Post All-Star Break NBA Team Rankings

Via Sportingnews.com

Post All-Star Break NBA Team Rankings

Basketball

Post All-Star Break NBA Team Rankings

By

Via Sportingnews.com

We have gone over half the NBA season already and now it is time to focus on the playoff push. The All-Star break has come and gone, and teams will be ramping up for their runs to reach the postseason. With the new play-in rules, teams just need to be within the tenth seed of the standings to have a chance at reaching the playoffs. If a team can get in, no matter how they do so, they have a chance of winning it all. Every team starts 0-0 once the playoffs kick off, so anything is possible. Here are my top ten NBA teams post All-Star break as we head towards the end of the regular season:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers (35-23, Fourth in the Eastern Conference)

-While Cleveland may have a better record than a few of the teams ranked higher on this list, I put them at the ten spot because of their youth and inexperience. They don’t have a star player on the roster but instead of a collection of really good young players that work well together. This Cleveland team thrives on the defensive side of the ball and makes life really tough for opposing teams. They are a nice surprise this season but as the playoff push starts, they will be getting every teams best shot. Nobody is overlooking this Cavalier squad any longer, so it’ll be interesting to see how they respond to that. Led by guard Darius Garland and veteran Kevin Love, Cleveland is positioned to make the playoffs for the first time in a few years. They’ll be a tough out for any opponent but for now, I have them in the lower section of the top NBA teams.

  1. Denver Nuggets (33-25, Sixth in the Western Conference)

-Denver is probably the hardest team to rank on this list because they have played this season without some of their main players. Guard Jamal Murray and forward Michael Porter Jr. have both missed the majority of the season due to injury, so Denver is tough to grade. Nikola Jokic has kept this team afloat in their absence and now there has been talk that the two players may return this season. If Murray and Porter Jr. return, Denver should be looked at as a real threat to come out of the Western Conference. Like Utah, the Nuggets have a strong home court advantage in Denver but have shown the ability to go deep into the playoffs as they were just in the Western Conference Finals a few seasons ago. Led by Jokic, this team plays hard and has the ability to match up with almost any roster in the league. If the Nuggets stand pat without their players returning, they’ll likely be a first or second round exit team but fully loaded, this Nuggets team can be scary.

  1. Utah Jazz (36-22, Fourth in the Western Conference)

-Utah is a very weird team because at times they look extremely dominant and other times, they look like anyone can beat them. They have a nice core of players including Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert and own a real home court advantage in the state of Utah as they are 21-10 at home this season but only 15-12 on the road. They lost forward Joe Ingles to injury a few weeks ago which could impact their chances in the postseason. Utah is one of the better offensive teams in the league and poses threats to opponents in terms of depth. They can throw Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Royce O’Neale, and Bojan Bogdanović out on the court with their two All-Star players. They also are elite at protecting the rim with Gobert and Hassan Whiteside on the roster but the true test for the Jazz will be the playoffs. They have been a strong regular season team for years but always seem to fizzle out come playoff time.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks (36-24, Fifth in the Eastern Conference)

-The defending champions remain one of the better teams in the league, all led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is having another stellar season and has Milwaukee in a good spot to try and defend their title from a season ago. This Bucks team plays defense well and can score the ball on anybody due to their pure size. They have dealt with some injuries this season which can caused them to slip in the standings a bit, but this team only cares about getting to the playoffs, not where they are seeded. They showed last year that they are battle tested and can win playoff games both in Milwaukee and on the road. While they are fifth in the East right now, they will be the team that others will likely want to avoid playing in the first round. Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are a lethal duo for teams to handle and that gives the Bucks a strong shot come playoff time.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (35-23, Third in the Eastern Conference)

-The 76ers are an interesting team because they have vaulted themselves into a top spot of the Eastern Conference while one of their best players sat out for the season. Now Ben Simmons is in Brooklyn and the 76ers will be welcoming in star James Harden to the mix. Harden and Joel Embiid give Philadelphia one of the best duos in the entire NBA, but we need to see how they play together before making any judgements on this team. Alongside them is Tobias Harris and Danny Green, who give the 76ers some wing depth and players who can shoot the ball well. The 76ers are 19-10 on the road this season in impressive fashion and that should bode well for them come playoff time. This team will likely be higher on the rankings list once the season concludes after Harden gets into the fold and they get some games under the belt together.

  1. Chicago Bulls (38-21, Second in the Eastern Conference)

-Chicago has put together a nice thus far and finds themselves right at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. They have an excellent duo of players that can lead them in DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, both of which are having great seasons. The Bulls brought in players to surround the two and it has worked out marvelously. Despite him missing time due to injury, guard Alex Caruso has brought defense and energy to the team. Chicago can go toe-to-toe with just about anyone but my concern for them is their home and road differentials. They are 23-8 at home this season but only 15-13 on the road. If they want to get to their goal of a title, they’ll need to play better as the visiting team. The Bulls are extremely deep roster wise and can play different types of lineups on the court which makes them so frustrating to play against. I’m not sure of the ceiling for this Bulls roster but all I know is that no Eastern Conference team is going to want to have to face them in a playoff matchup.

Latest

More The Wright Way Network