“Crucial Weaknesses: What Each Eastern Conference Playoff Team Must Overcome to Succeed”

“Crucial Weaknesses: What Each Eastern Conference Playoff Team Must Overcome to Succeed”

The NBA’s Western Conference may be more wide open than the Eastern Conference, but that does not mean the latter is without its contenders and potential spoilers. However, each postseason team in the East has a specific vulnerability that can spell doom for their playoff success. These weaknesses are like the thermal exhaust port of the Death Star: if an opponent hits it just right, the team could be blown out of the playoffs. And while some of these flaws may not be fully exploited until later rounds, they are still areas that teams must address to avoid an early exit.

#1 seed Milwaukee Bucks: Weak efficiency in half-cout sets

While Khris Middleton’s absence during the regular season may have skewed the numbers, the Bucks’ half-court offense was a major issue in last year’s playoffs as well. Their PPP dropped to 0.865 in the postseason, compared to 1.000 in the regular season. Although the Bucks are formidable in transition, if an opponent can slow them down, they are vulnerable. Given that they have the best record in the NBA, stopping them is easier said than done.

However, as the playoffs progress, the Bucks’ half-court offense must improve its efficiency if they hope to avoid history repeating itself. If not, they could be in danger of an early exit. While the Bucks are a formidable team, they are not invincible, and opponents will be looking for any weakness to exploit.

#2 Seed Boston Celtics- Too dependent on 3-pointers

The Celtics have fully embraced the “live by the three, die by the three” philosophy, but this approach poses a significant challenge for their offense.

Boston has attempted the second-highest number of three-point shots in the league, which is a hallmark of the NBA’s high-risk, high-reward style of play. In their victories, the team has managed to convert an impressive 40.3 percent of their long-range shots. However, in their losses, their success rate plummets to a dismal 31.6 percent.

The team’s overreliance on three-point shooting has also impacted their two-point field goal attempts, which are among the lowest in the league, ranking 29th. Even more concerning is the fact that the Celtics do not take many shots at the rim, ranking 25th in attempts according to Cleaning the Glass.

This makes Boston an easier team to defend, particularly if multiple players struggle to find their range from beyond the arc. If the Celtics want to make a deep run in the playoffs, they will need to find a way to diversify their offense and not rely solely on the three-ball.

#3 Seed Philadelphia 76ers- Lack of depth behind Embiid at C

The Philadelphia 76ers seem to have all the pieces required to make it to the Finals, with one major exception: a backup big man.

This has been a persistent problem for Philadelphia, dating back to the heartbreaking end to Game 7 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. During that series, the team had a net rating of plus-18.6 with Joel Embiid on the floor but an astonishing minus-52.5 without him. This discrepancy was a major factor in their series loss.

The same issue arose against the Hawks in the 2020-21 semifinals, with a massive 25.5 net rating swing when Embiid was off the court. Last season, with Embiid injured, the Sixers had to rely on DeAndre Jordan and Paul Reed in the playoffs, which led to their eventual elimination by the Miami Heat.

This year, Philadelphia will once again rely on Reed or P.J. Tucker to serve as backup centers. However, according to Cleaning the Glass, the Sixers have a negative net rating when Reed (-3.8) or Tucker (-6.0) are playing at center.

Those few minutes that Embiid sits out during playoffs games could potentially prevent the Sixers from finally advancing beyond the second round.

#4 Seed Cleveland Cavaliers- Poor shooting from role players

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ success in the playoffs will largely depend on the shooting of their fifth player on the court, who is usually one of Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman, Dean Wade, and Lamar Stevens. Defenses will try to contain the Cavaliers’ star players like Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen and force the lesser-known players to take shots from beyond the arc. The Cavs need at least two of these players to get hot from deep to keep the defenses honest. Okoro and Osman have shown great improvement in their three-point shooting since the All-Star break, but the team will need the others to step up as well. Stevens and Wade have struggled from three-point range this season, shooting below 35% and 27%, respectively. If the Cavaliers’ role players can hit enough threes in the playoffs, it will help open up the floor for their star players and increase their chances of success.

#5 Seed New York Knicks- Shot selection and creation

The New York Knicks have secured a playoff spot, but their lack of easy scoring opportunities is a concern.

Their offensive strategy relies heavily on isolation plays, and they are not effective in fast-break situations, ranking 22nd in fast-break points. In the playoffs, where transition scoring opportunities are scarce, the Knicks need to capitalize on the few chances they get to take the pressure off their half-court offense.

Although they are ranked 16th in frequency of transition plays, the Knicks need to increase this number to keep their offense from getting stagnant. Isolation-heavy offenses are easier to defend against, making it critical to score on the break. However, the Knicks’ inability to force turnovers, ranked 25th in opponent turnovers per game, is hindering their ability to generate transition opportunities.

To advance in the playoffs, the Knicks must figure out a way to create more easy scoring chances consistently.

