by Craig Shultz
In a mere matter of four days the NBA Playoffs begin. 16 teams will fight for their chance to become the champions of the NBA. 15 of the 16 playoff spots are secured for those teams good enough to make the cut. Only the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz are still hunting for their spot and will perhaps go to the wire for their playoff lives. The Lakers, though, are now without star player Kobe Bryant should they make the playoffs.
The loss of Kobe would seemingly hinder their chances for a playoff birth but sometimes teams are able to rally around one another and play harder. On the other hand teams have been known to play better without their star player and has become known as “The Ewing Theory” named after former New York Knick, Patrick Ewing, when he went down with an injury and the eight seed Knicks made a run to the NBA Finals.
The Ewing Theory was created by a friend of famed ESPN columnist, Bill Simmons, which states that a team will be better off without their star player. There are many notable examples of this such as the Tennessee Volunteers winning the National Title one year after Peyton Manning went to the NFL. So maybe it is possible for the Lakers to show that the Ewing Theory would apply to them this year should they get that final playoff spot in the West.
As a whole this year the playoffs seem to come down to one single team, the Miami Heat, who earlier in the season put together the second longest winning streak in NBA history before having it snapped by the Chicago Bulls, who by the way, could find themselves as part of the Ewing Theory history should they make it far into the playoffs without Derrick Rose who still has not returned from his torn ACL.
Even the Boston Celtics have a chance go down in Ewing Theory history if Rajon Rondo is their best player. As a seven seed, right now, the Celtics have something to play for with the tragic events on Monday during the Boston Marathon. In tragedy the city might cheer on their Celtics and help will them in the playoffs. However, the team to beat is still the Miami Heat with their core three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh.
Over on the Western side of the playoffs the favorites have to be either the Oklahoma City Thunder behind their exciting young stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook or the San Antonio Spurs who are always seemingly at the forefront of possible NBA Title contenders. While the Thunder have quite a few exciting scorings the Spurs have one of the most sound teams in the league. The Spurs are lead by Tim Duncan who has been one of the greatest big men in NBA history since he came into the league.
The West usually appears to be the tougher conference in the NBA and this year in no exception with all playoff teams have a record over .500. In the East the eight seed has a record that is under .500. This does suggest a stronger conference but as long as the East have the Miami Heat everything seems to be balanced. Upsets do happen and the NBA playoffs are always a fun ride.
On Saturday, buckle up and experience the NBA playoffs for the next near two months.