The playoffs are right around the corner and now we will take a look at which teams have the best chance to win an NBA championship.
5. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have quietly morphed into a defensive juggernaut, owning the third best defense in the league since the all-star break. The additions of P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka have given the Raptors a very versatile roster that has the ability to match small lineups that Cleveland of Golden State throw out. Now, the Raptors get Kyle Lowry back, as he returns from wrist surgery. If Kyle Lowry can return to form, the Raptors have the best chance of dethroning Cleveland in the East and reaching the finals.
4. Houston Rockets
As Houston’s general manager, Daryl Morey, put it, “We figured our chance to beat Golden State was to send them a barrage of 3-pointers. We’ve got guys that can put them in the basket.” The Houston Rockets have the second best offense in the NBA and are on pace to set the NBA record for most three-pointers made in a season. While the Rockets likely would not enter a playoff series versus Golden State or San Antonio as favorites, the simple fact that they could go nuts from three and hang 130 on you gives them a chance. With James Harden leading them, these Rockets hope to ride their dynamic offense and hot shooting to an NBA championship.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been shaky over the second half of the season to say the least, but this team has the pieces necessary to make a championship run. It all starts with LeBron James. When you have the best player on the planet, you always have a chance. We were all reminded this week of how when the Cavs are locked in, they can be dominant. As J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, and Kyle Korver return from injury, the Cavaliers appear to be trending in the right direction. With as potent a “big three” as any team in the league, the Cavaliers should get out of the East but a difficult showdown in the finals will be looming.
2. San Antonio Spurs
Much like the expression worn on Kawhi Leonard’s face, the Spurs never seem to change. Led by Kawhi, the Spurs have amassed over 60 wins and own the number one defense in the league. They have gotten solid contributions this season from the likes of Danny Green, Dewayne Dedmon, and Patty Mills. Meanwhile, Pau Gasol has transformed himself into a knockdown three-point shooter and since has been anchoring a very strong bench unit for the Spurs. Where the Spurs struggle, is matching up with the athleticism of a team like Golden State. Still, Gregg Popovich plus Kawhi Leonard in a playoff series equals good things, like maybe an NBA championship.
1. Golden State Warriors
Sound the alarm! The Warriors are losing! Wait. Never mind. They’re fine. The Warriors struggled initially when Kevin Durant went down but since have righted the ship. They’ve won 13 games in a row and look like the team that won 73 games a year ago. And now they get Kevin Freaking Durant back in the lineup. Yeah, it’s scary. The Warriors have the league’s best offense and second best defense. With the playoffs kicking off in less than 10 days, the Warriors look prepared to avenge last season’s finals collapse.