The season is 25% finished already. What have we learned?
- Chicago and Miami are by far the two best teams in the east, as expected. They should really start the eastern conference playoffs with the conference finals. The first two rounds are just going through the motions.
- Philly and Indiana are better than expected. One of those two will make it to the second round this year. These teams can actually get much better at the trade deadline as they are both in favorable cap situations with a lot of movable assets. That is something to keep an eye on, especially in Indiana’s case; they are a piece or two away from being a contender.
- Orlando should trade Dwight now. Two complete drubbings in the last two games, a thin bench and a disgruntled Dwight = a situation that is barely keeping it together right now, could totally implode any day, and has a ceiling of getting a beatdown in the second round of the playoffs. Dwight is leaving, time to face that reality and rebuild.
- Atlanta will do what they do every year; lose in the 2nd round. Moving on.
- Boston is starting to get it together, 4 wins in a row and 4 easy games this week. If they can be healthy come seasons end they will be a tough draw in the playoffs. Their really weak bench is suspect, however they totally won the Big Baby for Brandon Bass trade.
- The Knicks are terrible. Who would have thought that trading all of your assets, most of your starters, as many future draft picks as you could, and anyone with potential for one guy would have backfired? All of New York is hoping that Baron Davis; a guy that was paid to not play for one of the worst teams in the league is going to be their savior and turn this team around. Don’t hold your breath. There are basically going to do what they did last year; barely make the playoffs and get stomped in the first round. Best case scenario is winning one playoff game.
- Milwaukee, Cleveland and New Jersey will all hang around in the 9th to 11th seeds and hope Orlando implodes so they can sneak in and get swept by the Bulls.
- Toronto, Washington, Detroit and Charlotte…..these are the arguments for contraction. Terrible teams with no hope of getting better any time soon.
- Oklahoma City is tearing through the schedule early on. They locked Westbrook in long term and seem to not be missing a beat with Maynor out for the season. The west is looking a lot like the east with two serious contenders and a bunch of also-rans.
- Which brings us to Denver. They are going to finish the season as the #2 seed, but those who say you can’t win without a superstar won’t be silenced unless they make some real noise in the playoffs. They are a deep and very well-rounded team. This could happen. Everyone in New York realizes this is what our team should look like and would have if there wasn’t a complete buffoon owning the team.
- As I am writing this I’m noticing it’s a 6 way tie for the 3rd seed. That pretty much sums up the west after OKC and Denver. A lot of solid teams but no one else really standing out. The teams in first and second right now are clearly playing better but the gap isn’t as big as Chicago and Miami out east. The west is wide open.
- This Clippers are fun to watch but are very thin after the Chris Paul trade. Look for them to come back to earth very soon.
- The Spurs just won’t go away. They aren’t winning anything this year, but will be a very tough out.
- Utah and Houston…two teams that will probably fall out of the playoff picture once the Lakers get it together and Memphis gets Randolph back. By the way who would have thought LA and Memphis would be the 9th and 10th seeds ¼ of the way through the season?
- Minnesota, AKA the league pass MVP’s. They are fun to watch, young, and in a good cap position. They probably won’t make the playoffs this year, but they are going to be close enough to make the 7th and 8th seeds sweat and pray they don’t have a key injury. If they can upgrade at the 2 they could be really dangerous.
- Phoenix….poor Steve Nash. This is by far the worst Suns team he’s been on. They don’t have many assets, they have a bunch of terrible contracts and they have an owner that refuses to trade him to rebuild.
- Golden State is worse than predicted, but no one predicted Stephan Curry to miss so many games either.
- Sacramento and New Orleans are better than the bottom 3 or 4 teams in the east, but are still terrible. Two more arguments for contraction.