#6 Seed Brooklyn Nets- The Boards

The Brooklyn Nets have undergone a transformation at the trade deadline, becoming a longer team, but they continue to struggle with rebounding. Their rebounding percentages rank 26th in the league, while they’re only 24th in rebounds per game since the deadline. Nic Claxton has been their most reliable rebounder all season, averaging 9.2 rebounds, but there’s a significant drop-off after him. The next highest rebounders are Royce O’Neale and Day’Ron Sharp, who are averaging 5.5 and 5.2 rebounds, respectively, since the deadline. The Nets need everyone to contribute, including Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Dorian Finney-Smith, to improve their rebounding and compete at a higher level if they want to any chance of taking down the 76ers

#7 Seed Miami Heat- Not enough scoring/slow paced offense

Scoring is the fundamental element of basketball and the Miami Heat have had a hard time with it all season long. They are currently ranked last in the league for scoring, with an average of 109.3 points per game, 4.9 points below the league average.

Despite a slight improvement since the All-Star break with 111.9 points per game, they still rank 26th in the league and dead last in field goals made per game.

The majority of Miami’s scoring is concentrated among three players – Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Bam Adebayo. These are the only Heat players to average double digits since the All-Star break. After them, the drop in points is significant, with Victor Oladipo and Max Strus being the next highest scorers at 9.9 and 8.9 points, respectively.

During the playoffs, the Heat could face scenarios where one or more of their big three struggles to score. In such a situation, there would be little hope for Miami to keep up with their opponent’s pace.

#8 Seed Atlanta Hawks- Shooting the 3

Despite having Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanović, and Dejounte Murray on their roster, the Atlanta Hawks are ranked low in three-point attempts, coming in at 28th place. This could be a hindrance for them come playoff time. While Young took eight threes per game last season, he only attempted 6.3 this year, shooting 33.5 percent. Although defenses still respect his threat, this season was atypical of Young’s style.

Notably, it’s not as if everyone on the Hawks has struggled with three-point shooting. For instance, Bogdanović made 40.6 percent of his three-point attempts, while Saddiq Bey, whom they acquired during the trade deadline, had a 40 percent success rate, and AJ Griffin shot 39 percent from deep.

Despite being a high-scoring team, the Hawks’ defense also concedes a lot of points. Therefore, increasing their volume from three-point range could put more pressure on their opponents, especially if Young can get his rhythm goi

#9 Seed Toronto Raptors- Getting to the Charity Stripe

At the start of the season, the Raptors lacked a traditional center, but the addition of Jakob Poeltl resolved that issue. However, the team now faces a major problem with its lack of free-throw attempts. Since the All-Star break, the Raptors have been shooting the fewest free throws per game compared to all other teams. This struggle is due to their shot profile, as Toronto relies heavily on mid-range jump shots rather than attacking the rim. In fact, they attempt the fourth-most mid-range shots but are below average (18th) in shots at the rim, according to Cleaning the Glass.

Their over-reliance on mid-range shots makes it challenging to draw fouls and get to the free-throw line. To increase their chances, the Raptors need to focus on more attempts at the rim. While Pascal Siakam is the best at drawing shooting fouls, he has had very few and-ones. Fred VanVleet and O.G. Anunoby are both in the 50-55th percentile in terms of drawing fouls.

For the Raptors to advance past the play-in, they must find a way to increase their free-throw attempts.

#10 Seed Chicago Bulls: Attacking and driving to the basket

Despite having a mid-range king in DeMar DeRozan and an amazing scorer in Zach LaVine, the Bulls struggle with dribble penetration, ranking among the teams with the fewest drives per game this season. While other teams with similar rankings, such as the Nuggets, Warriors, Suns, and Bucks, compensate with better three-point shooting, the Bulls settle for mid-range jumpers that defenses easily concede. This limits their ability to create drive-and-kick opportunities and move the defense. Unless the Bulls improve their outside shooting and dribble penetration, it is unlikely they will make a deep postseason run.

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2023 NBA Playoffs: First Round Matchups Previews & Play-In Predictions

2023 NBA Playoffs: First Round Matchups Previews & Play-In Predictions

The NBA playoffs are almost here, and the excitement is building as teams gear up for the first round matchups and the highly anticipated play-in tournament. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect from this year’s NBA postseason action.

(4) Suns vs. (5) Clippers Round 1 Preview

Lets start in the West with the 5th Seed Clips and the 4th Seeded Suns, one of the most highly anticipated matchups in the first round. This 4 & 5 matchup between these two Pacific division rivals is picture-perfect and I expect this series to go six or seven games. The two teams have faced each other four times this season and are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head record, setting the stage for an exciting and unpredictable series.

The Suns come into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed with a 45-37 record, while the Clippers are the No. 5 seed with a slightly lower record of 44-38. The Suns made a big splash at the trade deadline by acquiring Kevin Durant, instantly elevating their championship hopes. Book leads the Suns in scoring, while the impact Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton have this postseason will ultimately determine how far the Suns get.

The Clippers, on the other hand, are looking to get a taste of some championship success after landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George via free agency in 2019. However, the real question mark for the Clippers is the status of Paul George, who has been out with an injury. The Clippers will need George healthy and playing at his best to take down the Suns, who many consider to be the best team in the Western Conference despite their seedings.

