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NBA Squad Goals, Part 2

Most teams don’t have a chance at winning it all this year, but these teams have good reason to try

Ringer illustration
Ringer illustration

It takes irrational confidence to believe you can take down the mighty Warriors, and these teams have that. If things break right — an injury here, a lucky bounce there — they think they’ll have a chance.

If you missed Part 1 of Squad Goals, check it out here:

Make the Playoffs: Pacers, Bucks, Knicks, Timberwolves

Indiana, Milwaukee, and the Knicks should all be able to make the postseason. At the very least, it’s within range for those teams. The Timberwolves have a tougher road playing in the West, but Karl-Anthony Towns and Tom Thibodeau don’t care. The young Wolves are ready to grow up.

Be a Challenger: Hornets, Bulls, Rockets, Grizzlies

Charlotte and Houston are playoff regulars now, and many think James Harden is a dark horse MVP candidate before the season has even begun. The Wade-Rondo-Butler Bulls are set to brick their way into contention. And no team wants to face the Grizzlies in the playoffs.

Conference Finals: Celtics, Pistons, Blazers, Raptors

The Pistons had a solid dry run under Stan Van Gundy last year, and now they’re hoping to become Eastern Conference contenders. Kyle Lowry finally tasted the conference finals, and you can be sure he wants to get back there in his contract year. Things get interesting with the Blazers and the Celtics. Can these super-young teams get to the next level? Al Horford didn’t relocate for nothing.

Larry O’Brien Trophy: Warriors (duh), Cavaliers, Clippers, Spurs

Smart money is on a Cleveland–Golden State rubber match. But don’t count out the Clippers or the Spurs! Blake is healthy; Lance Stephenson is gone. This could be L.A.’s year. And we all know Gregg Popovich laughs in the face of death (lineups).