There are 30 teams in the NBA, and at any given time, about 450 signed players, and they all want the same thing. It’s basketball competition at its fiercest. Unfortunately, by the time mid-June rolls along and a champion is crowd, there can only be one team standing.
As we look ahead at the final stretch of the regular season, we can start asking questions about some of the other NBA teams and players trying to catch up to the best. In this week’s NBA India Fan Mailbag, we will look back to assess what these teams and players have done and then look forward to see where they could end up.
Amar Nathyo: Will Steve Nash have a ring before he retires? Or will his name be added to the list of legends without rings.
With two MVP awards, a half-dozen assist titles, and All Time lofty shooting numbers to his name, Nash is surely the league’s greatest active player without a championship. But now, at 40, he is seeing the finish line and if current circumstances persist, it seems like he’ll end his career ring-less. The Lakers are out of contention this year and will probably be rebuilding next year, too. His only chance for a last shot at the trophy is if he’s traded at the end of the season (considering he’s not retired by then) to a contender.
Vatsalya Singh: Who'll be the NBA’s most improved team and player?
The Phoenix Suns have been the story of the season for me for their unexpected rise in the West and are definitely among the most improved teams this season. They were worst in the West last season (25-57) but have propelled to a playoff spot (33-22) this year. You can also pick from any of the vastly improving players in Phoenix’s rotation, like Goran Dragic, Gerald Green, or even Miles Plumpee for MIP consideration.
Vatsalya Singh: Why is Kevin Love not on any MVP candidate list? Why doesn’t he qualify?
If MVP awards were given solely for individual brilliance, Love would be up there next to the likes of Kevin Durant and LeBron James this season. But team success matters, and the Timberwolves (27-29) have struggled to be consistent despite Love’s consistency. Love could drop 25 and 12 every single night but it wouldn’t matter unless his team starts to win games.
Prashanth Chandrasekhar: The Nets seem so good on paper (like the Lakers did last season). Why aren't they delivering? And what's wrong with Deron Williams? Ever since he spurned Dallas for New Jersey, he seems to have lost his mojo.
The Nets – like the Lakers last season – shot for ‘win now’ glory, bringing in a couple of future Hall of Famers for a shot at the title. But now years past their prime, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett can’t give it their all every night like they used to. All Star center Brook Lopez went down early in the season to add to Brooklyn’s woes. Of course, Deron Williams has been struggling with bad form and injuries, too. Williams has indeed lost his mojo a little and the constant niggles and roster changes haven’t helped his stability. All that said, the Nets are still in the playoff race in the East and if Williams and co can find the magic formula, they could climb even higher before the season is over. Don’t count them out.