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Why Your Favourite NBA Team Will Win The NBA Championship and Why They Won’t

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The NBA playoffs are well underway and we here at the Agency couldn’t be happier. There is a tonne of intriguing first-round matchups but the question on everyone’s mind is does anyone really stand a chance at dethroning the Warriors?

We break down why each team stands a chance at hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy when it’s all said and done, and why they won’t.

Los Angeles Clippers

Why They Will Win

Drawing the Warriors in the first round is definitely not an ideal situation for anyone. These Clippers lack legitimate star power but play great team basketball and have great coaching, courtesy of Doc Rivers. Just making the playoffs should be considered a win for this team. If they are going to come out on top it will be from catching teams off guard, contributions from everyone, and a couple of 50 point games from Lou Will.

Why They Won’t Win

They play the Warriors.

Golden State Warriors

Why They Will Win

Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Demarcus Cousins. This one is pretty self-explanatory. I think everyone and their dog expects the Warriors to complete the three-peat, and any other result would be a welcome surprise.

Why They Won’t Win

The only way the Warriors lose is if they beat themselves. They do have some colourful and outspoken personalities in Durant, Boogie, and Draymond, and we have seen them clash before. Could this be the turning point for the Warriors? Where too many big egos collide and Durant and Boogie bolt in the offseason?

Houston Rockets

Why They Will Win

The MVP race is a two horse race at this point between Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden, and Harden has a real case. He has put on one of the most impressive offensive seasons in NBA history and its been a real treat to watch. You surround him with Chris Paul, Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and you have an offensive juggernaut. Being such an offensive-based team they tend to get overlooked defensively, but they have great individual defenders on this team in Paul, Capela, and PJ Tucker.

Why They Won’t Win

Chris Paul’s health could play a big factor. The past few seasons this team has gotten peoples hopes up as a team that could stop the Warriors from returning to the finals, and then Chris Paul goes down. If he can stay healthy this is a legitimate title contender, buts it’s tough to see them getting to the finals without Paul. The Rockets finals aspirations rest on Chris Paul’s hamstring.

Utah Jazz

Why They Will Win

Utah always seems to fly under the radar, much like the Spurs. They have a legitimate star in Donovan Mitchell, a DPOY candidate in Rudy Gobert, and the ever slept on Joe Ingles. They have the perimeter defenders to match up with Houston (Jae Crowder, Thabo Sefolosha) and a solid floor general in Ricky Rubio. The late-season addition of Kyle Korver gives them that knockdown shooter that is so important in today’s NBA.

Why They Won’t Win

We have seen James Harden torch the entire league all season, so will Jae Crowder and Thabo Sefolosha really be able to slow him down? Over a seven-game series, they may be able to wear him down, but James Harden is an offensive machine and basically impossible to guard. Chris Paul could give Rubio some issues and this high powered offence will most likely be too much for Utah to handle.

Portland Trailblazers

Why They Will Win

Damian Lillard has turned himself into one of the best point guards in the league and paired with CJ McCollum they create one of the deadliest backcourts in the association. It is a three-point shooting league now and these guys fit that bill. The late-season addition of Enes Kanter was a great depth signing, especially after the Nurkic injury. The Blazers will go as far as Damian and CJ can take them.

Why They Won’t Win

Losing a player like Nurkic is obviously a huge loss, and hard to replace. Kanter can match his offensive output, but he is horrendous on the defensive end. Teams will look to expose him in the pick and roll and force the Blazers to play someone else. The Blazers have had a recent history of playoff choking and without Nurkic it’s hard to put this team on the same level as the Warriors and Rockets.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Why They Will Win

Paul George had put together 3/4 of a season of MVP calibre play and fell into a little slump as the season wound down. He is still having one of the best years of his career and is in the discussion for the best two way player in the NBA. Add in Russell Westbrook who is once again averaging a triple-double and Steven Adams holding down the paint, the Thunder make a formidable force. The Thunder also made a great offseason addition in Dennis Schroeder. That additional ball handler makes the Thunder a much different team than last year.

Why They Won’t Win

Much like the Warriors, the Thunder have a very good chance of beating themselves. Russ has been known to be a bit of a ball hog and take some ill-advised shots in crucial situations and this could be the nail in their coffin.

Denver Nuggets

Why They Will Win

The Denver Nuggets have a great young core of guys, and it’s scary to think of how good they could be if Michael Porter Jr. can turn into what he was originally projected to be. The Nuggets are a hard team to defend as they get contributions from multiple players on any given night and have a great passing big man in Nikola Jokic.

Why They Won’t Win

Besides Paul Milsap, this team lacks playoff experience. We have seen some great regular season teams crumble once they get to the playoffs and the Nuggets have drawn one of the most playoff experienced teams in the Spurs. Coach Popovich is savvy and the Spurs experience will end the Nuggets run before it begins.

San Antonio Spurs

Why They Will Win

Coach Popovich is arguably the greatest coach in NBA history and having him call the shots always gives you a chance (as we have seen with the Spurs ridiculous longevity). Giving him the duo of DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge makes for a pretty formidable team, especially as the seventh seed.

Why They Won’t Win

Demar has had documented playoff struggles and if those start to arise these playoffs, the Spurs don’t have a ton of extra offensive firepower in reserve. This team will go as far as the mid-range gods Demar and Aldridge will take them.