The odds for the series heavily favor the Suns, with sportsbooks giving them a (-600) chance of winning compared to the Clippers’ (+400). The Suns have been in championship mode ever since losing in the West semifinals last season, and with the addition of Durant, they look like a team poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.

The Suns and Clippers are set to face off in what promises to be a thrilling series, with both teams looking to solidify themselves as legitimate championship contenders. The series could ultimately come down to the health of Paul George, making his status a key factor to watch throughout the series.

(3) Kings vs. (6) Warriors Round 1 Preview

The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors will meet in the first round of the 2023 NBA playoffs as the 3-6 pairing in the Western Conference. The matchup between these two teams promises to be an intriguing one, with plenty of history between the organizations and two vastly different teams going head-to-head.

The Kings, led by former Warriors assistant Mike Brown, have finally made it to the playoffs after a 16-year drought. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis have been the stars for the Kings, but it’s the contributions of role players like Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk, and Keegan Murray that have helped the team succeed this season. Sacramento’s owner, Vivek Ranadive, was once a minority shareholder in the Warriors and would undoubtedly love to knock off his former team in this series.

On the other hand, the Warriors come into this matchup as the defending champions, but they have not been as dominant as they were last year. However, they have started to regain their championship form in recent weeks. While their road record leaves something to be desired, they are nearly unbeatable at home. With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green leading the way, the Warriors have never lost a playoff series when their core group has played every game.

The Kings and Warriors have faced each other 470 times in their history, with the Warriors holding a 249-221 edge. However, the Kings have won four of the last five regular-season matchups between the two teams. In this series, the key matchup will be between the Kings’ backcourt of Fox and Huerter against the Warriors’ guard duo of Curry and Thompson. Additionally, the battle in the paint between Sabonis and the Warriors’ big men will also be a crucial factor in the series.

Overall, this matchup has plenty of intriguing storylines and potential for an upset by the Kings. However, the Warriors are still the favorites in this series due to their championship pedigree and experience in the playoffs. With that being said, DO NOT SLEEP ON THE KINGS.

West Play-In Preview & Prediction: (7) Lakers vs (8) Wolves

On Tuesday, the No. 7 seed Los Angeles Lakers and the No. 8 seed Minnesota Timberwolves will face off in a highly anticipated NBA play-in tournament. This matchup will determine which team will advance to the Western Conference playoffs and which team’s season will come to a close.

The Lakers’ season has been a rollercoaster ride, with injuries and internal turmoil causing some bumps along the way. Despite this, LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain formidable forces on the court, leading the team in points and rebounds. Head coach Darvin Ham has had to navigate these challenges and adjust to a new role after taking over for Frank Vogel this season.

The Timberwolves, on the other hand, have fought hard to secure their spot in the playoffs, winning their last three games of the season. However, they will be facing the Lakers without the talented Jaden McDaniels, who fractured his hand from punching a wall. Additionally, Rudy Gobert’s outburst in the Timberwolves’ regular-season finale may have left the team feeling uneasy heading into the play-in tournament.

While the Lakers have a 2-1 edge in head-to-head matchups with the Timberwolves this season, this play-in game is anyone’s to win. Lakers fans will be looking to James and Davis to lead the team to victory, while Timberwolves fans will be hoping that Anthony Edwards can continue his impressive scoring streak.

The opening odds favor the Lakers with a -6.5 spread and a moneyline of -255. The over/under is set at 227.5, indicating that it could be a high-scoring game.

Overall, this matchup promises to be a thrilling and intense game that could go down to the wire. The Lakers will be looking to redeem themselves after a disappointing end to last year’s playoffs, while the Timberwolves will be eager to make their mark in the postseason.

Firstly, they have a more experienced and well-established roster, led by superstar players LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Despite facing injuries and setbacks throughout the season, the Lakers have shown resilience and have managed to make it to the play-in tournament.

Furthermore, the Lakers have a better record than the Timberwolves and have a head-to-head record of 2-1 against them this season. They also have a more effective offense, averaging 112.4 points per game compared to the Timberwolves’ 109.4.

Defensively, the Lakers have also been solid, ranking in the top 10 in the league in points allowed per game. They will be looking to shut down the Timberwolves’ young star Anthony Edwards, who has been averaging 23.8 points per game this season.

Overall, the Lakers have the experience, talent, and the motivation to advance to the next round of the playoffs. They will need to play with intensity and focus in order to overcome the Timberwolves, but they have shown they are capable of doing so in the past.

THE PICK: Lakers win and advance to play the Grizzlies while the wolves will battle the winner of (9) NOLA vs (10) OKC.

West Play-In Preview & Prediction: (9) Pelicans vs (10) Thunder

The New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder are set to face off in a crucial play-in game for the Western Conference playoffs. The Pelicans come into the game with a slightly better record at 42-40, while the Thunder finished the regular season at 40-42. The two teams split their head-to-head matchups this season, each winning one game.

One big factor for the Pelicans will be the absence of their star player, Zion Williamson, who is expected to miss the game due to injury. However, the Pelicans still have a strong supporting cast, including Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, who can step up in Williamson’s absence. The Thunder, on the other hand, will rely heavily on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to lead them to victory.

