If you’re going to describe NBA teams in 3 words this season, what would they be?
By Matthew Skilton
With the trade deadline passed the next milestone for the season is the playoffs. So, if you could describe every team with three words what would they be?
Atlanta Hawks: The Young Dynasty
Trae Young leads this squad in points and assists this season and he’s surrounded by a fantastic young core that can compete in NBA for years, but they need to develop their offence to do it.
Boston Celtics: What’s Going On?
They have one of the best young duos in the league with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but it seems like everyone on the squad is having a tough year all at once and they find themselves as a fringe playoff team.
Brooklyn Nets – 2021 NBA Champs
It seemed like the Nets’ goal was to just outscore every team after they acquired James Harden and forget defence which raised the issue on whether they’d be able to win the title. However, after signing Andre Roberson and Blake Griffin to bring physicality, it propels them to being the favourites to win it all.
Charlotte Hornets – Lost the Ball
This is a tough one because the Hornets have had a dream 1st year with their rookie star LaMelo Ball, but with him now out for the rest of the season it’s hard to see them progressing a whole lot more and they might fall down the order a bit.
Chicago Bulls – Bull or bust
The Bulls are in a perfect situation, they’ve got fantastic young core and with Zac Lavine now an Allstar it seems like this team needs to start winning or it may be back to the drawing board.
Cleveland Cavaliers – We Miss Lebron
The Cavs have never been the same since Lebron left again, they’re currently the worst ranked scoring team and their passing isn’t to far behind that. They also lack the leadership Lebron brought to the table when he was there.
Detroit Pistons – Just Keep Rebuilding
The future of the Pistons isn’t here yet, meaning they need to wait for the draft. They’ve gutted their roster and even gave Blake Griffin a buyout to free cap space and hopefully build something for the future.
Indiana Pacers – Where’s Our Rebounds?
Analysts say “rebounds win games” all the time and for good reason. The Pacers rank 29th in rebounds, they’re a great way of turning defence into offence and scoring points, here is where the Pacers are missing out and it reflects in their record.
Miami Heat – Time to Heat-up
Miami has the 4th best defence in the league but struggle on offence as Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler look to be the only capable scorers currently. With Charlotte losing Ball for the season, this is the opportunity Miami need to seize.
Milwaukee Bucks – One Man Team
Over the last two seasons Giannis Antetokounmpo has carried the Bucks through the regular season and once again he’s dominating the points, rebounds and even assists amongst the team. It seems like it could be a similar story come playoff time if some teammates don’t step up.
New York Knicks – We Are Back
Knicks fans expect winning basketball every season, there’s no doubt about that and they’re rewarding their fans with a chance at the playoffs once again. Statistically they have the best defence in the league and with Julius Randle having a career year, we could see a lot of the Knicks in the future.
Orlando Magic – No Offensive Magic
Orlando have produced some fantastic defence; however, the Cavaliers are the only team worse at scoring the ball in the league and they rank 27th in assists this season, meaning unfortunately for the Magic it might be back to the drawing board.
Philadelphia 76ers – Doc Shines Again
Last season the 76ers were struggling, everyone thought they had a duo that didn’t work, and they subsequently got swept in the first round of the playoffs. Insert Doc Rivers, the new head coach has turned the 76ers’ defence around, Joel Embiid is an MVP candidate, they’re scoring with ease, Ben Simmons is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and they’re one of the best in the East.
Toronto Raptors – Stuck in Limbo?
Kyle Lowry is aging, and it means he might look elsewhere to win championships after this season is done. They have a young core, but will Lowry stick around to help them grow?
Washington Wizards – Russ or Beale?
Bradley Beale currently leads the NBA in scoring and Russell Westbrook has scored well as well, but the duo everyone hoped would take the Wizards to new heights hasn’t seemed to work and they’re destined for the draft lottery and throws doubt on how long they can keep a losing combination.
