With the playoffs starting this weekend, we look to the only person whose opinion matters about each team’s playoff outlook: 2 Chainz. From the top-seeded Heat to the limping Lakers (sorry, Utah fans), we used the Tity Boi scriptures to find out how all 16 teams will perform this postseason. From his days of playing high school basketball to sitting courtside at games across the league, 2 Chainz is a basketball whiz.
*** *** ***
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
2 Chainz, but I got me a few on â€“ “I’m Different”
Just as 2 Chainz boasts here, the Spurs are different than every other franchise. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have championships under their belt and Gregg Popovich is the league’s best coach. Cutting Stephen Jackson last week was a bold move, but the Spurs have earned the benefit of the doubt. They will enter the playoffs as the biggest threat to knock off the Thunder because of Duncan’s resurgent season. The Big Fundamental is averaging more than 21 points per 36 minutes for the first time since the Spurs last championship in 2007, and Parker remains underrated despite putting together another All-Star season. Their championship aspirations rest on how effective Ginobili is when he returns from injury. As seen in the 2011 first-round loss to the Grizzlies, the Spurs need a healthy Ginobili to remain elite.
You ain’t know what I did, see I know I’mma win
And they don’t have slow-motion so I did it again â€“ “G.O.O.D. Morning”
2 Chainz’ buddy LeBron James and the Heat are the overwhelming favorites to claim a second-straight Larry O’Brien Trophy. A 27-game win streak, the league MVP and championship pedigree are just a few of the many reasons why the Heat should repeat. The Heat are also better than they were last year. Gone are the questions about LeBron’s clutchness and the alpha-dog debate between him and Dwyane Wade. They have avoided the injury bug that has swept the league despite having an older bench. Most importantly, the Heat know who they are now. Surrounding LeBron with shooters and turning Wade into the most overqualified sidekick have made them nearly unstoppable.
Party scene turn to a murder scene â€“ “RIP”
Losing Danilo Gallinari‘s three-point shooting to an ACL tear will likely cripple the Nuggets’ postseason hopes. On a team already short on outside shooting, Gallinari’s floor spacing will be sorely missed once the playoffs start. The Nuggets have the depth to make up for his absence, but Andre Iguodala, Corey Brewer and Wilson Chandler don’t have the same shooting skill as Gallinari. Chandler is having a career season from beyond the arc, which will help soften the blow, but losing a starter this late in the season will challenge George Karl to find the right lineups to make up for the loss. Although 2 Chainz might be overstating the direness of the Nuggets’ playoff chances, they are undoubtedly facing a tougher road without Gallinari.
I remember reminiscing in the kitchen like
I wonder when the Braves gon’ win it
I wonder when the Falcons gon’ get here â€“ “My Moment”
Where are the Hawks? Despite being an Atlanta native, 2 Chainz is smart enough not to expect a championship from Josh Smith and crew. The Hawks have never won more than one round in the playoffs since moving to Atlanta in 1968. After miraculously duping the Nets into taking on Joe Johnson‘s behemoth of a contract, Hawks fans can take joy that change is coming. In the meantime, however, Johnson might be part of the team that sends the Hawks fishing.
Mr. Telephone man, there’s something wrong with my line
When I call my baby’s number, I get a click every time â€“ “I Luv Dem Strippers”
2 Chainz saw this coming. Don’t be surprised when Jay-Z doesn’t bother to answer your phone calls anymore, Deron. The Nets opened up Mikhail Prokhorov‘s checkbook over the summer, but didn’t spend wisely. With a payroll already exceeding $70 million for the next four seasons, Jay likely saw the writing on the wall and decided to leave for greener pastures. The Nets should be able to handle the Hawks in the first round, but a date with the Heat looms after that. Maybe Hov will drop you a line if you can make some noise in May.
Bonus: I signed with Def Jam, but I don’t know Jay-Z â€“ Dolla Boy of 2 Chainz group Playaz Circle on the “Duffle Bag Boy Remix”
Bon appetite, they obsolete, you know talk is cheap so don’t say a word â€“ “Like Me”
These lyrics might as well be straight from LeBron’s mouth. Brandon Jennings was confident/cocky/foolish enough to proclaim the Bucks matchup well with the Heat in a potential playoff series. Unfortunately for Jennings, the Bucks went 1-3 against the Heat and have an even bigger problem than that. WHO GUARDS LEBRON?! If the answer is Mike Dunleavy or Ersan Ilyasova, or anyone not named Kevin Durant, Paul George or Carmelo Anthony, the Bucks should start making plans for Cinco de Mayo.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
I started from the bottom of the destination
Now I’m headed to the top, call it elevation â€“ “I Got It”
Drake wasn’t the only person who started from the bottom. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook endured a 59-loss season just four years ago and are now favorites to repeat as Western Conference champions. Two of the 10 best players in the league and a supporting cast that knows its roles make the Thunder favorites out West. Of course, this Thunder team is drastically different than last season’s team that lost to the Heat. No James Harden will mean more responsibility on Westbrook to be a playmaker down the stretch of close games. Whether he has matured enough over the past year, will be critical to the Thunder’s quest to overcome the Heat this season.
