NBA Playoffs: Chances of Each Playoff Team to Win the NBA Title
NBA Playoffs: Chances of Each Playoff Team to Win the NBA Title
As the NBA regular season nears its close, it is time to start thinking about and predicting the chances of each franchise winning the title. There are some interesting story lines regarding each and every team right about now. Several teams have been plagued with injuries all season long and may end up getting their guys healthy by the time the postseason starts. Other teams have recently had to cope with a key player going down and possibly being out for an extended period of time. How will those teams fare in this analysis of the odds?
There are teams that play very well in the regular season. Some are excellent in the paint, others feed off of the fast break, and a few are strictly jump shooting teams. With how physical the playoffs get and the intensity level sure to rise come later this month, how will these factors affect those teams' strengths?
Some squads depend solely on one or two guys to get it done; prime example being the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks. Will Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony be able to continue their phenomenal play as of late on into the postseason?
Many young players have stepped up for the top teams in each conference. The question now is, how will the tense playoff atmosphere affect their play? Are they going to be able to continue to play at the level they have offered up throughout the regular season? Only time will tell.
These are the questions I intend to answer by predicting each team's chances to win it all in the coming months.
Milwaukee Bucks: 1%
There's always a chance, right? The Bucks are going to enter the playoffs with a losing record, squeaking in merely because of the weak bottom half of the Eastern Conference. Simply put: They do not have what it takes to have a shot in the world of making it past the Miami Heat in the first round. End of story.
Boston Celtics: 40%
The Boston Celtics are a curious team heading into the playoffs. They certainly have their share of veteran leadership with guys who have been there before. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry will be key for them as they attempt to make another run. They will have a chance to make it out of the first round, but only if they can beat the likes of Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks. What happens after that? We'll have to find out.
Atlanta Hawks: 25%
Yes, the Atlanta Hawks receive a lower odds than the Boston Celtics. This is strictly based on playoff experience alone. With the veterans that the Celtics have, they know how to win in the postseason. The Hawks just do not have the type of experience and depth going into the postseason to have a real shot at making some noise. They may give the Indiana Pacers a five or six game series, but there's no way it's going beyond that.
Chicago Bulls: 15%
This section could be a novel in and of itself. The Chicago Bulls have had such a nightmare of a season with injuries to Derrick Rose, Rip Hamilton, Taj Gibson, Marco Belinelli, and Luol Deng who has played all season with a torn wrist ligament. Now, they are looking at being without Joakim Noah for an extended period of time. With all of the banged up bodies and not enough depth, the Bulls' season has taken a dive where no NBA fan wanted to see them go. They will likely not get a chance to knock off the Miami Heat with a team in this shape.
Brooklyn Nets: 35%
While the Brooklyn Nets have had a decent regular season, many often wonder if they have that extra level they can take their game to in the playoffs. Joe Johnson has been clutch all year long. Deron Williams has resurrected his season lately and looks to take his level up play up a notch as the postseason nears. What my big problem is, is with the physical level of play they will endure going up against the East's elite.
Indiana Pacers: 65%
The Indiana Pacers have one huge advantage going into the playoffs; they just might be the most physical team in the NBA. Frank Vogel has done a phenomenal job with his team, instilling a toughness that is a tall task to match. With Roy Hibbert and David West down low, they have two giant big men filling the gap for them. The play of Paul George will be key if they will get past the Miami Heat. He will have to lock down LeBron James and the offense will need to be facilitated around him.
New York Knicks: 75%
I so badly want to give the New York Knicks a higher chance than 75%, but I can't. Carmelo Anthony has carried this team on his back lately, but will he get help in the playoffs? If they are to advance to the Finals, they absolutely need elite play out of both Tyson Chandler down low and J.R. Smith off the bench. An X-Factor for the Knicks may be Chris Copeland who has performed well lately on both ends of the floor. If Anthony can get a little more help, they have a real shot at winning it all.
Miami Heat: 90%
Do I really need to explain this one? If you haven't watched ESPN this year, maybe you haven't heard of these guys. But, they're good. Real good. They have three legitimate All Stars in the starting lineup, one in particular will go down as one of the greatest of all time. Their bench includes guys who can knock down three pointers in their sleep. There is not much to say about the Miami Heat, other than they are the reigning champions and it's up to the rest of the league to match their level of play.
Los Angeles Lakers: 50%
50% is a fairly high rating for a team that is struggling just to get in, right? In part, I agree. On the other hand, this team has way too much talent not to compete. Kobe Bryant has been out of his mind over the past month, playing just about every minute head coach Mike D'Antoni will allow and literally willing his team to victory. The problem I have with the Los Angeles Lakers is that their big men need to play like they are fully capable of playing. Pau Gasol needs lots of playing time because he is invaluable and versatile. Dwight Howard is the best center in the NBA when healthy and mentally prepared. Will he get it together in the postseason?
Houston Rockets: 20%
Everybody loves James Harden's Rockets. It's gotta be the bears. With Harden, the Rockets are surely a much different and more respected team this season. The play of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik has been encouraging, but in the end they do not have enough depth or playmakers to take on the best of the best in the NBA.
Golden State Warriors: 35%
The Golden State Warriors have no problem putting points on the board. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, these guys can drop 120 points on the board at any point in time. The issue with the Warriors will be defense. Can they defend the physical teams like the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies? Can they run with the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder? We'll find out.
Memphis Grizzlies: 60%
The Memphis Grizzlies continue to ride underneath everybody's radar this season, as they have the past two years. There's one thing that is for sure about this team; They are physical. Their depth and style of play is perfect for the playoffs because they do not tire out. They will play hard until the final buzzer. They will beat you up. It will be tough to match up against Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol for any NBA front court. If the Grizzlies can find a way to put a few more points on the board, they have a shot to make it all the way.
Los Angeles Clippers: 70%
It pains me to give such a high chance to the Los Angeles Clippers, but they deserve it. They added a lot more depth to their squad, specifically with guys like Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes who have provided their own type of lifts off the bench. With Chris Paul feeding Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan all game long, it is going to be tough for teams to keep up defensively. If the Clippers can tighten up their defense come playoff time, don't count them out.
Denver Nuggets: 50%
It is going to be a tough road ahead for the Denver Nuggets without Danilo Gallinari. With "Gallo" as they call him, I would have bumped their chances up to maybe 60-65%. They lose instant offense with him out for the season. The biggest thing for the Nuggets now will be their post play. Kenneth Fareid is a monster on both ends, but he needs consistent help from JaVale McGee off the bench. McGee has the tools to be great, but so far he hasn't showed that on a consistent basis. If the Nuggets can get great post play and continue to run and gun on offense filling up the points in the paint, I wouldn't write them off just yet.
Oklahoma City Thunder: 85%
Without James Harden in the postseason, the Oklahoma City Thunder are... the exact same as they were last year. If you don't remember, Harden seemed to disappear in the most crucial times for the Thunder, and many blame him for the Thunder not making it to the Finals. This season they will need Kevin Martin to continue playing well off the bench and also Serge Ibaka to be the versatile and near-elite center he can be. Those two will be the keys for the Thunder as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will absolutely light it up.
San Antonio Spurs: 95%
Gregg Popovich does it again, folks. He takes guys that a lot of people have never heard of and makes them into elite role players. Without their big three off and on this year, the San Antonio Spurs have depended on their bench to succeed; and boy have they ever. It seems as though as long as Popovich is coaching, the Spurs will always be a severe threat. I believe this year that the development of their role players will come to prove they are the best team in the NBA and will lead them to a title over the Miami Heat.