Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
It’s All-Star time: Which team needs this break the most?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: The Timberwolves have dropped four in a row and seven of their last 10 heading into their pre-All Star finale vs. Denver Wednesday. They’re banged up (Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin) and even their coach, Rick Adelman, had to miss their most recent game (personal reasons). At 24-28, this season hasn’t gone at all the way the organization and fans had hoped, and a newly blueprinted practice facility across the street from Target Center in downtown Minneapolis isn’t going to keep Kevin Love around if it doesn’t get used consistently in late April and May, never mind June. That’s down-the-road fodder for worrying, though – the Wolves need a breather right now, for they return from the break having to face Indiana, followed by a five-game trip out West.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: The Spurs are beaten up, broken down, aching, ailing, worn out. And old.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: First inclination is to say the Sixers after getting blown out by 45 and 43 points on consecutive nights. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before. But whatever Philly does the rest of the year is only consequential in terms of ping-pong balls. The Warriors and Suns really need the time off. Golden State is dealing with some internal turmoil and needs to get things straightened out over the break. Phoenix just has to be dead tired and will need the rest to go for one of the more improbable playoff runs in recent memory. I guess that’s one positive to Goran Dragic not making the West squad.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: The Spurs. They need pages turning on the calendar without games being played. The more days that pass, the closer they are to good health, or at least better health, without having to play with the patchwork lineup. The closer they are to good health, the more Spurs-like they will seem.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: My initial answer was the Timberwolves, but break or no break, they’ve probably sunk too far to have a shot at the playoffs. The Warriors, meanwhile, had sunk to the eighth spot before getting some help from the Heat and Bobcats on Tuesday night. David Lee and Andrew Bogut have been banged up and their starting backcourt has been taxed by their lack of depth. This team can be great on both ends of the floor when it’s playing well, but it’s been barely treading water since the end of its 10-game winning streak five weeks ago.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: The Philadelphia 76ers need the break to get here … last weekend. These epic losses are getting ridiculous. It’s one thing to be a young team, a lottery team, and an uneven bunch that simply is not ready for prime time on a nightly basis. It’s another thing to get your doors completely blown off the way coach Brett Brown‘s team has here recently. They’ve given up 108 or more points in seven straight games, all losses, and surrendered a mind-boggling 123 points each in back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Clippers (123-78) and Golden State Warriors (123-80). Again, the All-Star break cannot get here fast enough for our friends in Philly.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com All Ball blog: I have found myself increasingly interested of late in the happenings in Golden State. Mark Jackson‘s honeymoon period seems to be over, as he and Andrew Bogut publicly disagree over injuries, and ownership has made it clear that they aren’t happy with several home losses the Warriors have had lately. To me it just feels like every one could use a vacation to refocus. It wouldn’t hurt to spend a few days not only looking ahead at how far they have to go, but also remembering just how far they’ve come.
Akshay Manwani, NBA India: The Atlanta Hawks. Of the top eight teams in both conferences, no team other than the Hawks have lost successive games. The Hawks, on the other hand, are in the midst of a four-game slump and fell below Chicago in the East standings after their loss to the Bulls on Tuesday night. They could use the All-Star break to regroup, take a bit of a breather and fight their way back to the No. 3 or No. 4 spot in the East.
Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: The teams that will make the most out of the All-Star break are the veteran crews of the league, the Nets in the East and the Spurs in the West. San Antonio had 5 losses in their last 10 games, so they could use the time off to find their breath and regain their focus. Brooklyn, on the other hand, hopes to give some rest to the veteran players. The All-Star Weekend is like a psychological barrier. It can turn out to be the check point where the Nets push the button and get into post-season mode.
Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: It’s too easy to say the Lakers, but how can you not? Their injury list is longer than their rotation and a break is much needed. Guys like Pau Gasol and Steve Nash would benefit a lot from a week off and coach Mike D’Antoni could use that time to figure out the rotation. Waiting for Kobe Bryant, who is too proud and competitive to give up on the season.