The opening odds favor the Pelicans, with a spread of -4.5 and a moneyline of -195. The over/under is set at 232, indicating that this could be a high-scoring affair.

The winner of this game will move on to face the loser of the Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers matchup, with the winner of that game earning the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs and a chance to face the No. 1 seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round.

So why will the Pelicans win? Despite the absence of Williamson, they still have a talented roster that can compete at a high level. They also have the home-court advantage and a strong track record of performing well in clutch situations. Additionally, the Thunder have struggled on the road this season, with a record of just 15-26 away from home. All of these factors could give the Pelicans the edge they need to secure a victory and advance to the next round of the playoffs.

THE PICK: Pelicans win and advance to play Timberwolves. Then, the Pelicans will take down the Wolves and punch the last playoff ticket in the West!

Now, lets look at the matchups in the Eastern Conference. First, lets start with another 4 and 5 seeded matchup.

(4) Cavaliers vs. (5) Knicks Round 1 Preview

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks will face off in the first round of the 2023 NBA playoffs, with the Cavaliers holding home court advantage as the No. 4 seed. Cleveland has been building around their young core, but the addition of superstar scoring machine Donovan Mitchell has given them a proven playoff performer to help push the squad forward. While the Cavs have aspirations for a deep playoff run, their first goal will be to win a playoff series, something they haven’t accomplished since LeBron James left in 2018.

The Knicks, on the other hand, made a quick turnaround after a disappointing 2021-22 season and have plenty of reason to be optimistic. Their leading scorer, Julius Randle, suffered an ankle injury late in the year, but the hope is that he will be back for this series. Jalen Brunson, the star free agent addition for New York, has been playing at an elite level and has helped elevate the team’s performance. With a young core and plenty of draft capital going forward, the Knicks have a bright future ahead of them. However, they will first need to win a playoff series, something they haven’t accomplished since the 2012-13 season.

The head-to-head record between these two teams is in favor of the Knicks, who won three out of the four matchups in the regular season. However, the playoffs are a different beast, and both teams will be looking to prove themselves in this series. The Cavaliers are the favorites to win, but the Knicks have the talent and the potential to pull off an upset. Ultimately, the series will come down to which team can execute their game plan and play to their strengths.

(3) 76ers vs. (6) Nets Round 1 Preview

The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets will face off in what promises to be an exciting first-round matchup of the 2023 NBA playoffs. Philadelphia holds the No. 3 seed and home-court advantage, while the No. 6 seed Nets are looking to pull off an upset.

The 76ers have had a very solid regular season, with Joel Embiid having an MVP-worthy season, leading the team in scoring and contributing to their perfect 4-0 head-to-head record against Brooklyn. However, the Sixers have struggled with injuries in the past, and there are always concerns about Embiid’s health going into the playoffs. Additionally, James Harden, who was acquired by the Nets in a midseason trade, has a mixed track record in the postseason. The Sixers have the talent and depth to make a deep playoff run, but it will all come down to whether they can put everything together and meet expectations.

On the other hand, the Nets have had a rollercoaster of a season, with major trades and injuries affecting their lineup. Despite this, they managed to secure a playoff spot, and with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving now gone, they have a young core ready to step up. The Nets have nothing to lose and can play with a carefree attitude, making them a dangerous opponent for the 76ers. If the Nets can push the series to its limits, it could be a tougher matchup for the Sixers than many expect.

While the 76ers are the clear favorites to win the series, the Nets are not to be underestimated. If they can come together and play at their best, they could potentially pull off an upset. However, it’s more likely that the Sixers will advance to the second round, where they will have their eyes set on a deeper playoff run.

East Play-In Preview & Prediction: (7) Heat vs (8) Hawks

In the first play-in game of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Atlanta Hawks face off against the Miami Heat to determine who takes the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. These two teams are familiar with each other, having met four times in the regular season and playoffs last year. Miami came out on top in five games during the postseason, leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of Hawks fans.

Although Miami is the favorite heading into this game, the Hawks have Trae Young and a talented roster, making anything possible. The Hawks rested their starters in their previous game against the Boston Celtics to keep them fresh for this matchup. Young is undoubtedly the Hawks’ best player, and missing the playoffs would endanger his reputation.

The Hawks have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the league this season, often fluctuating around the .500-mark. They finished the season with an even record of 41 wins and 41 losses. Despite making aggressive moves in the market, the team has not evolved much since their conference final appearance last year.

Miami is at a crossroad, either growing and making a big noise in the playoffs or facing dissolution during free agency. They had a mediocre season instead of being one of the top three contenders for winning the East, as many predicted. The Heat have a diverse offense but are terrible on the offensive side of the ball. They have the worst field goal percentages and offensive rebounding in the league, making their defense their only saving grace, the second-best in the league in points per game.

In their previous meetings this season, Miami leads the series 3-1. However, the Hawks lost by a narrow margin in their two games in Miami, indicating that they can compete against the Heat. The pressure on Miami is much greater than on the Hawks, which could be a significant factor since the Heat team looks as if it could break down at any given moment.

