The arduous 82-game NBA regular season is over and the play-in drama has already finished after the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves advanced to the Play-Offs, which will get underway on Saturday.
All 16 teams have now secured their place in the Play-Offs after the Heat and Timberwolves clinched the final two post-season tickets, following a stunning Play-In tournament. The Atlanta Hawks had already beaten the Miami Heat to become the 7th seed in the east, while the Los Angeles Lakers needed overtime to see off the Timberwolves and set up a date with the Memphis Grizzles as the seventh seed in the west.
But the Heat saw off Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the East, with the Timberwolves beating Oklahoma City Thunder to wrap up the final places. Now the Play-Offs will begin, with Game 1 to be completed in all ties over the course of the weekend.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors punched their ticket to the post-season with top six finishes. And they have been joined by the Lakers, Hawks, Heat and Timberwolves following the Play-In tournament.
The first round of the 2022/23 NBA post-season begins on Saturday April 15 after the standings have been confirmed following the completion of the Play-In tournament. Mirror Sport bring you up to date with all the rosters that have confirmed their place.
Milwaukee Bucks (1st seed)
Head Coach: Mike Budenholzer
Key Man: Giannis Antetokoumpo
NBA Championships (Last title): 2 (2021)
Prospects: Two years on from the Giannis inspired 2021 title, the Bucks are setting the pace again. The Greek Freak is leading the way with another MVP-calibre season and has the supporting cast to go all the way. Were the first team to secure their spot on March 14.
Boston Celtics (2nd seed)
Head Coach: Joe Mazzulla
Key Man: Jayson Tatum
NBA Championships (Last title): 17 (2008)
Prospects: Following on from their Conference title last year...and of course the heartbreak against Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals last year, the Celtics booked their place in the post-season nice and early. Tatum and Jaylen Brown have dominated the scoring. Secured their spot on March 19 and will face the Atlanta Hawks in the first round.
Philadelphia 76ers (3rd seed)
Head Coach: Doc Rivers
Key Man: Joel Embiid
NBA Championships (Last title): 3 (1983)
Prospects: The 76ers haven't made it to the NBA Finals since 2001, but this year looks as good as any to bring their barren run to an end. Despite the Philadelphia team's eight-game winning streak ending with a narrow defeat to the Chicago Bulls on Monday, they secured their place in the Play-Offs thanks to the Cleveland Cavaliers beating the Brooklyn Nets on March 21. Any post-season success will likely depend on the performances of NBA MVP favourite Joel Embiid and whether James Harden can return to the peak of his powers. Philadelphia take on Brooklyn in the opening round of the postseason.
Cleveland Cavaliers (4th seed)
Head Coach: J.B. Bickerstaff
Key Man: Donovan Mitchell
NBA Championships (Last title): 1 (2016)
Prospects: The Cavaliers are in the Play-Offs for the first time without LeBron James since 1998, having booked their place with a 108-91 victory over the Houston Rockets. The key to their season has been their home form, with a record of 31-10 at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Cleveland will fancy themselves against the New York Knicks.
New York Knicks (5th seed)
Head Coach: Tom Thibodeau
Key Man: Julius Randle
NBA Championships (Last title): 2 (1970, 1973)
Prospects: The Knicks have endured a horrible existence since reaching the Eastern Conference finals in 2000 - with their single series victory the worst record of any NBA side. They had only appeared in the Play-Offs six times since then, with only the Charlotte Hornets worse off. But they confirmed their place in the post-season with a 118-109 win against Washington Wizards. Their form this season, where they have been comfortably in the top half all season, is down to Julius Randle's high-quality performances mixed with Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart's arrivals. However, Randle is currently injured and will be reassessed ahead of the opening round clash with the Cavaliers.
Brooklyn Nets (6th seed)
Head Coach: Jacque Vaughn
Key Man: Mikal Bridges
NBA Championships (Last title): 0
Prospects: The Nets will be relying on Mikal Bridges for the post-season after the star forward arrived from Phoenix Suns earlier this season. It's been a tough adjustment for the Nets after letting both Irving and Durant depart in the same trade window, but with the latter heading to the Suns, Bridges came in. Another big miss will be Ben Simmons, but the Nets have been used to coping without key players. The Nets face the 76ers in the first round.
Atlanta Hawks (7th seed)
Head Coach: Quin Snyder
Key Man: Trae Young
NBA Championships (Last title): 1 (1958)
Prospects: The Atlanta Hawks saw off the Miami Heat in Florida to win the Play-In game, ensuring Trae Young and co. have clinched the seventh seed. The Hawks will now face the Boston Celtics in a first round play-off series, and will need their front-court dominance to continue if they are to have a shot after Clint Capela and John Collins overwhelmed Miami.
