Beyond total wins and losses so far this season, which five teams are actually the best and which five are the worst? Let’s look at the overall NBA power rankings and compare them against the NBA futures odds from one of the top online sportsbooks, Bovada.
Top 5 Best Teams
As we stand with current season performance and with future strength of schedule the top five teams are:
1. The Toronto Raptors
2. The Boston Celtics
3. The Milwaukee Bucks
4. The Golden State Warriors
5. The Denver Nuggets
Now let’s have a look at the NBA standings:
The Raptors not only lead the Eastern Conference with 23 wins, but they lead the league. So it makes sense to see them at the top of the list. But the Boston Celtics are 5th in the Eastern Conference and would be behind the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, and Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference, putting them at 8th in overall league standings.
The Bucks are second in the East and tied for second overall, so their predictive ranking being at No. 3 seems fairly accurate. On to the Warriors. Golden State is second in the West and would be 4th overall at the moment, which lines up exactly with their power rating. Finally, we have the Nuggets. Denver is a resurging team. The last time the Nuggets led the Western Conference this late in the season was way, way back in 1984.
1. *The Golden State Warriors -155
2. *The Toronto Raptors +700
3. *The Boston Celtics +900
4. The Houston Rockets +1400
5. The Los Angeles Lakers +1600
6. *The Milwaukee Bucks +1900
7. The OKC Thunder +2100
8. *The Denver Nuggets +4000
Now things start to get a little bit more interesting. The Warriors, who are 4th on the list of power rankings and overall standings are far and away favorites to win the NBA Championship. No one else even comes close. The Raptors, who lead the league and are the top team in the NBA power rankings are 7 to 1 to win the Championship. The Celtics are 9 to 1 to win it all. So even though the positions don’t line up at least the power ratings and NBA odds agree on the who the top three teams are.
The Bucks are the No. 2 team in the East and 3rd in the power rankings, yet they sit behind the Rockets and the Lakers on the NBA Odds Boards at 19 to 1. It’s even worse for the Nuggets who are 40 to 1 to hoist Larry O’Brien at the end of the season. So, not only are they 8th on the odds boards and stuck behind OKC, but the experts in Vegas feel like the Thunder are roughly twice as likely to win the Championship than the Nuggets.
This is interesting. When you look at the top five teams in the power rankings, we should probably slide, Boston down and move the Bucks into No. 2 and Golden State into the No. 3 spot. Then we have the three best teams in the NBA and the remaining two are debatable.
The Worst 5 in the League
Let's just compare standings and power rankings here; there is no need to go into the odds on these 2018/19 bottom feeders.
1. The Atlanta Hawks (30th)
2. The Chicago Bulls (29th)
3. The Phoenix Suns (28th)
4. The Cleveland Cavs (27th)
5. The New York Knicks (26th)
At this point in time, the Hawks are in fact, the worst team in the league. They are 6-23, which gives them the worst record in the league. On top of that, the predictive rankings agree. Sorry, people in Atlanta.
The Suns and Bulls are tied at 7-24 and the Cavs are just a half-game ahead at 7-23. The Knicks are awful at 9-23 but they have much more potential at this point than the other four. That said, if there was an opposite of the ‘most improved’ award, it would have to go to Clevland. Everyone knew they would fall off a bit with the departure of LeBron James, but they still had an all-star cast. With Kevin Love out, they have fallen straight to the bottom in a single season.
So there you have it, we have the worst in the league, and I think we can agree on the top three best teams Raptors, GSW, Bucks as they high on the list in the power rankings, league standings, and Vegas odds boards.