Blogtable: Big Movers Of Second Half

Golden State's Klay Thompson, David Lee and Steph Curry (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

Golden State’s Klay Thompson, David Lee and Steph Curry (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

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.


Movers and shakers | Texas throwdown | LeBron’s future


Which team will be the big mover of the second half? Why’s that?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comMinnesota. Want-to doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, but I can’t come up with a team that has more urgency to pick up the pace in search of a playoff spot. Convincing Kevin Love that he’ll be able to win with the Timberwolves long-term is what the next 16 months are about in the Twin Cities. That suggests a move of some sort by Thursday’s trade deadline but more so, a desperation to end the Wolves’ decade-long postseason drought. If the current No. 8 (Dallas) continues at its present pace (.582), Minnesota needs to finish 22-7 to catch up.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: I don’t think there are going to be any dramatic moves made.  But assuming the Grizzlies hold onto Zach Randolph past the trade deadline, I think they’ll jump up and squeeze into the playoffs in the West.  Of course, if they do that, it could be at the expense of Golden State and then maybe Mark Jackson makes a dramatic move toward the door.

Dwyane Wade (Glenn James/NBAE)

Miami’s Dwyane Wade (Glenn James/NBAE)

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Paging Golden State, Paging Golden State… The Warriors better make a big move up or else… But they’re not my choice. You’d be stunned to see the Heat ratchet up the defense and go on a tear? Me either, but they’re not my choice. People, I’m talking the Washington Wizards — that’s right, the Wiz. I know they slipped before the break, but they seemed to be discovering themselves just prior and even got over .500 for the first time since, like, the moon walk. John Wall and Bradley Beal return from fun All-Star experiences in New Orleans with, I believe, a seriousness, a real sense of the job at hand. And the schedule should be advantageous. Of their next 22 games (through March) only seven are against teams with winning records and that includes Toronto (twice), Memphis and Phoenix.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: I’ll stick with my preseason prediction: the Warriors are one of the better teams in the West, not a team that should be scraping by at the end to hang on for No. 7 or 8. They have definitely earned that spot so far. But a solid locker room that has the ability to focus when it matters most – or the threat of being embarrassed by a bad finish – will drive Golden State away from the danger zone.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: As long as Andrew Bogut’s shoulder issue doesn’t linger, Golden State should move back up the Western Conference standings into a 3-5 seed. Their point differential is better than their record, they have a top-five defense, and they play one of the easier schedules in the West going forward, including nine games against East teams under .500 and four against the Jazz, Kings and Lakers.

Sekou Smith, NBA.comAs crazy as it sounds, I think it’s going to be the Miami Heat. They’re not going on another 27-game run like they did last year, chasing history and making a mockery of the rest of the league on their way to the best regular-season record and eventually their second straight championship. But I think they’re going to ride the wave of emotion that LeBron James is playing with, and has been since we all started talking about Kevin Durant challenging him for league supremacy. The Heat needed motivation, they needed a cause to inspire them through the 82-game marathon that will mean next to nothing if they don’t win a third straight title. They’ve found it now and it’s defending their honor and the honor of their leader and best player. Indiana’s hold on that No. 1 spot in the East is tenuous at best. It’ll be interesting to see the Heat as the hunter as opposed to the hunted the rest of this season.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com All Ball blogMemphis. As of today they’re out of the playoffs, and they may not have placed anyone on the All-Star team, but they’ve finally got everyone healthy (well, except for Tony Allen, and by all accounts he’s just days away). They haven’t made as many headlines as when they were the Hang Time Grizzlies or the Grit N’ Grind Grizzlies, but they’ve quietly put together a 15-4 run over the last few weeks. I think they’ve got the experience and health to continue playing the way they have of late and put together a late-season push that launches them into the postseason.

Simon Legg, NBA AustraliaGolden State. They’re currently seventh in the West but this team is too good to be that low. I can see them overtaking Phoenix and Dallas, then taking aim at Portland. Surprisingly, they’re ranked 12th in offensive efficiency but their dynamic starting lineup has played only 647 minutes of their 2,559 minutes on the floor. Their offensive rating with the starting five is 112.8. Without them, it’s 104.2. Expect their starters to get more minutes as we turn to the playoffs and for the Warriors to move up the standings.

