NBA Season Recap: What Foran Fans Feel as Playoffs Roll Around Corner


NBA Stadium: The Golden State Warriors playing in their home arena, the Chase Center. Photo courtesy Yusuf Abdelsalam, Feb 27, 2022

    Another year, another season, the NBA playoffs are starting again as the regular season has ended. As such, many fans feel perhaps disappointed or excited with the teams that have made it to the playoffs or the ones that have not. 

   The best regular season record was the Phoenix Suns, so it remains to be seen whether Devin Booker and Chris Paul can lead a second consecutive run to the Finals. They will have to contend with a number of Western Conference contenders, like Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks, MVP Nikola Jokic, the Denver Nuggets, Ja Morant, and the Memphis Grizzlies. The Golden State Warriors are back in the playoffs for the first time since the Finals in 2019.

   There will be a lot of games in succession in the Eastern Conference. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, it’s the closest for any conference since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77 as the bracket was so tightly packed that the number one through ten seeds were separated by just ten games.

   Sophomore Oliver Aubin, an NBA and Knicks fan, says, “ Even though they are very inconsistent and often sell the game in the third quarter, they are still my favorite team this season. I also have enjoyed watching the Warriors, as my rec team from middle school was the Warriors so I started watching them.”

   Sophomore Zackary Israelite is also a Knicks fan while Sophomore Karthikeya Lakoji is a Clippers fan. In terms of objectively good players and teams this year, Aubin thinks, “The Celtics, Grizzlies, and Warriors have all done really well this season. In particular, Jason Tatum, Ja Morant, and Stephen Curry. All 3 had points where they were serious candidates for the MVP, and their teams as a whole have great chemistry. I would not be surprised to see any of these teams make it to their respective conference finals.” 

   Lakoji thinks, “The Grizzlies and Celtics have been doing pretty well this season. They have a lot of potential with young All-Star caliber players. For example, Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown.”

  Israelites feel the Suns and the Celtics have done the best this season. He says, “The Suns have been the most dominant team in the NBA, with the best record in the league. Led by Chris Paul and Devin Booker, they have had an unbelievable season and we’re able to beat the best teams. The Celtics struggled early on, but after the new year, they became the best team in their conference. With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading them, they had a great offense, and their defense is the best I’ve ever seen in recent years. The best players this season have been the 3 big men. Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis have been dominant in different ways, and the three foreign born players each have a case for MVP.”

  In terms of decisions and management, there have been a variety of thoughts about the decisions this season, like Harden being traded to the 76ers for Ben Simmons. 

  Lakoji elaborates, “There really isn’t anything positive or negative to say. In terms of player movement across teams, I guess James Harden was a surprise because I thought that maybe if you gave him more time to work it out with the Nets, he could’ve found a way to mesh within the system.”

  Other NBA fans have different perspectives. Aubin feels, “The overall management and player decisions have been interesting for sure, but mostly for the better. For example, James Harden leaving the Nets to go to Philly has seemed to be a smart decision for both rosters. He didn’t work well with the Nets, but has found a better home as a supportive guard to Embiid.” 

  Israelite also says, “From an NBA fan’s view, this has been a great year from a production standpoint. Unlike previous seasons, we truly have no idea who will win the finals, and any team still in the playoffs has a solid argument on why they can win the finals. From the perspective of a Knicks fan, it was a difficult season. The Knicks former star Julius Randle regressed heavily compared to his all-nba campaign last year, and key free agency additions like Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker have not elevated the knicks play, but with the development of the Knicks young players like RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Obi Toppin, they can develop these key pieces of the Knicks future as long as they continue to build the team through the draft or a trade for a star.”