30. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers failed to make any moves during the trade deadline. With Kobe done for the year, It appears that the Lakers are bound for a top 3 pick.
29. New York Knicks
The Knicks actually made a good move at the deadline. They have opened up some cap space and traded for picks in the next couple of drafts. However, none of these moves will help them win games right now. Phil Jackson has to be cooking something though, right?
28. Denver Nuggets
Like the Knicks, Denver made moves to open up a lot of cap room for the future. With bright young stars like Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried, and a bunch of freed cap space by trading Javale McGee Denver could make noise next year.
27. Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers unloaded a lot of young talent, including Michael Carter-Williams and KJ McDaniels. They still have some good talent, but some of the moves do not make a lot of sense at the moment. More picks for Sam Hinkie’s draft pick fetish, I guess.
26. Orlando Magic
Orlando stayed quiet during the deadline. They have showed promise at times, but are still two or three players away from making a run at a playoff spot.
25. Utah Jazz
Utah unloaded center Enes Kanter to the Thunder. They got a future first round pick in return. The Jazz have the ability to play good basketball, but they need to continue to build their depth. They aren’t going anywhere this season.
24. Sacramento Kings
Sacramento is one of the most frustrating teams in the NBA. They have so much potential with players like DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore. However, they have never been able to play solid team basketball. Maybe George Karl will finally get them playing together. Acquiring veteran Andre Miller will work to change the culture, but won’t do much to change losses into victories.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota has more promise then any other young team in the NBA. Andrew Wiggins tore up the Rising Stars Game and Zach Levine won the Dunk Contest, showing just how much talent this team has. The addition of Kevin Garnett as a leader and veteran presence in the locker room can only help team chemistry and the development of the young guys.
22. Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn appears to be stuck in the mud. They are very much alive for a playoff spot in the East. However, they need a few strong players in order to make themselves a real challenger to Atlanta, Chicago, and Cleveland. They did exchange the aging Kevin Garnett for the talented Thaddeus Young, which should help the playoff push.
21. Boston Celtics
Boston has been playing better basketball of late. They could sneak in to the playoffs as the 8 seed. However, failing to make the playoffs and getting a high draft pick could help them more in the future.
They made a big deal at the deadline that few people saw coming, though. They acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas from Phoenix for guard Marcus Thornton and a future first rounder. That should help their immediate cause.
20. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers stayed quiet on deadline day, and that was a smart move. With Paul George’s return coming soon, Do not be surprised to the see Pacers make a run towards the playoffs. They attempted to make moves for Ty Lawson and Reggie Jackson, but to no avail.
19. Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets decided to keep the team together, and I think it will pay off for them. They have played plus .500 ball for over a month, but they still lack the depth to be a real contender in the East. We still have to wait and see if the addition of Mo Williams (and Troy Daniels) can turn this 22-30 team into a winning one.
18. Detroit Pistons
Stan Van Gundy has taken control of a previously abysmal Pistons team. They got rid of players that did not want to be there (Josh Smith) and traded for players that wanted to be a part of the future (Reggie Jackson). The Pistons look poised for the playoffs as long as they stay healthy.
17. Phoenix Suns
Phoenix had a lot of potential this year, but realistically had no shot at making the playoffs in the gauntlet that is known as the West. They unloaded big time players Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, and freed a lot of cap room for next year. It will be interesting to see what happens with this Suns team. They do have a shot at the playoffs, though, as they brought in shooter Marcus Thornton and wing Danny Granger.
16. New Orleans Pelicans
Like the Suns, New Orleans is good team, but are not good enough to make a real run at the 8th spot in the West. With another year under the young team’s belt, the Pelicans will be ready to make the next step into the playoffs next year. The addition of Norris Cole probably won’t change their fate.
15. Miami Heat
Miami made a great deal getting Goran Dragic from Phoenix. Charles Barkley claims they are a real threat in the East, and I do not disagree. However, if Chris Bosh is sidelined for the rest of the year, this team could miss out on the playoffs.
14. Washington Wizards
The Wizards went out and got Ramon Sessions from the Kings to bolster their back court. John Wall and Co. will give any team in the east a lot of trouble in the playoffs. Chances are we see the Wiz deep into the playoffs.
13. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are starting to get healthy and its resulting in more wins. However, they sit in 7th place in the West, and with OKC coming strong, do not be surprised if the Spurs are matched up with the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
12. Milwaukee Bucks
The future is very bright in Milwaukee. With Jabari Parker and the Greek Freak, Milwaukee already appeared to have a great future, but yesterday they acquired Michael Carter-Williams from the 76ers. This gives them 3 players under 23 years old that could be the top 5 in their positions within 5 years. Giving up Brandon Knight could be worth it.
11. Dallas Mavericks
Dallas has a great starting 5 and Mark Cuban did a great job building a team around Dirk. However, their bench consists of players well past their prime or players that have little to no experience. I would be shocked if Dallas wins a playoff series with such a weak bench. The addition of Amar’e Stoudemire could be a grand slam or a complete miss.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder made a huge splash with some remarkable trades. They may have finally gotten the big man they have always wanted in Enes Kanter. They also picked up Kyle Singler, Steve Novak, and D.J Augustin which will help their bench tremendously. Watch out for OKC in the playoffs.
9. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers failed to trade for a big man to help out while Blake Griffin recovers from elbow surgery. The Clippers will need to go on a run when Blake returns if they want home court in the first round of the playoffs.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers are playing their best basketball of the year right now. David Blatt finally has his team clicking on all aspects of the game. The Cavs will need to keep winning to avoid a first round match up without home court.
7. Chicago Bulls
Chicago still has not reached its potential for the season. They have been winning games, but the Bulls could be playing a lot better. The Bulls have great players, and anything short of a conference finals appearance should be labeled as a failed season for them.
6. Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers bolstered their backcourt by adding Aaron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee. The Blazers are a big threat in the West as long as they stay healthy. Without a solid backup, LaMarcus Aldridge must stay healthy for the Blazers to make a run.
5. Houston Rockets
The Rockets stayed relatively quiet on deadline day, adding two players (K.J. McDaniels and Pablo Prigioni) that will barely see the court, but they still add depth. The starting 5 is strong and the bench is one of the best in the league with players like Corey Brewer, Josh Smith, Jason Terry and Terrence Jones playing good basketball right now. As long as Dwight Howard can get healthy, the Rockets could make run at the conference finals.
4. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are playing great basketball at the moment. They are currently sitting in 2nd place in the East and the team is very healthy. As long as the Raptors stay healthy, there is no reason why the should not make a deep run in the playoffs. No moves were necessary and no moves were made at this deadline.
3. Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis has quietly started the year with the 3rd best record in the league. Led by Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies are playing phenomenal team basketball. Expect great things from Memphis come playoff time. That trade for Jeff Green is looking very good right now.
2. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks have been outstanding since the start of the year. Every player on the team has found a way to contribute, and it has resulted in the Hawks’ commanding lead in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks will need to keep their level of play high, because teams such as the Cavs, Wizards, and Raptors are gunning for their spot.
1. Golden State Warriors
Steve Kerr transformed a team with no chemistry to a team that runs like a well oiled machine. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have been lighting up the stats with the long ball. Golden State is the best team in the NBA right now, but they need to keep winning in the gauntlet of the West.