Power Ranking the Playoff Teams

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns

*=last game in progress is meaningless to seeding


Seeding and Record: 8 Seed in West, 41-40 overall*

Injuries: PF Ed Davis (C Festus Ezeli has missed entire season)

Starting Five:

C Jusuf Nurkic 10.2 PPG

PF Noah Vonleh 4.3 PPG

SF Maurice Harkless 10 PPG

SG CJ McCollum 23 PPG

PG Damian Lillard 27 PPG

Nine-Man Rotation: G/F Allen Crabbe, G/F Evan Turner, F Al-Farouq Aminu, F/C Meyers Leonard

This team really took off when Jusuf Nurkic was traded in from Denver for Mason Plumlee, and ironically it caused them to jump Denver and eliminate them in the postseason hunt. However, the 8 seed in the West doesn't really matter this season, as the Golden State Warriors will be their opponent once again. While this team did indeed take a Curry-less Warriors' team to six games, it won't be that simple. Plus, Golden State has Kevin Durant now. I think Lillard and McCollum can get them game three in Portland, but they won't win any more.

PREDICTION: Out in 5 in first round


Seeding and Record: 8 Seed in East, 41-41 overall

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C Robin Lopez 10.4 PPG

PF Nikola Mirotic 10.7 PPG

SF Jimmy Butler 23.9 PPG

SG Dwyane Wade 18.5 PPG

PG Jerian Grant 5.9 PPG

Nine-Man Rotation: PG Rajon Rondo, F Bobby Portis, PG Michael Carter-Williams, G/F Paul Zipser

The Bulls are a team that uses a lot more than a nine-man rotation, but some players are going to get cut out of the rotation in the playoffs, and these are the guys who I think will see the most action against Boston. I don't think they have a good chance of getting past Boston, but with how balanced the East has been anything is possible. The Bulls are dysfunctional, and the only reason I have them ahead of Portland is because Portland plays the Warriors. With that said, I think the Bulls win a game.

PREDICTION: Out in 5 in first round


Seeding and Record: 7 Seed in East, 42-40 overall

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C Myles Turner 14.4 PPG

PF Thaddeus Young 11 PPG

SF Paul George 23.6 PPG

SG Monta Ellis 8.6 PPG

PG Jeff Teague 15.2 PPG

Nine-man rotation: G/F CJ Miles, C Al Jefferson, G/F Lance Stephenson, PG Aaron Brooks

I like the Pacers' roster, and love how both George and Turner play basketball. But this team will be going against Cleveland, and everybody has them flipping the switch in the playoffs, right? This team will need guys like Thaddeus Young, Monta Ellis and Al Jefferson to step up big if they don't want to get swept by Cleveland, but I will predict that not happening.

PREDICTION: Swept in first round


Seeding and Record: 6 Seed in East, 42-40 overall

Injuries: F Jabari Parker

Starting Five:

C Thon Maker 3.9 PPG

PF Giannis Antetokounmpo 22.9 PPG

SF Tony Snell 8.5 PPG

SG Khris Middleton 14.7 PPG

PG Malcolm Brogdon 10.2 PPG

Nine-man rotation: C Greg Monroe, PG Matthew Dellavedova, PF Mirza Teletovic, F Michael Beasley

This team was the best team in the month of March, and the second hottest team behind Miami. They start two rookies, but Maker doesn't play a whole lot in any game. The key for this team is defense and the offensive play of Khris Middleton, and he will need to be huge if they want to have any chance against Toronto.

PREDICTION: Out in 6 in first round


Seeding and Record: 5 Seed in East, 43-39 overall

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C Dwight Howard 13.5 PPG

PF Paul Millsap 18.1 PPG

SF Taurean Prince 5.6 PPG

SG Tim Hardaway 14.5

PG Dennis Schroder 17.9 PPG

Nine-man rotation: G/F Kent Bazemore, G/F Thabo Sefolosha, F Ersan Ilyasova, F/C Mike Muscala

The Hawks are another team that uses a lot of players, and it will be interesting to see how many minutes Schroder plays being the only truly capable point guard in Atlanta. Paul Millsap is this team's best player, and despite being the five seed I have to believe they are heavy underdogs against Washington. I think they can win one or two, but won't get past the Wizards.

PREDICTION: Out in 5 in first round


Seeding and Record: 6th in West, 47-35 overall

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C Steven Adams 11.4 PPG

PF Taj Gibson 10.8 PPG

SF Andre Roberson 6.6 PPG

SG Victor Oladipo 16 PPG

PG Russell Westbrook 31.9 PPG

Nine-man rotation: F/C Enes Kanter, PF Domantas Sabonis, F Doug McDermott, PG Semaj Christon

This team is all about Russell Westbrook, and I just don't really know how far this team can go in the playoffs with just him on the roster. Yes, players like Kanter, Oladipo and Adams are solid, but they aren't All-Stars and can't play well unless Westbrook does. Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double this season for a reason, and it's because his team has an "I" in it.

PREDICTION: Out in 6 in first round


Seeding and Record: 7th in West, 43-39 overall

Injuries: SF Chandler Parsons, G/F James Ennis

Starting Five:

C Marc Gasol 19.6 PPG

PF JaMychal Green 9 PPG

SF Vince Carter 8.1 PPG

SG Tony Allen 9.1 PPG

PG Mike Conley 20.6 PPG

Nine-man rotation: PF Zach Randolph, F/C Brandan Wright, SG Troy Daniels, PG Andrew Harrison

Memphis is in an interesting predicament, as they once again have the San Antonio Spurs after struggling their way into the postseason. This time, however, they aren't counting on Matt Barnes to be their second best player, as they are much healthier. However, even with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley playing, I don't see the Grizzlies getting past the Spurs, although I also don't see them getting swept.

PREDICTION: Out in 6 in first round


Seeding and Record: 4th in East, 49-33 overall

Injuries: C Ian Mahinmi

Starting Five:

C Marcin Gortat 10.7 PPG

PF Markieff Morris 14 PPG

SF Otto Porter 13.5 PPG

SG Bradley Beal 23.1 PPG

PG John Wall 23.1 PPG

Nine-man rotation: G/F Bojan Bogdanovic, PG Brandon Jennings, F/C Jason Smith, G/F Kelly Oubre

This team is probably the most dependent on its' starting five in the playoffs, even with the midseason additions of Bogdanovic and Jennings. However, this is a really good starting five, and one that is good enough, led by John Wall, to take them at least to the second round of the playoffs. I think they will give Boston a scare, but won't get past them.

PREDICTION: Out in 7 in East Semifinals


Seeding and Record: 51-31, (likely) 5th in West

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C Rudy Gobert 14 PPG

PF Derrick Favors 9.6 PPG

SF Gordan Hayward 22 PPG

SG Rodney Hood 12.7 PPG

PG George Hill 17 PPG

Nine-man rotation: G/F Joe Johnson, G Alec Burks, F/C Boris Diaw, SF Joe Ingles

This team is the deepest in the postseason in my opinion, but I also don't believe that it will have much of an effect. The additions of Johnson, Hill and Diaw to add veteran presences here in Utah were nice, but I don't think it is quite enough yet to get this team over the hump. They haven't been to the postseason since Deron Williams was on the team, and it will likely mean they struggle in their first attempt back at it.

PREDICTION: Out in 5 in first round


Seeding and Record: 3rd in East, 51-31 overall

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C Jonas Valanciunas 12 PPG

PF Serge Ibaka 14.8 PPG

SF DeMarre Carroll 9 PPG

SG DeMar DeRozan 27.3 PPG

PG Kyle Lowry 22.6 PPG

Nine-man rotation: G Cory Joseph, PF Patrick Patterson, G/F PJ Tucker, G/F Norman Powell

The additions of Ibaka and Tucker helped make this team tied for second in the East, but the real benefit this team will get is the injury to Kyle Lowry that forced this team to learn how to win without him. Toronto will be headed back to the postseason with home-court, and will look to avenge its' Eastern Conference Finals loss last season.

PREDICTION: Out in 7 in East Semifinals


Seeding and Record: 4th in West, 50-31 overall (have lead on Kings in 4th quarter)

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C DeAndre Jordan 12.6 PPG

PF Blake Griffin 21.7 PPG

SF Luc Mbah a Moute 5.9 PPG

SG JJ Redick 15 PPG

PG Chris Paul 18.1 PPG

Nine-man rotation: SG Jamal Crawford, G Austin Rivers, F/C Marressee Speights, SF Paul Pierce

Going eight deep, this team is as good as most, and I believe the Clippers will once again have an opportunity to knock on the door of that elusive Western Conference Finals. Unfortunately for them, they are playing against one of the best three-year teams in NBA history in the Golden State Warriors in that round, and this might be the end of Lob City.

