Seemingly recovered from injury, Chris Paul is playing at a high level as he chases his first championship ring (Verse Photography/Creative Commons).

We’ve reached the final day in a historic NBA season packed with nearly unprecedented statistical seasons by some players, monstrous single-game outbursts by others and a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs for almost all of the teams in the league. On Wednesday’s final 14-game slate, six playoff seeds are still yet to be determined: 1, 2, 7 and 8 in the East and 4 and 5 in the West. Thirteen teams have already been eliminated from further contention, and the rest hope that their fortunes will be on the rise. This will be the final edition of our power rankings this season, but as a reminder, you can chart how every team has fared in our rankings over the course of the season with the interactive graph atop the Power Rankings landing page.

Biggest Jumps: Atlanta Hawks (+8), Minnesota Timberwolves (+6), Los Angeles Lakers (+6)

Biggest Falls: Philadelphia 76ers (-7), Denver Nuggets (-6), Dallas Mavericks (-5)

Our three panelists, Loren Lee Chen, Aaron Fischman and Joshua Jonah Fischman, independently ranked the league’s 30 teams from top to bottom. Their averaged rankings produced this 1-30 list and took into account all NBA regular-season games up until and including Monday, April 10, 2017. There were five contests on Tuesday, April 11, that are not reflected in the rankings but have been taken into account for the blurbs and team records. This edition also features a special guest contributor.

