With NBA All-Star weekend right around the corner, these ten teams have been making the most noise around the league:
Boston Celtics (33-19): With Isaiah Thomas having an outstanding year averaging 29.8 PPG (2nd in the NBA), they are fortunate enough to sit at second in the Eastern Conference. With Avery Bradley still absent, the C’s are still playing great basketball, as they are third in APG with 25.3.
San Antonio Spurs (40-12): Despite Leonard’s absence in five games this season, the Spurs are looking unstoppable. With a Greg Popovich system, the Spurs rely on their ball movement, leading the NBA in 3-Pt% at 40.7%. Veteran, LaMarcus Aldridge, is quite the fit for this gritty, average tempo team who are four games behind Golden State in the standings.
Golden State Warriors (44-8): Although they might not be on par with last season (being 73-9 surpassing Jordan’s Bulls who were 72-10), the Warriors have been performing well since adding Forward Kevin Durant to the mix. With four players being named All-Stars this season, I’m not surprised by the outcome thus far.
Atlanta Hawks (31-22): The Hawks have been all over the place this year, but still sit fourth in the East, despite trading sharpshooter Kyle Korver for Mo Williams, Mike Dunleavy, and a few first round picks. Paul Millsap is heading to his second consecutive All-Star game, but his future with Atlanta remains unknown, as he has been on and off the trading block all season.
Houston Rockets (38-17): With Harden being an MVP candidate and new Head Coach Mike D’Antoni, the Rockets have improved from last season (41-41). Eric Gordon has been looking like a different player from his previous few seasons. The Rockets sit in third place in the west.
Cleveland Cavaliers (36-15): The reigning NBA champs haven’t had the best campaign thus far. From LeBron James speaking out about team problems to the team losing to teams like Sacramento and New Orleans who didn’t have Anthony Davis, the Cavs are still leading the Eastern Conference. Adding a knockdown shooter in Kyle Korver to the rotation opens up the floor more, making them a huge threat from downtown.
Toronto Raptors (32-22): Losing Bismack Biyombo to free agency was a big blow to a team who lost in the conference finals a year ago. Dropping in the standings week after week, the team’s duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have showed spurts of greatness this season. Both Lowry and DeRozan are heading to their second consecutive All-Star game as a duo.
Utah Jazz (34-19): Yes, the Jazz! Utah has been flying under the radar this season, but their record is no joke. They put up an impressive win against the Cavs in an overtime thriller backed up by Gordon Hayward’s 29-point outing. With Rudy Gobert (a defensive player of the year candidate) holding down the paint with Derricks Favors as a back bone, the Jazz have put up an impressive 34 wins this season.
Washington Wizards (31-21): John Wall and the Wizards have been counted out this season, and people tend to forget about this franchise. Bradley Beal is averaging 22.4 PPG along with Wall averaging a double-double (23,10), but their secret weapon this season has been Otto Porter. His stats may not be impressive, but Porter is having a career year averaging 14.3 PPG. He put up a double-double in a 114-110 win over the Nets last night, making him the third offensive threat for the Wizards.
Oklahoma City Thunder (30-23): With Kevin Durant departing, Russell Westbrook has taken full reign of this struggling Thunder team. Averaging a triple-double and being snubbed from an All-Start starting spot, the 6’4″ UCLA product is a clear cut candidate for MVP this season.