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Betting On NBA Futures? Year End Cappers Picks NBA Power Rankings

2015 NBA Handicapping

The 2015 NBA Finals have come and gone. The 2014-15 campaign is officially over. The time is now to recap where teams belong on our year-long power rankings. 

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These rankings will be determined with a few things in mind. For starters, the entire year’s body of work. A team that was awful all year and then got hot when it didn’t matter won’t make our top 10.

That said, success late in the season does help, which is why some squads will land ahead of teams with comparable, if not better records in our end-of-year rankings.

Consider this a pre-draft and pre-free agency look at which teams will be expected to compete during the 2015-16 season.

1. Golden State Warriors (67-15)

The Golden State Warriors were the best team all season. That fact hasn’t changed following their six-game series victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

For fans, being the best team is great. Fantastic even. What’s better is that this team isn’t going away any time soon. The core is young, Andre Iguodala has found the perfect role in the perfect organization and virtually everyone from the roster is expected to return next season.

This team isn’t going away any time soon. That’s how fans in the Bay Area want it, and it’s well-deserved after 40 years since the team’s last championship.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29)

The Cavaliers did not have the second-best record in the NBA. Yet they land in the No. 2 spot in our rankings, as what this team accomplished during the postseason is downright unbelievable.

With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sidelined, LeBron James took his cast of misfits to within two victories of the franchise’s first championship. On top of that, J.R Smith stunk up most of the Finals, and Matthew Dellavedova was good at times — inconsistent at most.

James was deserving of MVP consideration despite his team’s loss, and with the team getting healthy, Cleveland should be back in the thick of things when the Larry O’Brien Trophy is back on the line in 2015-16.

3. Houston Rockets (56-26)

Had the Houston Rockets not been dealt the arduous task of defeating the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game series, you’d probably be looking at the Western Conference Champions.

In spite of James Harden’s need of a playmaking point guard in his backcourt, the 2-guard found a way to force a massive comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers. The team certainly has its holes that must be filled, but if Dwight Howard can stay healthy and the team can get Harden a second running mate on the perimeter, this team could compete with the Warriors once again next seasons.

4. Atlanta Hawks (60-22)

The Atlanta Hawks are coming off their best showing in franchise history. It’s the first time this group won 60 games in a year, and it’s no wonder it made it to the Eastern Conference Championship.

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Unfortunately, the Eastern Conference wasn’t impressive in the least bit this past season. The Hawks’ success was partly a product of its competition, but the team is deserving of its placement here on its entire body of work — not to mention getting within one series of the NBA title series.

5. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26)

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan make up arguably the NBA’s most entertaining Big Three. More than that: They’re one of the league’s most productive Big Threes.

Unfortunately for this group, it experienced an epic — yes, epic — collapse in the second round against the Houston Rockets. This group blew a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Semifinals, and it has the free agency of Jordan looming this offseason.

6. San Antonio Spurs (55-27)

The San Antonio Spurs refuse to close the championship window. They may have gone out to in the first round this past season, but this is a group that forced the Clippers to a memorable Game 7 in the conference quarterfinals; a group that is doing what it can to add a superstar to the mix.

That’s bad news for the rest of the Association.

7. Memphis Grizzlies (55-27)

The Memphis Grizzlies made mincemeat of the Portland Trail Blazers this postseason. They even managed to challenge the Warriors in a couple of games during Round 2.

This team is physical enough to challenge just about anyone. Unfortunately, they’re also old school enough to keep them from big-time success any time in the near future.

8. Chicago Bulls (50-32)

You can say this about most teams in the Eastern Conference: If it weren’t for the Cavaliers, the Chicago Bulls would have stood a legitimate chance of escaping the East if it weren’t for LBJ and crew.

The only real question surrounding this group is whether or not Jimmy Butler signs a max deal in Chicago this summer. There’s more and more rumblings that he likes the idea of a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers; however, Chicago has a short-term deal going for it, which is only a good thing if you understand that the salary cap is about to spike in 2016.

9. Washington Wizards (46-36)

Paul Pierce was an instrumental part of this team’s postseason success. Unfortunately, this group has to wonder if he’ll be back next season.

The veteran experience could be gone next year, but there’s plenty of promise on an otherwise young roster that should compete once again in 2015-16.

10. New Orleans Pelicans

Anthony Davis is the future of the NBA. There’s no other way to put it.

Next season, Alvin Gentry — current assistant coach with the Warriors — will look to get him more involved in the offense, which is a good thing consider the Pellies had a bad habit of shying away from its superstar big man late in games against the Warriors in Round 1 of the postseason.

The Rest

  • 11. Milwaukee Bucks (41-41)
  • 12. Utah Jazz (38-44)
  • 13. Portland Trail Blazers (51-31)
  • 14. Oklahoma City Thunder (45-37)
  • 15. Dallas Mavericks (50-32)
  • 16. Boston Celtics (40-42)
  • 17. Toronto Raptors (49-33)
  • 18. Indiana Pacers (38-44)
  • 19. Brooklyn Nets (38-44)
  • 20. Miami Heat (37-45)
  • 21. Phoenix Suns (39-43)
  • 22. Detroit Pistons (32-50)
  • 23. Sacramento Kings (29-53)
  • 24. Denver Nuggets (30-52)
  • 25. Charlotte Hornets (33-49)
  • 26. Los Angeles Lakers (21-61)
  • 27. Orlando Magic (25-57)
  • 28. New York Knicks (17-65)
  • 29. Philadelphia 76ers (18-64)
  • 30. Minnesota Timberwolves (16-66)

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