The Circuit’s 2022 NBA Playoff Predictions

Updated: 3 days ago

The NBA season is in the books, so it’s time to look back on the season that was, and look ahead to the playoffs that will be!

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Before diving into this post, make sure to check out my other NBA posts from the 2021-22 season:

Preseason Predictions

2021-22 NBA 1st Quarter Polls

2021-22 NBA 2nd Quarter Polls

2021-22 NBA 3rd Quarter Polls



Now that the 2021-22 NBA season is over, it’s time to start thinking about the NBA playoffs and who will take home the Larry O’Brien trophy. But before we talk about that, let’s look back and see how I did with my preseason predictions!


Three Things I was Big RIGHT On:

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1- The Charlotte Hornets Would be a Play-In Team

This was a bit of a homer pick, as I’m a huge Hornets fan, but I did think this team would be better and compete in the East. I thought Charlotte would be a little higher in the standings, but I was ultimately correct that they would make the play-in.


2- The Houston Rockets Would be the Worst Team in the West

This wasn’t too difficult to predict, but the Thunder and Blazers made it interesting there for a minute. I think Houston could have a bright future, but for now they are a mess.


3- The Dallas Mavericks Would be Better and Make a Playoff Run

Obviously we have to wait and see about the playoff run, but they certainly look better don’t they? I love the Luka-Kidd pairing, and think they will win championships (plural). Since they traded Porzingis, they have looked like maybe the best team out West.


Three Things I was Big WRONG On…

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1- The Toronto Raptors Would Miss the Playoffs

I am never picking against a Nick Nurse-coached team again. I just won’t do it. They were so much better than I expected, so apologies to our friends to the North.


2- The Phoenix Suns Would be Average

HA. Wow I whiffed on this one. I have always loved Booker, but I never thought they would be BETTER than last year.


3- Westbrook Would Help the Lakers in the Regular Season

Jesus Christ.


To be clear, I also root for the Lakers. Los Angeles and Charlotte are my two teams. I did not like the trade for Westbrook and thought Hield would have made us much better. However, I did think Russ would actually help the Lakers in the regular season; I thought when James and/or Davis missed time, Russ could carry the load and make the Lakers a good team in the regular season. The playoffs were where I saw Westbrook killing us. Turns out he went full dementor and sucked out the soul of every Laker fan by not even making the play-in. Again, all I can say is Jesus Christ.



Atlantic Division

1- Brooklyn Nets (O/U 56.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- UNDER (44)

2- Boston Celtics (O/U 45.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (51)

3- Philadelphia 76ers (O/U 50.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- OVER (51)

4- New York Knicks (O/U 41.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- UNDER (37)

5- Toronto Raptors (O/U 35.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (48)


Central Division

1- Milwaukee Bucks (O/U 54.5) Prediction- OVER Result- UNDER (51)

2- Chicago Bulls (O/U 42.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (45)

3- Indiana Pacers (O/U 42.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- UNDER (25)

4- Cleveland Cavaliers (O/U 26.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (44)

5- Detroit Pistons (O/U 24.5) Prediction- OVER Result- UNDER (23)


Southeast Division

1- Miami Heat (O/U 48.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (53)

2- Atlanta Hawks (O/U 47.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- UNDER (43)

3- Charlotte Hornets (O/U 38.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (43)

4- Washington Wizards (O/U 33.5) Prediction-UNDER Result- OVER (35)

5- Orlando Magic (O/U 22.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- UNDER (22)


Pacific Division

1- Los Angeles Lakers (O/U 52.5) Prediction- OVER Result- UNDER (33)

2- Golden State Warriors (O/U 48.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (53)

3- Phoenix Suns (O/U 51.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- OVER (64)

4- Los Angeles Clippers (O/U 45.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- UNDER (42)

5- Sacramento Kings (O/U 36.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- UNDER (30)


Southwest Division

1- Dallas Mavericks (O/U 48.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (52)

2- Memphis Grizzlies (O/U 41.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (56)

3- San Antonio Spurs (O/U 28.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (34)

4- New Orleans Pelicans (O/U 39.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- UNDER (36)

5- Houston Rockets (O/U 27.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- UNDER (20)


Northwest Division

1- Utah Jazz (O/U 52.5) Prediction- OVER Result- UNDER (49)

2- Denver Nuggets (O/U 47.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (48)

3- Portland Blazers (O/U 44.5) Prediction- UNDER Result- UNDER (27)

4- Minnesota Wolves (O/U 36.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (46)

5- Oklahoma City Thunder (O/U 23.5) Prediction- OVER Result- OVER (24)


Hot damn! 23-7 on the over/unders is pretty good if I do say so myself. I feel pretty good about five of the seven I got wrong; the Suns I missed pretty badly, and I should have respected them more (my bad). And the Lakers…. Yeah (Jesus Christ). But overall, I have to say I did well!