THE PICK: Ultimately, the prediction is to side with the underdogs and bet on the Hawks to win. Despite being the favorites, Miami’s poor offensive performance and inconsistency could work in the Hawks’ favor. Therefore, the pick is Atlanta Hawks (+175). I also believe the Heat will be playing, and then beating whoever wins the 9 and 10 matchup between the Bulls and Raptors, the last matchup we have to cover until the Play-In tournament commences.

East Play-In Preview & Prediction: (10) Bulls vs (9) Raptors

This marks the first time that the two teams meet in the post-season as well as the first time that either team takes part in the play-in tournament. Though they haven’t met in the playoff, the feeling of familiarity will be clear for Raptors fans as they take on former fan favourite DeMar DeRozan in the most high-stakes game of the year.

Whoever wins Wednesday’s game will travel to take on the loser of the 7-8 play-in game between the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat next Friday for a chance at the eighth seed and a playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks. Season Summary The Raptors and Bulls have had turbulent campaigns, with neither squad having surpassed two games above .500 for the entirety of the regular season. They’ve followed similar paths this season and were mirror images during the trade deadline. The Raptors sat four games under .500 when the Feb. 9, deadline passed and the Bulls weren’t much better at three games under the mark.

However, they both decided to toss aside the notion of selling away their players for picks or future assets and instead chose to bolster their squads. The loser may regret their decision to not sell at the deadline. Toronto leads the season series 2-1 with their last matchup ending in a 104-98 Raptors victory on Feb. 28. Key Players DeMar DeRozan, Bulls For the first time since being traded from Toronto, DeRozan is set to take on his former team in the post-season.

The beloved wing hasn’t missed a beat since leaving the team that drafted him, having been named to the past two All-Star games and receiving his second All-NBA selection last season. Since pairing up with Zach LaVine in Chicago, the 14-year wing has been stellar, averaging 26.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists the past two seasons. However, his issues come playoff time have also persisted. In the Bucks’ sweep of the Bulls last season, DeRozan’s scored only 20.8 points per game on 41 per cent shooting from the field, down a fair margin from his 27.9 points per game on 50 per cent from the field in the regular season.

If he wants to avoid a one-and-done in the play-in tournament, he’ll have to stave off his playoff demons in a city all-too familiar with his postseason struggles. Fred VanVleet and the Raptors similarly to DeRozan, shrunk in the playoffs last season, with VanVleet in particular averaging a paltry 13.8 points on 35% shooting from the field in the four games he appeared in against the Philadelphia 76ers. The point guard has been a mixed bag in his seventh season.

Though his scoring has kept pace with last season, he’s shooting a career-worst 34% from three. For a team as range deprived as the Raptors, who currently possess the fourth-worst percentage from deep at 34.2% since Jan. 1, getting VanVleet on a good day will be absolutely key. The offense still runs through VanVleet. His playmaking has improved this season while also limiting turnovers. Only three games ago against the Charlotte Hornets, he broke the Raptors’ single-game record for assists with 20. VanVleet will need to find steady footing against what has been the second-best defense (112.8 defensive rating) in the NBA since the trade deadline. As I said earlier, whoever wins this game will probably lose to the Heat if the Hawks do indeed upset them.

THE PICK: Whoever wins will lose their next game and be eliminated since neither rosters match up to Atlanta’s or Miami’s.

We appreciate you taking the time to read our article! Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest and greatest in sports content, including jaw-dropping highlights, top plays, engaging stories, hilarious memes, real-time updates, and more! Stay in the loop with OutOfSightSports!

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Warriors Avoid Play-in; Will Play 3-Seed Kings in Round One

By: SpringHillMedia


Warriors Avoid Play-in; Will Play 3-Seed Kings in Round One

With a pair of dominant road wins over the Kings and Blazers, the Golden State Warriors secured a top-six seed in the Western Conference playoffs. This achievement means that they will avoid the play-in tournament that they had been flirting with for weeks. The Warriors finished with a 44-38 record and will take on the Sacramento Kings in a first-round 3-6 matchup that will begin on or after Saturday, April 15.

Despite heading into the weekend with a dismal 9-30 record on the road, the Warriors were gifted two easy wins as both the Kings and Blazers rested their key players. The Warriors took full advantage of the situation, posting an NBA-record 55 points in the first quarter of their Sunday game against the Blazers. They were even able to rest their starters midway through the third quarter.

The Clippers and Suns were also battling it out on Sunday, and the outcome would have an impact on the Warriors’ playoff seeding. A Clippers loss could have seen them relegated to the play-in tournament, while a Suns win would have locked the Warriors in as their playoff opponent. Ultimately, the Clippers won 119-114, securing the No. 5 seed and leaving the Warriors with the No. 6 seed.

In summary, the Golden State Warriors took care of business when it mattered most, clinching a top-six seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Despite a poor record on the road, they were gifted two easy wins and will now face off against the Sacramento Kings in the first round. The Warriors will hope to carry their momentum from the final two games of the regular season into the playoffs and make a deep run.

We appreciate you taking the time to read our article! Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest and greatest in sports content, including jaw-dropping highlights, top plays, engaging stories, hilarious memes, real-time updates, and more! Stay in the loop with OutOfSightSports!

