Breaking Down the Western Conference Playoff Seeding Scenarios
To say that the Western Conference is jumbled would be an extreme understatement. Because of all the teams' close proximity in the conference standings, there are a brain-hurting number of possible seeding scenarios for the playoffs. Since we at numberFire like math and such things, we thought we would break it all down for you.
I warn you: it's crazy. There exists a real scenario in which Golden State, Dallas, Memphis, and Phoenix could all end up 49-33, resulting in a ridiculous four-way tie. And that's not even the craziest tiebreaker possibility over the next three days.
OK, let's knock them all out. Here we go.
Team(s) Locked Into Their Seed
San Antonio Spurs
Thoughts: They have been the best team this year. They are the top seed. No more needs to be said.
Fighting for Seeds
Oklahoma City Thunder
2 seed if: Either they win one of their remaining two games (at New Orleans tonight and home versus Detroit on Wednesday) or the Clippers lose one of their remaining two games - home versus Denver on Tuesday and at Portland on Wednesday.
3 seed if: They lose both of their games this week and the Clippers win both of their games this week.
Quick thoughts: The Thunder are two games up, but would lose the third tiebreaker (conference won-loss record) to the Clippers if the second scenario happened.
Los Angeles Clippers
2 seed if: See above.
3 seed if: See above.
Quick thoughts: The Clips can't fall past the third seed, as they're three games up on Houston. With the Thunder's easy schedule (Pellies and Pistons), the Clips locking in the third seed is highly likely.
4 seed if: They win one of their remaining two games (home versus San Antonio tonight and at New Orleans on Wednesday) or if the Trail Blazers lose their remaining game (home versus the Clippers on Wednesday).
5 seed if: They lose both of their remaining games and the Trail Blazers beat the Clippers on Wednesday.
Quick thoughts: The Rockets control their own destiny and own the tie breaker over Portland. All they have to do is win one of their games and they will get home court advantage over the Trail Blazers in the first round.
Portland Trail Blazers
4 seed if: See above.
5 seed if: See above.
Quick thoughts: Portland is only a half game back from the Rockets, but the Rockets own the tiebreaker, so Portland will need some good fortune to move into the fourth seed. The good news is that it's likely the Clips will rest their starters on Wednesday, so if it matters, Portland should win easily.
Golden State Warriors
6 seed if: They win their two remaining games (home versus Minnesota tonight and at Denver Wednesday) or Dallas and Memphis loses one of their remaining games.
7 seed if: They lose both remaining games, Memphis beats Phoenix tonight, and Dallas beats Memphis on Wednesday.
8 seed if: They lose both remaining games and Phoenix wins both of their remaining games - home versus Memphis tonight and at Sacramento on Wednesday.
Quick thoughts: This is where the tiebreakers get crazy. The most likely scenario is that the Warriors get the six seed, as their remaining schedule includes two non-playoff teams. However, if they lose both games and Phoenix wins both games then they would go to the fourth tiebreaker - win/loss percentage against playoff teams in your own conference, which Phoenix would win (Phoenix would have gone 11-14 while the Warriors would have gone 11-15) and thus get the seventh seed.
6 seed if: They beat Memphis Wednesday and Golden State loses their two remaining games.
7 seed if: They beat Memphis Wednesday and Golden State wins one of their remaining games or Memphis loses one of its remaining games.
8 seed if: Memphis wins both of their remaining games.
Quick thoughts: Dallas has already clinched a spot, but their seed remains up in the air with only one game to play. If Memphis beats Phoenix tonight, then the loser of the Dallas vs. Memphis game on Wednesday will get the eighth seed.
6 seed if: They win their two remaining games and Golden State loses their remaining two games.
8 seed if: They win one of their two remaining games or Phoenix loses one of their two remaining games.
OUT if: They lose their two remaining games and Phoenix wins their remaining games.
Playoff Odds: 85.9%
Quick thoughts: Memphis is in an odd spot where it can't get the seventh seed, but could possibly move up to the sixth if for some reason Golden State loses both its last two games. It all starts tonight though - if they beat Phoenix on the road, they clinch a playoff spot.
7 seed if: They win their remaining two games, Memphis loses their remaining two games, and Golden State loses their remaining two games.
8 seed if: They win their remaining two games, Memphis loses their remaining two games, and Golden State wins one of their two remaining games.
OUT if: They lose either of their remaining two games or Memphis wins one of their two remaining games.
Playoff Odds: 14.1%
Quick thoughts: Phoenix needs to first take care business first tonight at home against the Grizzlies. Even still, the Grizzlies own the tiebreaker over Phoenix, so the Suns need the Grizzlies to lose twice to get in. Despite all that, they could in a very unlikely situation, move up to the seventh seed.