New Year, new edition of the NBA Tier List.
Even if the playoff picture is far from being set in stone, as the calendar is getting closer to the trading deadline, where teams are in the table – and where they seem to be at the top – a larger one
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From franchisees who sit in the playoffs to good teams that survive tough stretches to those that remain undisputed top candidates:
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The Milwaukee Bests
Like last week, the Milwaukee Bucks are all alone on the top of our prestigious tier list, and rightly so.
Since the Bucks dropped a game on Christmas Day, they've grown exactly where they left off before this hiccup, and have now taken five wins in a row – three of which were double-digit wins.
Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to dominate – he averaged 29 points from 58.3 percent shots and 11.7 rebounds per game over Milwaukee's last three competitions in the best position to keep this winning streak alive until at least January 16 received when they compete against the Boston Celtics.
However, this is a little further down. At the moment we can only bow to Milwaukee's power.
Top contender (for now)
This level can best be described with the performance of the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz.
On the one hand, the Lakers are at the top of the Western Conference and have won five games in a row, but looked a bit fragile before this five-game sprint – they lost four games in a row, all against top-class opponents.
On the other hand there is jazz, which has won eleven of its last 13 games after a rough start to the season and – finally – looks as if the master candidate had pinned them on as before the start of the season.
Even more impressive for jazz, they started this run without the acquisition of an off-season star, Mike Conley, who has been out with a tense left Achilles tendon for more than a month and is still considered week after week.
Both the Lakers and the Jazz are good teams that have weathered the ups and downs of the NBA season and, like the other three teams currently ranked at that level, should be considered among the league's elite teams become.
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Ugly stretches of good teams (and a surprising team on a roll)
From the Toronto Raptors with the injuries they have suffered to the uneven games recently seen by people like Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers, this is a collection of squads, a larger sample of which says they're pretty good. but are going through some rough stains.
The exception to this rule, of course, is the promotion of the Oklahoma City Thunder to this stage, a team that is absolutely rolling after winning nine of their last 10 games and 12 of their last 15 games.
Her long history of success, led by Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who averaged 22.3 points per game at 50.2 percent in the last 15 games of the Thunders, has raised questions as to whether OKC ended up the lot could be buyers at close of trade or at least not sellers.
This would be contrary to early season expectations when it was believed that they were sellers after being loaded with draft picks on the Paul George and Russell Westbrook trades and having many high-priced veterans on the roster – above all, Chris Paul.
The Thunder are currently in seventh place in the Western Conference and only two games behind in sixth place. They are a balanced team that plays a slow, deliberate style that can cause problems to the opponents in the postseason if they are able to hold and reach the playoffs.
As we approach the middle of the season and the sample size becomes large enough to provide meaningful conclusions as to who can be a team, the Thunder are in an unexpectedly good position. There is no reason to believe that they can not maintain what they have done as long as they choose to maintain the course and do not waive the trading deadline.
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The Playoff Bubble
Above is a list of nine teams that are eligible for the last place in their respective conferences as part of the playoff bubble mix.
The most surprising of this group definitely include the New Orleans Pelicans, a team that appeared to have gone through another typical doormat season in which it suddenly turned on and won five of its last six games, including major victories over the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets.
Coupled with news that esteemed newcomer Zion Williamson could be about to make its season debut, this has revived the Big Easy birds and can dramatically move them from bottom feeders to playoffs if they do stay on this upward trend.
The season is already over (or damned shortly before) for these teams
If one of these teams has not yet done so, now is the time to think about not using the season's white flag.
The Atlanta Hawks were completely disappointed despite the obvious move Trae Young took in his second year. The Detroit Pistons should be able to do without Blake Griffin for the rest of the year as he contemplates end-of-season knee surgery and is reportedly investigating what the retail market looks like for her other esteemed great man, Andre Drummond. The injury that Golden State Warriors had inflicted was doomed earlier this season. The New York Knicks are the New York Knicks, although they have shown signs of life in three of their last five games. and the Sacramento Kings are in a mess after losing 10 of their last 12 games.
It must be argued that the teams still have time to change things. In the case of these teams, however, it is difficult to see how one of these arguments can be turned from a hypothetical thought experiment into a game on the pitch.
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The Kevin Love team no longer wants to play for
In case you missed it, Kevin Love is not happy with his current situation. He is reportedly blown up by Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman and shows visible frustration on the pitch with some of his teammates, before posting on social media with said teammates.
One thing is certain: Love no longer wants to be a member of the Cavaliers. This is an understandable position, as Cleveland can only win 19 games with 10: 26 this year and almost the worst 9.2 points in the league are scored per game.
But when these frustrations manifest in the court, the movement of love becomes even more complicated.
Love has three seasons remaining on his contract and owes approximately $ 91.3 million during that time. Combined with his injury history and defensive problems, it is already a difficult contract for the Cavaliers to move in a way that brings them good value. Throw in recent overt discontent, and Cleveland may struggle to find leverage at every negotiation.