Saturday, April 28, 2012

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, End of Regular Season Version

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question as the NBA playoffs begin this afternoon: If the Miami Heat get to the NBA Finals (and lose), should their season be viewed as a "failure"?

John (follow on Twitter):

I have felt that the Heat have been the best team all year. Toward the end of the season, they failed to come up big in some key matchups, and my confidence in them has certainly waned. I do, however, feel that playoff basketball is a whole different animal, and I believe that Miami will be ready. Considering all of the mounting pressure on LeBron to win a championship, combined with the fact that the first year of the Miami experiment resulted in a trip to the Finals (only coming up short to a Mavericks team that got incredibly hot behind one of the greatest playoff performances of all time), and I'm very comfortable calling anything short of a championship a failure. There are some teams that just have different standards than the rest of the league. After enough time passes, 95 percent of teams would look back at a trip to the Championship as a successful year, even if they came up a bit short. But all-time greats like LeBron are not measured by the number of times they finish as the runner-up. And this season, more than any before this, is about LeBron James and his place in history. I think the Spurs are playing like the best team in basketball, and have been for the last half of the season. A part of me thinks that they are just playing too well, and will win it all this year. But ultimately, I'm just not ready to bet against LeBron (even though it would have been right to do so for the last seven years.) I think Miami has a complete championship-or-bust mentality, and there's no doubt in my mind that the entire team will view anything but as a failure.

Kevin (follow on Twitter):

As a fan of the game, my opinion changed of LeBron James after the whole "taking-my-talents-to-South-Beach" train wreck of an ESPN special. In other words, he went from being a player I liked (despite being a Sixers' fan) to the player I despised the most in the NBA. And having the whole welcome party with the predictions of countless championships the next day made strengthened those feelings. My feelings are more neutral now, but I am definitely not rooting for LeBron. With all that said, I would consider a trip to the NBA Finals and a loss to either the Thunder or Spurs to be neutral -- neither a success nor failure. For the season to be viewed as a success, however, it requires a championship. If they don't get to the NBA Finals, their season would be a failure.

Sean (follow on Twitter):

I don't know how anyone can argue the other way on this. If the Heat don't win it all, then they failed period. This team was assembled to win championships, not falling short. If they fail this year then they should really look into breaking up this team, and I'd start with Chris Bosh who is as soft as they come. The Bulls are the team to beat in the East, and they win by playing defense. D. Rose will also take the big shot at the end of the game where LeBron won't.

Dan (follow on Twitter):

The answer is unequivocally and emphatically yes that the Miami Heat's season will be a failure if they do not win the NBA title this year. After all, it was LeBron that said "... not 4, not 5, not 6, but 7," and how he was taking notes from all of the haters this summer on Twitter. If your goal is to join forces with Dwyane Wade, and become the most dominant team in the league, it's title or bust.

Here are some stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: Utah Jazz (+3.33)
- Biggest drop from last week: Houston Rockets (-3.67)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Knicks, Grizzlies, Clippers and Magic (tied, 4)

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going through the end of the regular season, click here.

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