By: Joe Cardoso
The best time of year for any real hoop head, is the NBA playoffs and they tip off Saturday. In a season, full of exciting storylines and jaw-dropping highlights THIS is where names and legacies are made. We all remember the year Jordan FINALLY beat the Bad Boys from Detroit, Kobe and Shaq got a ring, or when the King LeBron James got his first. In that same breath, we saw Karl Malone get set home ringless twice, Chris Paul have season-ending injuries mid-run, or Melo and the Knicks only sniff the postseason. Everyone has an idea of the teams and players under pressure to come through and I’m no different. So, with my fingers crossed that the Warriors don’t sweep the field here are my players who need to get ready for the bright lights and action of the NBA playoffs. As the saying goes pressure bust pipes, hope these guys have flood insurance.
- Paul George- What a year it has been for PG-13, NBA2K17 cover boy, signature show line and a new set of teammates meant to improve the Pacers, squad. Well then, the season happened and things did not work out that way. Paul never missed a chance to diss his teammates and organization thru the media. Around April it’s as if he and the team realized they weren’t going to make the postseason and he flipped a switch. His numbers? 33ppg 8 boards, and his prize a first-round date with the Cavs. Can Paul and company make things interesting?
- James Harden-
It has been a season for the ages for “The Beard” he and the Rockets have surpassed any expectations the so-called experts had. YES, he plays point guard, YES, he showed a LITTLE improvement on D. But look at his playoff history it is a bit on the shaky side, think two years ago vs the Clippers where he was benched. The series against Portland where he falls apart. Or the trip to the NBA finals with OKC. But this is a NEW James Harden, or is it? Get ready people this should be a heck of a show with Mr. Westbrook.
- Bradley Beal-
The knock-on Beal was he couldn’t stay healthy and some questioned if he was truly an elite NBA player. One max contract later and a season that saw him ON the court more than ever, here we are. These playoffs are huge for not just the Wizards but Beal since the All-Star break he’s at 25ppg 50% shooting and from three 40%. John Wall is the clear-cut leader of this team but Beal is a STRONG Robin in this dynamic duo. His performance in the playoffs will go a long way in making the rest of the league realize he is the real deal or still on the come up.
- Blake Griffin-
How did we get here? Blake was the darling of the NBA just a few years ago and now it has been a rocky road for us both. Injuries and some questionable actions off the court have some questioning his game and mindset. What is he? The poster dunks have fallen off a bit so is he mid-range scorer? Is he a gifted passing big man that can take over games when needed? Is he someone the Clippers will resign to a mega contract or will another team hitch its wagon to him, and should they? Lots of questions to be answered during Blake’s and Clippers playoff run.
- Isaiah Thomas-
OK Mr. 4th quarter this is it. They say you and the Celtics are the worst #1 seed ever. You are alone with no help on the offensive side of the ball. Well, all the talk hasn’t stopped you and the C’s from ballin out and what better time than the playoffs and a deep run to shut up the haters. The Bulls have been up and down all year Thomas needs to be at his best for the team to show it was worthy of the top seed.
- Kyle Lowry- This is the BEST Raptors team he has been on ever PERIOD. This is also as close to 100% healthy he has ever been in the postseason. Because of injuries to the team we haven’t seen We the North at full strength so some adjustments are expected. But Kyle is rested and this team is the unknown in the east. No excuses this year time to get ready for the leading role in this Raptors movie.
Follow our blog for wall to wall coverage of the NBA Playoffs and all the sports @NutsAndBoltsSP and follow me @Cright