The seeding games were fun. And then there were sixteen. As NBA teams leave the bubble and the playoffs start in earnest, the power rankings roll on.
The field has been trimmed, the matchups have been set and the stakes have been raised. Every game from here on out counts even more and there will be no teams not playing for anything anymore. At least until their spirits get broken by their opponents.
The playoffs have been much more exciting than expected in the first round. After a chalk start to the first day of action, both number one seeds have dropped a game and only two teams are looking ready to complete a sweep. Whether it be parity, the environment or whatever other excuse people will come up with, the playoffs have been nothing if not fun.
As we move forward in the playoffs, these rankings will be tougher to separate from those in the winning column and those in the losing column. It is no longer about projecting further out for how they will be doing. This is not projecting next season. This is where they stand right now, in Orlando with the NBA Championship on the line.
Do not fret, however. There is still plenty left to be open to interpretation. All of these teams are only three games in. With so much room to turn things around (except for the Brooklyn Nets, unfortunately) these rankings could look quite wrong in a week’s time. That is the beauty of the NBA playoffs. The series is guaranteed for at least four games.