them? Who will hoist the [checks Wikipedia] "NBA Larry O'Brien Trophy"? What can you say about all this in the company of acquaintances and colleagues probably familiar with basketball who do not call you naive doofus? My friend, I've covered you. Print this blog, take it with you to the bar and check it out for conversational nuggets.

Let's look at the series of the first round, in the chronological order where it will start and / or have started while I was working on it. Saturday, then Sunday tomorrow.

Philadelphia 76ers (3) vs Brooklyn Nets (6)

When does this shit start?
Saturday, 2:30 ET, on ESPN.

Who are these groups?
It's odd to consider that even with the big moves they've made this season (successful exchanges for both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris), and even with the triumphant inevitability swirling around the young stars of the team since Ben Simmons made his debut last season, this season seems so far to be a step aside for the 76ers. the bestif not a little step back. The departure of LeBron James from the East opened a political vacuum at the summit of the conference; Last summer, the 76ers (as well as the Boston Celtics and more than a second to second) seemed to be the team best placed to replace him. But not only did the Sixers end up with the same seed of the playoffs as last year – and with a record loss – they were also significantly outnumbered by the Milwaukee Bucks. They still have not imagined a productive complementary link between their two young local stars. Even with the additions of Butler and Harris (and Mike Scott, who was great), they still have a disturbing tendency to look completely lost every time the mortal Joel Embiid-J.J. The pair of Redick is not on the field.

Of course, the real test of the changes they have made since last spring is not the regular season; This emptiness at the top of the East will not be filled until we have managed to get out of the final phase of the conference. The Sixers absolutely can represent the East in the finals. They have the high-end talent to do it. It might be time to worry if they do not do it. The moves they made – including the March negotiation of the former first catastrophic selection with Markelle Fultz against a 29-year-old role-playing player and a pair of elective selections – made them a team. who does not really Young or development more. On the contrary, they more closely match the profile of a slightly inflated competitor who is nearing the end, with very heavy training and big names ready to hit a free agent after the playoffs and an uncertain future. The weather seems a bit like it could be now!

As for the Nets, shit, man, this season has already been a fabulous success. They played basketball fun, smart and competitive all season, improved their record of 14 victories over last season and sent D'Angelo Russell to the All-Star Game. The return to the playoffs has already made it ten times the choice to focus on the development of young players of head coach Kenny Atkinson, rather than just trying luck with a hypothetical future generation talent. They are good and young and their future is bright, and I love them. I am already very concerned about the length of this blog.

Tell me about some of their people.
Let's start with the Sixers. Embiid continued its explosive growth and became one of the NBA's best players this season; if the Sixers had improved a lot, he would have been a serious candidate for the MVP, and he will be in every season for the rest of his career as long as he is in good health. But Simmons, pretty much in all areas, is exactly the same guy as last year. He still can not and will not shoot, and overall there remains a smaller or less valuable pair with Embiid (and the key question for each Sixer for these series and at least for the next five years will be how much they will integrate with Embiid.) that JJ Redick is. At the same time, the addition of Butler theoretically gave the Sixers a qualified person to take on a "closer" role in the fourth quarter – and they are still, on the whole, a rather poor team in the fourth quarter. They have not figured out how to make the most of Harris's presence on the team. But all these players are good, and that's a lot of good players for one team.

The Nets do not have as many good players as real ones. But they have a lot of good players! Russell became the star of the team during the season. a guard who handles the bullets, who can shoot, shoot and cook in the pick-and-roll game is an extremely enjoyable thing to have in a playoff series, and the Nets, of Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, have two . Maybe three, if I decide to call Caris LeVert a guard instead of a wing for the sake of crediting the Nets of three of these types of players. They can take sizes to Embiid with a big ball in the air, Jarrett Allen, and Ed Davis' big rides and, and they have an overabundance of useful and vaguely switchable wing / front types – DeMarre Carroll , Kureus Rodions, Joe Harris, Jared Dudley – for the flexibility of the lineup.

It's too many net players to mention, is not it? Focus on Russell, Dinwiddie, LeVert and Allen. These cool guys are going to do the fun thing.

Is this series good or disgusting?
This series is good! This is the first visit of these young Nets in the playoffs, so probably do not expect too much from them, but they are funny, fun and without pressure. They split the series of the regular season between the teams. They can scare these 76ers, or at least make the most of them, especially if Embiid, who still has to deal with the flabby knee that has made him miss 14 of the 24 matches of the Sixers since the break, remains to be seen. away. in any part of the series.

