Updated Playoff Picture, Bracket Heading Into Closing Games

NBA StandingsThe Los Angeles Lakers (9-2) cruised past the Golden State Warriors (2-10) a hundred and twenty-ninety four at Staples Heart Wednesday night time. It is onerous to learn how good the Lakers might be in terms of the regular season. They do not have the depth of among the different elite groups within the West, however they do have LeBron James. I feel that the Lakers will probably be a borderline high-three seed in the West. That’s merely due to load administration. Davis and James seemingly will relaxation sporadically all year long with neither playing 75+ games. However, their seed won’t reflect how harmful of a staff they’re going to truly be within the postseason.

Some things by no means change. But some things really do. Witness the Trail Blazers, who’re always good for 28-30 wins at home. And these Blazers have carried out it primarily with a dominant backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. So here is what’s new: nearly every thing else. An enormous personnel turnover from a fifty three-win crew includes newcomers Kent Bazemore, Mario Hezonja, Hassan Whiteside and Pau Gasol. Whiteside brings a distinct look inside with heart Jusuf Nurkic rehabbing a ugly leg damage.

Kevin Love is the Cavalier below the biggest microscope — after former Michigan coach John Beilein, who swapped faculty recruiting for professional rebuilding. Love only performed 22 games final season, but when he can find his outdated kind, he may find a new tackle. The Cavs are agonizingly younger and house owners of a pair of lottery-decide level guards, Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, from the past two drafts. Tristan Thompson is one other sound vet in a sea of youth. They also have Larry Nance Jr., but not sufficient for any excitement.

In addition to Indiana and perhaps Utah, each in the 6-spot within the standings, no other crew has an impressive document right here, however that is form of the purpose. The West’s depth has dissipated to the purpose that even nice surprises like the Suns and Thunder are several games below500, but they’re still in the playoff hunt as a result of no different teams are seizing ground, either. That’s how the East has seemingly at all times been—however the East now resembles the West at the top, and the West appears just like the East in the middle as the 2 conferences converge.

Here is where continuity helps. The Nuggets have basically the same roster from a 54-win, No. 2-seed team. And they get again Michael Porter Jr., a potentially terrific player who dropped two drafts in the past with again issues. Nikola Jokic is a No. 2 or 3 center in the league. The first-five expertise continues with Paul Millsap, Will Barton, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. They landed defensive stud Jerami Grant to make them two deep at each place.