Now let’s take a look at the playoff bracket and predict how the 2022 NBA playoffs will unfold:


East Play-In:

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7 Brooklyn Nets def 8 Cleveland Cavaliers

10 Charlotte Hornets def 9 Atlanta Hawks

10 Charlotte Hornets def 8 Cleveland Cavaliers


West Play-In:

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7 Minnesota Timberwolves def 8 Los Angeles Clippers

9 New Orleans Pelicans def 10 San Antonio Spurs

8 Los Angeles Clippers def 9 New Orleans Pelicans


East 1st Round:

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1 Miami Heat def 10 Charlotte Hornets 4-1

2 Boston Celtics def 7 Brooklyn Nets 4-2

3 Milwaukee Bucks def 6 Chicago Bulls 4-0

4 Philadelphia 76ers def 5 Toronto Raptors 4-3


West 1st Round:

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1 Phoenix Suns def 8 Los Angeles Clippers 4-0

2 Memphis Grizzlies def 7 Minnesota Timberwolves 4-1

3 Golden State Warriors def 6 Denver Nuggets 4-2

4 Dallas Mavericks def 5 Utah Jazz 4-1


East Semis:

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4 Philadelphia 76ers def 1 Miami Heat 4-2

3 Milwaukee Bucks def 2 Boston Celtics 4-2


West Semis:

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1 Phoenix Suns def 4 Dallas Mavericks 4-1

3 Golden State Warriors def 2 Memphis Grizzlies 4-2


East Finals:

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3 Milwaukee Bucks def 4 Philadelphia 76ers 4-1


West Finals:

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1 Phoenix Suns def 3 Golden State Warriors 4-3


NBA Finals:

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1 Phoenix Suns def 3 Milwaukee Bucks 4-2 (Finals MVP: Devin Booker)


These Suns are incredible, and I really don’t see anyone beating them. I think a fully healthy Warriors squad could beat them, but they don’t seem to be ready for that this season. Plus it just feels like destiny that Chris Paul wins a championship before he retires.


MVP:

Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)

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Jokic will win the MVP. I know that. But my vote would go to The Process. Everyone talks about the injuries that Denver sustained, which is valid, but until Harden got to Philadelphia I would have taken Aaron Gordon over any of Embiid’s teammates. Philly had a better seed, Embiid won the scoring title, so my vote goes to Joel.


2- Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

3- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

4- Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)

5- Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)



Defensive Player of the Year:

Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)

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Finally! A guard! For the first time since Gary Payton in 1996 (I was barely alive), we could see a guard win this award. Smart is the best defensive player on the best defensive team (by a country mile), so he gets my vote.


2- Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)

3- Jaren Jackson Jr (Memphis Grizzlies)

4- Mikail Bridges (Phoenix Suns)

5- Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)



Rookie of the Year:

Evan Mobley (Cleveland Cavaliers)

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This was the most intriguing vote, which is interesting because all three quarter polls had Mobley in a landslide. But despite Cunningham & Barnes closing strong, the impact that Mobley had on winning this season was enough to give him the award.


2- Scottie Barnes (Toronto Raptors)

3- Cade Cunningham (Detroit Pistons)

4- Franz Wagner (Orlando Magic)

5- Ayo Dosumnu (Chicago Bulls)



Sixth Man of the Year:

Tyler Herro (Miami Heat)

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This turned out to be the easiest award. Herro wins this easily.


2- Cameron Johnson (Phoenix Suns)

3- Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)

4- Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz)

5- Kelly Oubre (Charlotte Hornets)



Coach of the Year:

Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns)

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Also pretty easy, Monty deserved this award a year ago and will get it this season. This award tends to come a year late (Steve Kerr winning in 2016 when he should have in 2015, Nick Nurse winning in 2020 when he had the breakthrough year in 2019). But Udoka and Kidd closed strong and deserve consideration.


2- Ime Udoka (Boston Celtics)

3- Taylor Jenkins (Memphis Grizzlies)

4- Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks)

5- Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat)



Stan Van Gundy Worst Coaching Award:

Luke Walton (Sacramento Kings)

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Nailed it.



Allen Iverson Most Exciting Player to Watch Award:

Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)


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Ja missed quite a few games, but when he played he was must-see television. He reminds me a lot of the namesake for this award, solook for Morant to win a handful of these. Also, we had this all season so a nice feather in my cap there!



Rasheed Wallace Biggest Trade-Impact Player Award:

James Harden (Brooklyn Nets to Philadelphia 76ers)

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This is less about Harden in Philadelphia, but rather the lack of impact trades elsewhere. Sabonis in Sacramento? No. Simmons in Brooklyn? Haha I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist that one. Oof.



Jeremy Lin Hottest Two-Week Stretch Award:

DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls)

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Remember those couple weeks when DeRozan was being compared (statistically) to Wilt and MJ? Me too. He’s a really good player, but those two weeks he was a supernova.


All-NBA First Team:

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G- Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)

G- Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)

F- Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)

F- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

C- Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)


All-NBA Second Team:

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G- Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors)

G- Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)

F- DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls)

F- Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)

C- Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)


All-NBA Third Team:

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G- Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)

G- Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)

F- LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)

F- Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)

C- Karl Anthony-Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)



There you have it! All my predictions and awards for the 2021-22 NBA season. Given my success with the over/unders, maybe you should look at my picks and make some bets! I know I will be; see you next season and happy playoffs!



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