The NBA season is complete, and we have a great indication of which teams will make a deep playoff run and which other teams will falter significantly on the court. It seems that the bulk of NBA superstars are healthy (except Luka Doncic), which means we are due for an exciting postseason. The 2022 season has been exciting from the start, and we will likely have an exciting ending.
We have ranked the top-10 teams in the NBA heading into the postseason, and their percentage of winning it all will be the biggest factor. We are assuming the current rosters remain as-is throughout the playoffs, except that Luka Doncic will be expected to recover at some point during the first round. Without further ado, here are the top-10 teams heading into the postseason.
10. Dallas Mavericks
Regular-Season Record: 52-30
The Dallas Mavericks is a team that no opponent wants to play because Luka Doncic is one of the top-10 players in the world. The Slovenian is a handful to deal with because he makes others around him better while also going off offensively. The Mavericks have a 52-30 record in the West this year, a great standing for a team that was not expected to be that great.
Of course, Doncic is likely to miss a few games in the first round of the playoffs as he nurses a calf injury. Dallas’ first-round matchup is the Utah Jazz, an opponent that must take advantage of the Slovenian’s injury. Once Luka returns, the Mavericks can resume right back where they left off by sharing the ball on offense and scrambling on defense.
9. Utah Jazz
Regular-Season Record: 49-33
Most NBA fans are expecting the Utah Jazz to fail to make the Western Conference Finals this year, and there would be little surprise if the Luka Doncic-led Dallas Mavericks defeat them in the first round. Assuming the Slovenian returns to full health, the Jazz could be in trouble if they fail to keep clamps on the Mavericks’ offense.
But Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are a talented enough duo to progress past the first round, and if they do, they will likely not get past the Phoenix Suns. It could be another postseason of disappointment for the Jazz, and that means another few months of Mitchell-Gobert beef stories could surface.
8. Boston Celtics
Regular-Season Record: 51-31
Nobody would have predicted that the Boston Celtics would start as poorly as they did, but nobody expected them to recover so well after the All-Star break. The defense of Marcus Smart has been a big factor, along with the consistency of All-Star Jaylen Brown. But the main reason for Boston’s excellent play has been Jayson Tatum, a budding superstar.
Tatum is putting up 26.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 4.4 APG while shooting 45.3% FG, 35.3% 3-PT FG, and 85.3% FT. The forward is getting more confident by the year and as he continues to put on weight, the Celtics will have one of the best players in the league. Their calling card comes on defense because Smart leads a talented squad at contesting shots and forcing bad looks. We could be seeing a showdown between the Celtics and Bucks in the Semi-Finals, which would be a great test for Boston.
7. Philadelphia 76ers
Regular-Season Record: 51-31
A team with Joel Embiid and James Harden should be a top-3 contender, on paper. But reality will likely hit this team in the playoffs because The Beard has seemingly declined on a physical level. He is lacking the burst that gave him the edge to get to the basket anytime he wants, and his shooting percentages have been poor.
Harden’s motivation levels have been criticized a ton this year because his off-court distractions could be affecting his game. The Beard is putting up 22.0 PPG this season on 41.0% FG and 33.0% 3-PT FG. If it wasn’t for Harden’s ability to draw fouls, his numbers would be a lot worse. As long as Philly has MVP candidate Joel Embiid, they should still be a massive threat for the Eastern Conference Finals despite Harden’s struggles.
6. Memphis Grizzlies
Regular-Season Record: 56-26
The Grizzlies’ 20-5 record without Ja Morant is an indication of how solid the team is on both ends of the floor. But that does not mean Memphis do not need Morant, because the point guard makes this young team a very difficult matchup. The young man is also bolstered by talented players including Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane on the wings as well.
Considering Memphis are facing the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round, it is expected that the team will make a solid push for the Western Conference Finals. It is unusual for such a young team to be this good so soon, but Morant’s superstar ability paired with the defensive play of Jaren Jackson Jr has sped up the franchise’s contention.
5. Brooklyn Nets
Regular-Season Record: 44-38
Anytime a roster has Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they cannot be overlooked. The Nets should not even be in the playoffs considering that Irving has only played 29 games and Durant has appeared in 55 contests. Of course, the James Harden situation caused a massive distraction along with the Kyrie vaccination status.
While it is not a foregone conclusion that the Nets will win the title this year because chemistry is arguably the most important aspect of a championship team, they could be bolstered by the return of Ben Simmons. Reports are coming out that the Australian could be back after a few games. Anything can happen in the NBA, mainly because Kevin Durant is the most unstoppable scorer in the league and Simmons’ pending return could make this team very tough to beat.
4. Golden State Warriors
Regular-Season Record: 53-29
We are unsure about the extent of Stephen Curry’s injury, but it is assumed he will return for the Warriors during the postseason. With a healthy Steph and an always-dangerous Klay Thompson, Golden State will always have a chance to be an impact team in the playoffs. Of course, the team will need Draymond Green fully healthy as well because the veteran is the key defensive star.
Even without Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors have the best shooting team in the league because their Splash Brothers duo is bolstered by the presence of Jordan Poole (18.5 PPG on 36.4% 3-PT FG). The Warriors are also one of the most well-coached teams in the NBA, so they will be a threat for the Western Conference Finals.
3. Miami Heat
Regular-Season Record: 53-29
Despite the rather embarrassing blow-up between franchise star Jimmy Butler and head coach Erik Spoelstra a few weeks ago, the Miami Heat will be a legitimate contender this postseason. While chemistry issues are in doubt for the majority of the fanbase, the Heat pride themselves on being professionals on the court in how they handle business.
Other than the two-way brilliance of Jimmy Butler, the Heat have Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Bam Adebayo and a host of effective role players including Tyler Herro, PJ Tucker, Max Strus, Duncan Robinson, and Kyle Lowry. The Heat are stacked and will be a contender to make the Eastern Conference Finals.
2. Phoenix Suns
Regular-Season Record: 64-18
The Phoenix Suns finished the season with the best record in the league, despite the late absence of Chris Paul over the past few weeks. Phoenix are an excellent team on both ends of the floor and will be hungry to make it to the NBA Finals for the second-straight year.
The Suns do not have only one MVP candidate in Chris Paul, but also one in bonafide All-Star Devin Booker. Booker has had a sensational season, posting averages of 26.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 4.8 APG on 46.6% FG, 86.8% FT, and 38.3% 3-PT FG. Thanks to the brilliance of their backcourt along with key defensive players in Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton, Phoenix are the most likely team to reach the Finals.
1. Milwaukee Bucks
Regular-Season Record: 51-31
The reigning NBA champions have the best chance to repeat, mainly thanks to their championship pedigree and the presence of the best two-way superstar in the league. The Bucks have somehow improved from last year, even with the loss of PJ Tucker. Bobby Portis has improved on the court and will be a key factor in the postseason.
The addition of sharpshooter Grayson Allen will be huge because Giannis Antetokounmpo has another option to pass to when he attacks the rim. Speaking on the Greek Freak, Giannis is the most dominant player in the game right now. He has managed to win games against Kevin Durant, arguably the second-best player in the league, and will likely repeat as an NBA champion.