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Ranking the Remaining Teams in the NBA Playoffs

Updated: May 1, 2023

The 1st round of the NBA Playoffs is over, and they were great. It is now time to turn to the 2nd round and take a look at the remaining teams.

8. Miami Heat

The Heat pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NBA history beating the Milwaukee Bucks in 5. Jimmy Butler is amazing but is also now hurt. They also lost Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo. The Heat are a great story but they can only go as far as Jimmy Butler takes them, and he is now hobbled.

Jimmy Butler in the 1st Round Series against the Bucks
via Getty Images

7. Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers swept the Nets, and if you just look at that they should be higher. Embiid is hurt, which is what hurts them and he's a 50/50 to play in the series vs the Celtics. The 76ers don't move me without Embiid, and I believe the Celtics will beat them.

76ers against the Brooklyn Nets
via Nathaniel S. Butler / Getty Images

6. New York Knicks

The Knicks shocked me when they beat Cleveland pretty easily. The Knicks' defense is great and it is the reason why they won, but I feel like their offense stagnates too much for me. You saw it in Game 1 against the Heat during the last 5 minutes, they never went after a hobbled Jimmy Butler.

Jalen Brunson in the First Round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers
via Newsday LLC / Getty Images

5. Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry is great, that is what I'll give the Warriors. We just saw Curry have one of the greatest Game 7 performances ever to take them into Round 2. Their supporting cast is suspect as you never know who will be that second guy. Curry is their only constant and that may show against the Lakers' top defense.

Stephen Curry in Game 7
via Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

4. Los Angeles Lakers

Two words: Anthony Davis. Anthony Davis just had the best defensive series I have ever seen. The Lakers have had the best defense since the trade deadline while being paired with the best record. The Lakers will go as far as AD takes them, and if he plays the way he did against the Memphis, I assume that will be pretty far. This is not even counting the Lakers' depth and the NBA's all-time leading scorer, LeBron James. If they stay healthy, the Lakers will be a problem.

Anthony Davis against the Grizzlies
via Petre Thomas / USA Today Sports

3. Boston Celtics

The Celtics have a compelling team consisting of good defensive guards, great wings, and bigs that tie the team all together. The reason they are not #1 is because I believe there is a time when they have lapses where they don't show their full potential. Jayson Tatum is a star but he has nights where he just looks out of it. All that being said, I do believe the two Jay's will bring them another Eastern Conference title.

Jayson Tatum in action
via Wendell Cruz / USA Today Sports

2. Phoenix Suns

The Suns have Devin Booker and Kevin Durant who are two of the league’s best premier players. When analyzing the rest of the roster, there are some possible problems. DeAndre Ayton’s game performance sits on a 50-50 scale while Chris Paul is old. Along with that, the remaining bench players are pretty skeptical and so is the coaching. If Booker and Durant are on, they can still be beatable, as we saw the Westbrook-led Clippers give them close games. My NBA Finals pick are looking a little suspect.

Kevin Durant in Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets
via Getty Images

1. Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets are a deep team and are led by a top-10 player. I believe that as a team, they can win the NBA Finals. Jamal Murray is their x-factor, and if he plays as he did in the NBA Bubble, they could potentially be holding up the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Their depth is probably the best in the league. They have a 2-time MVP and a guard that shows he can take over a game as he did in the bubble and Game 1 vs the Suns. If everything goes right, the Nuggets could be the team to beat.

Nikola Jokic in action.
via David Zalubowski / AP

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