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NFL Draft Scouting Report: Nolan Smith

By: SportsRiseMedia


NFL Draft Scouting Report: Nolan Smith

Nolan Smith, a leader both on and off the field for the Georgia Bulldogs, is known for his dynamic personality and energetic presence. As the starting OLB/EDGE in 2021, he made an immediate impact on a defense that featured several NFL draft picks.

Smith’s game is defined by his physicality, violence, and relentlessness, making him a difficult task to block in the run game, particularly for tight ends. His full-body strength is on display as he digs his feet into the ground and becomes immovable against the run. He has an explosive first step and an admirable flexibility, which allows him to bend around the edges or slice across blockers to win the inside track. While he still needs to refine his hand-to-hand combat skills, his punches can shock blockers, and his power is an asset in the pass-rush department.

Smith’s potential as a three-down defender is apparent due to his impressive run defense, but his pass-rush skills are still developing. He has the explosiveness to threaten offensive tackles outside shoulders, but he relies too much on his first step, length, and power, which can limit his ceiling at the next level. He needs to become more technical with his hands to defeat pass blocks more effectively.

Looking to the future, Smith’s versatility in different alignments could be a valuable asset in any defense. With his size, athleticism, and physicality, he has the potential to be a dangerous edge defender who can drop into coverage, stuff the run, and get after the passer.

In summary, Nolan Smith is a highly respected and dynamic leader on and off the field, with an impressive physicality, violence, and relentlessness that make him difficult to block in the run game. While his pass-rush skills need improvement, his potential as an edge defender is evident due to his athleticism and size.

Grizzlies Dealt Major Blows Right Before 2023 Playoffs

By: OutOfSightSports


Grizzlies Dealt Major Blows Right Before 2023 Playoffs

The Memphis Grizzlies have been dealt a major blow ahead of the 2023 playoffs as starting center Steven Adams is expected to miss the postseason due to an injured right knee, according to sources from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Adams has been out since January 22 when he sprained his posterior cruciate ligament while diving for a loose ball during a game against the Phoenix Suns. Although he was initially expected to return within three to five weeks, he has not played since receiving a stem cell injection in his knee on March 8.

Adams’ absence will be a significant loss for the Grizzlies, who went 28-14 with him in the lineup. In addition to Adams, the Grizzlies will also be without key reserve center Brandon Clarke, who is out with a torn Achilles tendon. Xavier Tillman Sr. has been filling in for Adams and has been performing well, averaging 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 29 starts.

To address their depth issues in the frontcourt, the Grizzlies have converted rookie power forward Kenneth Lofton Jr.’s two-way contract to a four-year, $7 million deal. Lofton was the G League’s Rookie of the Year and would not have been eligible for the playoff roster if he remained on a two-way contract. The Grizzlies have also waived rookie point guard Kennedy Chandler, a second-round pick, to create a roster spot for Lofton.

Despite these setbacks, the Grizzlies remain optimistic about their chances in the playoffs. They are the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed and have had a strong season, finishing with a 50-22 record. With Tillman stepping up and Lofton providing additional depth, the Grizzlies will look to make a deep run in the playoffs and prove that they can overcome adversity.

We appreciate you taking the time to read our article! Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest and greatest in sports content, including jaw-dropping highlights, top plays, engaging stories, hilarious memes, real-time updates, and more! Stay in the loop with OutOfSightSports!

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2023 NBA Draft Scouting Profile: Gradey Dick

Player Profile: Gradey Dick

Position: Guard/Forward

Physical Attributes:

  • Height: 6-8
  • Weight: 205 pounds
  • Class: Freshman
  • Alma Mater: University of Kansas


  • Outside shooting: Gradey Dick possesses excellent shooting skills from beyond the arc, making him a threat on the court.
  • Defensive toughness: Dick’s length and quickness make him a formidable defender on the perimeter.
  • Playmaking ability: Despite being a freshman, Dick has shown an impressive ability to make plays and reads on the court.

Areas for Improvement:

  • Consistency: Dick has shown inconsistency in his performance, especially in postseason play, where he tends to disappear.
  • Defensive awareness: Dick needs to work on his defensive awareness, especially in situations where he loses track of his man and allows easy buckets.
  • Post-up game: Despite having a size advantage over smaller guards, Dick needs to improve his post-up game to take advantage of these mismatches.

Overall, Gradey Dick is a promising young prospect with a lot of upside, making him a valuable addition to multiple teams at the NBA level. With some work on his consistency, defensive awareness, and post-up game, he could become a solid contributor to any team he plays for in the future.

2023 NBA Draft Scouting Profile: Jarace Walker

By: OutOfSightSports


2023 NBA Draft Player Profiles: Jarace Walker

Player Profile: Jarace Walker, F, Houston

Walker is a physically dominant player and one of the most imposing prospects in the draft class, standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing 240 pounds. He possesses exceptional rebounding and shot-blocking skills, which make him an elite defensive option. He has the potential to defend all positions on the court, which makes him a valuable asset for any NBA team.

However, the question mark with Walker is his offensive game. While he started the season strong, hitting 42.3% of his 3-pointers in his first 23 games, his shooting declined in the final 13 contests, only making 26.5% of his attempts, most of which were catch-and-shoots.

