State of the NBA

This is usually a great time during the season to start paying attention to the game. Most teams have played around 50 games, so we have a pretty good idea if a team in contention or not. You are able to weed out the pretenders at this point. Also, the all-star game and trade deadline both fall within the next couple of weeks. Even the fans of teams that are in the tank have something to look forward to because there are potential stars emerging from the college game. I wanted to take a look a closer look at who the favorites for the championship may be. I also wanted to discuss any potential trades that could shake up the landscape of the league and what college players are being coveted by the teams in the lottery.

Let’s start with the teams that are in the tank! Those teams are the Bulls, Cavs, Knicks, and Suns. Those are the 4 teams that will probably end the season with the best shot at the number one pick. There are usually a few “can’t miss” prospects every year and this year is no different. The Duke Blue Devils have two on their team, Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. ESPN offers a great look here at the top prospects. Many pundits are very high on Williamson because of his combination of size, strength, and athleticism. He would certainly help put fans in the seats.

A few days ago Anthony Davis created shockwaves throughout the league by saying he would not re-sign with the Pelicans. That will cause the Pelicans to trade him so they can recoup some assets before he departs for nothing. He is a top 5 talent in the game and every team in the league would love to have him. You would think he has no say in where he should end up but that is not the case. He can not veto trades, but he can say that he will not re-sign with any team that trades for him. That will cause teams to not waste assets hoping to land him. When this move happens, it will cause major dominoes to fall. Another massive deal that has already happened was the Porzingis trade. The Knicks unloaded a few players and gained a few future picks and some decent players. The main thing they gained was cap space with the thought of targeting Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency. The deadline is over a week away, I am sure there will be a few more moves.

Who will win it all this year? Is it too early to make a selection? Anyone can make a prediction, but I personally do not think it will matter because the Warriors will win it all again. The Warriors have not played as well this year as they have in the past, but they are getting hot now and hold the best record in the Western Conference. They will end up with home court advantage and that should be enough to get them into the Finals. The Eastern Conference is not so clear cut in my mind. The Raptors, Sixers, Bucks, and Celtics all seem to have a legitimate shot at advancing to the finals. I think the Celtics have the most talent and they should advance. That would give us a Celtics and Warriors title matchup!

As mentioned previously, if you are fan of the NBA this is a great time to really start focusing. There has been one massive trade with the possibility of more to come. The All-Star game is around the corner and it will display the awesome talent in the league. The season is more than halfway over and teams will be looking to find their groove and start playing their best basketball heading into the playoffs. Good luck to the rest of the league but I believe the Warriors are the cream of the crop!

—Victor Mandalawi