Now the fun really starts in the NBA
The NBA all-star game is quickly approaching (Feb. 16) and that means it’s a good time to take a look back at what this NBA season is looking like. Each team has around 50 games down and about 30 to go, so the playoff picture is starting to look clearer and clearer.
Starting out in the eastern conference, there isn’t too much change up top compared to last year. Of the teams who finished in the top eight last season, seven are there again. The Milwaukee Bucks have the lead with a 42-7 record.
Behind them are the reigning NBA champions Toronto Raptors. It appears that the loss of their star Kawhi Leonard (who is now with the LA Clippers) hasn’t affected them very much. They have a 36-14 record and are currently on a fiery 11 game winning streak.
Speaking of fire, the newcomer to the top eight in the east is the Miami Heat. It looks like their offseason moves were a success. Their biggest acquisition was, of course, Jimmy Butler. Butler and crew have currently landed themselves in the number four spot with a respectable 34-16 record.
Rounding off the top of the east are the Boston Celtics in third and the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic taking spots five through eight in the order listed.
The Chicago Bulls are currently the only team looking to bust into that top eight. They are just three wins behind the Magic, but their current losing streak is not helping one bit.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks are in utter despair at this point, both with 38 losses and at the bottom of the conference.
Moving to the western conference, there is a lot more to dissect. For starters, the Golden State Warriors went from riches to rags overnight. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
This year they are dead last in 15th place. In fact, they have more losses than the Cavs and Hawks with 39. It was expected they’d drop a bit with the loss of Kevin Durant and injury to Klay Thompson, but no one would have predicted this.
In the front of the pack, we have the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are currently 37-11 which means they’ve already guaranteed at least the same number of wins they had last year when they finished 10th.
Staying in the city of L.A. (and the same stadium), is the team that’s second in the west, the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers, as mentioned before, picked up Kawhi Leonard. Leonard has moved this team from barely making it to the playoffs last year to a possible championship contender this year.
The rest of the top eight in order are the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies have made a nice jump from 12th place last year. It’s been three seasons since they’ve made a trip to the playoffs.
The last team to look out for are the New Orleans Pelicans. They are all the way back in 11th, but Zion Williams, the number one overall pick, has recently made his NBA debut after sitting out with an injury. Zion may provide the Pelicans with a spark in the coming weeks.
There’s plenty of season left, so a lot of change could still happen.