Justin Whitner | Staff Writer
As the NBA season approaches the All-Star break, we are just past the midway point in the 82-game marathon. Let’s take a look at the three most dominant teams and the three most disappointing squads in the league.
The Los Angeles Lakers
Rob Pelinka’s overhaul in the NBA offseason has proven to be a good move for the Lakers. LeBron James has returned healthy and in his dominant form again. Alongside him now is a healthy Anthony Davis. The two have led the Lakers to the top spot in the Western Conference.
The Los Angeles Clippers
The other team in Los Angeles has proven to be just as formidable as the Lakers. While the Clippers often rest players and use “load management,” they’re still a team that beats the best. In their two meetings with the Lakers, they’ve won both matchups. Although the Clippers lose more games than they should, come playoff time, NBA analysts expect them to be contending for an NBA title.
The Milwaukee Bucks are once again dominating the East and the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo refined his skills in the offseason and once again has Bucks competing for a title. Even with Milwaukee losing what were thought to be key components to their team, new players have stepped up and taken on new roles. With Giannis’ leadership and the Bucks’ role players playing well, the Bucks are looking to go farther in the playoffs this season.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers appear to have fallen flat on their backs after making an appearance to the Western Conference Finals last season. The Trail Blazers do not currently occupy a playoff spot, even after adding longtime NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony. With less than 40 games left in the season, Portland will have to make serious changes schematically or through personnel, if they’d like to clinch a playoff spot.
The Brooklyn Nets had the biggest summer of any team, adding Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. Still, with Durant and Irving both dealing with injuries, the Nets have fallen below .500. Durant will be out for the remainder of the season, and Irving has missed significant time with a shoulder injury. The Nets were not expected to be title contenders this year, but being a bottom seed was also not a part of the plan either.
San Antonio Spurs
Ever since the departure of Kawhi Leonard, the San Antonio Spurs have seemed to have an identity crisis. DeMar DeRozan has been good but not quite good enough to take the Spurs to the next level. They currently do not occupy a playoff spot and are on the outside looking in. San Antonio is known for building teams quietly but not during the season. During the offseason, the team did not make many moves, and with that, analysts don’t expect the Spurs to make many moves.