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Ranking NBA teams best-built to beat the Warriors in a 7-game series

Ranking NBA teams best-built to beat the Warriors in a 7-game series

9. Utah Jazz

The Jazz (32-24, No. 6 in West) are your basic “good regular-season team that likely doesn’t have the star power to make it past the second round in the NBA Playoffs.” Utah has largely been bumslayers this season, with a 15-18 report vs teams above .500, and 17-6 vs teams under .500.

Second-year guard Donovan Mitchell just had a unbelievable January averaging 27.7 factors per recreation, and Rudy Gobert has been a very environment friendly massive man this season, averaging a double-double (15.2 factors, 12.8 rebounds) and a couple of.2 blocks. But Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert being your two greatest players gained’t get it carried out vs the Golden State Warriors in a playoff series.

8. Los Angeles Lakers

When it comes to general *teams*, the Lakers (28-28) might not even be in the top-15.

However the Lakers have LeBron James. We’ve already witnessed LeBron put together an absurd performance to beat the Golden State Warriors in a playoff series and win the 2016 NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even at 34, he’s arguably nonetheless the greatest player in the world. We just noticed how much he’s able to elevating the Lakers and beating good teams in his triple-double performance to lead Los Angeles to a street victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night time.

LeBron, after 28-12-12, says he’s not but 100%. He’s so scary.

— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) February eight, 2019

The Lakers are a very flawed and very younger roster, however when you have got LeBron, you all the time have a *probability*. But first they only need to even get into the playoffs, they usually’re at present 2.5 games behind the No. 8 seed in the West.

7. Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets (37-18) actually need to get the No. 1 seed in the West, and are at present three games back of the Warriors.

At residence, the Nuggets are extremely troublesome to beat, with a 23-Four record- that’s the greatest house mark in the NBA. The Pepsi Middle is a very loud and intimidating setting, and the Denver altitude factor may be a drawback for his or her opponents.

However on the street, the Nuggets are mediocre, with a 14-14 document. Their final three games are losses, all on the street. So, if they don’t end with a better document than the Warriors, they’d have to beat Golden State in a best-of-seven series with four of a potential seven video games at Oracle Area.

There’s additionally the incontrovertible fact that the Warriors went into Denver and annihilated the Nuggets 142-111 in January.

The Nuggets run their offense via the exceptionally gifted huge man Nikola Jokic (fourth in the NBA in Player Efficiency Score at 27.48), but this type of basketball may be troublesome to get deep into the playoffs in immediately’s recreation (though huge men often don’t cross and supply guard-esque expertise that Jokic does). Denver’s Tempo Issue (the variety of possessions a staff makes use of per recreation) ranks 28th of 30 teams. To have a probability vs the Warriors, the Nuggets would possible have to get better-than-usual production from guards Jamal Murray and Gary Harris.

Denver is a excellent workforce and could also be the subsequent pressure in the Western Conference, but they’re in all probability nonetheless a minimum of one yr away from reasonable title rivalry. Five Thirty Eight only provides them a 2% probability to reach the Finals.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma Metropolis (36-19) has two gamers very capable of being the greatest player in a seven-game series towards anyone, in Paul George and Russell Westbrook. George is on an absolute tear proper now, and that might probably be getting more attention if not for James Harden’s traditionally insane run.

George’s crazy scorching stretch has led the Thunder to wins in 10 of their last 11 video games.

The metrics also like what the Thunder have happening. Oklahoma City ranks third in defensive effectivity, and 5 Thirty Eight provides them a 6% title probability (13% to attain the Finals over the Warriors), good for the fourth-best odds.

It’s unlikely this group outplays the Warriors over seven video games, however we all know the Thunder have the *means* to achieve this, a minimum of.

5. Houston Rockets

This feels too excessive, right? The Rockets (32-23) have kind of been a one-man workforce for much of this season. However that one man is James Harden, and what he’s doing right now’s out of this universe.

To get an concept of how dominant James Harden (@JHarden13) has been throughout this season, take a look at his statistical ranks: pic.twitter.com/TBSSpqWdbd

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February eight, 2019

Harden can take over a series, and the Rockets just took the Warriors to a seven-game series final yr. Yes, this yr’s workforce isn’t nearly as good, and Chris Paul has been injured for much of the season and mediocre when he does play. Nevertheless it shouldn’t be all that shocking if the Rockets get scorching — or if Harden just goes off — and at the very least give the Warriors a real problem.

4. Boston Celtics

The final two video games — losses to the Lakers and Clippers in Boston — pretty much summarize a pretty disappointing season for the Celtics (35-21). Boston went 55-27 last season, and it was assumed they’d be a higher title contender this time around with the return of Gordon Hayward and expected progress from young players.

