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We know what Dillon Brooks & Steven Adams/Memphis bench will bring this postseason, Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., & Desmond Bane need to play well

Notes: Head coach Taylor Jenkins has implemented a winning culture where anyone he puts on the floor can make a positive impact. But as I said back in April, Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr, and Desmond Bane will determine how far this team goes each postseason. The young trio did a great job during the 2022 playoffs before Morant went down early in the Second Round vs. Golden State. 

Raptors starting group shot the ball efficiently this season, that shooting, length on defense, and crowd atmosphere should be tough in the playoffs

Notes: I didn’t have Toronto winning this series, but still thought they would give Philly some problems (which they did). The Raptors pushed the Sixers to a Game 6 after going down 3-0, putting up a good fight in their first trip back to the playoffs since 2020.

Miami entering the 2022 postseason with another uncertain starting guard position

Notes: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra went with Max Strus over Duncan Robinson at the starting shooting guard position. If Tyler Herro is healthy, then the move isn’t that big of a deal. Herro won Sixth Man of the Year, and Victor Oladipo & Gabe Vincent were playing well heading into the postseason. However, I thought Spoelstra had to play Robinson once Herro got hurt vs. Boston. Strus (first real playoff minutes), Oladipo (coming off injury), & Vincent (also his first real playoff minutes) shot a combined 23.4% from three point range during Games 4-7 and couldn’t be trusted without Herro.

Pressure will be on Ben Simmons defensively if he returns for Brooklyn

Notes: Simmons didn’t play, as the Nets got swept by the Celtics. They needed all the defense they could get in that series. However, help is on the way defensively with Ben returning at full health/the addition of Royce O’Neale. Hopefully Joe Harris, TJ Warren, and Edmond Sumner can also bring a spark on defense (all coming off injuries).