The NBA trade deadline passed on March 25, and some teams are ready to make a push for the playoffs while other teams are ready for the next year.
Last NBA season was unique because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year is unique again because of the pandemic and because of the new dark horses and falling favorites.
After the Los Angeles Lakers won the championship game last year, the Lakers became everyone’s favorite to start the season. They acquired Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder to support LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The team was doing well for a while, but then the injuries started to hold them back. Currently, both James and Davis have no clear timetable to return, and the team has not been performing well, which makes sense. They are still in the fifth seed with 5.5 games ahead of the eighth seed to make it to the playoffs. But a couple more bad weeks could put them in a bubble to even make it to the playoffs. The Lakers need their star players back as soon as possible.
On the other hand, Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns are on a hot streak. The Jazz is on a nine-game winning streak, while the Suns are on a five-game winning streak. Both teams were projected to be fighting for the eighth seed in the Western Conference, but they are currently in the top two spots. Both teams may not have superstars, but their team chemistry makes them lethal in any games.
Right behind these two teams, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets are sitting on the third and fourth seeds with 7-3 and 8-2 in the past 10 games respectively.
The Eastern Conference seems similar to the last time I checked with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Milwaukee Bucks as the clear top three teams, while the Atlanta Hawks, the Miami Heat, the Charlotte Hornets, the New York Knicks, and the Boston Celtics currently are top eight in the Eastern Conference. However, do not sleep on the Chicago Bulls as they added some moves before the trade deadline. I would not be surprised to see them sneak in to the top eight to make it to the playoffs.