There’s still loads of time for the Celtics to show that they’re the workforce they have been supposed to be.The pieces are in place for this group to make a huge leap at any level, but we have now to see it first.

Boston’s possibilities for playoff success would additionally seemingly be boosted by a well-rounded group that ranks prime 10 in most superior stats on each side of the ball, they usually definitely have star talent led by Kyrie Irving. Jayson Tatum is a loopy talent that’s nonetheless just 20 years previous, but he’s been inconsistent and less environment friendly as a shooter in his sophomore campaign. However perhaps Tatum turns it on in the playoffs and provides the Celtics another true star to put subsequent to Kyrie and provides the Warriors actual problems in the Finals.

three. Toronto Raptors

Toronto (41-16) has the NBA’s third-best document, just three proportion factors behind the Warriors when wanting to potential house courtroom in the NBA Finals. The Raptors have been terrific at house (22-5), and their street success (19-11) can also be an encouraging signal when wanting toward the playoffs.

The Raptors also gained each games vs the Warriors this season, with the most recent matchup being a 20-point win at Oracle Area in December.

After annual postseason failures, the Raptors have a higher probability to contend for a title this season, thanks primarily to the offseason acquisition of the Kawhi Leonard. The NBA’s greatest two-way player is averaging 26.9 factors and ranks fifth in the NBA in PER (26.19). And whereas there’s no stopping Kevin Durant, perhaps Leonard might no less than sluggish him down.

The Raptors also added veteran huge man Marc Gasol — a three-time All-Star and the 2013 Defensive Participant of the Yr — at the trade deadline to increase their frontcourt.

2. Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers (36-20) have been already a dangerous group on the rise getting into the season, and then they traded for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris in-season. Philadelphia now has an absurd beginning lineup, of Butler, Harris, Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, and Joel Embiid.

76ers new beginning lineup:

PG – Ben Simmons
SG – JJ Redick
SF – Jimmy Butler
PF – Tobias Harris
C – Joel Embiid pic.twitter.com/EGcToC0LhL

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 6, 2019

On paper, and positively in a recreation of NBA 2K19, this lineup can play with the Warriors. Embiid is averaging 27.2 points per recreation, Harris is averaging 20.eight factors (combined with Clippers and 76ers), Butler is averaging 19.5 points (mixed with T-Wolves and 76ers), Redick is averaging 18.6 points, and Simmons is averaging 16.9 factors (whereas adding in averages of 9.three rebounds and eight.0 assists). Anyone in the lineup is able to going off, and there are plenty of methods the 76ers can get it finished on offense. They only dropped 143 factors on the Lakers on Sunday:

However can this workforce get the vital chemistry collectively shortly with the new faces? These are all players which are used to being a main scoring choice, and typically that can be robust in terms of sharing the ball and everybody accepting their roles.

Additionally, the deep playoff expertise isn’t here, and we know that’s one thing that can’t be simulated in the regular season. But from a expertise standpoint, the firepower is completely right here for the 76ers to give the Warriors hassle, maybe greater than another workforce on paper.

1. Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks have the NBA’s greatest document (41-14). They’ve the NBA’s greatest point differential (+9.7) and are second in the NBA in points scored (117.2, behind only the Warriors). They have the NBA’s second-best house document (23-5) and the greatest street report (18-9). They have the NBA’s greatest document towards teams .500 or better (16-7). They blew out the Warriors 134-111 at Oracle Area in November.

The Bucks rank No. 1 in the NBA in defensive efficiency, and are solely behind the Warriors in effective subject go proportion and true capturing proportion. They’re second in the NBA in three-pointers made per recreation (12.1), they usually boosted that space of their recreation at the commerce deadline with the addition of stretch 4 Nikola Mirotic (16.7 ppg; makes an attempt 7.2 three-pointers per recreation and shoots 36.8% from behind the arc).

Oh, they usually have Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak is averaging 27.2 factors (58.0 subject objective proportion), 12.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and is third in the NBA in PER (30.05).

The 6’11” Antetokounmpo is often the greatest player on the flooring, and could simply be the greatest participant in a series towards the Warriors. And he’s surrounded by a group with a versatile offensive skillset that can sustain with the Warriors. The Bucks are quick, athletic, rebound properly (second in the NBA in rebound fee), and have the uncommon means to match the Warriors’ outdoors capturing.

The Bucks seem to only be getting higher as the season goes on (and particularly now with the Mirotic addition), and seem to be the most dangerous matchup for the Warriors right now.