Sports Analysis: This Year in the NBA

The NBA is at an all-time high count of stars, and we’ve seen them all face off in the past few weeks. The playoffs are in full swing, and it’s been a treat for basketball fans. 

Jess Park is the Vice President of Global Fan Marketing at the NBA. I asked her some questions about how the NBA felt the playoffs were going.

“This season, we are celebrating our 75thAnniversary, and there is no better time to celebrate our past, present, and future than during the NBA Playoffs. The competition has been incredible with must-watch match-ups where the one thing you can count on is to expect the unexpected.  There’s an electric energy to the postseason and fans are all-the-way leaning in — we’ve just had our most-viewed opening playoffs weekend in more than a decade. On social media, we’ve generated more than 1.6 billion views so far during the playoffs.  Across the board, it’s been a thrilling NBA Playoffs already, and I can’t wait to see who wins it all and takes home the Larry O’Brien trophy this year,” stated Park.

The Philadelphia 76ers had been a great team all season led by Joel Embiid. For a shot at the championship, general manager Elton Brand made the executive decision to trade for James Harden. ​​This flipped the NBA world upside down. After beating the Toronto Raptors comfortably, the 76ers are tied with the Miami Heat at 2-2. The Miami Heat emerged from the Eastern Conference as the No. 1-seed, and while they may not have mainstream superstars, their bench has extreme depth, and they’re a force to watch. My prediction for the series: 76ers in 7.

This has been the best playoff series by a mile, and there is incredible drama, impressive comebacks, and high-level pay for young superstars. The Boston Celtics are a dangerous team, and they showed that by sweeping the star-heavy Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. A team’s ability to win has nothing to do with how many star players a team has, but the team dynamic and how the players work together. The Celtics, now move on to the second round, against the Milwaukee Bucks led by last year’s Finals MVP and honoree as one of the league’s greatest players of all time, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The battle between Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Milwaukee’s Antetokounmpo is a must-watch event for any basketball fan. My prediction for the series: Bucks in 7.

The Golden Warriors have been on a decline since their magical 2017 season, where they had a regular season record of 67-15. Now that Stephen “Steph” Curry and Klay Thompson are playing at a high level alongside emerging superstar Jordan Poole, we’re starting to see how the Warriors used to play. The Golden State looks unstoppable right now, even against the No. 2-seed Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have been heavily reliant on Ja Morant’s spark throughout their season, and with him now out of the game due to injuries, I don’t see the Memphis Grizzlies winning another game against the Warriors. My prediction for the series: Warriors in 5.

“The Golden State Warriors second-round Game 1 win over the Memphis Grizzlies showcased a budding rivalry and some of our league’s rising young stars — that game peaked with over 10.2 million viewers and was the most-watched Conference Semifinals game in 11 years,” Park added.

The Phoenix Suns are coming off a 2021 NBA Championship where they looked complete a team I’ve ever seen, with good players working well with the team’s superstars. The dynamic between Devin Booker and Chris Paul allowed this team to go above and beyond in games. But now, in the 2022 Western Conference Semifinals, the Suns have found their match: Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. This series is exceptionally close, and in each game there are surprises. The Mavericks’ Luka Dončić is very impressive on the court; his playmaking and shooting keep the Mavericks alive in this series, and I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon. My prediction for the series: Mavericks in 7.

“Anything can happen!” Park said. “It’s our Diamond anniversary and you know what they say — pressure makes diamonds. If you have been watching the action you must agree — every series has been a marquee match-up.  Every team still in the playoffs picture has the ability to take it all…I know I’m excited to see it all play out.”