Sixteen teams remain in the hunt for an NBA Championship. We power rank them all.
Power rankings for the playoffs are difficult, because it’s almost impossible to figure out how to properly place teams. Should it be based on regular season performance, or playoff potential? A mix of both? In the end, I decided that I would focus on playoff potential, but I wouldn’t ignore the results of how teams finished the regular season. I reached this conclusion, because it felt pointless to just rank playoff teams from best to worst and then call that power rankings. Those would merely be playoff rankings. Power rankings take more information into account and gives the regular season a little more weight. Teams like the Clippers are coming into the playoffs hot and their rankings went up accordingly. Teams like the Cavaliers came in on a losing streak and their’s fell as a result. If there was a weight percentage it would probably be 70/30 playoffs to regular season.
16. Chicago Bulls
Why are the Bulls in the playoffs? They don’t want to be in the playoffs. Everybody on their roster hates each other. Their fans hate watching them. Basketball fans hate watching them. Nobody wanted this, but here they are sitting at the bottom of the power rankings. The Bulls have been massively unimpressive all season long. Their offense is bad, but they’re actually a top-10 defensive team.
However, the reason the Bulls are at the bottom is not because of how everybody feels while watching them. Chicago was the No. 6 seed in the East with five games remaining and potential to move even further up the standings. Those final five games were against the Sixers, Knicks, Nets twice, and Magic. The Bulls proceeded to lose to the Knicks, beat the Sixers, then lose to the Nets. This set up two straight must win games for Chicago. Win? And they’re in the playoffs. Lose and they’re out with the Heat taking that final spot.
The Bulls managed to win out, but they needed the final night of the season to clinch a playoff spot. To have that much control over their own destiny, with a pathetically easy schedule, and still end up in the final playoff spot is a perfect example of this year’s Bulls. They should have just given their spot to Miami and made everybody happy, but no they forced themselves into four more games of playing with each other. Why did they do this to themselves?