2014 NBA Playoffs: Odds for Teams on the Bubble
The NCAA isn’t the only league to have bubble teams. See which NBA squads still have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs even if they’re still on the outside looking in.
Officially Eliminated or Really Close To It
- Milwaukee Bucks (13-55)
- Philadelphia 76ers (15-53)
- Orlando Magic (19-50)
- Boston Celtics (23-46)
- Los Angeles Lakers (22-45)
- Utah Jazz (22-47)
- Sacramento Kings (24-44)
- New Orleans Pelicans (27-40)
- Denver Nuggets (31-37)
- Detroit Pistons (25-42)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (26-43)
Officially In or Close Enough
- Indiana Pacers (50-18)
- Miami Heat (46-20)
- Toronto Raptors (38-29)
- Chicago Bulls (38-30)
- Washington Wizards (35-32)
- Brooklyn Nets (35-31)
- Charlotte Bobcats (33-36)
- San Antonio Spurs (51-16)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (50-18)
- Los Angeles Clippers (48-21)
- Houston Rockets (46-22)
- Golden State Warriors (43-26)
- Portland Trailblazers (44-24)
And Now… Your Bubble Teams
Minnesota Timberwolves (34-33)
Expectations were sky high for the Wolves this season, after picking up sharpshooter Kevin Martin and with the team’s oft-injured core finally fully healthy.
But their disastrous bench has held them back from reaching their full potential, ranking 28th in points per game and 28th in efficiency according to hoopsstats.com.
It’s a longshot at best for Minnesota to gain a postseason birth, but they still have a slim chance sitting 5.5 games back of the 8th seed.
Phoenix Suns (39-29)
Even though Phoenix sits 1.5 games out of the 8th seed, you can’t help but be impressed with the phenomenal season they’ve had so far, putting the tanking label to rest and finding success with surprise players like Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green.
With 8 of their next 14 games against playoff teams, it won’t be easy for Jeff Hornacek’s squad to surge back into playoff contention, but they still have a good shot.
Dallas Mavericks (41-28)
The Mavericks are another team that caught the league by surprise, with Dirk Nowitzki and co. leading a high-powered offense that ranks 8th in points per game and 5th in assists per game according to NBA.com.
They currently hold the 8th seed, but face a tough schedule ahead featuring powerhouse clubs like the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.
Their key to success will be if they can continue scoring points in bunches. If not, look for the Suns or Wolves to overtake their reigns as the final seed.
Memphis Grizzlies (40-27)
Think the Mavericks have a tough schedule? Imagine being in the Grizzlies’ shoes.
Memphis has to face Indiana, Golden State and Miami twice in the upcoming weeks as well as 2 teams breathing down their necks in Phoenix and Dallas.
They’ve been on a tear down the stretch beating teams in 8 of their last 10 games, but winning a good portion of these next 15 will be a daunting task for a team that has been on a tear as of late.
New York Knicks (28-40)
This season has been an utter disappointment for Knicks fans, with the team 12 games under .500 and clawing to get back into the playoff chase 4 games behind the Atlanta Hawks.
If they can keep their 7 game winning streak alive, they have a small chance at getting back into the postseason conversation.
But if any screw ups happen, it’s all over and coach Mike Woodson is as good as gone.
Barring any horrendous losing streaks, the Hawks should have this postseason birth in the bag.
They’ve been tremendous as of late, even with Al Horford out indefinitely, winning 5 in a row and beating two above average playoff teams in the Raptors and Bobcats.
Sorry Spike Lee, but to see Atlanta lose grip of that final spot in the East would truly be a shocker.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops