NBA Playoff Picture: NBA Playoff Bracket if Season Ended Today

Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The NBA Playoffs are a little over a month away (33 days, to be exact), and while a lot can change between now and April 15th, the standings are closer to fully solidifying. With this in mind, we thought we’d take a look at the standings as they are right now to see what the first-round playoff matchups would be if the season ended today.

A quick user note: for the sake of simplicity, we will assume that the teams ranked seventh and eighth in their respective conferences are the teams that win the play-in tournament (for more information on how the play-in tournament works, check out this post).

Another thing to mention is that, as it stands, our New Orleans Pelicans (33-35) are currently in a four-way tie for ninth place. So for this exercise, they would not be in our hypothetical playoff bracket.

Now, without further ado, here are the first-round matchups for the Western Conference:

Western Conference First Round Matchups (if the season ended today)

#1 Denver Nuggets (46-22) vs. #8 Dallas Mavericks (34-34)

#2 Sacramento Kings (40-26) vs. #7 Minnesota Timberwolves (34-34)

#3 Memphis Grizzlies (40-26) vs. #6 Golden State Warriors (35-33)

#4 Phoenix Suns (37-30) vs. #5 Los Angeles Clippers (36-33)

While all these matchups hold their own level of intrigue, the most enticing one has to be the rematch from last year’s Western Conference Semifinals between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, especially when you factor in the looming tension between these two teams from the events that transpired last go-around (and Draymond Green and Dillion Brooks latest feud).

Now turning over to the Eastern Conference, here is how the other side of the bracket would shape out if the season ended today:

Eastern Conference First Round Matchups (if the season ended today)

#1 Milwaukee Bucks (48-19) vs. #8 Atlanta Hawks (34-34)

#2 Boston Celtics (47-21) vs. #7 Miami Heat (36-33)

#3 Philadelphia 76ers (45-22) vs. #6 New York Knicks (40-30)

#4 Cleveland Cavaliers (43-27) vs. #5 Brooklyn Nets (39-29)

Once again, we have a bevy of fascinating matchups we could potentially be enjoying next month. But just like in the West, the most interesting of the litter has to be the rematch between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. If you recall, last season, these two teams went blow-for-blow in the Eastern Conference Finals, with the series ultimately coming down to one gutsy transition three-pointer rimming in and out.

While the Heat are no longer the title contender they were last season, they have still dueled admirably against the Celtics this season — splitting the season series with them two games a piece.

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