Check out the best plays from over two months of NBA playoff basketball.
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30. Philadelphia – What more can you say about the 76ers? To be honest I believe the season is still a big waste. You have two guys in Noel & Okafor who both play the same position (Noel is not a great fit at the PF) and I believe one will be traded after this season. You’ve got a point guard in Ish Smith who’s played great but you know won’t be the future PG for this team and you’ve got a whole bunch of expendable pieces. On top of that your other high potential player Embid plays Center as well.
29. Phoenix – This team was decimated by injuries, disgruntle players, and having the head coach in the hot seat for months. The Suns could have possibly made a playoff run without all of these issues but that’s part of the NBA. Maybe the Suns can pull off a top 3 pick and get an impact player to put along Eric Bledsoe. They do have some guys who have some potential in Alex Len & T.J. Warren but once again injuries are holding them back.
28. L.A. Lakers – The Kobe Bryant farewell tour is almost completed and the Lakers have pretty much forfeited this season. They do have some player with some potential in Randle, Clarkson, Russell, & Nance but with Byron Scott as their head coach it’s not guarantee that they will develop. Every team Scott’s coached he’s gave up on young players and focused on the veteran players.
27. Brooklyn – After the Joe Johnson buyout Brooklyn could possibly fall further back. I don’t find Brooklyn to have many weapons on the floor other than Brook Lopez & Thaddeus Young. It’s not much of a future for Brooklyn either. Unless they luck up and make some big moves in either free agency or the draft they’ll be in this position for a few more years.
26. Minnesota – Right now the T-Wolves are “ate up” in the paint. With only Dieng and Anthony Towns healthy to man the paint it’s going to be rough for the T-Wolves. To be honest they need to make decision on what they are going to do in the future. You have Wiggins, Rubio, Muhammad, Martin, LaVine, & Bjelica all with potential of starting but they need to decide who they are going to go with in the future. For the ones who aren’t starting I think they all have solid trade value and could make some moves in the offseason to help them out. For now they T-Wolves will continue to struggle but they at least have two of the best young players in the league in Wiggins & Towns to build from.
25. New York – At one point the Knicks had a chance to make a playoff push but now those dreams far gone. On paper the Knicks are a solid team but they’ll need for Porzingis to continue to develop into the player it looks like he’ll become. This season here is a wash but with an improved Porzingis and hopefully a solid pick up in free agency or in the draft could help the Knicks make it to the playoffs.
24. Denver – Denver has some upcoming players but need to make some decisions in the off season on what direction the team will go into. Not much to them other then that.
23. Milwaukee – The Bucks waited a little bit too long to turn up this season. Throughout the season the startling line up has changed constantly. You’ve got Carter-Williams starting then going off the bench, Parker coming back from an ACL injury, Monroe not fitting in with the team. It’s been issues after issues with this squad. They have a decent roster and talent that they could of made it to the playoffs but games aren’t played on paper and this team hasn’t shown the chemistry of a playoff team, at least early on in the season.
22. Orlando – The Magic already have made some crucial moves this season. They bought out Channing Frye and traded Harris. They’ve put Aaron Gordon into starting line which seems like is working out for them and their playing a rotation of Oladipo, Hezonja, and Fournier on the wing. They’ve added Jennings & Ilyasova which are solid veteran players who probably won’t be there for long. They still have plenty of work to do and probably could have made a push to the playoffs this year which is why they are at #22 on the Power Rankings.
21. Sacramento – You could argue that the Kings are underachieving or that they don’t simply have enough talent. I think it’s a combination of both. I think a team with Cousins, Gay, & Rondo should probably get you an 8th seed but it seems like whenever the Kings make one step forward they take two steps back. They could probably use more consistency from their role players but at the end of the day I’m not sure if the George Karl-DeMarcus Cousins combination works.
20. New Orleans – Injuries all day. Pelicans have been very inconsistent this season but that’s partly because of the rash of injuries suffered throughout the season. Everybody has been injured at one point or another including Evans, Gordon, Holiday, Davis, Anderson, Asik, etc.
19. Utah – Another team suffering from the injury bug is the Utah Jazz. While the Jazz are prevailing over their injuries a lot better than the Pelicans they’ve been hit with injuries even before the season started. A lot of key players in the lineup have gotten injured but they’ve still manage to pull out the factory and scratch for that last playoff spot in the West. With the full Jazz roster I do think they have potential but it’s going to be an uphill battle to get that last spot in the West.
18. Chicago – I think the Bulls are probably going to fall back even further than this. The Bulls should easily be a top 4 team in the East but instead are struggling for their playoff lives. With all the injuries and Rose not regaining his All-Star/MVP caliber play, the Bulls are going to be in for an uphill battle to stay relevant in the East. On top of that I don’t see Gasol re-upping with the Bulls for next season.
17. Houston – Houston is the definition of an up and down team. They picked up Ty Lawson in the offseason and have already let him go. Dwight’s complaining about touches, and James Harden is still not playing defense. While things are looking extremely bad for the Rockets they can still make the playoffs.
