The second half of the NBA season is quickly approaching as it is right around the corner. Teams are making adjustments before the upcoming trade deadline on February 23rd, with the desire to make playoff pushes or improve for long playoff runs. Let’s do a quick NBA preview for the 2nd half of the season.
Westbrook & Harden Making History
The NBA season is turning into of the best overall campaigns in recent history for fans and people that enjoy the game. The race for the most valuable player award is intense, as front runners Russell Westbrook and James Harden seem to be determined to one up the other every time they take the floor. Russell Westbrook is in line to become only the second player ever to average a triple double in NBA history, Oscar Robertson being the first in the 1961-62 season.
On the season Westbrook is averaging 30.6 PPG, 10.6 RPG and 10.4 APG with twenty two triple doubles. In almost every other season the numbers James Harden is putting up would allow him to run away with the MVP award, as he is averaging 28.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 11.6 APG with twelve triple doubles. Harden is taking on a new role this season as he has transformed into a premiere point guard in the league. The push for the playoffs and the NBA’s most prestigious award the NBA Championship is in full swing mode now. Russell Westbrook and James Harden are the two HUGE favorites to win the MVP.
Everyone Chasing the Cavs and Warriors
Teams are chasing defending champions the Cleveland Cavaliers and the “super team 2.0” in the Golden State Warriors. The Cleveland Cavaliers have only improved since last year’s stunning 3-1 comeback in the NBA finals. Kevin Love has regained his dominance as one of the best big man in the league, also recently acquired shooter Kyle Korver is starting to gel with his new team as he gets more practice and playing time with his new team and teammates you can expect to see his numbers improve.
LeBron James is back to his usual self dominating all aspects of his game and with Kyrie Irving making people look foolish with his outstanding ball handling hitting clutch shot after clutch shot, the Cavaliers should be highly regarded as the team to represent East in the NBA Finals for the third straight year. Cleveland has 7/4 odds to win the NBA title.
Raptors Sit in 2nd in the East
Currently sitting second in the East, the Toronto Raptors have turned into a top team in the league with their run and gun style. The Raptors might not beat you with smothering defense or score tons of three pointers, but they get out in the open floor creating easy and high percentage shots.
Led by dynamic allstar duo backcourt in Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan who is averaging 27.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 3.8 APG, they once again have earned the respect of many players and fans around the league. Toronto holds the best chance to beat the defeat the defending champions. You can bet the Raptors at 60/1 odds.
Celtics and Thomas Having a Solid Year
The Boston Celtics are currently sitting in the three seed in the East as Isaiah Thomas is making a huge splash in the league as he is the second leading scorer coming in at 28.9 PPG. With newly acquired big man Al Horford, role players Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart it looks like the Celtics have built enough around superstar Thomas to be a real threat.
Consider the Celtics to keep being a surprise in the East and to dominate their way to the playoffs. The Celtics are listed at 25/1 to win the NBA title.
Warriors Super Team Still Favorites
The Golden State Warriors made the biggest offseason acquiring Kevin Durant via free agency. The Warriors haven’t missed a beat as they have regained their dominance as one of the best teams in basketball, but have struggled against other top teams in basketball. Golden State is the favorite to win the NBA title, and listed at 5/7 odds.
Spurs Continue Adding to Their Legacy
The San Antonio Spurs are once again proving why they have been called one of the greatest dynasties in sports over the last decade. With one of the greatest coaches of all time Greg Popovich rising superstar Kawhi Leonard who is averaging 25.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 3.2 APG.
Above solid surrounding players in Lamarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol are helping the Spurs tremendously as they are moving the ball at a devastating pace while playing smothering defense. They are odds on favorite to upset the Warriors as they are second seed in the Western conference. San Antonio can be wagered on at 6/1 odds to win the NBA title.
Rockets Surprising Most in the West
The number three seed in the Western Conference right now is the Houston Rockets. Harden continues to produce offensive numbers but the Rockets are getting production all over the floor from role players Ryan Anderson, Patrick Beverly, Clint Capela and rookie Sam Dekker.
Houston plays a grueling second half schedule but look for the Rockets to be in contention at the end of the season with a good shot to be playing for the NBA Championship. The Rockets are 25/1 odds to win it all.
Jazz are Boring But Effective
Keep your eyes on one of the surprise teams in basketball the Utah Jazz as they have emerged as a dangerous threat in the Western conference. They aren’t doing with a major superstar but as a whole team buying into the system playing fundamental basketball. Utah is still a long shot at 100/1.
Fans of the NBA should be in for a roller coasters ride in the second half of the season, it’s going to get wild as teams fight to keep their seasons alive. Also – keep your eye on the MVP race as it is shaping up to be one of the best ones of all time.
The above post was written by Cameron Rohde who can be found on Twitter @RohdeCameron