The NBA Playoffs are here and the second season is about to begin. This means an exciting time for NBA bettors who love the intense action and heightened stakes that the postseason brings. Assuming you are looking to do some betting on the 2015 NBA Playoffs, you might be wondering exactly which teams are for real at this point, and which ones are pretenders who merely had a good regular season. That said, let’s take a look at the power rankings for the opening round.
1. Golden State Warriors (67-15, West No. 1) – With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, everybody knows that the Warriors can shoot the ball. But did you know that they also finished first in defense per 100 possessions? Pretty tough team to beat on either end of the floor.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29, East No. 2) – The Cavs are in a very good position to win the East after finishing the regular season 34-9 over the final 43 contests. It’s not just LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but also J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov who make this club extremely good.
3. LA Clippers (56-26, West No. 3) – If there’s one team that can compete with Golden State in terms of elite talent, it’s definitely the Clippers. But are Chris Paul and Blake Griffin finally ready to make a serious playoff run?
5. San Antonio Spurs (55-27, West No. 6) – The Spurs certainly can’t be counted out since they’re the defending champions and still have their core intact. But they could easily be bounced by LA in the first round if another year of aging is too much.
6. Houston Rockets (55-27, West No. 2) – James Harden has done an outstanding job carrying the Rockets, in a season where Dwight only played 41 games. The question is, though, is there enough beyond Howard and Harden to constitute a championship run.
7. Chicago Bulls (50-32, East No. 3) – An improved Jimmy Butler and the addition of Pau Gasol did wonders for this team. However, injuries to Derrick Rose and a down (worn-out) year for Joakim Noah are concerns.
8. Dallas Mavericks (50-32, West No. 7) – This is a team built for the playoffs, plain and simple, as the mid-season addition of Rajon Rondo alludes to. But a lack of depth and bad defense could make life miserable against Houston in the first round.
9. Washington Wizards (46-36, East No. 5) – The Wizards finally found some wins down the stretch, which could give them confidence. However, Washington must get over their tendency to disappear in some games.
10. Memphis Grizzlies (55-27, West No. 5) – Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have dominated inside this season. But unfortunately, the Grizzlies are dealing with injuries to Mike Conley and Tony Allen at the wrong time of the season.
11. Toronto Raptors (49-33, East No. 4) – This team can definitely hurt you on the offensive end, with dangerous options in Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Lou Williams. Unfortunately, they hurt themselves on the defensive end.
12. Portland Trail Blazers (51-31, West No. 4) – Limping into the playoffs on a four-game losing streak is never a good thing. It’s nice that Damian Lillard has remained healthy all season, but LaMarcus Aldridge is playing with a torn ligament in his hand while Nicolas Batum and Chris Kaman are also hurt.
13. New Orleans Pelicans (45-37, West No. 8) – The first round will give Anthony Davis a chance to showcase his immense talent on a bigger stage. Unfortunately, this team has to play the Warriors to open, which creates a grim proposition.
14. Milwaukee Bucks (41-41, East No. 6) – Milwaukee had an excellent turnaround from last year’s abomination. But a season-ending injury to Jabari Parker and a lack of experience all but guarantees this team won’t make much noise.
15. Boston Celtics (40-42, East No. 7) – Boston, like the Bucks, is a young team to watch in the upcoming years. And most didn’t even see the Celtics making the postseason this year after they got rid of Rondo and Jeff Green.
16. Brooklyn Nets (38-44, East No. 8) – It might be time to disassemble the expensive core of the Nets (when) if they lose to the Hawks.