Dallas Mavericks – Luka is Ready
Last season Luka Doncic was an MVP candidate, this season he had a slow start and there were questions raised on if he was prepared for a December start. However, he’s shown up in the second half of the season with 28 points and 9 assists per game, this has really helped the Mavericks string some wins together.
Denver Nuggets – Gold Mine Jokic
Denver struck gold when they selected Nikola Jokic and the centre has now hit new heights in his career. He’s a front runner for the MVP award and despite Denver being the 5th seed in the Western Conference they look like a very good all-around basketball team.
Golden State Warriors – What’s Chef Cooking?
What is Stephen Curry mustering up? They’re in the play-in tournament picture, but we all know Steph is about to do some crazy to help his team get a better seed, but the question is; what is it?
Houston Rockets – Want them Back.
The Rockets traded several picks for Russell Westbrook and now they surely wish they had them back as they’re struggling with only 14 wins this season. They got some picks in the James Harden from Brooklyn, but it looks like a long road back to contention for Houston.
Los Angeles Clippers – Leaving the Basement
It’s a running gag that the Clippers operate out of the Staples Centre basement as the 2nd team in LA, but with Lebron James and Anthony Davis out injured does this give the Clippers a chance at getting into the NBA Finals?
Los Angeles Lakers – Who Created Injuries?
Anthony Davis and Lebron James are both out for extended breaks due to injuries and it’s raising questions on whether they’ll be able to resume the championship form they had before the Playoffs come around.
Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Kidding Me
Ja Morant got hurt early on and so we haven’t seen as much development on his game as we all may have expected; however, he leads them in points per game and as a team they’re ranked in the top 10 for assists, rebounds and defence. If Ja gets some help on offence this team will reach new heights.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Can We Win?
They have the 1st (Karl Anthony-Towns) and 2nd (D’Angelo Russell) overall picks in the 2015 draft and the 1st pick Anthony Edwards from the 2020 draft but are still struggling. Sooner or later, they need to start winning otherwise they’ll be in this never-ending loop of getting talent and never doing anything about it.
New Orleans Pelicans – Thank You LA
Three players in the Anthony Davis to LA trade are starters on this roster, Zion Williamson has his duo for years to come in Brandon Ingram, and the squad is deadly on offence. Adding Steven Adams as a defensive menace has helped them a bit but they need to further their defensive skills if they want to make the leap.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Who’re We Picking?
The Russell Westbrook and Paul George trades generated the Thunder a lot of picks and with the Rockets struggling this season and maybe for a few in the future, the Thunder can rebuild not only from their own picks but the loaded vault from the Clippers and Rockets as well.
Phoenix Suns – Needed a Leader
The Suns in recent seasons had struggled a little but it was mainly down to having no leadership. Acquiring Chris Paul has allowed the team to learn what it’s like to win and it’s set them up for the future once he’s moved on.
Portland Trailblazers – Don’t Doubt Dame
Last year they struggled but this year Damian Lillard has upped his game, he’s averaging 30 points per game and dragging this team into the playoffs. They do really need to work on the defensive end though.
Sacramento Kings – Don’t Rule Cali
This is one of those teams that like many others is struggling on defence and it’s a big reason why they’re losing games. Their offence is ranked in the top 10 and on the plus side Tyrese Haliburton looks to be the guy that will be De’Aaron Fox’s partner for the long term. But they have a long way to go to catch the LA teams.
San Antonio Spurs – System Still Works
The Spurs are notorious for relying heavily on Gregg Popovich’s system and even without superstar talent they’re the 9th seed in the West. This is an interesting one because who knows if the best option is to tough it out or to rebuild and get some young talent?
Utah Jazz – Very Sweet Sound
The Jazz have shocked everyone this season, they have the best record in the entire league, their bench has been phenomenal, and their starting line-up has fantastic chemistry you don’t always see. Not to mention they’re also ranked in the top five for both offence and defence. The main query is can they keep it going through Playoffs. For that we’ll just have to watch and find out.