Only 4 games in the Association tonight so not a ton of action to talk about. Instead, lets get a quick preview of the standings in both conferences:
San Antonio Spurs 30-8
With the Trailblazers and Thunder right behind them, can the risk resting their vets? Also, will Kawhi Leonard continue to grow into a star?
Portland Trailblazers 28-9
With the addition of top pick C.J. McCollum, the Blazers got deeper. But can Matthews and Batum keep up the hot outside shooting and will the defense improve.
Oklahoma City Thunder 28-9
Can they hold out until Westbrook returns? Having Kevin Durant helps.
Los Angeles Clippers 26-13
The athleticism of this team pops out from the TV and Chris Paul is the game’s best point guard hands down. If Jared Dudley and J.J. Reddick can elevate their games, look out.
Houston Rockets 25-14
Trade Asik already! Also Chandler Parsons is so undervalued and overshadowed on this team. This team should be thrilled with the 5th seed as they continue to learn to play with Dwight Howard.
Golden State Warriors 25-14
Steph Curry, for all his brilliance, is shooting almost 20% worse from the corner three (52.8 to 33.3). That being said, with Iguodala on the court, this team is as dangerous as they come and I can see them ending with a top 3 seed in the West.
Dallas Mavericks 23-16
This may be their last glory run as this team is old, but with Monte Ellis playing under control and the depth and experience across the roster, I would not want to play them. Adding another piece would go a very long way.
Phoenix Suns 21-16
The current 8th seed in the West, but I don’t see this lasting, especially with Bledsoe out and the teams nipping at their heals. Great story though and the Bledsoe-Dragic backcourt is a great building block for the future.
Denver Nuggets 19-18
This team is so close but I am not sure there is enough, especially with the injuries to Gallinari and McGee. Still a fun team to watch, especially with Faried and Lawson flying around.
Minnesota Timberwolves 18-19
Kevin Love is great but some other stars need to step up, especially the young Ricky Rubio. He needs to evolve his game on both ends of the floor to pull this team above .500 and help make a push for the vulnerable 8th seed.
Memphis Grizzlies 17-19
Marc Gasol is back in the lineup and they beat the Thunder tonight. They are my pick for the 8th seed with their gritty, grind-out style. Mike Conley is also very, very good.
New Orleans Pelicans 15-22
Too many injuries for this promising young club. Time to regroup and build for next year but the talent is certainly there.
Los Angeles Lakers 14-23
Trade Gasol, keep Kobe out, and hit the quick reset button to build for the last three years of the Black Mamba. Can’t say I’m upset about the Lakers being bad.
Sacramento Kings 13-22
Cousins continues to grow but what will Rudy Gay bring? This team always seems to be loaded with talented players but the parts are greater than the whole. Need some strong leadership in California.
Utah Jazz 13-26
Keep tanking Jazz, its just not worth it in the West. Find out what you have in Enis Canter.
Indiana Pacers 29-7
Its all about holding on to the 1st seed and getting ready for the Heat. No one else should be a problem. Take your time reincorporating Danny Granger. He can be a weapon for this already stacked team.
Miami Heat 27-10
Putting on cruise control won’t hurt them too much, but may cause them to lose out on the top seed. Much like the Spurs, the focus is to keep the veterans healthy. LeBron is still the best in the game.
Toronto Raptors 19-17
Hmm… I’ve got nothing. Only in the East can a team trade away its best player and be in the third seed.
Atlanta Hawks 20-18
Can they stave of the collapse with Al Horford out? Jeff Teague is just getting better and Paul Millsap isn’t half bad. Still seems like a bad team looking good in the East.
Washington Wizards 17-19
Ok, not great but good enough. John Wall and Bradley Beal look like the real deal. Like this team and think they will keep growing, but this is definitely not their year.
Chicago Bulls 17-19
To tank or not to tank? This Bulls team is too proud. But look for Kirk Hinrich and other veterans to be available around the trade deadline, at the right price of course.
Detroit Pistons 16-22
The crazy experiment continues in the Motor City. I am fascinated by it and think playing the Drummond-Monroe-Smith lineup could make them a tough opponent come playoff time. If only Brandon Jennings didn’t stink. This team may be a guard away.
New York Knicks 15-22
Their rise continues and this team is too talented to not be dangerous. Iman Shumpert needs to play more and J.R. Smith needs to play less… or for another team. Its a fun soap opera to watch.
Brooklyn Nets 15-22
Kevin Garnett’s leadership and Joe Johnson’s play won’t let this team miss the playoffs. The question is whether Paul Pierce can figure it out and will Deron Williams return. Might be the best 7th-8th seed of all time if they get in.
Charlotte Bobcats 15-23
Who even plays for them? Just kidding. Wait, no I am not.
Cleveland Cavaliers 13-24
Can Luol Deng help push this team to the playoffs? Its not out of the question and I would like to see it, along with more of Kyrie Irving.
Boston Celtics 13-26
What will the return of Rondo mean? Should they just trade him and stock up the assets? Oh how the mighty have fallen. I am rooting for Coach Stevens though.
Philadelphia Sixers 12-25
My boys are starting to tank again. I would trade Turner, Hawes, and Young for all that I can get. Go full rebuild. But keep Tony Wroten. I think he could be a hidden gem.
Orlando Magic 10-28
So much work to do here, but Olidapo helps. Trade Afflalo with how high his value is. Maybe Jameer Nelson too (the Thunder could use him. Play all the young kids, especially Tobias Harris and Mo Harkless.
Milwaukee Bucks 7-30
There is truly nobody worse. But Giannis Antetokounmpo (that is not a typo!) has the highest ceiling of anyone in the league. Add Parker, Wiggins, or Embiid and the foundation has been formed.