On the bright side, Walker’s passing abilities are underrated. He has a solid assist rate of 12.6, which is nearly four times better than Bam Adebayo’s college numbers. Adebayo is a similarly built player who has become a strong passer in the NBA, which indicates that Walker has the potential to develop his passing game as well.

If Walker can improve his offensive skills, he has the potential to become an All-Star-level player. His combination of size, athleticism, and defensive abilities make him a tantalizing prospect for any NBA team looking to improve its defensive prowess.

We appreciate you taking the time to read our article! Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest and greatest in sports content, including jaw-dropping highlights, top plays, engaging stories, hilarious memes, real-time updates, and more! Stay in the loop with OutOfSightSports!

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Markkanen reveals plans to leave states for mandatory service during offseason in Finland

Markkanen reveals plans to leave states for mandatory service during offseason in Finland

By: OutOfSightSports


Markkanen reveals plans to leave states for mandatory service during offseason in Finland

Utah Jazz All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen has revealed that he plans to complete his mandatory service in the Finnish military during the NBA offseason. As a male citizen of Finland, Markkanen is required to complete military service before he reaches the age of 30.

In an interview with ESPN, Markkanen said, “It’s mandatory, we have to do it, but at the same time we take pride in it, too.” He expressed confidence that he can fulfill his military duties without affecting his preparation for the next NBA season.

Markkanen has been a key player for the Jazz this season, averaging 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds after being acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Depending on when the Jazz season ends, Markkanen will either report for his service on April 17 or in July, at a base located in the southern part of Helsinki.

Interestingly, many of the conscripts who serve at the military sports school are high-level professional or amateur athletes, according to the Finnish Federation. It remains to be seen how Markkanen’s military training will impact his performance on the court next season.

We appreciate you taking the time to read our article! Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest and greatest in sports content, including jaw-dropping highlights, top plays, engaging stories, hilarious memes, real-time updates, and more! Stay in the loop with the OutOfSightSports.

Hawkins Puts Name in 2023 NBA Draft, Has until May 31st to Retain College Eligibility

Hawkins Puts Name in 2023 NBA Draft, Has until May 31st to Retain College Eligibility


By: OutOfSightSports

Hawkins Puts Name in 2023 NBA Draft, Has until May 31st to Retain College Eligibility

Coleman Hawkins has declared for the NBA draft.  While he still possesses his collegiate eligibility, the Illini forward will participate in several NBA exhibitions and scrimmages with hopes of catching the attention of scouts in the association. The 21-year old Hawkins, 21, averaged 9.9 points per game as a junior, good for third place on the team in that metric.

He topped the Illini in both assists and blocks, and he additionally served as the team’s leader in rebounds. The six-foot-ten California native had a rocky Junior season, spanning from highs like a triple double against Syracuse and lows to a game in which he turned the ball over six times during the NCAA tournament.

Many media organizations and websites anticipate Hawkins will be selected in the middle to late stages of the second round. To retain his college eligibility, he will have to official make his decision by the 31st of May. Thank you for checking out the article, all support is greatly appreciated. Got a lot of content planned this year, don’t want to miss it! Anyways, what do you think the Junior PF should do?

The OOS Top 10 NFL Power-Rankings Pre Draft 2023

The OOS Top 10 NFL Power-Rankings Pre Draft 2023

As the NFL Draft approaches, anticipation builds for the next generation of talent that will enter the league. Many teams have made significant moves in free agency, acquiring new players and parting ways with others. Here are the top 10 out-of-system (OOS) NFL pre-draft rankings, highlighting the biggest gains and losses for each team. From elite cornerbacks to promising quarterbacks, these rankings provide insights into how these teams have positioned themselves for success in the upcoming season. With the right additions and subtractions, these teams could be poised for a competitive and exciting season ahead. So let’s dive in and see how these teams stack up before the draft takes place starting with our 10th team on the list:

10. Miami Dolphins

Biggest gain: CB Jalen Ramsey

Biggest loss: TE Mike Gesicki

Summary: Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker David Long will immediately contribute to the Dolphins’ defense. Ramsey has the highest PFF grade, highest PFF coverage grade and highest PFF run-defense grade among all cornerbacks since 2016, and only four linebackers earned a better PFF run-defense grade than Long in 2022. With head coach Mike McDaniel and QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami might be a force to be reckoned with in the AFC East.

9. Baltimore Ravens

Biggest gain: G John Simpson

Biggest loss: G Ben Powers

Summary: Take this with a grain of salt, considering the internal issues the team is currently facing with their franchise QB. The Ravens didn’t sign many new players in free agency, and their losses were fairly significant, as safety Chuck Clark, defensive end Calais Campbell and guard Ben Powers are top-ranked players at their positions. This ranking may change dramatically if Lamar Jackson joins another team.

8. Minnesota Vikings

Biggest gain: CB Byron Murphy Jr.