How can I seem to know the NBA when this series is activated?
When Ben Simmons threw the ball near the three-point arc, lean toward the person who stands near him and whisper: "Ben Simmons, reputed stubborn and opposed to jumps, will not shoot for the 39; moment. " sound like a real brain genius.

Who will win?
The Sixers, who had much less firepower at the top of the rotation, beat a tough and experienced Miami Heat team in the first round of last spring although Embiid missed the first two games of the series . The bet is that they will escape these green nets without too much trouble.

Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Orlando Magic (7)

On the photo: real action from a Raptors-Magic game.
Photo: Shutterstock

When does this shit start?
Saturday, 5:00 ET, on ESPN.

Who are these groups?
There's always a series like this, painfully uninteresting and anonymous, and still east, and in recent years it almost always seems to involve the Toronto Raptors and a member of the fucking miserable Southeast Division from the NBA. This year, it's Orlando Magic's turn. Who is excited about the Evan Fournier floats? The answer is nobody.

Maybe it's too un-charitable. In truth, the Magic is not a totally fun team, and the return of the franchise to the competition and the playoffs after six years spent in the outermost darkness was one of the pleasant surpraaaaahhhhhhhhh of the season. I can not do it. I do not lie to you, this series is nil, I can not imagine why anyone who does not live in Toronto or Orlando would like to watch, and the NBA should relegate to the damn TruTV.

Tell me about some of their people.
Toronto's Pascal Siakam is one of the most entertaining players in this series. Indeed, this season, he made an incredible leap between a rigged development project and a member of the nightmarish basketball team Ben Simmons and Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is tall, he is clever, his arms are eternal, he flies and makes a cold shit. He is not the best player in Toronto, but the only Raptor to watch. It will be fun to watch him in a few weeks, when they pass the second round.

Is this series good or disgusting?
This series is vile green ass-mud from the trash cans of hell.

How can I seem to know the NBA when this series is activated?
You can ask someone to change channels.

Who will win?
The Raptors will win.

Golden State Warriors (1) vs Los Angeles Clippers (8)

When the cohesion of the team is incredibly strong and you are all very happy to be here together
Photo: Ezra Shaw (Getty)

When does this shit start?
Saturday, 8:00 ET, on ABC.

Who are these groups?
You know the warriors. They are the defending champions, the winners of three of the last four titles, the defining power of the modern era of the NBA and, at their best, the best team in league history. They are also unhappy on their way to the end of what has been a difficult and joyless season – a season that may be punctuated by a sort of dissolution of the core of their team. Ratto is better than me; go read it for details. It is enough to know that the Warriors were bored of their size at the beginning of the year. latest season; at this point, the only real intrigue they face as a team is not whether they have what it takes to win their third consecutive title (they do), but if the prospect of doing so can hold their attention for two months, and I'll leave them in free will afterwards.

Preview of the miniature article
The state of the warriors on the verge of agitation

If, as has been predicted with an almost scary certainty, anyone has watched a basketball …

Read more Lily

Then there are the Clippers. It seems that they were doing well when they traded Tobias Harris (and Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott) in February, but they continued to win, with an ever stranger and more pleasant assembly of Random competitors a list. For a while there, they had a real chance to rank among the top five playoff teams in the West; this crazy team could have really beaten someone, and he would have governed. Instead, they slipped to eighth place, where all they can hope for is to push the Warriors hard enough for the latter team to record a detectable pulse for the first time since Kevin Durant and Draymond Green had their screaming match in November. Too bad.

Tell me about some of their people.
For the Warriors, these are the same guys – Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala – you know and love the two previous cruise control championships, plus DeMarcus Cousins. The off-season fears (or hopes) that Boogie would turn the Warriors into an even more absurdly invulnerable juggernaut seem misplaced, at least up to now; most of the time, it tends to make them slightly worse, and not even fun. A handful of times per game, they all stand around him and watch him sneak into a low bucket. That's about it.

Clippers, like the Nets, have too many fun activities to give fair treatment in a blog that, let's face it, is already too damn! There are Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell, and and and. Too much. Pay attention to Williams and Harrell, one of the most fun and powerful pick-and-roll combinations in the league. Harrell is a fiery beast; Williams is the most pleasantly irresponsible pick-ballooner who does it in these play-offs. (Jamal Crawford could not come.)

Is this series good or disgusting?
I do not think a Western team will be able to give the Warriors a non-vomited series this season. Perhaps the Nuggets, if they survive long enough to meet the Warriors in the final of the conference.

What should I root for?
You must encourage the Clippers to win the first game of the series, in Oakland. If we are lucky, it could wake up the Warriors and turn them into, you know, the Warriors. If we are even luckier, it will break the chemistry of their already painful team and lead to an open civil war in the locker room. (They will always win the series.)