XiBin Yang, NBA ChinaThe Grizzlies have found the rhythm again, and it’s a relief that Marc Gasol’s injury was not serious. He’s still the core of this team. With Conley’s return, they could trace their winning pace last year.

Aldo Aviñante, NBA Philippines: I think the Miami Heat will string off another huge winning streak to try and get the number one spot in the standings. The stakes are getting higher. They had a historical 27-game winning streak last year that started right about the same time this season and they might gun for another one in the home stretch.

13 Comments

  1. jdub455 says:

    The heat and the twolves… heat will finish on top and the wolves will make the playoffs…

  2. last2minutes says:

    i can see the cavs climbing up to 6-8 spots in the eastern conference after the 82 games this season.. they are putting up good numbers this past few weeks and they are darn so serious in games unlike the first few months of the season. [Heat fan since the pre wade era]

  3. Eddy says:

    @sekou smith back up your claim the warriors will take it out brother

  4. RamonBraganza says:

    As for me…

    Suns will be better when bledsoe comes back.

    Miami will be more serious now.

    Golden State just need to be consistent. Injured Bogut should not be an excuse. Lee and Speights can be good front court, Speights just need minutes.

    Wizards has been a surprise and I think they will make it better for playoff seeding. :)

  5. okc2014 says:

    I have a really bad feeling about the Hawks. They will not make playoffs this year. This will be so sealed if they do nothing before the trade deadline. I’m so tired of watching them lose and they look sad and dejected. Let’s Go Hawks.

  6. C4life says:

    For my opinion i have some faith on the NETS since the games will slow down a bit more this part of the season. the other teams are the SUNS. those guys man play hard every single night. i have watched a lot of games this season, they fought for every loose ball. even though they cant defend very well and are missing a piece for making a good playoff run but still they are going into the playoffs no question about it. I believe a bit on MAVS but seriously they have to make a trade and improve their D. probably give the knicks a PG for a winger on shump, and ofc get a real C then they can be a real surprise this year.

  7. Gillsy says:

    I really think Golden State is a good team. Then you wonder why they loose against bad teams. I thought Bogut, Lee and Iggy would be a good front court. But how often has this front court been outrebounded, especially Lee. Barnes has been a disappointment, but it was always a risk putting a started to the bench and tell him to come out as apart of a second unit and get you points. Cause wasn’t that originally why Thompson was going to the bench before Barnes got injured in pre season. While the only consistent person on the bench is Speights who seams to give them something every game.

  8. Manu says:

    My bets on Phoenix…Green and Drajik are bringing the Suns as a major playoff contender. They have beat big teams including Golden State (btw I’m a GS fan)…I see a lot of potential

  9. slider821 says:

    John, Scott, and Simon: I don’t see how ‘warriors on paper are better than their record’ is a value argument for surging post all-star break. Warriors are just not playing well and with their 9 losses in the last 16, what makes you think they will surge? Just saying they shouldn’t be a 7th seed based on their talent does not make it a fact. they have to win games.

    and you mention some bogut shoulder injury like once he’s better, warriors will be fine. Bogut hasnt been hurt at all this season until this shoulder thing and it just started, so how will that benefit them? if anything, he could be out for a while along with Oneal and they could continue to suffer.

    My prediction; warriors will be fighting for 7th or 8th becuase they start every game playing like its a scrimmage. they are not being held to their responsibilities and Jackson keeps putting faith in guys who have shown to be unproductive all year (barnes, bazemore, the rotations with 2nd unit, and sitting bogut in the 4th trying to play small ball).

  10. BALLISLIFE says:

    Watch out for memphis.

  11. Kid Canada says:

    Just an FYI…raps have the easiest schedule going the 2nd half of the season. Although they don’t have much to climb I think they will solidify their position in the east. Also beating Washington last night I think that the wiz will drop to 7-8th place, maybe further down the list. Just my 2 cents.

    • pKone says:

      I think TOs schedule means that 3rd seed is theirs to lose!

      But I don’t see them going higher than 3rd, which they already own. So I am not sure the will technically “move”, unless you count the playoffs and then hopefully they will move a couple of rounds forward :)

  12. Heat & Nets for me

    And watch out for the Cavs. They are wild lately.