2019 NBA Playoffs: How it Works and Star Breakdown


The 2019 NBA Playoffs are officially in full swing!

For those who aren’t familiar, the NBA (National Basketball Association) is divided into six team divisions to compose two conferences: The Atlantic, Central, and Southeast divisions make up the Eastern Conference, and the Northwest, Southwest, and Pacific divisions make up the West. The top 8 teams of each conference, which is predominantly determined by regular season records, qualify for the playoffs.

The first round is currently underway. In each conference, the top seed (#1) plays the lowest (#8), seed two plays seed seven, three plays six, and four plays five.

2019 Eastern Conference Teams:              2019 Western Conference Teams:

1 Milwaukee Bucks 1 Golden State Warriors
2 Toronto Raptors 2 Denver Nuggets
3 Philadelphia 76ers 3 Portland Trail Blazers
4 Boston Celtics 4 Houston Rockets
5 Indiana Pacers 5 Utah Jazz
6 Brooklyn Nets 6 Oklahoma City Thunder
7 Orlando Magic 7 San Antonio Spurs
8 Detroit Pistons 8 Los Angeles Clippers

Round one works off a best-of-seven format, and the winner of each pairing will advance to round two (also best-of-seven), where the winner of the one/eight series plays the winner of four/five, and the winner of two/seven plays the three/six winner. The winners of those two games will advance to conference finals, and finally, the post season will conclude with the NBA Finals between the conference champs.

Here are some of this year’s postseason stars — in no particular order — you should be on the lookout for: (Don’t come at me, please!)

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

       At 6’11”, Antetokounmpo (AKA “The Greek Freak”) is near impossible to guard. He boasts spectacular athletic ability on both ends of the court, proving to be an elite scorer and defensive threat. Though his three-point shooting is amongst the worst in the league, he is unstoppable on the offensive end. The Greek Freak has some stunning dunk highlights that showcase his creativity and athleticism. All season he’s been in serious discussion for regular season MVP and is widely considered the most dominant player in the East. He’s also hilarious! If you have time, I’d recommend checking out some of his funniest moments on YouTube.

2. Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

       Whether or not you’re a die hard basketball fan, you’ve probably heard this name before. One half of the Splash Brothers (shout out to Klay Thompson!), Curry’s three-point game is inhuman in all the best possible ways. Despite his endless list of NBA achievements, most of which are shooting related, he’s also an amazing playmaker and around-the-rim finisher. Furthermore, his BPM, a per-100-possession stat that compares the player to the league average 0.0, is +6.5. This is among the top 10 in the league, which is especially impressive considering the likes of Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and DeMarcus Cousins are on the court with him, as well as the fact that a few players high on the list get half the amount of playing time as him (playing time is not considered for this particular stat).

3. Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)

       Trust the Process! Our home team has finally seen success the last couple of years, thanks to Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie, who first promised us fans that it’s all about the process. Sure enough, our team has made its way back from the days of the franchise tanking. A large part of this credit goes toward 7’0” Embiid. His presence on both ends of the court is undeniable, and teams are sure to keep him in mind in their game plans. The threat he is in isolation offense is incredible, and his shot isn’t the worst (still far from amazing, truthfully), so it’s very difficult to guard him. What makes him shine even more is his ambition and determination. His interviews make it obvious that he sets himself lofty goals and pushes to get them; he’s under no illusion that he can’t improve different aspects, and he humbly credits his teammates and coaches for helping get him where he is.

4. Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

       Jokic, AKA “The Joker”, is a force to be reckoned with this postseason. At 7’0”, he may come off as slow and unathletic — which, compared to the Greek Freak and Embiid, is a fair assessment — but he’s just as much a nightmare as the other two big guys on this list. Not only does The Joker have a huge defensive presence in the paint, he can also rebound, post, and, most surprisingly, shoot and pass. This man’s basketball IQ is unmatched by many other guys his size and his court vision is undeniably a work of magic. Of the bigs in the league, Jokic is among one of smoothest players. His style of play looks effortless on screen, but that doesn’t mean it loses its impressiveness.

Have fun watching! Comment below your favorite players and what team you think will be the 2019 NBA Champions!