Who will win?
Take a frickin 'guess!

Denver Nuggets (2) against San Antonio Spurs (7)

Get a load of this pasty boy.
Photo: Maddie Meyer (Getty)

When does this shit start?
Saturday 10:30 am ET on ESPN.

Who are these groups?
Winning the best seed of the Western series in the Golden State Warriors qualifiers does not mean quite what it did two years ago, for example, before they start treating regular seasons as a boring ride . Yet for a moment, it seemed that these Nuggets could do it, and that would have been wild. They did not even participate in the playoffs last season! In addition, they have not even made any dramatic and dramatic changes to their last season's rotation to this one. They just … improved … the continuous improvement … of the players that they already had. Like real fucking weirdos!

Then come the Spurs, which I really do not really want to discuss. But let's talk we have to! This post-season marks the 22nd consecutive appearance of the Spurs in the playoffs, and their 29th in 30 years. Only eight times, in these 30 years frickindid they make the playoffs and failed to win a series. As a fan of Washington Wizards, I find this record absolutely disgusting. It makes me sick.

In any case here they are, again, in the playoffs. Once again, circumstances plotted to deprive them of a vital young player for the entire season – this time, limby goalkeeper Dejounte Murray tore his ACL in the pre-season; The last time, Kawhi Leonard had decided that he no longer wanted to be Spur. They simply integrated the next guy into the rotation and kept him moving. The Spurs used one –a-Top-20 draft Since 1998. The active roster they will bring to tonight's game will include a total of two Spurs-picked players in the repechage, already. Repugnant! Scandalous actually!

From the point of view of style, the Nuggets and Spurs are the two strangest, most heterodox offensive teams that played in the playoffs at both conferences, and it's a shame they can not progress both. . The Nuggets direct their attack to the high post and use their guards to cut and finish, rather than as pick-and-roll facilitators or planners. The Spurs proudly practice a style that would have been considered obsolete at the turn of the millennium, avoiding most of the time the three-point bow for the benefit of a combination of long two-point jumps and one-off. post back to basket. isolations – basically the two worst types of moves for any team except them. Neither team is exactly "excellent" in defense, but they are both smart and flexible.

Tell me about some of their people.
The Nuggets have a lot of good fun guys, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris and Will Barton and Monte Morris and so on. But the only person to know in Denver you really need to know is Serbian Nikola Jokić, the most skilled and creative passer in the NBA and, by the way, a three-meter center.

Look at this pasty boy, come on! Many of the coolest passes that someone has launched this season are in this video. I urge you to look at it.

All that works on the Nuggets works because they wrote and then had the vision of sticking to and patiently building around this unprecedented space that is not a player: Since his writing – 41st in total! He was not even a first-round player! In 2014, they won 30, then 33, then 40, then 46 and now 54 games. They are now in play for the first time since 2013. James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo defeated the MVP debate a few months ago, but Jokić has a strong claim to third on the ballot.

(Frankly, I'll say it, I'll just say it!): I think if you magically replaced them with average league starters in their positions, the Bucks would have been in the running for a seed of the playoffs without Giannis, and the Nuggets would have been in the running for the first pick in the 2019 project.)

The main protagonists of the Spurs are LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, but they will get, in the typical Spurs-y way, quality contributions from a large number of guys, from Rudy Gay to Derrick White by the way by Bryn Forbes and Dāvis Bertāns and Jakob Poeltl. Almost none of them will only put you 19 feet in the eye! Like crazy people.

Is this series good or disgusting?
This series is good and much less certain than your average match-up 2 against 7. In figures, the nuggets are better at both ends of the ground, with more firepower at the top of the rotation and deeper, but the Spurs bring to this series the deepest institutional knowledge of the NBA, and Denver's main players and coaches have never been here before. Denver will probably win. But if you can not imagine the Spurs throwing the Nuggets into a complete crisis by the middle of the next week, well, I'm sure.

"Dāvis Bertāns"?
Dāvis Bertāns!

(It's not really how to pronounce his name. DAH-screw Burr-TAHNS.)

Who will win?
I do not know! Probably the nuggets. But the last time the Spurs spent two consecutive seasons without winning at least one playoff series, NINETEES FRICKIN 'EIGHTY NINE. Now, they face an opponent whose key players have never seen the playoffs and whose coach has never been the head coach of a playoff team. I do not know!

Ok, it's for today, damn it. Come back tomorrow for a preview of the other half of the first round series.

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