16. Washington – .Throughout the year they’ve had multiple injuries to many of their key players. With the additions they have made after the All Star break it looks like if they can keep it up they’ll make a push to playoffs because as of right now there on the outside looking in. Wall has shown he’s an all-star caliber player but it will be up to his supporting cast to make that final push to the playoffs.
15. Detroit – Detroit Basketball is almost back in the Motor City. Drummond has shown that he can be a monster on the boards; Jackson has shown that he has the capabilities to run a team from the PG position, and it’s shown that Stan Van Gundy can put his team in a winning position. A lot of people thought it was bad when he let Josh Smith go but it seems like that has worked out just fine.
14. Indiana – Pacers are a team that should make the playoffs but also they should be concern with the development of Myles Turner. Most of this particular team is consisted of veteran players who will most likely come and go, so it is important to develop your young players while you have a chance. The Pacers are prepared to make it to the playoffs but I don’t see much more out of them once the playoffs started.
13. Charlotte – With the additions of Courtney Lee and putting Batum back in his natural position it seems like the Hornets have solidified their wing positions. In addition to that they’ve gotten Al Jefferson coming back and as a team are known to play good team defense. The Hornets will be in the playoff picture but just like Indiana I’m not sure they are going to go far.
12. Dallas – Dallas is in the playoff picture but as of right now it’s going to be them going through the 3 headed monster of Golden State, San Antonio, and Oklahoma. The addition of David Lee will help but it won’t put them over the top. In the end the Mavs are a solid team but in the West they are simply going to need more fire power.
11. Portland – The Lillard & McCollum show is now airing in Portland. Pretty much the backcourt has been carrying this team on their backs this season. If there was a surprise team this season it would have to be the Trailblazers. After pretty much losing their whole starting line-up other than Lillard they have shown to be resilient and contend for a playoff spot once again even after such massive losses in the off season. While the playoffs are in their future going anywhere deep into the playoffs seems nonexistent, well at least for now.
10. Memphis – With Gasol going down Memphis should of easily went near the bottom of the rankings but instead they having been fighting strong. Even with Jeff Green trade people felt like that was the Grizz waving the white flag. Grizzles are a tough team and will make it to playoffs but once they make it to the playoffs it’s going to be rough.
9. Miami – To be honest, The Heat & Hawks are interchangeable in this power ranking with the Heat looking to possibly go down with the loss of Chris Bosh. While I do think the Heat have a real solid line up I’m not sure if everything will gel. For the most part they have decent depth and easily can put together a real good starting lineup but at the end of the day I’m not sure if the team can come together in order to go far in the playoffs. If they play Boston or Toronto I’m not sure if they can pull it off in a series even though on paper they might be equally talented.
8. Atlanta – Atlanta has shown that while they are good they aren’t as good as they were last year. People don’t realize that Carroll was a big loss for the Hawks, along with that you got trade rumors for pretty much all the starters in the Hawks line up. Millsap and Horford made it back to the All Star game but the backcourt hasn’t been the same this year. I don’t think this is a squad many teams in the East would want to see in the playoffs but the Hawks aren’t as powerful as they were last year.
7. Boston – Good coaching and solid players. While the Celtics don’t have a superstar they have a team full of solid players who are playing good defense and executing on offense. Boston might be the sleeper team in the East. They’ve shown a mentality that’s similar to the Detroit Pistons who upset the Shaq/Kobe/Malone/Payton Lakers winning by great overall team play rather then relying on stars.
6. LA Clippers – Winning without Blake shows to me that Doc might actually be a good coach. He’s shown that he can win without his star player and make adjustments to this lineup to make sure that they can get the W. With Blake back I’d like to see if the Clippers are going to go up or down.
5. Toronto – Good basketball defines the Raptors. They’ve shown to make progression in the last few years. Lowry & DeRozan have shown that they are dependable and can lead their team to a top seed in the East. Even with the injuries that have occurred, the Raptors have shown that they can still rack up the Ws even under those circumstances.
4. Oklahoma – Any other year this could possibly be a top 2 team but this isn’t the typical NBA season. Westbrook has been putting up monster numbers and Durant has simply been Durant. They have a solid squad around two superstars but their execution late in games has held them back from being the elite of the West. Great team but this will be war to make it out the West.
3. Cleveland – Lebron isn’t getting any younger. There aren’t many more chances for him to go home with the Chip. To be honest the Cavs are a great team but it seems like team chemistry might be the biggest issue. With the season winding down it seems like the Cavs are going down rather than up. Even with those issues the Cavs should make it to the finals but the real question is can they defeat the Spurs & Warriors.
2. San Antonio – Perennial winners. Great defense and good offense is a constant from the Spurs. Leonard & Aldridge are holding it down for the youth of the Spurs and when the playoffs come expect for Duncan & Parker to step it up as well.
1. Golden State – There isn’t much that needs to be said about the Warriors. There winning in a variety ways. The Warriors might have one of the best regular seasons of all time.