NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (2024)

The NBA regular season is finally in the books and the playoff landscape completely changed in the final day of the campaign. The Golden State Warriors are set to defend their title and will look to secure their third consecutive championship when the postseason gets underway this weekend. The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers also were able to secure top-three seeds in the West.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference, the playoff picture has been relatively clear for the last week. The Milwaukee Bucks thrived under new coach Mike Budenholzer and secured the top seed in the conference. In addition, the No. 2 Toronto Raptors proved to be a very talented team throughout the season, and the Philadelphia 76ers slide into the No. 3 seed in the East.

As we know, not all playoff teams are created equal. Some earned their spots with stellar play, and others (particularly in the East), got in by virtue of their circ*mstances. We also know that seeds don't always determine which teams are the best. Because of strength of schedule and injuries, higher seeds aren't always better than lower ones.

With that in mind, here are the rankings for every playoff team in terms of overall talent.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (1)16. Detroit Pistons

The battle for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs went into the last day of the regular season, and Detroit came out on top with a win over the New York Knicks without All-Star forward Blake Griffin in the lineup. Griffin is currently dealing with a left knee injury and it's unclear if he'll be able to go when the Pistons open up their series against the Bucks this weekend. Even if Griffin is healthy, there's not a whole lot to like about this Detroit team compared to the others in the field.

The Magic haven't been to the postseason since 2012, but finally returned under the tutelage of head coach Steve Clifford. In his first season at the helm, Orlando ended up qualifying for the postseason after drafting in the lottery last June. Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon lead the way for a very talented frontcourt, but it's unlikely that the Magic make a ton of noise against the Raptors in the opening round due to a lack of star power elsewhere on the roster.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (3)14. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers were believed to be in a rebuilding stage after they traded Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers mid-season. However, Los Angeles still ended up making the playoffs with a veteran core of Danilo Gallinari, Montrezl Harrell, and Lou Williams. Los Angeles is also primed for a big offseason as they're expected to be players for a slew of high-profile free agents. However, it could be a short series with the defending champion Warriors waiting in the opening round. The Clippers have played extremely well as a unit, but talent-wise, they're just a bit lacking.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (4)13. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets were in basketball purgatory for the last several seasons after being saddled by the horrendous trades that brought the likes of aging stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn. However, Brooklyn has finally risen from the ashes and truly has one of the more impressive backcourts around. D'Angelo Russell had a career year in which he averaged 21.1 points and was able to stay healthy. Along with blossoming guards like Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, the Nets definitely could steal a game or two from the 76ers in their first-round series.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (5)12. Indiana Pacers

The Pacers may not be the "sexy" team in the playoff field, but this is a very talented roster. Indiana was definitely hurt by the season-ending quad injury that Victor Oladipo suffered earlier in the year. With Oladipo, the Pacers could've potentially been a top three seed in the Eastern Conference. Still, this is a team that can still make some noise with solid players like Bojan Bogdanovic, Myles Turner, Thaddeus Young and Domantas Sabonis, and could even take down the Celtics, who will be without starting two-guard Marcus Smart.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (6)11. Utah Jazz

The Jazz were the talk of the NBA last season as they emerged to make the playoffs. To make their Cinderella story even more special, Rookie of the Year finalist Donovan Mitchell helped lead the team an opening round series win over the Thunder to validate what the team had accomplished. It's relatively the same group this season with center Rudy Gobert being a front-runner for the league's Defensive Player of the Year award and Mitchell being just as magnificent.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (7)10. San Antonio Spurs

This is a very different Spurs group than the one that was dominated by the Warriors in the opening round a season ago. San Antonio ended up cutting ties with Kawhi Leonard and replacing him with DeMar DeRozan, which was about as strong of a return that the franchise could've hoped for. The one-two punch of DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge has been huge for the Spurs and one of the top reasons that the Nuggets should be on high alert of their opposition in the first round.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (8)9. Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers were able to leapfrog the Rockets on the final days of the regular season to claim the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. However, Portland is limping into the postseason as center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a season-ending leg injury late in the season while C.J. McCollum is dealing with a knee injury. With their health concerns, the Trail Blazers are definitely an upset candidate against the Thunder.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (9)8. Boston Celtics

The Celtics were expected to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. However, Boston has been inconsistent throughout the regular season and the team was also dealt a tough blow when Marcus Smart suffered an oblique injury that will sideline him for at least the opening round of the playoffs. The Celtics may not have a walk in the park in the first round against the Pacers.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (10)7. Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs last season after the failed Carmelo Anthony experiment. Oklahoma City ended up making some tweaks to their roster during the offseason and one of the team's biggest additions was guard Dennis Schroder. They also saw tremendous improvement from Paul George and another All-Star season from Russell Westbrook. The Thunder have a very talented roster that certainly could make a deep run in the postseason.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (11)6. Houston Rockets

The Rockets were just one win away from reaching the NBA Finals last season before being eliminated by the Warriors. If it weren't for Chris Paul's hamstring injury in Game 5, Houston might have represented the West in the NBA Finals. James Harden is playing out of his mind this season and could carry the Rockets deep into the postseason once again, though their supporting cast seems to have taken a step back from last season.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (12)5. Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets locked up the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and have been one of the better defensive teams in the NBA this season. Denver has seen Nikola Jokic blossom into one of the most dynamic big men around and could be a force in the playoffs. It'll be interesting to see if the Nuggets can rely on their strong bench to help carry the scoring load throughout the postseason.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (13)4. Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers were very aggressive in attempting to improve their roster during the season with the additions of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to the trio of JJ Redick, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Aside from the Warriors, the Sixers may have the most talented starting five in the NBA. It's going to come down to what kind of production Philadelphia can get from their second unit, which added the likes of Mike Scott, Boban Marjanovic and Greg Monroe throughout the season.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (14)3. Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks had the top record in the NBA during the regular season, so it's not surprising that they're one of the favorites to make a deep postseason run. However, they may not make it out of the Eastern Conference if things don't improve on the injury front. As it stands, guard Malcolm Brogdon is set to miss at least the opening round of the playoffs and potentially longer. Giannis Antetokounmpo also dealt with ankle and calf injuries late in the regular season, which could resurface given the load he's going to have to carry.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (15)2. Toronto Raptors

Despite the Bucks having the top record, the Raptors are absolutely loaded up and down their roster. This is a team that traded for All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard last summer and added Marc Gasol prior to the trade deadline. The combination of players like Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and emerging star Pascal Siakam really makes this a dangerous group that could reach the NBA Finals.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (16)1. Golden State Warriors

The defending champions may not have had the best record in the league, but this is a team that has a loaded starting lineup. As if having Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in the first unit wasn't enough, the Warriors added DeMarcus Cousins in the offseason and he's offered an offensive dynamic that Golden State has never possessed. If the Warriors stay healthy, it's hard to imagine this team not being in the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive season.

NBA playoffs 2019: Ranking all 16 postseason teams, including Warriors' star power and Nuggets' endless depth (2024)
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