The 2019-20 NBA season is set to resume with 22 teams, but only 16 will make the playoffs. Which current non-playoff teams have the best shot of sneaking in?
The NBA has been on hiatus since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the 2019-20 season is now set to restart on July 31 with the league’s Board of Governors voting on Commissioner Adam Silver’s plan Thursday.
While the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and other bottom-feeders can continue preparing for the 2020 NBA draft, 22 teams will descend upon Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in July to resume play.
Each team will play eight regular-season games before the playoffs begin. At that point, if the No. 9 seed in either conference is within four games of the No. 8 seed, they’ll embark upon a play-in tournament. The No. 9 seed will need to win both games to land the final playoff spot, while the No. 8 seed will earn it with one win.
Which NBA teams have the best chance of sneaking into the playoffs?
For now, it’s unclear exactly how each team’s remaining regular-season schedule will shake out. That makes it impossible to use strength of schedule to evaluate each playoff hopeful’s chances of sneaking into the postseason.
But based on talent, coaching, number of games back in the standings and number of teams vying for the No. 8 seed in each conference, here’s how the current non-playoff squads stack up against one another.