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  • Writer's pictureWyatt Bose

2020 NBA Playoff Predictions

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

Date Written: May 7, 2020

March 11, 2020: The day that all of the NBA’s greatest fans will remember as one of the darkest days in NBA history. The landscape of the NBA would be forever shifted by the pernicious virus known as COVID-19. By shutting down the 2019-2020 season, the NBA caused a chain reaction that suggested every other sports league in the United States to suspend their season to ensure safety to all their fans, players, coaches, and staff members.

June 4, 2020: Fast forward nearly three months, and the NBA announces a 22-team restart of the 2019-2020 season. The NBA decided to create a format that consists of the teams that are both already in playoff positions, as well as the teams that are on the verge of cracking the 8th seed. Teams such as the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, etc. will not be participating in this format, and have already been given their lottery draft spots.

Predictions: Due to the unusual environment that the 2020 NBA Playoffs will take place in, home-court advantage and seeding do not matter nearly as much as they would in the typical season. Consequently, I have predicted that several teams, who might usually be eliminated in the first round, will make deep runs in the playoffs, which may surprise the average NBA fan. Many, if not all analysts will select the Milwaukee Bucks to steamroll through the Eastern Conference, however, I do not have them even reaching the NBA Finals. Additionally, some teams are incredible on their home court but are terrible on the road, so with neutral arenas, we may see more upsets than in the typical NBA season. Those are just a couple of things to think about when watching these games, so read on to discover why I do not suggest to put all your money on Milwaukee, as well as which teams could very well be dark horses and make a deep run throughout the NBA playoffs.

Western Conference Eastern Conference

  1. Los Angeles Lakers 1. Milwaukee Bucks

  2. Los Angeles Clippers 2. Toronto Raptors

  3. Denver Nuggets 3. Boston Celtics

  4. Houston Rockets 4. Miami Heat

  5. Oklahoma City Thunder 5. Indiana Pacers

  6. Utah Jazz 6. Philadelphia 76ers

  7. Dallas Mavericks 7. Brooklyn Nets

  8. Portland Trailblazers 8. Orlando Magic

First Round (Western Conference):

  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland TrailBlazers

Despite the crafty, clutch, and overall superstar in Damian Lillard, the Los Angeles Lakers will dismantle the lowly Blazers with ease, as the Blazers play little to no defense. (Lakers in 4)

  • Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets

When it comes time for the Thunder to meet toe to toe with the Rockets, it will be a series for the ages. Houston’s dynamic duo, consisting of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, will pose too much of a threat for the talented, yet inexperienced Thunder, led by veteran Chris Paul. (Rockets in 7)

  • Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets

Due to the unprecedented controversy, created by Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert, when it comes time to make a playoff run, the Jazz will not be able to play as a united team in order to get past the Denver Nuggets, led by "The Joker," Nikola Jokic. (Nuggets in 5)

  • Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks

When you have the reigning Finals MVP, as well as the most talented bench in the entire NBA, you should steamroll any team in the first round. That is exactly what the Clippers will do to Luka Doncic and the young Dallas Mavericks, as players like Patrick Beverly and Marcus Morris will prove to be to difficult to handle throughout the series. (Clippers in 5)

Western Conference Semifinals:

  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets

The Los Angeles Lakers have proven to be one of, if not the best team in the NBA, so a depleted Rockets team will pose little to no threat against them. (Lakers in 5)

  • Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets

Similar to the Lakers vs. Rockets series, the Nuggets will stand no chance when posed with a threat as difficult as the Clippers. The dynamic duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George as well as the depth of their bench is too steep of a hill for the lowly Nuggets to climb. (Clippers in 4)

Western Conference Finals:

  • Lakers vs. Clippers

The battle of the decade. The match-up we have all been waiting for. The NBA Finals an entire round before the NBA Finals. When LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers meet eye to eye with the reigning Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, and the Los Angeles Clippers, the series will go the distance. There will be many lead changes and clutch, late-game shots, however, when it is time for the rubber to meet the road, LeBron James will find a way to pull out the W. (Lakers in 7)

First Round (Eastern Conference):

  • Milwaukee Bucks vs. Orlando Magic

The reigning regular-season MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, will receive a massive contract extension at the end of the season, so the Bucks will be on a mission to retain their star. It is essential they make the finals and prove to Giannis that he should stay in Milwaukee. (Bucks in 4)

  • Toronto Raptors vs. Indiana Pacers

Without a complementary star to Victor Oladipo, the Pacers stand no chance against the reigning NBA Champions: Toronto Raptors. (Raptors in 4)

  • Miami Heat vs. Brooklyn Nets

The Heat have been the most slept upon team throughout the entire regular season and will prove to be a dark horse throughout the playoffs. Not only do they have a championship-caliber team with a mix of rising stars, but they also have several respected veterans, including one of the most trustworthy, fearless players in the NBA, Jimmy Butler. (Heat in 5)

  • Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

Despite being on the rise as a young and talented team, the Celtics do not have any big man that will stand a chance against Joel Embiid in the post. However, considering Embiid and Simmons' history, if one of the two stars were to get injured, do not count the Celtics out, as they have one of the best trios in the NBA, led by Kemba Walker. (76ers in 6)

Eastern Conference Semifinals:

  • Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors

Although the Raptors have an incredible duo of Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry, they stand no chance when put up against the duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, especially without Kawhi Leanord. Moreover, the 76ers took the Raptors to a Game 7 last year, and it took arguably the luckiest shot in NBA Playoff History for the Raptors to advance. (76ers in 7)

  • Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks

The underappreciated Miami Heat’s secondary stars, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo will show their true form and step up when their leader, Jimmy Butler is challenged by the tenacious duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Ultimately, Jimmy Butler will guard Khris Middleton down the stretch, so the Bucks will have to rely on a very streaky free throw shooter, in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will run from the line. (Heat in 7)

Eastern Conference Finals:

  • Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Quite frankly, this is a series that I don't think anyone expected to see in the Eastern Conference Finals. In the end, Jimmy Buckets will pay his revenge to his former team, and put on a show for the fans of Miami, Bam Adebayo will live up to the hype that former teammate Dwyane Wade continues to put on him, and Tyler Herro will be the deciding factor in the series, and will make or brake their season. (Heat in 6)

NBA Finals: Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Although the Miami Heat have been a dark horse throughout the playoffs, the Lakers will recognize how talented they truly are and give them the respect they deserve. Consequently, the Lakers will take over this series, just as they took over the regular season, and mop the floor with the physical and well-coached Miami Heat. (Lakers in 5)


  • MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant

  • Most Improved: Bam Adebayo

  • Coach of the year: Erik Spoelstra

  • Executive of the year: Jerry West

  • Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • Finals MVP: LeBron James

  • Sixth Man: Lou Williams

  • Teammate of the Year: Rudy Gobert

  • Sportsmanship Award: Mike Conley

  • Hustle Award: Patrick Beverley

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