It’s All Star weekend in the NBA, just a bit beyond the mid-season point of the schedule, but still plenty of time to reflect on, and react to, as to what might happen heading to the playoffs.
Golden State has been building towards really great things, with all this firepower they stockpiled. Steve Kerr inherited the best job in the league, with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson firing three’s from all over the arena. And the Warriors have put together this impressive (42-9) record without much input from oft-injured forward David Lee. But they have firepower, a bunch of 3-point shooters off the bench, and athletes who can run. They are not really a surprise team, but the best in the West.
Atlanta is the best team in the league, and no one knows about them, despite (43-11) slate. Can you name the coach? Mike Budenholzer. Can you name a starter or two aside from Al Horford and free-agent Paul Millsap? Maybe guard Jeff Teague and 3-point shooter Kyle Korver. This team is deep, young, with firepower and a defensive strut.
Memphis is (39-14) and has to be viewed as ‘on the come’, but if Marc Gasol wears out during the playoff grind, they just might not make it to the finish line.
The jury is still out on the LA Clippers. They have a good record, but now Blake Griffin is dinged. They need consistency off the bench, and need to stop taking fouls. DeAndre Jordan is something special on the glass and on defense. But till they actually get to the NBA finals, they will be just another good team, and still the other team in the LA market, even if the other team is a disgrace right now.
Dallas, you must give Mark Cuban credit, keeps trying to put new pieces around star Dirk Nowitzke. Good team, not great team, likely to fall short in postseason again even with the arrival of tough guy Tyson Chandler and free spirit Rajon Rondo in deals.
The perennial “ring is the thing theme’ may no longer be relevant in San Antonio. 100,000-miles on Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker, and a hand injury to lynchpin Kawhi Leonard means the Spurs just don’t scare people anymore, especially in 7-game series.
Toronto got rid of GM-Bryan Colangelo a couple of years ago, and hauled in alot of no names, and it’s not because they are just across the border. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan lead a roster full of Euro players that has taken this to a (36-17) start.
Portland and Houston are hanging tough despite being hurt but whether they can both finish upbeat is the question. Both are (36-17), with the Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge playing thru a hand injury, and Dwight Howard out 6-more weeks with knee issues.
It has been a strange first half for two teams you recognize. Oklahoma City has not stayed healthy, though they are getting hot now. 4-different injuries sidetracked Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrooke. If they can stay on the floor in postseason they will be hard to handle.
In Cleveland, it has taken time to come together, but the Cavs are rolling now, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyree Irving. Name the game, they will play it, run and gun, to bump and grind. The Cavs (33-21) mark is a bit misleading under new coach Dave Blatt.
Life after LeBron James hasn’t been easy for Miami, at (22-30). Dwayne Wade looks old and injured, Chris Bosh seems still soft, and Pat Riley has not been able to fill all the slots.
Indiana had played so well for a couple of years, then the devasting injuries. Danny Granger’s knee injury robbed him of a chunk of his career, then the devastating broken leg to Paul George this past summer in International play, rendered the Pacers helpless, thus (21-33).
It’s been a bad year for the bottom feeders. Congrats to the 76ers for building themselves into a lottery pick team. They say they weren’t tanking, but now they are not in the running for the lst lottery pick-serves them right.
So much for the Zen Master, the Triangle offense, Derek Fisher’s defense, and all things Phil Jackson. Guess life can be pretty bad, and your reputation as a guru takes a hit, when you don’t have Michael Jordan-Kobe Bryant-Shaq O’Neill on your team. So they are (10-43) and a mess.
The Lakers have gotten to this all star break with a combined 95-losses since opening night in 2013. The son, Jim Buss, is under fire from everywhere. See what happens when you give Kobe Bryant $45M and all your cap space before he shows he is healthy? See what happens when your free agents leave, Dwight Howard and Pao Gasol? See what happens when you are no longer a destination point for stars? See what happens when the father gives the keys to a playboy son rather than a basketball man? Not a good situation, and guaranteed to get worse.
Mid-season NBA, some doing well, some not so well, and a select few just awful Think anyone nationwide is ready for an Atlanta Hawks-Golden State Warriors NBA finals?