Never on the guest list
In so many checks
I should have a checklist â€“ “One Day at a Time”
The perennially overlooked Grizzlies were written off in January when they dealt Rudy Gay to Toronto, but have gone 29-11 since the trade. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph give Memphis an advantage in the paint every night, which is crucial when the pace slows in the postseason. With Tayshaun Prince and Tony Allen, the Grizzlies are one of the league’s best defensive teams. Offense might be in limited supply for the Grizzlies, but they are built for playoff basketball. A first-round matchup with the Clippers will likely come down to who can control the paint. Don’t be surprised when the Grizzlies mark the Clippers off their checklist this year.
NEW YORK KNICKS
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
I shoot first, then aim â€“ “Bang Bang”
Okay maybe the Knicks aren’t this reckless with their shot selection, but 2 Chainz isn’t too far off. The Knicks’ playoff fate hinges on whether the long-ball is falling as they make three more three-pointers in wins than losses. Carmelo Anthony‘s recent hot streak bodes well for an extended playoff run, but the key for the Knicks will be getting their older players healthy. In a potential Eastern Conference Final against the Heat, the Knicks could dominate the paint if their big men return healthy. Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace and Amar’e Stoudemire could be the kryptonite for Miami’s small ball.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
You know I do it like I’m doing it for do
Watch the shoes, ostrich, you know what time it is like 2 watches
My reputation, detonation on destination
I separated, elevated: get salutation â€“ “Capitol”
This flashy set of bars from 2 Chainz summarizes the Clippers’ postseason hopes pretty well. They will make the highlights for leaping over defenders like they are KIAs, word to Brandon Knight, but ultimately there won’t be much substance to their run. Chris Paul might be able to carry them past the Grizzlies in the first round, but their lack of another go-to scorer — Blake Griffin isn’t that guy yet — will be their demise. A second-round matchup with the Thunder is likely where the Clippers’ season will end. Durant, Westbrook and company are strong in all the areas the Clippers have question marks. At least the Clippers will look good anyway, right?
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Jack of all trades, no ace of spades â€“ “Mean Mugging”
The Warriors might have a puncher’s chance against the injured Nuggets, but don’t have the signature player to carry them deep into the playoffs. Stephen Curry is a lights-out shooter, but he’s never been to the playoffs and is vulnerable to bigger, more athletic defenders. With Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, the Warriors have a bright future, but will have to take their lumps this year until they find an ace.
Yea I’m ballin’ hard like a globetrotter
Now I got em on they toes cause my flow hotter – “Globetrotter”
There aren’t many teams more entertaining to watch then the fast-breaking Rockets. Globetrotters might be the best way to describe their three-point happy, uptempo attack. James Harden‘s rise to superstar status gives them a building block and a chance in every game. No team wants to play the Rockets in the postseason because of how dangerous they are offensively. At the same time, however, the Rockets are looking at either the Spurs or Nuggets in the first round. The Spurs would likely handle them with ease, but a matchup with the Nuggets would be one of the year’s best. How many points could those two squads rack up in a seven-game series?
When I woke up this morning
All I could think about was you
Cause when I went to sleep last night
All I could think about was you â€“ “K.O.”
This is to you, Derrick Rose. Simply put, without their MVP the Bulls aren’t title contenders. That being said, they might be able to knock off the Pacers in round one and push the Knicks in the second round. Tom Thibodeau‘s defense is as good as it’s ever been. Can a dominant defense make up for a star-less roster? Probably not for too long, but the Bulls have been proving people wrong all season without Rose.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
All my verses sick, with no cold sores
All these snakes around me, I got lawnmowers â€“ “Lost It”
Did 2 Chainz hurt Kobe?! In all seriousness, no Kobe means no chance at knocking off the Thunder. Even if Dwight Howard was healthy and engaged, the Lakers don’t have anywhere near enough talent to challenge the Thunder. Taking Kobe out of the equation only makes for a more improbable road. The Lakers have as good a chance of beating the Thunder as 2 Chainz does of living out this bar: “Parallel park while I’m ghost riding.”
The crazy thing about it
I don’t need nobody
I don’t need no co-sign â€“ “Got One”
Once again, the Celtics don’t need to worry about having too many people on their bandwagon. Without Rondo, the Cs will be decided underdogs against the Knicks. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have been here before, however. It wouldn’t be like this current era of Celtics to go down easily, especially to the hated Knicks. If Jeff Green can continue his hot play since becoming a starter, the Celtics could challenge the three-point dependent Knicks.
Middle finger to my competition
Ain’t nobody seen my vision when I was in the kitchen – “Cocky”
The Pacers proved last year that they aren’t afraid to go nose-to-nose, quite literally, with the Heat. Unfortunately for them, Danny Granger is injured and Roy Hibbert isn’t the same player he was last season. Despite Paul George’s emergence as an All-Star, the Pacers don’t have the same bite as last season. A first-round matchup with the Bulls will be a slugfest that could go either way, but the Pacers don’t have the chops to push the Heat like they did last May.
EXTRA: JOEY CRAWFORD
Referee with the whistle, brrrrt, hold his tech â€“ “Birthday Song”
Do everyone a favor these playoffs, Joey, and take it easy on the technicals and let the players decide the games.
What are the best all-time basketball lyrics?
Follow Paul on Twitter at @ppalladino21.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.