The Final 16 are at the first round stage and there are some huge teams involved.
But if you’re unsure of why you should be watching then look no further.
Here are five reasons why the play-offs are a must-see.
By Luke Hoffman – @lhoff526
1. LeBron James and the Heat further surmounting their legacy in NBA history
Repeating as champion is very difficult to do, but to 3 peat is a rare accomplishment that most teams only dream about.
LeBron seems poised and ready to accept any challenge that is put in front of him. The Heat and LeBron are battle tested and ready for any and all challengers to try to dethrone them.
The Heat seem like the clear-cut favorite in the East, especially with Indiana struggling as of late, now they just have to go out there and get it done. With arguably one of the most dynamic and athletic teams in NBA history, a 3 peat would enter them into the discussion of greatest teams ever. The ball is in their court now.
2. Wild Wild West
While the Eastern Conference has its favorite in Miami, the Western Conference is going to be a roller-coaster ride full of twists and turns.
The West is loaded with impressive team and its sure to produce high quality basketball throughout the play-offs. The team that comes out of the West is going to have to grind their way through a play-off gauntlet.
The Spurs, Thunder and Clippers are the favorites in the West yet all have to deal with tough opponents every round, where as in the East the best teams can pretty much walk through the first round. The Warriors, Rockets, Blazers, Grizzlies, and Mavericks are looking to crash the party and make life rough for the top three teams.
The team that comes out of the West might just be the favorite to win the title no matter who the opponent is from the East. All I can say is fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.
3. New Kids on the block
A lot of teams go unwatched and many players are unknown to the average fan. But the playoffs are a time for young teams and players to showcase their talents.
In the East you have the young hungry Raptors with DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, The Wizards who are led by John Wall and Bradley Beal enter the dance for the first time, and the Jordan-owned Bobcats who are led by Al Jefferson and young PG Kemba Walker.
In the West you have the young Trailblazers led by LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. These young teams and players may be young enough to not realize just how big the stage really is.
I am personally looking at the Wizards, they are a very balanced team who were overlooked all season long. This team has go-to scorers and solid big men in the frontcourt in Gortat and Nene. John Wall and Bradley Beal are a solid young dynamic backcourt that can really get after it. Do not be surprised if Washington makes some noise and causes headaches for teams this postseason.
4. Nets and Clippers benefitting from city counterparts playoff absences
For the first time in NBA history, the Celtics, Knicks, and Lakers have all missed the play-offs in the same season – and this should help “the little brothers” in LA and NY (sorry Boston time to invest all your time in the Red Sox).
The Nets and Clippers are not seen in the same light as the Knicks and Lakers in their respected cities but with both teams on the golf course, it gives the lesser powers the opportunity to steal some thunder.
Both the Clippers and Nets made some headlining acquisitions to set themselves up for play-off pushes. The Clippers added head coach Doc Rivers who won a championship in Boston, sharpshooter JJ Redick to compliment Chris Paul in the backcourt, and strengthened their bench by acquiring Glen Davis, Danny Granger, and Hedo Turkoglu. The additions of those three added a lot of playoff experience coming off the bench.
The Nets went all in, hired all-time great PG Jason Kidd as their head coach and acquired future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston to add to the likes of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez.
With all eyes watching they can gather all the attention in LA and NY, maybe stealing some fans along the way. The younger generation of supporters tend to be drawn more towards individual players and not a specific team and usually they start to root for a team when they get to watch them night in and night out in the play-offs.
For the Clippers and Nets this is the perfect opportunity for them to steal some of the spotlight from the Lakers and Knicks.
5. Kevin Durant’s time?
Kevin Durant is tired of being number two.
He was drafted second overall, has finished second to LeBron three times in MVP voting, in 2011 lost to eventual champion Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals, lost in the Final to LeBron and Miami in 2012, and their play-off run last season was derailed because of a Russell Westbrook injury.
So is it Durant’s time now?
He went out there this year and battled with LeBron in the MVP race and most experts are saying Durant is going to take home that title this year. Being the league MVP is the first step for Durant, with the ultimate goal of winning a title.
Westbrook is fully healthy now, big man Serge Ibaka has improved his game and the Thunder look destined to make a run through the gauntlet of the West and get back to the Finals and compete for the grand prize.
Durant could complete his dream NBA season of being league MVP, win the title and be Finals MVP. I am looking for the Thunder to come out of the West and ultimately play Miami in the Finals.