If the NBA playoffs were held today (a silly thought considering the season is barely a month old), there would be a few surprises regarding which teams would make the group of 16 playoff teams and which ones would not.
The biggest surprise would probably be that the Cleveland Cavs, who made the finals last year, would not even make the playoffs.
Of the teams that are currently sitting with a playoff spot, there are five that have not played a post-season game in a long time:
The Minnesota Timberwolves, who are currently third in the Western Conference standings, have not made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season. The Orlando Magic, who is currently third in the Eastern Conference standings, have not made the playoffs since 2011-12. Another team that has not made the playoffs since 2011-12 is the Philadelphia 76ers; they have the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.
A pair of teams that have not played in the post-season since 2012-13 currently has two of the 16 playoffs spots: the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets.
The big question is whether or not the teams noted above will finish the season with a spot in the playoffs. For now, their play this season has the league taking notice.
The 2017-18 NBA regular season got started last night with a pair of games. Eleven games will be played tonight.
Looking at the past 10 seasons, there were two teams (San Antonio and Toronto) that won eight of their 10 season-openers, while one team, the Milwaukee Bucks, won only one season-opener in the past 10 years.
Here’s a look at how many season-openers were won by each of the 30 NBA franchises in the last 10 years (2007-08 to 2016-17):
8: San Antonio, Toronto
7: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Miami, Portland
6: Atlanta, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City
5: Brooklyn, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, L.A. Lakers, Minnesota, New Orleans, Phoenix
4: Cleveland, Orlando, Sacramento
2: Memphis, Philadelphia, Washington
TODAYSPORTSTAT-July 5, 2017
The big news in the NBA yesterday was the free agent signing of Gordon Hayward with the Boston Celtics. Hayward, a 6-foot-8 small forward from Butler University who spent his first seven seasons in the league with the Utah Jazz, is reunited with his college coach, Brad Stevens, head coach of the Celtics.
Hayward provides the Celts with another serious scoring threat as they look to take the next step in trying to reach the NBA Finals via the Eastern Conference. Hayward has increased his points per game average each year since he came in the league in 2011… from 5.4, 11.8, 14.1, 16.2, 19.3, 19.7, and 21.9 last season.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, last season Hayward was one of 22 players who had a True Shooting Percentage (TSP) of .595 or above (Note: TSP combines a player’s shooting percentage for two-point, three-point and free throw attempts). The only team to have three players on the list was the champion Golden state Warriors with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. The Celtics had two players on the list (Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder) and now add another top shooter to their team with Hayward.
The Utah Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of this year’s NBA playoffs in a Game Seven. It was the first Game Seven in this year’s playoffs.
Last season, five of the 15 playoff series went to a Game Seven, including the finals series between the Cavs and Warriors.
Let’s take a look at a few stats you may not know about Game Sevens in the NBA playoffs over the past 25 seasons (from 1993-2017).
- The Miami Heat played in the most Game Sevens since 1993 with 10. They are followed by the Rockets with nine, and Boston and Indiana with eight.
- Since 1993, the Heat also had the most Game Seven wins with six. Houston and the L.A. Lakers have five Game Seven wins in the last 25 seasons.
- The Indiana Pacers have the most Game Seven losses in the last 25 years with five. They are followed by Miami, Houston and Boston with four each.
- The best win-loss percentage in Game Sevens over the past 25 years are the Timberwolves 1.000 (1-0), the Lakers .833 (5-1), Dallas and Detroit each 4-1 (.800) and Utah 3-1 (.750).
- The worst Game Seven win-loss percentage since 1993 are Sacramento and Memphis .000 (0-3), and Denver, Portland, New Orleans and Charlotte .000 (0-2).
- The New York Knicks have the longest drought since they played in a Game Seven. The last Game Seven they played in was 2000. Portland has not played in a Game Seven since 2003, the second longest drought in the league.
The second round of the NBA playoffs will get started this week. Of the four teams that made it to the conference finals last year (Cleveland, Golden State, Oklahoma City and Toronto), it looks like only two might return this year… OKC was eliminated in the first round this year by Houston, and Cleveland and Toronto will face each other in the second round this season, with one of them advancing to the conference finals again. Golden State would be the second team if they can advance past the winner of the Utah-L.A. Clippers series winner.
Of the 30 NBA franchises, 14 have played in a conference finals at least once this decade (2010-16). Three current franchises have never played in an NBA conference finals: Charlotte, the L.A. Clippers and New Orleans. Of the teams that have at least one conference finals in their history, the longest wait is from the Washington Bullets. The last time they appeared in a conference finals was in 1979. They could erase that mark this season if they can beat the Boston Celtics in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and advance to the conference finals.
Here’s a look at the 30 NBA franchises and the last year they appeared in a conference finals series. (Current franchise city is listed.)
Never: Charlotte, L.A. Clippers, New Orleans
2000: New York Knicks, Portland
2001: Milwaukee, Philadelphia
2010: L.A. Lakers, Orlando, Phoenix
2011: Chicago, Dallas
2014: Indiana, Miami, San Antonio
2015: Atlanta, Houston
2016: Cleveland, Golden State, Oklahoma City, Toronto