PREDICTION: Swept in West Seminfinals


Seeding and Record: 1st in West, 53-29 overall

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C Al Horford 14 PPG

PF Amir Johnson 6.4 PPG

SF Jae Crowder: 13.8 PPG

SG Avery Bradley 16.4 PPG

PG Isaiah Thomas 29.1 PPG

Nine-man rotation: PG Marcus Smart, F/C Kelly Olynyk, G/F Jaylen Brown, F Jonas Jerebko

Having the one seed in the conference and likely first overall pick in the draft is rare, but Danny Ainge has pulled it off without acquiring a true superstar. The leading scorer in the fourth quarter in the NBA, All-Star Isaiah Thomas, will argue against that, but Boston is a team filled with very good players. I don't think they are ready to take down LeBron yet, though.

PREDICTION: Out in 6 in East Finals


Seeding and Record: 3rd in West, 55-27 overall

Injuries: SF Sam Dekker

Starting Five:

C Clint Capela 12.4 PPG

PF Ryan Anderson 13.5 PPG

SF Trevor Ariza 11.7 PPG

SG James Harden 29.1 PPG

PG Patrick Beverley 9.5 PPG

Nine-man rotation: SG Eric Gordon, G Lou Williams, F/C Nene, F Montrezl Harrell

Houston has my choice for sixth man, coach of the year, and MVP this season, but as we all know, the Spurs are the Spurs, and nobody should underestimate them. I have a feeling that they are as good as usual, but nobody is paying attention to them. As for Houston, they will do pretty well stopping OKC, but I can't see them getting past San Antonio.

PREDICTION: Out in 5 in West Semifinals


Seeding and Record: 2nd in East, 51-31 overall

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C Tristan Thompson 8.1 PPG

PF Kevin Love 19 PPG

SF LeBron James 26.4 PPG

SG JR Smith 8.7 PPG

PG Kyrie Irving 25.2 PPG

Nine-man rotation: PG Deron Williams, SG Kyle Kover, F/C Channing Frye, G/F Iman Shumpert

The Cavaliers struggled down the stretch, rested players, played bad defense, and I still think they can get to the Finals. I don't want them to, I'm so tired of LeBron always being there, but Boston isn't ready to stop them and Toronto is just Toronto. Indiana is the first round opponent, who they will sleepwalk through. The Finals is a different story, however.

PREDICTION: Out in 6 in NBA Finals


Seeding and Record: 1st in West, 67-15 overall

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C Zaza Pachulia 6.1 PPG

PF Draymond Green 10.2 PPG

SF Kevin Durant 25 PPG

SG Klay Thompson 22.5 PPG

PG Stephen Curry 25.4 PPG

Nine-man rotation: G/F Andre Iguodala, PG Shaun Livingston, F/C David West, F Matt Barnes

Amazing that the Warriors are 67-15 and some people think this season was a letdown. This team is as deep as it is top-heavy, and should be every bit as frightening as the preseason predictions have led them believe to be. But, three identical Finals' in a row has never happened, and for some reason I just believe that this is the Spurs' year. Oh, and Klay Thompson has averaged a career high in points, surprisingly.

PREDICTION: Out in 7 in West Finals


Seeding and Record: 2nd in West, 61-21 overall

Injuries: None

Starting Five:

C DeWayne Dedmon 5.1 PPG

PF LaMarcus Aldridge 17.3 PPG

SF Kawhi Leonard 25.7 PPG

SG Danny Green 7.4 PPG

PG Tony Parker 10.1 PPG

Nine-man rotation: F/C Pau Gasol, SG Manu Ginobili, PG Patty Mills, G/F Jonathan Simmons

No Tim Duncan? No problem in my opinion. This team has won 60+ games again, and has won three out of four over the Warriors. I don't know why I think they can win game seven in Oakland, I just do. Who knows, maybe the Spurs will do the most Spurs thing ever and come back from being down 3-0 in the West Finals. This team is deep, great at defense, and has a two-way superstar in Kawhi Leonard. My head says Warriors, but my gut says Spurs. My gut is bigger, so I'm choosing the Spurs.