Milwaukee Bucks

Why They Will Win

Best record in the league. One of the two front runners for MVP. Underrated backcourt in Bledsoe and Middleton. Add in big man Brook Lopez stretching the floor and it is hard to not see this team at least making the East final.

Why They Won’t Win

Injuries are something that every team has to deal with but losing Malcolm Brogdon for a significant period of time and when Mirotic was out they didn’t look as sharp as they have. Depth could be an issue without Brogdon, and as teams key in on Giannis these depth guys will have to step up.

Detroit Pistons

Why They Will Win

The Pistons struck gold in the offseason when the Raptors parted ways with the coach of the year Dwayne Casey and swooping him up immediately. Casey seemed to give the Pistons an identity and that paired with Blake Griffin’s quietly good season, playoff basketball is back in The Motor City. Coach Casey was responsible for the Dallas Mavericks defence that slowed down Miami’s Big three and led the Raptors to their best season in franchise history. With a coach like that leading the way and legitimate stars in Griffin and Drummond, you can’t count out the Pistons.

Why They Won’t Win

Drawing the team with the best record in the league is never a good start. Throw in a matchup nightmare in Giannis and things start to look dire. The Pistons lack any legitimate wing players and in this modern NBA, it can be very hard to win without them.

Toronto Raptors

Why They Will Win

The Toronto Raptors went all in on this season. Starting with trading DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, acquiring Marc Gasol, and depth signings of Jeremy Lin and Jodie Meeks. The emergence of Pascal Siakam was the cherry on top and has the Raptors looking like legitimate contenders. Kawhi Leonard has shown he can give the Warriors trouble (the Spurs looked poised to upset the Warriors before Leonard went down), and the Raptors boast one of the deepest rosters in the league.

Why They Won’t Win

Raptors fans know all too well the documented struggles of the Raptors in the playoffs. This year feels different though. New coach, new franchise player in Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James is no longer in the Eastern Conference. The pieces are there but the recency bias is hard to ignore, and the potential for playoff Kyle Lowry to show up is all too real. These new look Raptors will be looking to shed this label and contend for a championship.

Orlando Magic

Why They Will Win

The Magic being a playoff team may be a surprise to some, but they really turned it on in the second half of the season. They have turned into a defensive savvy team, whose scrappy style of play could bode well in playoffs. Nikola Vucevic has finally turned into the star that many thought he could be, earning his first all-star nod this season. Aaron Gordon is a nice complementary piece and the duo could definitely give teams some trouble in the playoffs.

Why They Won’t Win

Although Vucevic has had a stellar season, his name doesn’t really come to mind when you think of players that can lead a deep playoff push. The truth of the matter is this Magic team is definitely trending in the right direction and having Markelle Fultz waiting to make his debut makes for exciting times in Orlando. But a first-round matchup with the Raptors will expose the Magic’s depth and lack of a legitimate superstar.

Philadelphia 76ers

Why They Will Win

The 76ers boast one of the best starting five in the NBA and that alone should strike fear into any opponent they face. Say what you will about Ben Simmons lack of ability/want to shoot jump shots, but his court vision and defence still make him a force.

Why They Won’t Win

There are a lot of big egos on this team and that could end up being their downfall. Jimmy Butler has been said to have already had complaints about his touches in Philly, and we all know the fiasco that went on in Minnesota. Their lack of depth is also an area of concern as they get deeper into the playoffs.

Brooklyn Nets

Why They Will Win

D’Angelo Russell has solidified himself as one of the premier guards in the Eastern Conference and his play has brought the Nets back to the playoffs. Aided by his wingmates Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, and Jarrett Allen blocking every shot that comes into the paint the Nets can be a problem for any team. D-Lo might need to score 25+ a night, but don’t sleep on the Nets going on a run.

Why They Won’t Win

Although they are young, and a fun team to watch, their lack of playoff experience and another star to go with D-Lo will really limit how far they can go. The future is bright in Brooklyn, they just aren’t there yet.

Boston Celtics

Why They Will Win

Coming into this season I think the expectations for this Celtics team were much higher. That being said, if winning 49 games is underachieving then sign me up. We saw the emergence of Jayson Tatum in last years playoffs and now that team gets to come back this year with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. This is a very talented team with a very talented coach and should be a team that no one wants to play. If Kyrie can come up as big as he did during those Cavaliers playoff runs, you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason why they won’t be in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Why They Won’t Win

Kyrie has yet to really lead a team on his own without LeBron, and we saw this team go on a playoff run last year without him. Kyrie can be a bit of a ball stopper and play a lot of isolation. The Celtics saw success last year because they were sharing the ball amongst everyone. If Kyrie and Hayward start getting into more isolation ball, teams can key in on it easier. Hero ball will bury the Celtics.

Indiana Pacers

Why They Will Win

Myles Turner has put together a Defensive Player of the Year worthy campaign this season, and in the absence of Victor Oladipo, Sabonis has had a chance to flourish. This Pacers teams will beat teams by catching them off guard and getting solid contributions across the board.

Why They Won’t Win

Oladipo was a player who could go out and close a game for this team, and that is exactly what they are lacking now. Having no legitimate go-to scorer, and lacking a clutch player can really limit a team. The Pacers are a very solid team all through the line-up but the lack of this go to guy will be the main factor in preventing them from advancing.

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