Every NBA team's playoff chances ranked from pipe dream to probable

Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Hornets
Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Hornets / David Jensen/GettyImages
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The Promising Tier

Dallas Mavericks (32-23)

Grant Williams is gone, and Kyrie Irving - who has been relatively immune to controversy this year,, and Luka Doncic are proving to be a great pairing. Dereck Lively II is one of the better rookie big men, and Daniel Gafford is taking immediate advantage of his increased role after coming over from the Washington Wizards. Dallas has won six straight and recently beat the Oklahoma City Thunder by 35.

Indiana Pacers (31-25)

The Indiana Pacers have a very exciting young team and an exciting young superstar in Tyrese Haliburton. While it didn't come at the trade deadline, the acquisition of Pascal Siakam only raises the ceiling for this squad. Even if the Pacers play .500 basketball the rest of the way, they're in position to snap a three-season postseason drought.

Miami Heat (30-25)

It's been an uneven season for the Miami Heat, hampered recently by injuries to Josh Richarson and Terry Rozier. The emergence of rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. has been huge for "Heat Culture," though. Erik Spoelstra is one of the best coaches in the game, and an unimpressive middle of the Eastern Conference should clear the way for Miami to make the postseason. Then, they should go to the NBA Finals, as that's what tends to happen when the Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl.

New Orleans Pelicans (33-22)

Almost every season, it's a question of health in the Big Easy. Each of their big players has had nicks here and there, but on the whole, the core has remained relatively healthy, and New Orleans is positioned for a playoff berth because of it. The emergence of Herb Jones on both ends of the court has also been major for Willie Green's team.

Orlando Magic (30-25)

After an impressive start, the Orlando Magic have come back to Earth a little bit. But racking up all the wins they did at the start of the year should put them in a good spot to make the postseason, especially if Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner keep balling out. The Magic should be in the postseason for the first time since 2020.

Phoenix Suns (33-22)

After a somewhat uneven start to the year, the Phoenix Suns' Big Three has gotten healthy and coalesced, turning the Suns into one of the top five teams in the Western Conference. They're working on putting some distance between themselves and the play-in tier of the conference. The path towards the playoffs is looking clear, healthy permitting.

Sacramento Kings (31-23)

The Sacramento Kings were quiet at the trade deadline, but they aren't sneaking up on anyone after last year's breakthrough. They've shown their ability to beat the top competition, including a recent rout of the defending champions. Even if All-Star voters don't respect them enough, Domantas Sabonis and De'Aaron Fox are on the verge of taking the Kings back to the playoffs.