At last, the lengthy NBA regular season is over. Now we can finally start the lengthy NBA post-season! Running about two months, the NBA playoffs can be as riveting as they can be interminable. This is especially true for those of us not fortunate enough to be born in, oh say San Antonio, the Bay Area, or wherever LeBron is playing. A lack of personal stakes can make things boring in a hurry. You should cheer for someone though, in order to stay engaged in this two-month long odyssey. Enter, the NBA Playoffs Bandwagon Rankings.
Which team’s bandwagon should you jump on and cheer your heart out for in order to have the most fun during the NBA playoffs? Which team deserves you hopping on their bandwagon? Read these scientifically derived, peer reviewed assessments of all 16 playoff teams, and see for yourself.
The NBA Playoffs Bandwagon Rankings
16) Boston Celtics
With a league record 17 NBA championships to their name already, somehow this franchise has managed to lock up both the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the best odds at the top pick in the upcoming, stacked draft. Between all that, Chris Sale joining the Red Sox, the Patriots’ unending dynasty, and the city’s role in laying the foundation for the American Revolution, Boston does not need the championship this year. HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH, BOSTON? HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
15) Chicago Bulls
Chicago has to be one of the worst teams I have had the misfortune of watching this year, AND MY FAVORITE TEAM IS THE KNICKS.
14) Indiana Pacers
*Googles NBA Playoffs* Holy shit, the Pacers are in the playoffs?
13) Los Angeles Clippers
These guys complain and flop so much, I am honestly convinced that Chris Paul would flop out of reflex upon being handed the Larry O’Brien trophy. This of course all hinges on Paul and the Clippers actually making it past the second round of playoffs, something they have yet to prove to be any good at.
12) Portland Trail Blazers
Portland is fine and all, but never forget for a second that by being in the playoffs, they have robbed us all of at least four games of nifty Nikola Jokić passes.
11) Memphis Grizzlies
While these Memphis Grizzlies will never say die, their odds at living are not exactly the best. You might be able to count on them for one crazy game where Marc Gasol dominates, Mike Conley plays like the best point guard in the league, and Tony Allen actually hits jumpers. Beyond that though, I would not put all my hopes and dreams into a deep Grizzlies playoff run.
10) Atlanta Hawks
A team on the wrong side of a peak that unfortunately happened to coincide with LeBron James being an active player in the NBA. Damn, that 60-win Hawks team from a couple of years ago was so much fun. Now they feel more like another run-of-the-mill mid-tier Eastern Conference team. I mean, they’re no Pacers, but still. They might be better suited to blow it up then to chase a glory that is just going to slip further away from them. Maybe just watch a Kyle Korver three-pointer highlight package instead.
9) San Antonio Spurs
Watching the Spurs systematically dismantle fools is always a treat. But, in a way, has watching the Spurs systematically dismantle fools not become a little…predictable? Look, San Antonio is a fantastic team that has put together what feels like the quietest 60+ win season of all-time. They have a very good shot of making it to the Western Conference Finals, at the least. If you want a team you can set your watch to, by all means, go crazy.
8) Toronto Raptors
We’re all going to be fleeing North for better healthcare soon enough anyway, so might as well get used to being a Raptors fans now.
7) Cleveland Cavaliers
As great as it would be to see a repeat of the same entertaining Finals match-up for the third straight year, there is also some sort of sick pleasure that comes with watching the defending champions completely collapse. Hence, the Cavaliers are falling near the middle of this list.
While Cleveland is still the favorite to come out of the East (never doubt playoff LeBron,) they have been on a slide over these last couple of months. They blew a 26-point lead against the Hawks this past weekend, and have ultimately ceded a 1-seed in the East they once seemed destined to hold. It would be fantastic to see the Cavaliers and Warriors meet for the third straight Finals, to settle things once and for all (at least until they meet in the Finals next year too.) At the same time though, DAMN would it be exciting to see Cleveland get upended before they even get the chance to try and take down Golden State again.
6) Milwaukee Bucks
Honestly, the Bucks are only this high because it’s going to be so awesome when Giannis dunks it from the other team’s foul line.
