The 2023 NBA Playoffs are here


Mathew Thomas, Staff Writer

It’s about that time of the year again, playoff basketball is here. Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry are all in it this year to win it. The experienced veterans in this year’s playoffs are balanced by new rising stars trying to put their team on the map. Ja Morant, a 23-year-old point guard, led the Grizzlies to a 51-31 record to secure the 2nd seed in the Western Conference. De’Aron Fox, a 25-year-old point guard, led the Sacramento Kings to their first playoff series in 17 years. This was the longest playoff drought in the history of the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL. The Kings ended with a 48-34 record securing the 3rd seed in the Western Conference. Jayson Tatum (25 years old) and Jaylen Brown (26 years old) are leading the red-hot Boston Celtics. The Celtics just came off of a season where they were two games from winning it all. They earned a 57-25 record which secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Giannis Antentekumpo, MVP frontrunner, at the age of only 28 has had another MVP-worthy season. He has steered the Bucks into the first seed in the East and the best record in the NBA with 58 wins and only 24 losses. 

All this talent in the playoffs is what makes it so enjoyable to watch. All three MVP frontrunners (Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antentekumpo) are all currently in the playoffs. Seven out of the top ten PPG (points-per-game) leaders have made it to the playoffs. Junior Varsity point guard, Gavin Mushrush, talked about his playoff predictions. “Usually I would pick one of the higher seeds to win the championship, but I really like the Lakers to win the West right now. Even though they’re the 7th seed they have been scorching hot. Austin Reaves has stepped into a scoring role to take some of the pressure off of Lebron and Anthony Davis. Their hardest task is probably round one against the Memphis Grizzlies. Ja Morant is young but is already a solidified star, while Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. are great players. I just think that if the Lakers get through the Grizzlies they’re going all the way.” When asked about who he thinks would come out of the East he said, “I really just think Milwaukee is too good. The Celtics are also really good but I feel like Giannis and the Bucks have an easier route.” 

Stephen A. Smith, an analyst from First Take Sports, said his early pick to win the West was the Memphis Grizzlies led by Ja Morant. Stephen A. Smith’s praises for the Grizzlies came from talking about their bench. He talked about how deep their bench was and how it’s going to give opposing teams problems. When asked about how the Los Angeles Lakes match up with the Memphis Grizzlies, Stephen A. said he thinks the Lakers have a chance “But we talking about the Memphis Grizzlies here. … Last time I checked, they got Ja Morant, and this brother is something special. And he’s on a mission. And the Memphis Grizzlies, by the way, have never made the NBA Finals. … I look at Desmond Bane. I look at Dillon Brooks. I look at Ja Morant. I look at Jaren Jackson Jr. … If he can find a way to get himself out of foul trouble, then let me be very, very clear to you, America: Memphis is no joke.” This year’s playoffs are finally here. The mix of experienced and new players is what makes it interesting. This time of the year is when rising stars prove themselves and veterans solidify their legacy. Good luck to all the participating teams and may the best team hoist the championship trophy.