Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 1:20 PM
THE NBA UPDATE - OUR SNEAK-PEEK PLAYOFF OVERVIEW BREAKS DOWN THE FAVORITES, SLEEPERS AND REAL LONG-SHOTS TO WIN IT ALL THIS YEAR
Hope you've circled Saturday, April 16th on your handy-dandy calendar ... hey, the NBA Playoffs (finally) swing into gear on the day-after-Tax Day and we can all get down to the matter of crowning a pro hoops king.
In today's weekend edition of Jim Sez - always one of our favorites - we'll break down the playoff-bound teams (or, in some cases, what we believe to be the playoff-bound teams) and categorize them in terms of who has the best-to-worst shots to win it all.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers/Bloggers are hitting their stride these days in pro hoops and we'll be cashing in big with the NBA and with Major-League Baseball too each and every day this month. Just go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 and we'll send you straight into the winner's circle.
Remember: The NBA Playoffs will begin on Saturday, April 16th.
GOLDEN STATE (70-9) - Safe to say the numero uno story of the 2015-16 NBA season has been this Warriors' club that still can break (or tie) the 20-year-old mark of the 72-win Chicago Bulls team but the $64,000 question will be whether or not the chase to break the record has sapped G-State of some of its strengths.
Odds to Win it All: - 130
SAN ANTONIO (65-13) - Imagine playing .833 ball for a whole NBA season and yet you're considered an "afterthought"? Fact of the matter is the five-time champion Spurs are comfortable playing nine or 10 guys and that quality depth could be the difference.
Odds to Win it All: 3-to-1
CLEVELAND (56-23) - Gee, the media portrays the here-and-now Cavaliers as some sort of dysfunctional group and yet here's LeBron James and Company playing better-than-.700 ball. Hey, if they don't win the East then you have a real scoop!
Odds to Win it All: 4-to-1
OKLAHOMA CITY (54-25) - The dual-superstar approach has worked many years as a champion recipe in the NBA and you're yard-pressed to find a better one-two punch than Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook but OKC's gonna have to beat at least one of the West's big guns to make it to the NBA Finals ... yikes.
Odds to Win it All: 15-to-1
TORONTO (52-26) - Three cheers for this North-of-the-Border crew that is an electric 35-13 SU (straight-up) in conference play this season and we wouldn't put it past the Raptors to be able to win one or even two games in Cleveland come the likely Eastern Finals.
Odds to Win it All: 22-to-1
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (50-28) - There's been more drama on the Clippers' "set" than a day-time soap opera but savvy head coach Doc Rivers always has a way of steadying the ship ... could this be their year with everyone else talking about Golden State and San Antonio?
Odds to Win it All: 30-to-1
MIAMI (46-32) - Okay, so we'll include the always-dangerous Heat as part of "The Sleepers" category here but we'd sure like to know beforehand whether G Dwyane Wade is gonna be able to play 33-plus minutes a game this post-season.
Odds to Win it All: 40-to-1
THE REAL LONG-SHOTS
BOSTON (46-32) - Gotta admit we were tempted to include the Celtics as part of the "Sleeper" mix above because Brad Stevens' squad could be uber-dangerous this post-season but fact remains the C's will have to beat Cleveland somewhere along the way and that's real iffy territory.
Odds to Win it All: 50-to-1
ATLANTA (47-32) - Last year the Hawks were sitting there as the East's #1 seed but wound up getting swept four straight by Cleveland in the conference finals. Now, anything past a first-round series win would be considered a major success for Mike Budenholzer's squad.
Odds to Win it All: 60-to-1
INDIANA (42-36) - Is it possible the Pacers are "peaking" as we get near the post-season as Indy had won three in a row heading into Friday's game in Toronto?
Odds to Win it All: 65-to-1
CHARLOTTE (45-33) - If you listen to many of the "voices" of this league (see Jeff Van Gundy, for instance) than you know how high everyone is on this Hornets team that has star power in G Kemba Walker.
Odds to Win it All: 75-to-1
WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR
PORTLAND (43-37) - If the Trail Blazers have real designs on winning it all, then someone should mention the fact that there Western Conference Playoff road would likely have to go through Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Golden State in that order ... ugh!
Odds to Win it All: 150-to-1
DETROIT (42-37) - If only the Pistons could convince C Andre Drummond to work on his free-throw shooting (see 35.5 percent ... really!) than maybe the Motowners could give either Cleveland or Toronto a first-round battle.
Odds to Win it All: 175-to-1
MEMPHIS (42-36) - Injuries have wreaked absolute havoc on this Grizzlies team that nonetheless gets "extra credit" for sporting a winning record (25-23) against fellow Western Conference clubs.
Odds to Win it All: 200-to-1
DALLAS (40-38) - Once upon a time it appeared that Dirk Nowitzki and mates weren't gonna made it to the "promised land" but the born-again Mavs entered this April weekend winners of five in a row ... but it's still a wait-till-next-year ending.
Odds to Win it All: 250-to-1
UTAH (39-39) - The Jazz entered the weekend with a 1.5-game lead over slumping Houston and so we'll slip this one last team onto our list. The Jazz could make things sticky for a game or two against either defending champ Golden State or San Antonio but winning either series is out of the question.
Odds to win it All: 500-to-1
Note: Lots of MLB and NBA goodies in the next Jim Sez plus lots of NFL Draft coverage soon too!