BPI: Can the West upset the Warriors?

The Golden State Warriors head into the playoffs as overwhelming favorites in their first-round series against the New Orleans Pelicans.

ESPN's Basketball Power Index gives the Warriors a 93 percent chance to win the series and a 27 percent chance to sweep the Pelicans in four games. Given the Warriors had the third-best offense and the third-best defense in the league, the question is easy: Does any team in the West have a legitimate shot at keeping the Warriors out of the NBA Finals?

The Warriors' weakness come playoff time is their relative lack of playoff experience, which is predictive of playoff success. Since the Warriors rank 15th in the league in playoff experience, this gives more experienced teams a better shot at stopping their march to the Finals than they would have otherwise.

The team with the best shot at beating the Warriors is the most experienced team in the league, the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are tops in experience and third in BPI. The Spurs are seventh in offense and second in defense, so they trump the Warriors in experience and defensive ranking and are only four spots below the Warriors in offense. So while the Warriors have been great in the regular season, they are vulnerable to a team that is close to them in total BPI and far ahead of them in playoff experience.

Because of their overall strengths, the Spurs have a 49 percent chance of bouncing the Warriors out of the playoffs. Because the Spurs are on the other side of the Western Conference bracket, though, the Warriors have just a 35 percent chance of having to face them.

Besides the Spurs however, no other team, even in the daunting Western Conference, has better than a 24 percent chance of beating the Warriors. The Clippers, the seventh-most experienced playoff team in the league, have the next best shot after the Spurs, with a 24 percent chance of winning a series. But an edge in playoff experience alone is not enough to overwhelm total strength in BPI. The Dallas Mavericks and the Memphis Grizzlies are both in the top five in the league in total playoff experience, and both have only a 19 percent chance of beating the Warriors in a seven-game series.

Note: The NBA Basketball Power Index (BPI) is a measure of team strength developed by the ESPN Analytics team. BPI is meant to be the best predictor of a team's performance going forward for the rest of the season. BPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. BPI accounts for game-by-game efficiencies, strength of schedule, pace, number of days' rest, game location and preseason expectations. Ratings will be updated in this space weekly.