Two weeks from today will be the last day of the NBA season. It appears that 1 or 2 teams currently out of the playoffs have a chance to pass one of the bottom teams for a playoff spot; the rest are in the Blake Griffin sweepstakes. As for the playoff seeds, the East looks close to being set, while the West is completely insane. So I figured it's time to rank the order of NBA teams from 30-1 with the top team most likely to win the title. Without further adieu:
THE BLAKE GRIFFIN CONTESTANTS
30. Sacramento- Could makes its return to Kansas City hand in hand with the NHL's worst team, the Islanders.
29. LA Clippers- Worst owner in the NBA, worst GM/Coach in the league, constant ridicule by their most famous season ticket holder (sorry Billy Crystal) and the cure for this is to hire Isiah Thomas, (insert joke here)
28. Washington- The bad news, Gilbert Arenas still has 5 years left on his deal. The good news, you can watch Ovie and the Caps in its place.
27. Memphis- It's going to be tough to stay competitive now that Calipari left for Kentucky...oh wait a minute, wrong Memphis.
26. Minnesota- All I know about the Timberwolves is that Kevin McHale is now coaching the team to the ground. Let's move on.
25. Oklahoma- The former Sonics actually have some pieces to be a good team next year. In a related story, there still is no NBA team in Seattle.
24. Golden St.- The glow from the successes of 2007 are fading and Nellie wants to go. This is the perfect time to salute the best home-court in the league with this.
23. Toronto- The Au Revoir Canada season is coming up for the almost departed Chris Bosh.
22. New York- 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010
21. New Jersey- Looks like the Nets have taken the example of their fearless leader VC and are mailing in the season.
20. Indiana- Take solace in the fact that the whole world knows that Danny Granger is a superstar.
19. Milwaukee-Unlike the Bucks,ho have none, sorry Michael Redd.
OUT OR 1 AND DONE
18. Detroit- They turn out to be the odd team out in the East. Just thank Joe Dumars for the Pistons failures this year and for finally seeing the effects of taking Darko over Melo.
17. Charlotte- Congratulations Bobcats, you get to play LeBron for 4 games before joining MJ on the golf course.
16. Chicago- Imagine if Mikey D chose the Bulls over the Knicks. Derrick Rose could of been an All-Star this year.
15. Phoenix- Amare Stoudamire ain't walking thru that door, Joe Johnson ain't walking thru that door and Mike D'Antoni ain't walking thru that door.
14. Dallas- read Charlotte, replace Lebron with Kobe and MJ with Cuban.
KINDA FRISKY (EASTERN CONFERENCE)
13. Philly- In the words of Gus Johnson " It's about to get serious." The Sixers have played much better since Brand's injury. They must get in the 4-5 matchup to have any chance to win a playoff series, but don't completely sleep on them.
12. Atlanta- The Hawks should have home-court in the 1st round and last year proved that they can play well at home. Unfortunately, they won't beat the Cavs in a 7-game series, only hope to scare them.
KINDA FRISKY (WESTERN CONFERENCE)
11. Utah- This team is very simple to understand, they win at home, struggle on the road. In the group of 6 who can finish somewhere between 2nd and 7th so obviously could win a round like they did the past two years. They could be in the West final if they get the right matchup.
10. Portland- I love this team, they are very young and will be a factor in the West for many years. Unfortunately, this year won't be it. But Brandon Roy can now get national recognition as one of the best players in the league.
9. New Orleans- Another team like Utah who can reach a West final with the right matchup, and has a better chance with CP3 on their side. I wouldn't be surprised if they played the Spurs and beat them.
NO MAN'S LAND (BETTER THAN FRISKY, WORSE THAN CONTENDER)
8. Miami- Whenever Dwyane Wade is on you're team, anything can happen. They should beat Cleveland, Orlando or Boston, but he could score 40, he can hit the final shot, he can get Bennett Salvadore as an official, we don't know. Just don't say they (he) can't.
7. Denver- Everyone is down on Denver, but I happen to think they will win a series. This is the year Carmelo proves to be on the level of Lebron and Wade. Billups brings the championship experience and could finally be in a series which they are the better team.
6. Houston- Just when Tracy McGrady decides to get surgery and miss the playoffs, the Rockets look good enough to finally get out of the first round. The team is better without him, Yao has stayed healthy and Artest is playing for a contract. Of course, the West changes too frequently that you can't be certain what matchups will occur.
5. Orlando- This team is good enough to win, they have Howard, the modern day Bill Russell (needs championships to maintain the comparison), they have Turkoglu and Lewis who can extend defenses with their 3's, Alston has replaced Nelson at PG and they haven't lost a step and could have home court against the Celtics. That being said, they are the sleeper of the contenders and I don't think they can crash the East finals if the Celtics are healthy.
4. San Antonio- I thought about putting the Celtics here, but I'm a little worried about the Spurs. Ginobili hasn't been healthy for a long period of time and they could very well end up 4th in the West. You can never count out the Spurs, Popovich is the best coach in the league, Duncan and Parker will always show up and a healthy Manu is the X-factor who could win a title. Plus the supporting cast is younger with guys like Roger Mason.
3. Boston- The defending champs are in real trouble if Garnett can't get healthy. They look like they will be 3rd in the East, behind Orlando and would need to win a series in Orlando. W/o Garnett, they lose in the 2nd round because they can't contain D-Ho with the backups. So, why are they 3rd? Because I think Garnett will be there for the playoffs and I think they are the only Eastern team capable of winning a game in Cleveland.
2. L.A. Lakers- This season, the goal was to win a championship. To get back respect after the Celtics took their heart in Game 6 last year. Kobe has been good this year and has picked his spots. Trevor Ariza has stepped up and is a capable 6th man. I think Andrew Bynum will be back, especially after what we saw yesterday. They have all the tools to win a championship, and I don't see why they will lose.
1. Cleveland- Except for the LeBrons. The Cavs are closing in on home-court throughout the playoffs. They have lost once at home all year, ONCE. Only the 86 Celtics have done that. Mo Williams proved to be the biggest acquisition of the season and this team has the supporting cast to win it all. They have the player to win it all, who clearly has improved this season. LeBron now plays with more of a chip on his shoulder and tries to outdo guys like Kobe and Wade. I think they have to be the favorites.