Miami Heat (8th seed)
Head Coach: Erik Spoelstra
Key Man: Jimmy Butler
NBA Championships (Last title): 3 (2013)
Prospects: The Heat have many stars including Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, but their hopes this postseason will rely on Jimmy Butler. The star who's averaged 22.9 points per game this season is already feeling confident about facing the Bucks, as he said: "We've got to play damn near perfect basketball, which we're capable of. Play hard, stick together through the good, through the bad. We are one, and I think we're going to be OK. Let this season go, let the play-in go. 0-0 and get to work."
Denver Nuggets (1st seed)
Head Coach: Michael Malone
Key Man: Nikola Jokic
NBA Championships: None
Prospects: With Nikola Jokic leading the way, the Nuggets are serious contenders to claim a first NBA Championship in franchise history. They've been top of West for much of the season and at the very least an improvement on their first round exit in 2022 is a minimum expectation. Secured their Play-Off place and the North-West Division on March 16.
Memphis Grizzlies (2nd seed)
Head Coach: Taylor Jenkins
Key Man: Ja Morant
NBA Championships (Last title): None
Prospects: The feisty young squad have had plenty to contend during a fractured regular season but have nonetheless managed to maintain one of the best records in the NBA. Key injuries to Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke make the chances of a maiden title remote, but with Morant back in the line-up anything could happen. A blockbuster first round against the LA Lakers awaits.
Sacramento Kings (3rd seed)
Head Coach: Mike Brown
Key Man: De'Aaron Fox
NBA Championships (Last title): 4 (2003)
Prospects: The Kings ended the longest post-season drought in North American Sports when they clinched their first Play-Off campaign since 2010. With De'Aaron Fox averaging over 25 points per game, the former fifth overall pick is doing his best to deliver the ultimate season for Kings fans. After so many years of pain. Domantas Sabonis and Kevin Huerter are also right up there, and the Kings are also managing to avoid any serious injury problems, but a daunting test of their credentials lies ahead in round one when they the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Phoenix Suns (4th seed)
Head Coach: Monty Williams
Key Man: Kevin Durant
NBA Championships: None
Prospects: Defeated by Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks across six games in the 2021 NBA Finals, the Phoenix Suns are - for many - the team to watch in the Play-Offs. Phoenix completed a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets for former MVP Kevin Durant, adding the superstar to a loaded starting five including Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton - and they are yet to lose with Durant in the starting line-up and face the LA Clippers in the first round.
Los Angeles Clippers (5th seed)
Head Coach: Ty Lue
Key Man: Kawhi Leonard
NBA Championships: None
Prospects: The Los Angeles Clippers will be without one of their star players in Paul George for at least the first round contest against the Suns, which is a hammer blow for a franchise which held such high hopes after acquiring George and Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 offseason. If Leonard stays healthy, the Clippers will have a chance - he is a two-time NBA Finals MVP - while Russell Westbrook could still deliver.
Golden State Warriors (6th seed)
Head Coach: Steve Kerr
Key Man: Steph Curry
NBA Championships: 6 (2022)
Prospects: The reigning NBA champions have struggled for consistency in 2022 amid a transition throughout their roster, but the Golden State Warriors still possess a title-winning core spearheaded by Steph Curry. The two-time MVP joins Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and head coach Steve Kerr as mainstays throughout the franchise's dynasty, winning four championships in the last eight years. The Warriors will face the Sacramento Kings in the first round.
Los Angeles Lakers (7th seed)
Head Coach: Darvin Ham
Key Man: LeBron James
NBA Championships (Last title): 17 (2020)
Prospects: After starting the 2022/23 season 2-10, the Los Angeles Lakers frankly dreamed of making the Play-Offs - but a number of crucial moves at the NBA Trade Deadline revamped the roster and they have been on a tear since All-Star weekend. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the key men after spearheading the Lakers' last championship run three years ago. They'll start their bid for the franchise's 18th Championship against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Minnesota Timberwolves (8th seed)
Head Coach: Chris Finch
Key Man: Anthony Edwards
NBA Championships (Last title): 0
Prospects: Even LeBron James has given the Timberwolves some huge praise this season, claiming he's worried about some of their stars. The Lakers won against them during the Play-In tournament, but James said: "When you got guys like Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Edwards — those guys can both go for 40 against you. You got a very cerebral point guard like Mike Conley Jr. that’s been in multiple playoff games."