We are just over half-way through the National Basketball Association (NBA) season and the standings look pretty much how most people thought they would; just a lot more exaggerated than expected. I will break it down by conference and look at the teams that matter. And when I say teams that matter, I mean teams that have a chance at winning the NBA Championship.
In the Lebron James conference, Lebron James is in control. Yes, I am referring to the Eastern Conference as the Lebron James conference because he has earned it and looks to be in good shape to win the conference for the fifth straight year. The Cavaliers stand above the rest of the pack right now, but they do seem more vulnerable to losing the East this year than last year. They still have not found a way to really utilize Kevin Love very well and at this point, it is time to start thinking about trade options for him.
In my preseason prediction article, I predicted that the Miami Heat would dethrone the Cavaliers, but they have been frustratingly inconsistent. Dwayne Wade is playing like a star consistently again. However, the Miami Heat just has not been able to put it together as a team. On paper, they have all the pieces and look like they should play well together, but it just has not happened. There is still time for them to get it together, but Goran Dragic needs to raise his play.
Meanwhile, the Bulls is another team that on paper appears to be a threat, they are still searching for an identity. The Raptors have been a pleasant surprise, but do not have the depth for a long playoff run. Right now the Cavs are easily the best team in the East, but I’m going to stick by my preseason pick and say that the Heat get it together in the second half.
In the West, the story has been dominated by the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Not that there is a problem with that. They are on pace for the best season ever and their reigning Most Valuable Player, Steph Curry, is having the best season in NBA history by pretty much all statistical measures. I know we usually jump the gun on putting active players into “all-time” conversations, but Curry is far and away the best shooter in NBA history. Period. While the Warriors have been dominating the league, the Spurs have been quietly lurking right behind them, only trailing them by two games. Of course this has not garnered the headlines because that’s just the Spurs’ way. This is setting up for one of the best Western Conference Finals I can remember if it happens. The only team that can get in the way of that is the Oklahoma City Thunder. I can see them beating one of these teams but not both.
My preseason pick was the Warriors to win it all and I have no reason now to believe they will not do that, so I will stick with that pick as well.