Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (left) high fives teammate Kevin Durant during a game earlier this month. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Golden State Warriors are loaded with talent and have been to the NBA Finals in each of the past three seasons, winning it all in 2015 and 2017. They are the top team again this year, too, winning a league-best 43 games while outscoring opponents by 9.7 net points per 100 possessions, the best net rating in the NBA.

And they also happen to have the easiest remaining schedule of any team this season.

According to the Simple Rating System, a team rating that takes into account average point differential and strength of schedule, where zero is average, the Warriors (plus-7.9 rSRS) play opponents who are, collectively, 1.6 points per game worse than the league average. For context, that’s on par with the 2017-18 Dallas Mavericks (minus-1.6 rSRS), a non-playoff team with a 18-39 record. In other words, the Warriors can be considered an eight-point favorite on a neutral court in each of their remaining 26 games. Using the win rates that fuel our weekly power rankings, which take into account a team’s actual record and what its record should be based on points scored and allowed — also known as its Pythagorean win percentage — Golden State is projected to win 63 games in 2017-18, the most in the NBA this year and the fourth consecutive season of 60 or more wins under coach Steve Kerr.

The Philadelphia 76ers have the second-easiest remaining schedule (opponents averaging a minus-1.5 rSRS), putting them in prime position to improve on their current status as the No. 8 seed in the East. After that we have the Charlotte Hornets (minus-1.1 rSRS), Dallas Mavericks (minus-0.7 rSRS) and Utah Jazz (minus-0.5 rSRS).

Team rSRS Current wins Projected wins Projected total wins in 2017-18
Golden State Warriors -1.60 43 20 63
Philadelphia 76ers -1.54 28 17 45
Charlotte Hornets -1.07 23 13 36
Dallas Mavericks -0.69 18 10 28
Utah Jazz -0.53 28 14 42

The toughest schedule coming after the trade deadline belongs to the Phoenix Suns (opponents averaging a plus-1.3 rSRS). The team with the worst record (18-39) and the second-worst net rating this season (minus-8.4) will have to try to defeat a collection of teams that perform as well as this year’s Washington Wizards (32-24, No. 4 seed in the East). That’s a tall order for most teams, especially the Suns, the worst shooting squad in the NBA this season.

The San Antonio Spurs are also going to see a slate of games (opponents averaging a plus-1.2 rSRS) almost as difficult, which comes at a time when Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, Rudy Gay and Dejounte Murray are all nursing injuries. Assuming full health, the Spurs are the fifth-best team in the league (3.5 net rating), projected to win 49 games by the end of 2017-18, good for the No. 3 seed in the West.

Also looking at a tough road ahead are the Portland Trail Blazers (opponents averaging a plus-1.0 rSRS), Atlanta Hawks (0.9 rSRS) and Wizards (0.9 rSRS).

A hard remaining schedule comes at a terrible time for Washington, who will be without all-star point guard John Wall until at least mid March. Give credit to Coach Scott Brooks and the team for keeping it together so far — they are 6-2 in Wall’s absence since Jan. 27 — but their projected win total of 46 games could see them slip from their current spot as the No. 4 seed in the East to No. 5 or No. 6, which could result in a first-round series against the retooled Cleveland Cavaliers.

Team rSRS Current wins Projected wins Projected total wins in 2017-18
Phoenix Suns 1.30 18 7 25
San Antonio Spurs 1.21 35 14 49
Portland Trail Blazers 0.97 31 13 44
Atlanta Hawks 0.88 18 8 26
Washington Wizards 0.86 32 14 46

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