The NBA Awaits a New Champion, and the Path is Wide Open

For virtually everyone left in the playoffs, this is a whole new world.

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Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) celebrate the team's double-overtime win against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, June 1, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Image via AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

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In this NBA, this much is already clear: There will be a new champion. A lot of first-time champions, too. The second round of the NBA playoffs start on Saturday night, and nowhere to be found are the franchises that have combined to win almost two-thirds of the titles awarded in league history. There are new faces, like a Phoenix team that’s in the second round for the first time since 2010, Brooklyn for the…

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