NBA standings based on remaining strength of schedule: Lakers have opportunity

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers are once again in contention for the NBA Play-In Tournament. As the ninth seed in the Western Conference at the All-Star Break, there is a good chance that the team will be in the play-in for the third time in the last four years.

To avoid this fate, the Lakers are going to need to climb at least three spots in the standings in the Western Conference. Thankfully, the Western Conference is very compact and the Lakers could jump multiple spots with a hot streak. But on the flip side, the West is so compact because there are so many talented teams.

Los Angeles is going to need a much better second half of the season than the first half and in a perfect world, the Lakers would have a cupcake schedule to fall back on. That is not the case, though, as the Lakers are going to have to earn their keep.

NBA standings based on remaining strength of schedule

Western Conference:

Strength of schedule is calculated by taking the average winning percentage of a team's remaining opponents. The lower the SOS the better, as it indicates easier competition to face.


Remaining SOS

1. Memphis Grizzlies


2. Golden State Warriors


3. Oklahoma City Thunder


4. Denver Nuggets


5. Dallas Mavericks


6. Minnesota Timberwolves


7. Houston Rockets


8. New Orleans Pelicans


9. Los Angeles Lakers


10. Sacramento Kings


11. Los Angeles Clippers


12. Portland Trail Blazers


13. Utah Jazz


14. San Antonio Spurs


15. Phoenix Suns


The worst teams in the league typically have higher SOS remaining because they cannot play themselves, so that naturally inflates the opponents' winning percentage. That being said, the Phoenix Suns being so much higher than any other team in the West is concerning (but great for the Lakers).

Unfortunately, the Lakers are not getting much help otherwise as the other teams that LA needs to leapfrog are all in the same ball park. The difference in SOS with the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings is not going to make a tangible difference.

Eastern Conference:


Remaining SOS

1. Orlando Magic


2. Brooklyn Nets


3. Boston Celtics


4. Miami Heat


5. Toronto Raptors


6. Indiana Pacers


7. Chicago Bulls


8. Atlanta Hawks


9. Cleveland Cavaliers


10. New York Knicks


11. Detroit Pistons


12. Washington Wizards


13. Philadelphia 76ers


14. Charlotte Hornets


15. Milwaukee Bucks


Each of the nine-hardest schedules remaining all play the Boston Celtics, with the teams at the top of the list playing the Celtics twice. Boston has had a firm grip on the East all season and that is only going to continue with the third-easiest SOS remaining not just in the East, but in the NBA.

Doc Rivers is really going to be tested as the new head coach of the Bucks with the toughest SOS remaining. At the very least, it will allow the Bucks to get into playoff form as right now, it does not look like Milwaukee can stand a chance against Boston in a seven-game series.