5) Golden State Warriors
The Warriors do not need your, nor my, pathetic bandwagon cheers. That being said, a return to champion status would finally complete Golden State’s heel turn. If this team, who you may have heard now has Kevin Durant, is able to waltz through the competition en route to a dominant NBA Finals victory, they are going to become more hated for “ruining the game” than LeBron’s Heat were ever hated for “ruining the game.” Truly, it will be a thing to behold.
Consider the Warriors then to be the schadenfreude bandwagon of this list. Bask in the misery of fans who get irrationally upset over a good team being good.
4) Houston Rockets
Mike D’Antoni needs to be vindicated. His fast-paced, run-and-gun, “Seven Seconds or Less” system is really the foundation for the NBA’s current offensive explosion. After being unable to get over the hump with Phoenix, getting run out of New York, and getting stuck with parts that were never going to work together in Los Angeles, D’Antoni deserves to finally reach the top.
Plus, these Rockets are fun! They score lots of points, and because they stink on defense, their opponent also scores lots of points. Who does not love hotly contested, high scoring playoff games? And, I mean, imagine champagne dripping down the beard of a jubilant James Harden, and tell me that is not the happiest thing you have thought of in a while.
3) Utah Jazz
The Jazz are as cohesive a team as there is in the NBA. Gordon Hayward has risen from a baby-faced, literally looks like he is 12 rookie, into a ruggedly handsome All-Star. They are a defensive juggernaut, anchored by a man with one of the league’s best nicknames, “The Stifle Tower,” Rudy Gobert. Yet, Utah lacks the big name star power, market size, and recent successes for people to take them as a serious threat.
That is why they are a perfect bandwagon to latch on to. When the Jazz win, toppling more “renowned” teams, it is going to feel that much sweeter. (And if their current trajectory is any indication, this could be a chance to get in on the ground floor of a great team for years to come.) Also, a deep playoff run means more intense glares from Utah coach and action movie villain Quin Snyder, something that can only be a positive. That man’s glare is scarier than the T-1000.
2) Oklahoma City Thunder
One player can rarely win a championship alone. LeBron needed Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen. Even Oscar Robertson needed Lew Alcindor. If anyone can do it alone though, it is Russell Westbrook. This season Westbrook only led the league in scoring, averaged a triple double for the season, amassed a record 42 triple doubles, and recorded more 50-point triple doubles than anyone else has in their career. Needless to say, his Most Valuable Player chances are pretty good.
Is there any other way this season can end then with Westbrook averaging a 30-point triple double for the playoffs, dunking on Kevin Durant to clinch the Western Conference Finals before running down the court asking, “Who was that?” and unleashing the most dominant NBA Finals performance of all-time? Who would say no to that Oscar-caliber screenplay???
1) Washington Wizards
Everyone loves the underdog story, a team overcoming the odds to achieve greatness. An 8-seed winning the title would probably be the ultimate NBA underdog story. This will not be the season it happens though, considering the 8-seeds are Chicago and Portland, two teams mentioned so long ago in this post you probably already forgot they were mentioned at all. But that is where the Washington Wizards, the real 8-seed underdogs (even though they are a 4-seed in the East) come in.
Washington was god awful to start this season. They were so bad that I seriously advocated for John Wall to retire and come back under an assumed identity, in order to join a team that actually had a shot at winning a title. But now look at them! Washington has completely turned their season around, with John Wall cementing himself as one of the league’s best guards.
Wall is one of the NBA’s most exciting players, and it would be great to see him lead this team to a championship after so many had written them off. It would be great validation for Scott Brooks too, after years of “HE’S JUST NOT THAT GOOD OF A COACH HE HAS KD AND RUSS WAKE UP SHEEPLE,” comments in Oklahoma City. Most of all though, it would be soooooo gratifying for a team from Washington D.C. to win a championship, and then flat out reject an invitation to the White House. Telling Donald Trump that the 20-minute walk from the Verizon Center to the White House is not worth their time? We may never see a greater form of peaceful protest. The Washington Wizards championship bandwagon is the bandwagon of the resistance. God bless America.