30. Orlando Magic
The Magic have lost seven games in a row and it’s seems now that the only thing left for them to play for is a top pick in next year’s draft. It’s hard to imagine that this team started 8-4 before multiple injuries started to happen and left them looking at a lottery pick.
29. Sacramento Kings
The positive side for the Kings is that this is a young team who have played very well at times. Even with the struggles they have performed up to expectations and should be able to use this year as a catalyst to a bright future.
28. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks are playing decent basketball right now but are struggling to close out games when they have a late lead. Hopefully for them, the roster moves they are making will give them the boost they need in the second half.
27. Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis has shown some life after a very rough start to the season. They are about to enter a portion of their schedule which is mostly against opponents with a losing record. This is good news for a team who believes they still have a chance to fight for a playoff spot.
26. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have been majorly streaky lately. After losing nine in a row, they have now pulled off four victories and seem to be headed back on an upswing. There’s a lot of tension surrounding the team at the moment but it’s possible that it will have a positive effect as they battle through it.
25. Brooklyn Nets
With Jhalil Okafor finally back on board and rumors that D’Angelo Russell should be returning soon there is reason for hope in Brooklyn. It’s obvious the Nets organization is doing what they can to make this a winning program and I’m sure the fans will be happy when it starts to happen.
24. Dallas Mavericks
Dallas is another team that can keep games close right up until the very end but seems to have no idea how to close them out when the time comes. Their schedule is about to get easier in the second half but they need someone who get step up and help them seal the deal when it matters most.
23. Chicago Bulls
Chicago has won three of its last five games and is starting to get a feel of what their future could look like. Zack LaVine is finally healthy and showed some promise in his debut which the Bulls won against the Pistons.
22. Utah Jazz
Even while struggling recently, the Jazz are still in tenth place in the Western Conference and still have hope of making it into the postseason. They are going to have to see improvement out of their younger players in order to make that happen but they definitely have a chance to compete.
21. Phoenix Suns
The Suns are currently riding that wall where their front office needs to decide if they want to go out and get a piece that helps them win now or should wait and build for the future during the offseason. Either way, this is a talented young roster with a lot of promise and most of its key players already in place.
20. Charlotte Hornets
Even with trade rumors swirling around him, the Hornets undisputed leader and best player, Kemba Walker” and the rest of the team continue to play very solid basketball. Hopefully the negative press isn’t enough to knock this team off of their current stride as they head into the second half.
19. New York Knicks
With Tim Hardaway Jr. back after an extended absence there is nothing but positivity coming from the Knicks organization. Yes, they have struggled as of late but that doesn’t stop Coach Hornacek and the Knicks top players from believing that they can make a major turnaround for the rest of the season.
18. Philadelphia 76ers
For the last few years we have watched the 76ers flounder painfully at the bottom of the league in an attempt to build the ultimate roster. It appears that this year they believed they were at least close to having achieved that and are know playing to win. So far the results have been mediocre at best as the team remains one game below .500 even after winning five of their last six.
17. Denver Nuggets
On paper this looks like a roster that should be putting up way better stats and “W’s” in the win column or looking for ways to add youth and potential. The Nuggets aren’t horrible but definitely seem to be underachieving on a consistent basis. On the bright side they still have a chance to make it into the postseason if they keep finding ways to win games.
16. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are coming off of a victory over the Cavaliers. At this point that may not mean as much for them as it would have in the past but at least for now they can use it as a morale boost as they get ready for the second half of the season. As long as their stars continue to come through in the clutch, this could be a fun year for fans in Indiana.
15. New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans is finally coming together as a team and starting to look like the squad that people were expecting with the amount of talent they have on this team. They still have a lot of work to do if they want to become dominant and compete in a very tough Western Conference but they definitely seem to be trending in the right direction.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder
As expected OKC has been scoring a ton of points recently but they are still only winning about half of their games. In order for this team to have the type of success they are capable of they are going to have to find a way to become way more consistent on defense.
13. Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers seem like one of the teams that could benefit from making a trade sometime before the deadline and steadying there lineup for a postseason push. They are getting solid play both in the post and on the perimeter and may be just one major piece away from being very competitive.
12. Detroit Pistons
This may be one of the most fun teams to watch right now in the NBA. They have so much potential and young talent that it would appear that the future is bright and the sky is the limit in Detroit. The key for the Pistons seems to be finding a way to stay healthy.
11. Milwaukee Bucks
Rumor has it that the Bucks should be getting Jabari Parker back before the All-Star break and just in time to help solidify a spot for them in the playoffs. It’s will be interesting to see if Coach Kidd will find a spot for him in the starting line up or if he will be used as much needed depth off of the bench.
10. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are still only at .500 exactly halfway through the season but they have suddenly come alive in the last ten games losing only two including a split with the Warriors and a hard fought battle which they led going into the fourth quarter against the Thunder. We will have to wait to see how long this recent spurt lasts but for now it’s very exciting to follow.
9. Washington Wizards
The Wizards are one of the consistently good teams in the East and are once again doing almost exactly what’s expected out of them year in and year out. Wizards fans would love to see them make a move to put themselves over the top but either way they seem like a lock to earn a spot in the playoffs once again.
8. Miami Heat
NBA fans won’t soon forget how red hot the Heat were starting at the midpoint of last season. This year Miami caught fire a bit earlier and have found themselves darting up the standings in the East after winning seven of the last eight. If they ever get balance and play at this level consistently, we could be looking at a new perennial power in the conference.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers
It appears that some in the Cavaliers camp believe that the team has been hindered by LeBron James attempts to secure another MVP award by padding his own stats instead of doing everything he can to benefit the team as a whole. That may be true, but the way they’ve been manhandled by a few teams recently may be a sign that there is something much deeper going on in Cleveland.
6. San Antonio Spurs
There may be new faces in some of the leading roles for the Spurs over the years but the results stay pretty much the same. They continue to be the classiest franchise in the NBA and always a threat to go all the way in a very competitive conference. As long as they stay healthy they have to be considered one of the top competitors in the league.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
Coming into the season we all knew that this Timberwolves team had the ability to be very dangerous. They have proven that theory to be true. They have a conference leading 22 – 6 record against teams in the West which could bode well for their playoff chances moving forward.
4. Houston Rockets
There was a point in the season not all that long ago where it appeared that this Rockets squad may have taken over as the best team in the league. It’s looking like that may not be the case now but it seems this team can hang with anyone on any given day.
3. Toronto Raptors
Toronto seems to have secured their spot as the number two team in the East at least for now. It may be confusing to see the new scenery that lingers above them at the top but the goal definitely remains the same. The Raptors who have struggled in the playoffs recently would definitely love to claim the number one seed.
2. Boston Celtics
With all of the moves and changes that took place in the offseason for the Celtics it was difficult to predict what this season would look like for them. It appears that the pieces all fell in the right places as they have been playing extremely well together and winning games. Barring an injury, this has the look of a team that could represent the East in the Finals.
1. Golden State Warriors
This seems to be the same old Warrior squad that can be the best team in the league even on cruise control. They don’t seem to have the same killer instinct they had before the team added Kevin Durant last season but it doesn’t seem to matter as they are every bit as good if not even a little bit more improved.