NBA Power Rankings for 2020 Playoffs

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BetMGM @BETMGM Jun 16, 2021, 2:20 PM
Luguentz Dort of Oklahoma City Thunder passes the ball against Jerami Grant of Denver Nuggets at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 3 2020

On June 4th, 2020, the NBA’s Board of Governors officially announced the end of the 2019-20 season suspension with the approval of a new season format. With 22 teams starting play again on July 30th, what do the current power rankings look like? Here is our list of the weakest and strongest teams as seeding games start up.

Top 22 power rankings

NBA sports bettors are looking to see how their favorite teams will fare in the recently resumed NBA 2019-20 season. We take a look at the bottom 12 and top 10 teams separately.

Teams 22 - 11

Rudy Gobert of Utah Jazz dunks against Oklahoma City Thunder during NBA basketball game on August 1 2020

The bottom 12 teams are the least likely to make it past the top 10. We list these teams based on their performance, but also take into account other factors that might affect their results leading into the playoffs. For example; easy wins, lack of experience, or star players being out of action, may see some teams placing lower than you would expect based solely on win rate.

  • 22 – Washington Wizards 24-42 (0.363)
  • 21 – Phoenix Suns 28-39 (0.418)
  • 20 – Sacramento Kings 28-38 (0.424)
  • 19 – Brooklyn Nets 31-35 (0.469)
  • 18 – San Antonio Spurs 29-36 (0.446)
  • 17 – Memphis Grizzlies 32-35 (0.492)
  • 16 – Portland Trail Blazers 30-38 (0.441)
  • 15 – New Orleans Pelicans 28-38 (0.424)
  • 14 – Orlando Magic 32-35 (0.492)
  • 13 – Indiana Pacers 40-26 (0.606)
  • 12 – Oklahoma City Thunder 41-24 (0.646)
  • 11 – Utah Jazz 42-24 (0.636)

Teams 10 - 1

The top 10 teams are far more important in the power rankings, so we’ll break down what it is that makes these teams likely to succeed or fail.

10 - Dallas Mavericks 40-29 (0.580)

Luka Doncic of Dallas Mavericks drives against Jevon Carter of Phoenix Suns at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in August 2020

The Mavericks’ roster is likely to be missing Jalen Brunson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Dwight Power, and Courtney Lee but Luka Dončić is back on the court and may be able to help the Mavericks make up for this loss. This team has room to grow and may be able to make things happen in the bubble.

9 - Philadelphia 76ers 39-27 (0.582)

When the 76ers are on form, they’ve shown that they have some amazing talent. However, their at home performance versus when they are on the road has shown that they are only able to strut their stuff when they are comfortable. The break and move into the bubble may have a serious impact on the team, despite their decent win rate. 

8 - Miami Heat 42-24 (0.636)

The Heat are coming into the playoffs with a strong team, with Jimmy Butler expected to lead the group towards the later rounds of the playoffs. With a roster made up of Andrew Iguodala, Bam Adebayo, and rookie Tyler Herro, if they can find their form they may have a chance to take it all the way. That’s if their relative lack of playoff experience doesn’t trip them up.

7 - Denver Nuggets 43-23 (0.651)

Like many of the other teams, the Nuggets had a few of their players arrive late into the bubble, but thankfully they will make the start of the playoffs with their roster intact. However, there are still some minor concerns that this late start could impact their performance during playoff games. 

6 - Boston Celtics 44-22 (0.667)

CJ McCollum of Portland Trail Blazers defends against Jaylen Brown of Boston Celtics at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in August 2020

The 22-year-old star of the team, Jason Tatum, will undoubtedly be the focus of the team if they’re aiming to make it into the final rounds of the playoffs. This offensive powerhouse keeps on getting better and better, and with Kemba Walker at his side, the Celtics may have a chance at growing their wins in the bubble.

5 - Houston Rockets 42-24 (0.636)

The microball strategy may have worked for the Rockets earlier in the season, but teams seemed to have adapted to their strategy, seeing them drop to a win ratio of just under 64%. 

But many hope that the shutdown has given James Harden time to return to form, especially considering the reports that he has used the time to improve his conditioning. Russel Westbrook is another key player who will undoubtedly have a big impact if he’s able to continue his pre-shutdown performance.

4 - Toronto Raptors 47-18 (0.723)

The Raptors may have risen on the wings of Kawhi Leonard in the 2018-19 season, but even without the NBA megastar, they are sitting on an impressive 72% win ratio. The stability of a roster that seems (relatively) unaffected by health issues may give them the edge they need to challenge the other teams for the title. 

3 - LA Clippers 45-21 (0.681)

The Clippers have an impressive 68% win ratio, but questions have arisen around their performance moving forward into the playoffs. The four-month shutdown has given Kawhi Leonard and Paul George time to recover from existing health issues, and has provided the team with the time to grow their roster. 

However, the new bubble format has put them into a situation where they have had to make sacrifices as certain players have had to leave the bubble to deal with family issues, or are still in isolation and waiting to rejoin the team. 

2 - Los Angeles Lakers 50-15 (0.833)

The Lakers’ most recent victory against the Clippers was close, with them claiming victory by a single shot. This 103-101 victory highlights that the Clippers are nipping at the heels of the Lakers. Will the loss of Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo hurt the Lakers further into the playoffs? We can only hope that the shutdown has given LeBron James the necessary time he needs to recharge and help carry his team to victory.

1 - Milwaukee Bucks 54-13 (0.806)

Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee Bucks shoots a free throw at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in August 2020

This outstanding team demonstrated a remarkable winning percentage of 0.806, and until recently, were the only team to sit above an 80% win ratio. The Bucks were not just claiming victories by the skin of their teeth, but were dominating their opponents with an average scoring margin of 11 points before the shutdown. 

Despite the loss of momentum and a historically poor playoff performance, the Bucks are still favored by many to take home the title, with the Lakers posing a great threat to their chances of victory.

Key games to keep an eye on

  • The Celtics vs The Raptors, August 7th – This showdown will see who comes out number two in the Eastern Conference teams.
  • The Bucks vs The Raptors, August 10th – Here we get to see the number one seed on our list take on the fourth strongest team. This may show how well the Bucks have adapted to the bubble, particularly since they will have had a few games against teams further down our list.
  • The Nuggets vs The Clippers, August 10th – Another key showdown, this time for the Western Conference teams.

The draft lottery

Another important event to watch out for is the draft lottery. Due to the shutdown, the draft lottery date was changed for 2020. It is set for Tuesday, August 25. 

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.