The last day of the regular season is on Wednesday. At the moment, the last playoff spot in the West is still up for grabs, and seeding battles remain for the East’s top seed, as well as the East’s third and sixth seed, both of which could be the difference between a first round exit and the conference finals, depending on who goes where. The West will be a bloodbath no matter what.
As the regular season comes to a close, let’s take a moment to reflect on the high hopes we had for some teams at the start of the year. Going into the 2013-14 season, the Knicks (ha!), the Cavs and even the Pistons were considered potential playoff teams; they finished 9th, 10th and 11th, respectively. In the West, the Timberwolves once again faltered and will end the year as a .500 team, while the Nuggets took an obvious step back from the third seed last year by finishing 11th. Plus, the Lakers became a laughingstock without Kobe Bryant.
For the teams that missed the playoffs, redemption comes in the form of a lottery pick in the deepest draft in years (except for the Knicks, who face the possibility of having traded away their 2014 pick, among other things, for a guy who will walk for nothing this summer). The rest play on. We can’t wait.
The final regular season power rankings. The first 14 teams are in order of how disappointing they were, from most to least. The next 16 teams are in order of how likely they are to win the NBA title, which is all that matters now: