Commissioner Adam Silver believes a play-in tournament could be a great way to boost interest in the NBA Postseason. In a play-in tournament, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, who haven’t had a great season, can play their way into the playoffs. Once there, who knows? With that in mind, check out 3 teams from each conference who appear capable of winning the play-in tourney and securing a spot in the playoffs. Let’s jump right into action so you can continue planning your bets against the NBA Playoffs Odds.
NBA Teams Reaching Playoffs – Possible Upsets
2022 NBA Play-In Tournament
- When: Tuesday, April 12 – Thursday, April 14
- Toronto Raptors
In the old format, the 32-25 as of Feb. 18 Raptors would be a playoff team. But because the play-in tournament includes seeds 7 through 10, Toronto would have to play their way into the postseason if things weren’t to change.
Toronto deserves to be in the playoffs. The squad boasts one of the very best point guards in the league, Fred VanVleet, a top big in Pascal Siakam, and a burgeoning star in OG Anunoby. If the Raptors are lucky enough to make the postseason, consider them a live longshot to win the conference.
- New York Knicks
A couple of teams who had no trouble securing post season berths would have to play their way in this season. The Knicks are one of those teams.
NYK is 25-34 and in fourth place in the Atlantic. Granted, the NBA doesn’t care about divisions and instead rewards teams with the best records, but what’s up with the Knicks?
The problem is that the offense just isn’t there. The Knicks shoot a terrible 43.4% from the field. The three-point shooting is barely above 35%. If NYK gets hot in the play-in, though, they’d be tough to keep out of the playoffs.
- Atlanta Hawks
In 2021, Atlanta fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. That tells us a lot about how talented the Hawks are.
So why haven’t the Hawks yet secured a spot? Why, if the season were to end right after the all-star break, would the ATL be a play-in tournament team?
Clint Capella and Trae Young are great. Capella averages over 12 boards per while Young averages 27.8 points and 9.3 assists each game.
But the Hawks are the opposite of the Knicks. While NYK struggles on offense, Atlanta struggles on D, allowing 46.6% from the field and 111.8 points on average per game. The ATL would be a playoff force if the defense were to tighten.
- Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the best bigs in the game. He’s also an unbelievable three-point shooter, averaging 40.9% from behind the arc this season.
Towns is so effective at shooting threes that he’s a legit contender in the NBA Three-Point Contest on Friday night. But the T’Wolves are more than their close to over 9 rebounds and over 24 points per game big man.
D’Angelo Russell has found a home. How else do we explain the 7 assists per? Minnesota must improve the D. If that happens, the Timberwolves should secure a playoff spot.
- Portland Trail Blazers
For years, Portland has leaned on one of the most underrated players in the NBA, Damian Lillard. This season, injuries have kept Lillard from showing his best.
It’s also put Portland in a tough situation. Damian won’t get back onto the court until March, which means the Blazers must find a way to stay competitive.
Josh Hart is having a great season. He leads the team with over 24 points per game. But at 25-34, Portland has some work to do play in the tournament. So consider this a glass half full postseason upset play.
- Los Angeles Clippers
Why the Clippers instead of the Lakers? Los Angeles big man Anthony Davis is out for a month due to a mid-foot sprain, which means the Lakers must start 36-year-old Dwight Howard at center.
With Howard at center, the Lakers aren’t great. The Clippers, though, have a big shot of not only making the tournament but of also winning a spot.
LAC has an almost .500 record. The 30-31 team should get Paul George back next week, which means they instantly become a playoff contender. The Clippers are a legit upset playoff squad.