NBA playoffs bring surprises

Blake Faith

The NBA All-Star weekend marks the halfway point of the season. The halfway mark has shown plenty of surprises in the playoff seeding and here are three of them that really surprised me. 

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

My grand uncle lives in Norman, Oklahoma. During Thanksgiving Break, I was able to talk to him about his favorite team, the Thunder. Both of us agreed that they wouldn’t be a playoff team this season. 

The Thunder traded franchise point guard Russell Westbrook and Paul George in the same off-season. Somehow the Thunder are 33-22 with the sixth seed in the western conference standings. 

The Thunder’s core pieces have been the play of Chris Paul and Steven Adams. Adams has shown he can rebound, defend and be one of the greatest role players in the NBA. Paul returned to the all-star game for the first time in three years. 

2. Philadelphia 76ers

If you would’ve told me in October the Philadelphia 76ers would be the fifth seed in the eastern conference standings, I would’ve laughed. 

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have continued to improve every year they’ve been in Philadelphia. The 76ers did lose a huge player in Jimmy Butler, but singed multiple time all-star Al Horford. 

The 76ers have been hurting particularly with Embiid, who is just getting back to the play NBA fans expect of him. 

1. Miami Heat

I don’t think even NBA analysts predicted the Miami Heat to be in the position they are in right now. The Heat are currently in fourth in the eastern conference standings and a big part of that is the continuous play of Butler. 

The other factors of the Miami team have been Derrick Jones Jr. and Bam Adebayo. Jones has proven to be a great role player for the Heat in the last few years. Adebayo became a first-time all-star alongside Butler and made the Heat one of four teams in the eastern conference with multiple all-stars.

If the Heat continue this season’s pace, I could see them finishing as high as the third or second seed in the East. Butler and Adebayo have the ability to lead the Heat to that standing.

Blake Faith is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].