Year after year, General Managers, coaches, their staff, and the players get ready to make the playoffs. As great as the NBA's regular season is, it just doesn't mean a thing once we reach that stage.
Sadly, tho, just 8 teams per conference make this instance. For years, some people have advocated and urged the league to change that system and make the 16 teams with the best record - regardless of the conference - make the playoffs.
Also, this year will feature another play-in tournament that could give another shot at a playoff berth for those teams that end up on the 9th or 10th spot. According to the league's official website, it'll go as follows:
"At the conclusion of the regular season but before the first round of the playoffs, the team with the 7th-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 8th-highest winning percentage in a Play-In Game (the “Seven-Eight Game”). The winner of the Seven-Eight Game in each conference will earn the No. 7 seed.
The team with the 9th-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 10th-highest winning percentage in the “Nine-Ten Game”. The loser of the Seven-Eight Game will host the winner of the Nine-Ten Game in a Play-In Game, and the winner of that game in each conference will earn the No. 8 seed."
So, with that in mind, we can already make our projections as to what teams will actually make the playoffs and what teams will be left behind.
4 Contending Teams That Won't Make The NBA Playoffs
4. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors went from making it to 5 straight trips to the NBA Finals to not even making the playoffs last season and their chances don't look any better this year. Stephen Curry has played at an MVP level but the rest of their supporting cast is just lacking.
The Warriors are currently 10th in the Western Conference and we just don't see them getting past the Memphis Grizzlies or Dallas Mavericks in a play-in tournament. So, better luck next year, Dubs.
3. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship just a couple of seasons ago but now, they've completely fallen apart. Kyle Lowry has struggled with injuries and Pascal Siakam looks like a 'one-season wonder' at this point.
Nick Nurse has proven to be a magician with his deep rotations but he's been unable to find a lineup that actually words this season, and they're just getting torched in the paint. The Raptors are 10th in the East and unlikely to move up.
2. San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs' impressive streak of two decades making the playoffs came to an end last season. Yet, they seem reluctant to embrace a full rebuild, even after parting ways with LaMarcus Aldridge.
DeMar DeRozan is unlikely to come back next season and they're currently 9th in the Western Conference. They'd be better off just tanking and starting a long-overdue rebuild, as they don't have what it takes to beat the Mavericks or Grizzlies.
1. Indiana Pacers
Surprisingly, we don't see the Indiana Pacers making the playoffs again this season. They got off to a great start to the season but now, their three best players (Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, and Myles Turner) are all hurt.
At full strength, there's no doubt that the Pacers could even upset some of the higher-ranked teams in the Eastern Conference but they're just too undermanned at this point and are losing way too many winnable games.