2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have best shot at a championship

James Harden Kevin Durant
James Harden and Kevin Durant could very well meet up in the playoffs, but it won’t be all fun times and camo pants. Credit: Getty Images

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 2 seed in West) - The Thunder have been a top NBA contender for a few years now, and this is the year they prove to be the best. With Kevin Durant putting up an MVP season, Russell Westbrook at the point, Serge Ibaka holding things down defensively, and a strong bench featuring Reggie Jackson and Nick Collison, it’s the Thunder’s title to lose. But it certainly won’t be easy – not with the Clippers as a second-round opponent. Metro odds: 5:1

2. Los Angeles Clippers (No. 3 seed in West) - It wasn’t easy placing the Clippers behind the Thunder in the rankings, but the fact that OKC has homecourt advantage over them played a part. L.A. is the most athletic team in the playoffs. They’ve got an electric offense with Chris Paul running the show and Blake Griffin having a career year. And have you seen their bench? It’s deep enough to beat a lot of opposing team’s starters. The more we talk about them, the more we like them more than OKC. Doc Rivers may just need one more year. Metro odds: 7:1

3. Miami Heat (No. 2 seed in East) - No, the Heat don’t look as good as they had in the previous two seasons, but you have to remember that they’ve been “the team to beat” going on three straight years. It’s tough to keep that fight every game. But LeBron James is still LeBron James. A nagging hamstring injury to Dwyane Wade could prove too much to overcome, especially if the Nets – who the Heat lost to four times in the regular season – are their second round opponents. Still like the Heat to come out of the East again, though. Metro odds: 9:1

4. Houston Rockets (No. 4 seed in West) - The Rockets are a bit of a wild card here. You know Dwight Howard is itching to go deep into the postseason after his rough time in L.A., and Houston has the pieces to do so. We actually think the Blazers could be a tougher matchup for them than the Spurs will. Let Aldridge get his points, but limit the rest of the guys on the outside. Metro odds: 12:1

5. San Antonio Spurs (No. 1 seed in West) - Why are the Spurs so low, you ask? Well, when it comes down to beating the best teams, the Spurs have had trouble. They were 0-4 against the Thunder this year, and 0-4 against the Rockets. They’re a proven, veteran squad – but it’ll be interesting to see if they can stay healthy enough and keep up with their Western Conference opponents. I just don’t think they can roll with the top West teams. Metro odds: 15:1

6. Indiana Pacers (No. 2 seed in East) - If you asked us two months ago where the Pacers would rank in our playoff power rankings, we’d probably say No. 1. But boy, have times changed. Roy Hibbert has become nonexistent on offense, and the addition of Evan Turner hasn’t worked out. Luckily, they play the worst team in the playoffs in the Hawks and should cruise through the first round. Metro odds: 15:1

7. Chicago Bulls (No. 4 seed in East) - The Bulls have become the team nobody wants to play, and taking a look at their roster, you can see why. First, they’re battle tested. They’ve been there. Second, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson will suffocate any Wizards player looking to score down low. Chicago-Indiana will be a bar fight. Metro odds: 20:1

8. Toronto Raptors (No. 3 seed in East) - The Raptors are the team that nobody has talked about. It’s just hard to take them as a serious threat – but it’s wrong not to. Between Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozen, and Terrence Ross, this team can roll with just about anybody. They held down the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference for much of the season. The problem? They may all just be happy to be there. Metro odds: 60:1

9. Portland Trailblazers (No. 5 seed in West) – This is a dangerous, dangerous team. With LaMarcus Aldridge in the lineup, they possibly have the best starting until in the NBA – or they’re at least in the discussion. But what about their bench? That’s been a question all season, as the Blazers haven’t had to rely much on them. Unfortunately, you have to be deeper than five or six players in the long postseason. Metro odds: 65:1

10. Brooklyn Nets (No. 6 seed in East) - Paul Pierce. Kevin Garnett. Playoff basketball. Those three things have gone hand-in-hand for the past six years – but only once has it ended in a championship. Are Deron Williams and Joe Johnson enough to bring them back to the promised land? Ehhhhh . . . it’ll be hard. It doesn’t help that KG is a shell of himself, either. They’ll be a tough out though. Maybe. Metro odds: 85:1

11. Golden State Warriors (No. 6 seed in West) - You want to watch the most entertaining series of the first round? Flip on Clippers vs. Warriors. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson absolutely fill the buckets, and Andre Iguodala is maybe the best all-around defender in the NBA. If the Warriors can make a series out of it, maybe – maybe – Mark Jackson keeps his job. If they lose in four or five games, that should be it for him. Metro odds: 100:1

12. Memphis Grizzlies (No. 7 seed in West) - Ah, Memphis. The last team to clinch a playoff berth in the NBA with a big win over the Phoenix Suns. You’ve got to hand them credit for the way they battled after a rough start to the season and an injury to Marc Gasol. They’re tough – probably the closest version to the East’s Bulls. But the Thunder are simply better. Metro odds: 125:1

13. Dallas Mavericks (No. 8 seed in West) - It was a three-team race for the final playoff spots between the Mavericks, Grizzlies, and Suns. Honestly, we thought the Mavs would be the odd team out. We were wrong. But we’ll bet our landlord’s building that they don’t escape the Spurs in the first round. San Antonio may run into trouble in the second round, but they should be fine here. Metro odds: 200:1

14. Washington Wizards (No. 5 seed in East) - Being in the Wizards locker room after they beat the Celtics in their last game of the season, we can tell you that spirits were obviously very high. This is their first trip to the postseason since 2008, but they haven’t won a series since beating the Bulls in the first round of the 2005 playoffs. It’ll be a surprise if they beat the Bulls again this time – that defense is just too much. Metro odds: 400:1

15. Charlotte Bobcats (No 7. seed in East) - Oh, Bobcats. What could have been at least a somewhat manageable series against the Raptors is now most likely a four-game sweep at the hands of the Heat. In fact, the Heat haven’t lost to the Bobcats in their last 15 matchups dating back to the 2010-11 season. Yeesh. Still, we’ll give credit to Al Jefferson for carrying them this far. Metro odds: 800:1

16. Atlanta Hawks (No. 8 seed in East) - On Feb. 2, the Hawks were third in the Eastern Conference with a 25-21 record. They proceeded to go 13-23 over final 36 games of season, and just barely made the playoffs. They don’t even get a free trip to Miami for hanging on, as they’ll play (and lose to) the Pacers. Metro odds: 1,000:1



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