A look at the midpoint of the NBA season
The all-star break is as a good time as any to take a look back at the first half of the season.
Top Team: Milwaukee Bucks (46-8)
The Bucks get it over the Lakers because Los Angeles as struggled with the better teams in the league. So this is more than just having the best record in the league. Milwaukee is definitely playing for the best record in the league along with putting themselves in the conversation for the best regular season teams in the modern era. Giannis Antetokounmpo is making a strong push for MVP.
Some left the Toronto Raptors (40-15) for dead when Kawhi Leonard headed out west. But Nick Nurse and the Raptor have shown they are still a team to reckon with despite the injuries. Pascal Siakam has made that “next step” averaging 23.5 points and 7.5 rebounds a game.
Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are living up to the lofty expectations that were set for them. Williamson is back from injury and he hasn’t disappointed. His numbers are staggering. Williamson is averaging 22 points and 7.5 rebounds while only playing 27 minutes per game. His PER is a team-high 25.48.
Morant has been just as good but in a different way. Being in a rookie point guard is one of the most difficult things in the league but Morant has led the Grizzlies to an impressive 28-26 record. That’s good for 8th in the West.
In the East, many thought the Philadelphia 76ers would compete for the best record in the Eastern Conference. That hasn’t happened. Their 34-21 record is good for only fifth in the East. There has been a lot of back and forth between Joel Embiid and the fans and the team doesn’t really have an identity.
Teams That Can Pull a Playoff Upset
Eastern Conference: Indiana Pacers (32-23)
Right now the Pacers sit 6th in the East. Once Victor Oladipo gets settled back in the offense, the Pacers will become a dangerous opponent to the higher seeds in the conference.
Western Conference: Dallas Mavericks (33-22)
The Mavs are seventh in the West but in a seven-game series they can be extremely dangerous. Luka Doncic is a sophomore in the NBA but in reality, he has a Euroleague MVP with Real Madrid. Doncic is your typical second year NBA player. If Kristaps Porzingis can stay healthy, the one-two punch can be a tough out.
MVP: LeBron James
In his 17th season, James is averaging 25 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 10.8 assists per game while leading the Lakers to the best record in the west.
Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant
Morant’s impact on the Grizzlies has been significant plus Williamson has missed too many games to warrant a serious run at the award.
Non-Playoff Team that should have your attention: Washington Wizards (20-33)
The Wizards were supposed to be horrible and though they won’t make the playoffs, they have given their fan base hope. They have a true upper echelon player in Bradley Beal. Rookie Rui Hachimura is proving he can play in the league and the Wizards have some capable complimentary pieces. They will have to find a way to keep David Bertans in the off-season. If Bertans re-sign and John Wall comes back healthy, the Wizards should be a playoff team.