As time goes by some things change and some things tend to stay the same. Weather it be the playoffs or regular season, Lebron James is still the fantasy King. The real test will be to see if he can lead his team to the NBA promised land. There are a handful of players trying to prove their playoff mettle in the 2011 playoffs and there is plenty of basketball left to be played. This week we look at the NBA playoffs and who appears poised to come out on top as a winner, and who might fall just a bit short.
Philadelphia 76’ers vs. Miami Heat
The Heat are up 3-1 and are going to win this series, the only question is will they do it on their home floor? The Heat’s defense has been very impressive and in their last game they blocked eight shots and held the 76’ers to 86 points. Surprisingly, their offense has disappeared and they have managed to score over 100 points just once in this series.
If you are playing in a fantasy basketball playoff league, Lebron is still the king. In game four he had 31 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Lebron will be the number one pick in most drafts next year and rightfully so. Lebron continues to wear the crown.
Can the Heat close out the 76’ers in five games? I don’t think so, not enough offense. But Heat fans shouldn’t worry, even if they don’t eliminate the 76’ers in game five like I believe they will, game six will prove to be the end of the series.
Atlanta vs. Hawks Orlando Magic
The surprising Hawks have the magic fighting for their lives. I am writing this just before game four and I must tell you I am surprised at the series so far. Yes, this is a four seed against a five, which means this is supposed to be the most competitive series, but the Hawks leading the series 2-1 after three games? Jamal Crawford has been the key, once again making everyone wonder why he isn’t a starter.
Dwight Howard has been a beast since the playoffs began, averaging 33.3 points, 17.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in the first three games of the series. Howard is clearly the second best player next to Lebron when it comes to the fantasy playoffs and he sure to be the first center taken off the board in fantasy basketball leagues next season as well.
The Magic and Howard have always been criticized as being “soft” and “poorly coached” and Howard is doing his part to justify that claim. Will Van Gundy do his part to help change this perception? I think the Magic win this series in seven games, but the idea of Van Gundy being a coach that will crumble in the big game will live on.
Indiana Pacers vs. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls are the top seed and they are going to win this series, that is as long as Derrick Rose can stay healthy. Rose injured his ankle in game four and is now walking around in a boot. If Rose is healthy and plays in game 5, you can expect the Bulls to close out the series. If Rose isn’t 80% or better, I can almost guarantee a game 6.
Obviously the fantasy stud in this series is none other than Rose, but Danny Granger has officially become an NBA star. Granger is averaging 22.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists during the playoffs, and he is finally getting the post-season exposure he deserves. Doing what he is doing on the biggest stage (post-season), on a team that most didn’t think deserved to be in the playoffs is going to do wonders for Granger’s career. Welcome to stardom Danny Boy.
There really isn’t any reason for the Bulls, who are in complete control to risk further injury to Rose. He will probably play in game five, but if things get out of hand or if he looks to be hobbled in any way a game 6 will prove to be the final game of the series and the season for the Pacers.