RNR 24 | 20 Fights with NO HEADGEAR + Ring Girl Contest | Friday 8pm ETBUY HERE

With A Month To Go In The NBA Season, It's Time To Prepare For Chaos

Seeing as how today is March 13th, that means we only have about a month to go in the NBA's regular season. It feels a little crazy that we're already at this point of the year, but as they say time flies when you're having fun and I think it's safe to say that the 2023-24 NBA season has been just that. 

While most of the focus has been on the top of each conference and the "contenders", there really hasn't been that much movement amongst that group of teams. Sure there could be some rearranging in the top 4, but it feels like we have a pretty good idea of which teams will end the season with at least one round of homecourt advantage in the playoffs.

Once you get to to this part of the season though you start to entertain the classic debate of "rest vs rust" as well as jockeying for playoff positioning. The beauty of this season, and why this final month should be so much fun, is there is a whole lot of chaos on the horizon. All you have to do is look at the standings for the 6-10 seeds in each conference

I know there are some out there that hate the idea of the Play In, but I'm not sure why. I mean look at how things stand right now! In the East, you have a team like MIA, the giant killers that as of today still have an outside shot to fall from anywhere from 4-8. You don't think that's going to impact how teams like MIL/CLE operate these final weeks of the year? If you're the Bucks, do you go with the same plan as the 2022 playoffs where they actively sat guys so they could duck the Nets in the first round if the Heat finish 7th?

If you're the Celtics, you don't think there's a difference in having to play MIA potentially in the 1st or 2nd round depending on their finish, or if they end up in 6th you don't see them until a potential ECF? The Magic, while young, can definitely play the role of playoff spoiler or at least make a series tougher than it should be considering their length and defense, but one bad week could have them in the Play In.

Then there's the Sixers, a team that has cratered without Joel Embiid, but if he comes back and looks like 80% of his old self? That's not your common 8 seed. The point is, there are a handful of playoff spoilers that are floating around the Play In zone in the East but with a strong week could find themselves with homecourt. That's a crazy swing.

The greater level of chaos though of course is in the West. Can you imagine a Play In with a group of PHX/DAL/GS/LAL? That sound you just heard was Adam Silver cumming to the moon. The ratings on those games would be astronomical. Given the Suns/Mavs beef and LeBron vs Steph, it's crazy to think that 2 of those teams wouldn't even make the 1st round of the playoffs. It should be noted that the Suns have the 2nd toughest remaining schedule in the NBA, so is it all that crazy to think they drop a spot or two?

Imagine you're the Thunder and you just completed one of the most dominant regular seasons in franchise history. SGA is finishing no lower than top 2 in the MVP, Chet and JDub are WAY ahead of schedule, and your reward for that season is a 7 game series against

1. The PHX superteam

2. Luka

3. Steph

4. LeBron 

The same is true for the Wolves, only they're going to have to do it without KAT. When it comes to the Nuggets, I don't think they truly give a shit because they have the best player in the world and are a combined 9-0 against LAL/GS/DAL, but they have had their issues with a healthy Suns team. The point is, since the start of the Play In, there really hasn't been a pool of teams that have this much proven firepower. Would anyone be shocked if a Play In team from the West made a deep run? Given how tight the standards are at the top of the conference, how do you even try to jockey for position at this point? 

Of those teams, I'd say the Mavs have the best chance to play their way out of the Play In given they have the 22nd toughest remaining schedule, but they are going to have to figure out their defense (22nd) to do it. As unstoppable of an offensive force as Luka has been, it doesn't exactly translate to wins if you're giving up a billion easy buckets on the other end as a team. 

When you take a step back and look at the entire league, this is all good news. The league has never been deeper in terms of talent, and with the addition of the Play In it's made the entire regular season matter. Usually this time of year we see teams punt games, focus on rest, and being ready for the playoffs. Now? The only team that can really do that is Boston.

Instead, we get a situation like we have now where it's going to be a race to the finish, and every game will matter. One bad stretch and your entire playoff path could change. For the teams at the top, you could go from having a favorable matchup to suddenly being faced with challenging a team that can absolutely beat you in Round 1 if you aren't on top of your shit. 

I dunno about anyone else, but I cannot wait to see how it all shakes out. We're quickly approaching the best time of the year, and given how tight things are right now it's almost as if we're starting the playoffs a month early. 

A lot of people say the NBA's regular season doesn't matter, but mark my words. Whoever wins the title this year, we will be able to look back to this final month and how things ultimately shake out as a reason they pulled it out. Playoff paths matter, and with a month to go we still have zero idea how it's going to shake out. 

Bring on the chaos.