Strength of schedule is sometimes an overlooked statistic to look at, but sometimes an important one. As the NBA Playoffs near, looking at the contenders’ remaining strength of schedules is interesting. Three teams who are looking at their playoff chances are going to enjoy easy remaining schedules.
The Jazz, Raptors and Wizards have the three easiest remaining NBA schedules, in that order, per Tankathon.
Utah is hanging onto the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, four games ahead of the Kings. Luckily for the Jazz, they have the easiest remaining strength of schedule (.402 opponents’ combined win percentage).
The toughest remaining opponent for the Jazz is Denver, which will be a home game for Utah. The other ‘tough’ opponents remaining are the Nets, Clippers and Kings.
Utah’s easiest remaining opponents: The Suns, Knicks, Bulls and Hawks. Those four teams make 80 percent of the teams with the worst records in the NBA.
What a way for the Jazz to likely secure a playoff spot, maybe even move ahead of the Clippers or Spurs.
With all the great teams in the league, only two have actually secured playoff spots: The Bucks and Raptors. No, not even the Warriors have a secured playoff spot in the West.
The chance of the Raptors taking first place in the East is slim, but securing the No. 2 seed is probably guaranteed. Toronto’s remaining opponents have a combined win percentage of .424.
The toughest remaining opponent for the Raptors is the Thunder, who they will meet twice. The Raptors will also face the Knicks and Bulls twice, as well as the Hornets.
All that is left for Toronto would be to take the No. 1 seed from the Bucks. That will be tough, as the Bucks’ remaining strength of schedule is just 10 spots above the Raptors. But while the No. 1 spot is a stretch, they can cement their No. 2 spot with an easy schedule before postseason play.
On top of that, the 76ers have a loaded roster that can challenge anybody. But Philadelphia is five games behind Toronto, so the Raptors can rest easy.
Washington is not in a playoff spot currently, but its remaining strength of schedule could fix that. Strangely enough, it also has a pretty tough remaining schedule. Tankathon has the Wizards’ remaining opponents’ combined win percentage at .455. It may not sound impressive at face value because it is not.
That opponent combined win percentage is .031 higher than Toronto’s remaining opponents. Washington can thank two future matchups with the Jazz and Nuggets for that. Not to mention, the Wizards also face the Spurs and Celtics. Luckily for Washington, four of those matchups are home games.
The Wizards also have the Knicks, Suns, Hornets, Grizzlies and the Bulls twice.’With those five teams in the future, Washington has a chance to grab a playoff spot.
Washington is 3.5 games behind the Heat for the last playoff spot, with the Hornets and Magic slightly ahead of them for the Heat’s spotCharlotte has the 10th strongest remaining schedule, and the Heat have the seventh strongest.
But, what hurts the Wizards is the fact that the Magic have the next easiest remaining schedule after them. So, the playoffs are not out of the question, but they are a tough course away for the Wizards.