Every team still playing for the NBA championship has their season on the line in some capacity each game. However, with the addition of the play-in tournament some teams were backed into a corner more than others.
While the Lakers, Grizzlies, Celtics and Wizards fought their way through the play-in format, NBA fans were most confident (and excited, it seems) about the prospect of the Golden State Warriors fighting their way into the real playoffs.
Fans around the NBA thought the Golden State Warriors had the best chance of advancing beyond the play-in tournament, with 81% believing the team would win one of their games. The team that eventually bested the Warriors, the Los Angeles Lakers, were not far behind at 80%.
Perhaps this is a sign of people leading with their hearts and not their heads, but survey respondents also were rallying behind Steph Curry even in a one-to-one comparison with LeBron James.
When asked to pick between the two, nearly three-fourths of fans believe Curry is more dangerous in an elimination game than James. Moral of the story, which we seem to relearn every single year — never bet against LeBron James.
Something to keep in mind after James and the Lakers got pretty handily trounced by the Phoenix Suns in their first game of the playoffs.
The fan predictions for the play-in in the Eastern Conference actually proved true with the Wizards and Celtics getting the bulk of the votes. 61 percent of NBA fans believed the Celtics would advance, falling only behind the Wizards team they beat, which took 78 percent. The Indiana Pacers received the least amount of votes, with only 24 percent, but lived to fight another day after beating the Charlotte Hornets.
Point guard LaMelo Ball was picked by 52 percent of NBA fans as the player who should win the Rookie of the Year award. Ball beat out Minnesota Timberwolves’ top pick Anthony Edwards 36 percent and Sacramento Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton who earned 12 percent.
Meanwhile, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was the top pick among fans, with 49 percent of the vote, to win Defensive Player of the Year.
According to the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, a full 100 percent of responding Pistons fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That number has held steady for most of the last three months.
Let’s see how that changes as the NBA Draft Lottery draws near and the paranoia really starts to kick in.
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