This years playoff race in the NBA has been crazy, especially in the Western Conference where no more than 2 Games separate the top 6 teams. One day the Lakers could be the #1 seed and the next day be struggling to maintain the #5 or #6 seed.
There are always frontrunners or teams that are favorites for the NBA finals or Conference finals, but this season any team from #1 to #8 (in the West) has a chance to make it to the promise land and take down the big dogs like the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets or the San Antonio Spurs.
With the NBA season coming to a close and all the playoff spots locking up in both the East and West, we are getting a better idea or playoff picture to breakdown and analysis the hell out of. Everyone always knows who will most likely be in the finals (Lakers vs. Celtics), but people rarely take notice of the underdogs who can easily pull the rug from underneath the high seeds in the West and the East.
In the West I think there are a couple of teams that could go against the grain and shock some of the big boys like the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets.
The Phoenix Suns are still struggling with trying to get Shaq involved in their famous run and gun offense, but there have been some advantages of having the big fella in the middle like actually playing defense. With Shaq in the guarding the paint, the Suns have a much better chance of beating teams with all star big men like Tim Duncan with the Spurs and Pau Gasol with the Lakers. The Suns still have to get the offense in check, but they definitely have the ability to take down the higher seeds.
We all remember the Golden State Warriors unbelievable victory over the seemingly unbeatable Dallas Mavericks last season, well, believe it or not, I think they are even better than they were last season. I know the Warriors barely got in the playoffs last year, but once they got in, they were very difficult to beat. This year the competition is better and way more motivated, but when the Baron Davis and his Warriors are on their Game, no one can stop their versatile run and gun offense. Although, they have to get the 8th spot first!
Finally we have the Denver Nuggets, to close out the season the Nuggets are struggling to even beat the bottom of the barrel teams in the NBA like the Seattle Supersonics, but much like the Warriors, when they are playing up to their potential they are very hard to put down with one of the best duos in basketball in Carmelo Anthony and the always dangerous Allen Iverson.
As for the East, the Boston Celtics should destroy who ever gets in their way and get to the finals fairly easy, but there are three teams in the East that will be looking to knock the KG and company off their pedestal like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards with a healthy Gilbert Arenas can beat anyone, but if the keep him in a Manu Ginobili role, then they will be on their way out pretty quick.
The Cavs lead by LeBron are exactly like the Lakers before their bench woke up and decided to help Kobe Bryant this season which makes them dangerous, but not good enough to take down the Celtics.
The Pistons are always the scariest team in the East because they are as fundamental and play the best team basketball in the NBA and have the potential to beat anyone in the East or West as long as they dont have another meltdown like they did last year against the Cavs.
All and all, the best bets come playoff time are the Lakers and the Celtics, but keep your eye on these underdogs as they really shake things up early in the early rounds.