  1. Golden State Warriors (66-15, Previous Rank: 1)
  2. San Antonio Spurs (61-20, Previous Rank: 2) – The narrative all season has been that the Golden State Warriors are the team to beat, and the only teams that can possibly do so are the LeBron James-led Cavaliers in a repeat of last season’s epic Finals, or a high-variance team like the Houston Rockets who just need to get hot for four out of seven games. Are we too quick to dismiss the ever-consistent San Antonio Spurs, who are the only team in the league with a winning record against those Warriors this season (2-1, both wins by more than 20 points)? In fact, the Spurs have only lost twice all season to any of the top three seeds in either conference (2-0 vs. Boston, 2-0 vs. Cleveland, 2-0 vs. Toronto, 3-1 vs. Houston). Though his face may not show it, Kawhi Leonard, having put together an MVP-caliber season without nearly as much fanfare as some of his competitors, is eager to wake up a nation of viewers who have somehow slept on a 60-plus win team. – Loren
  3. Los Angeles Clippers (50-31, Previous Rank: 8) – Barring a Utah win and a Clippers loss Wednesday, Los Angeles will earn the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage against Utah for the opening round. After losing very winnable late-March games in Dallas and vs. Sacramento, the Clippers managed to reel off six straight victories, including signature wins over the Wizards, Spurs and Rockets. The wins showcased Los Angeles’ scary potential when close to fully healthy (Austin Rivers has missed the last four games) and seemingly the team’s laser-like focus as well. With talk of the Clippers’ window closing – Griffin, Paul, Redick and Doc Rivers could all be gone next season – the pressure to reach new heights of playoff success is bigger than ever. Will they live up to the task? The Clippers took the head-to-head season series from Utah, 3-1, winning three games by double digits. Should the Clippers get by the Jazz, they’ll presumably be greeted by the mighty Warriors. Just in case they need a clutch play or two from Paul Pierce, Rivers has ramped up the future Hall of Famer’s playing time over the last four weeks. – Aaron
  4. Utah Jazz (50-31, Previous Rank: 9)
  5. Houston Rockets (54-27, Previous Rank: 3)
  6. Toronto Raptors (50-31, Previous Rank: 5)
  7. Boston Celtics (52-29, Previous Rank: 4)
  8. Cleveland Cavaliers (51-30, Previous Rank: 7)
  9. Washington Wizards (49-32, Previous Rank: 6) – The Wizards are looking quite dangerous entering the playoffs. Even the Cavaliers appear to be ducking D.C. in a potential second-round matchup. Everyone’s concerned about the struggling defense, but that has a lot to do with a grueling post-All-Star break schedule. Given Kelly Oubre’s ascension and the fact that John Wall can play excellent defense when he wants to, there should be minimal worries from Zards fans on that end. However, Ian Mahinmi’s calf injury is one reason for concern, as his impact on the second unit and overall post presence will be critical elements of any postseason run. – CT Schwink, lead host of the Zard Cast
  10. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-34, Previous Rank: 10)
  11. Atlanta Hawks (43-38, Previous Rank: 19) – Hotlanta is, well, hot! The Hawks have rattled off four straight, three of which coming against the top two teams in the East, the Celtics and Cavaliers. Defeating the defending champions in back-to-back games is extremely impressive on its own accord, but even more so, the Hawks were trailing by 26 points heading into the fourth quarter before mostly Atlanta reserves helped send the contest into overtime against Cleveland’s A team. Paul Millsap has played well since his return from a knee injury, averaging 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in four games. The streaky Hawks had lost seven straight during a lousy stretch spanning March 13 through March 26. Believe it or not, that was not the first seven-game losing streak the team had suffered this season. Budenholzer’s boys have also enjoyed a six-game winning streak and a seven-game winning run in 2016-2017. – Joshua
  12. Portland Trail Blazers (41-40, Previous Rank: 11)
  13. Indiana Pacers (41-40, Previous Rank: 16) – The Pacers will only go as far as Paul George takes them, and if the past week is any indication, PG13 can carry his team quite a distance. In five April games, the star small forward is averaging 33.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.4 steals, while shooting 54.4 percent from the floor. The squad won all but one of those games, only narrowly falling to the Cavaliers in double-overtime. Thaddeus Young has clearly recovered from his recent wrist injury, as he too has dominated the month of April thus far, posting averages of 16.0 points and 8.6 rebounds on 61.9 percent shooting. The past five games have also witnessed the return of Lance Stephenson to Indianapolis. While he certainly is not playing heavy minutes like he did for the high-achieving gold and navy three seasons ago, Stephenson has already provided much-needed playmaking and has even drilled five-of-seven from deep. – Joshua
  14. Milwaukee Bucks (42-39, Previous Rank: 13) – Fifty-one games into the season, the Milwaukee Bucks essentially swapped one near-All-Star-level young forward for another when Jabari Parker went down with a knee injury the very same game that Khris Middleton played his first game of the season. On the surface, the effect was stark: Milwaukee went 22-29 through the first 51 games and has gone 20-10 since. However, a slightly closer look reveals that the difference has been much more subtle. In the latter segment, the Bucks have been just about half a point better in Offensive Rating and half a point better in Defensive Rating than they had been. However, as pointed out by Adam Paris on BrewHoop, the difference came be seen in their performance in clutch situations. In the first 51 games, Milwaukee had the 27th ranked Clutch Net Rating (-23.9) and by far the worst Clutch Offensive Rating (84.3). Since, they’ve sported a much-improved Net Rating of +7.7 and, more impressively, a league-leading 10-3 record in clutch situations. – Loren
  15. Chicago Bulls (40-41, Previous Rank: 17)
  16. Miami Heat (40-41, Previous Rank: 15) – The Cinderella story that has captivated the latter half of the season may be falling slightly short as the Heat will need to fight for their playoff lives in game 82. The Heat will only secure a spot if they manage to defeat the Wizards, and either the Pacers lose to the Hawks or the Bulls lose to the Nets. With such a deep hole to climb out of, the Heat needed to be exceptional in order to extend their season, and in the last nine games after losing unlikely team savior Dion Waiters to an ankle injury, they haven’t been, only managing to go 4-5, with wins over the Suns, Pistons, Knicks and Hornets. While it’s still plausible that they could be headed toward a first round matchup with either the Celtics or Cavaliers, at this point, it looks like coach Spoelstra and his crew will be packing their vacation bags shortly and hoping to come into next season reinvigorated. – Loren
  17. Memphis Grizzlies (43-38, Previous Rank: 14)
  18. Denver Nuggets (39-42, Previous Rank: 12) – On Sunday night, the Nuggets got Westbrook’d, allowing the likely MVP to notch 50 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and a game-winning 3-pointer with time expiring. Most costly, the heart-breaking buzzer-beater mathematically eliminated Denver from playoff contention. But not to worry, the Nuggets appear to have a fairly bright future on the horizon. Led by head coach Michael Malone, whom Sacramento fired a few seasons ago for failing to run an up-tempo attack, Denver led the league in Offensive Rating (113.1) following the All-Star break (the Nuggets also finished fourth in the category for the entire season and seventh in Pace). Nikola Jokic’s emergence – after the All-Star break, the man averaged 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 30.0 minutes per game – will grab the bulk of the headlines as it should, but there’s more. Gary Harris, 22, and Danilo Gallinari just turned in the best seasons of their careers, with the former hitting 41.5 percent from deep. Jamal Murray, who came into the season at 19, had a strong year in which he looked progressively more comfortable. – Aaron
  19. Charlotte Hornets (36-46, Previous Rank: 20)
  20. Detroit Pistons (37-44, Previous Rank: 24)
  21. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-50, Previous Rank: 27)
  22. New Orleans Pelicans (33-48, Previous Rank: 18)
  23. Sacramento Kings (32-49, Previous Rank: 22)
  24. Los Angeles Lakers (26-55, Previous Rank: 30) – To the chagrin of their lottery-hungry aficionados, the Lakers are on a tear, winners of five in a row. Brandon Ingram has made significant strides in his development, Julius Randle has nearly doubled his assist rate from the previous season, and Jordan Clarkson has again proven capable of filling the stat sheet on any given night. Several other young role players have earned key spots on next season’s roster like defensive stalwart Larry Nance Jr., the injured rim protector Ivica Zubac, and sweet-shooting point guard Tyler Ennis. Lest we forget D’Angelo Russell, who nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat the Timberwolves hours after hearing of his grandmother’s death. The upstart Lakers are playing with a ton of confidence these days, and a high draft pick is heading their way. – Joshua
  25. Brooklyn Nets (20-61, Previous Rank: 26)
  26. Dallas Mavericks (32-49, Previous Rank: 21) – Not even Tony Romo’s “Maverick for a day” honors could save the Mavericks’ abysmal final stretch, which resulted in losses in nine of their last 10 games prior to Wednesday’s season finale in Memphis. In reality, the Mavericks had long been out of the playoff hunt and stand to benefit from accruing all those losses as far as the draft lottery is concerned. With Dirk Nowitzki’s legendary career winding down in the season(s) ahead, Dallas hopes to build around Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel and Seth Curry, and quickly – we all know owner Mark Cuban does not like his team to miss the playoffs. In Barnes’ first season in town, he averaged 19.2 points on 16.2 field-goal attempts per game and a 46.8 percent success rate. He also earned a career-high 3.6 free-throw attempts per game. Allegedly 6-foot point guard Yogi Ferrell will also be a key part of the Mavericks’ future after taking care of the basketball and hitting better than 40 percent of his 3s in 34 games with Dallas. – Aaron
  27. New York Knicks (30-51, Previous Rank: 28)
  28. Phoenix Suns (24-58, Previous Rank: 29)
  29. Orlando Magic (28-53, Previous Rank: 25)
  30. Philadelphia 76ers (28-53, Previous Rank: 23)

We hope you enjoyed the list. Links to the previous editions of our power rankings can be found here.