Biggest loss: CB Patrick Peterson

Summary: The Vikings brought in tight end Josh Oliver, who will help when it comes to operating more effectively out of 12 personnel. Oliver’s 74.6 run-blocking grade in 2022 ranked second among tight ends with at least 100 run-blocking snaps on the season. They also signed an elite edge defender in Marcus Davenport, who has put up a 17.8% pass-rush win rate and 13.9% pressure percentage — both top-20 marks among edge defenders — since entering the league in 2018. He’s also earned a very respectable 82.1 run-defense grade for his career, which ranks 16th over the span. Davenport has five straight campaigns grading above 70.0, but injuries have been his biggest issue.

7. Los Angeles Chargers

Biggest gain: LB Eric Kendricks

Biggest loss: LB Drue Tranquill

Summary: The Chargers didn’t make many moves during free agency, which may have been a smart move on their part. They have the second-least dead cap in the league. The addition of linebacker Eric Kendricks will improve their struggling run defense. Schematically, Kendricks will likely take over Drue Tranquill’s role and start at inside linebacker alongside Kenneth Murray. Given that he wore the green dot in Minnesota, that could also be a factor for the Chargers here, given that Derwin James stopped calling plays midseason and gave it to Tranquill. Kendricks is also a much better run defender and could help the Chargers fix a long-standing issue on their defense.

6. Dallas Cowboys

Biggest gain: CB Stephon Gilmore

Biggest loss: TE Dalton Schultz

Summary: The Cowboys now have an elite cornerback to pair with Trevon Diggs, as they signed Stephon Gilmore in free agency. Gilmore has been one of the best cornerbacks in football since moving to the New England Patriots in 2017, and he reconfirmed that with an impressive showing for the Indianapolis Colts in 2022 after playing just 304 snaps with the Carolina Panthers in 2021. Since 2017, his 92.8 PFF coverage grade is the highest among all cornerbacks to play at least 1,000 snaps. Despite losing running back Ezekiel Elliot and tight end Dalton Schultz, they don’t have a lot of dead cap.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

Biggest gain: T Orlando Brown Jr.

Biggest loss: S Jessie Bates III

Summary: The Bengals made a notable move to protect their quarterback, Joe Burrow, by signing Orlando Brown Jr. to a four-year contract. Although Brown is not considered an elite left tackle, he is a very good player with a history of solid performance, having achieved a pass-block grade of 73.5 or higher in five consecutive seasons and playing over 1,000 snaps in four straight years. However, the team also suffered losses in their safety position with the departures of Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell, leaving them with relatively inexperienced players at the top of the depth chart.

4. Buffalo Bills

Biggest gain: RB Damien Harris

Biggest loss: LB Tremaine Edmunds

Summary: The loss of Tremaine Edmunds is a significant blow to the defense, but the Bills were able to retain safety Jordan Poyer and linebacker Matt Milano to provide stability. Poyer has been durable and reliable, logging around 1,000 snaps in five consecutive seasons. Additionally, the team bolstered their offensive line by signing tackle Connor McGovern, who performed well as a pass-blocker for the Cowboys in 2022 with a 76.6 PFF pass-blocking grade and only allowing 23 pressures.

3. San Fransisco 49ers

Biggest gain/Most significant addition: QB Sam Darnold

Biggest loss: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Summary: The 49ers’ biggest question mark is their starting quarterback for the upcoming season. While they lost several players on defense, including CB Emmanuel Moseley and DI Hassan Ridgeway, the signing of star DI Javon Hargrave will help offset the impact of those losses. Hargrave has consistently earned high pass-rush grades and had a double-digit sack season in 2022, making him a valuable addition to the team.

2. Philadelphia Eagles

Biggest gain: HB Rashaad Penny

Biggest loss: LB T.J. Edwards

Summary: The Eagles’ free-agency moves resulted in a lot of dead cap space—tthe second-most in the league, to be exact. While replacing running back Miles Sanders with Rashaad Penny is not exactly a like-for-like swap, Penny is a good fit for Philadelphia and appears set to feast on early downhills as a strong downhill runner. Among running backs with at least 100 carries from 2021 to 2022, Penny’s 6.2 yards per carry and 4.4 yards after contact per attempt both lead the NFL, and his 0.23 missed tackles forced per carry ranks 11th. The loss of safety Marcus Epps absence will be felt in terms of run defense, but they have a solid safety group to make up for it.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Biggest gain: DE Charles Omenihu

Biggest losses: S Juan Thornhill, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

Summary: The first team on this list is the only team listed with multiples significant losses. Ironic, right? The Chiefs released Frank Clark and lost both starting offensive tackles in Orlando Brown Jr. and Andrew Wylie. However, their signings of tackle Jawaan Taylor and ED Charles Omenihu mitigate those losses. Taylor has become one of the better pass protectors on the right side across the NFL, ranking in the top 15 in pass-blocking grade (76.7) and pressure rate allowed (5.2%) among tackles on true pass sets in 2022.

Stay tuned for more “OutOfSight” NFL offseason updates and analysis as teams prepare for the draft and make strategic roster moves. It’s an exciting time in the NFL! Thank You for reading and make sure to follow us on Twitter (@OOSSports), IG (@outofsightsports), YouTube: Team OOS, and Substack! (OutOfSightSports)

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