The 2019 trade deadline did not disappoint ... unless, of course, your name is LeBron James, Magic Johnson or Rich Paul.
In fact, the deadline probably surpassed expectations in regard to both the quantity and potential impact of the trades that were made. And most of the impact will be felt at the top of the Eastern Conference, where the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors all made big moves to increase their chances of being the first non-LeBron-James team to reach The Finals out of the East since 2010. The Indiana Pacers, in third place with a five-game winning streak, didn't make a significant trade, but added a (potential) starter in the buyout market.
The new Sixers are off to a strong start, but have a Tuesday meeting with the team -- Boston -- that has beaten them nine times in the last 16 months. Given how few games remain (about 26 per team) and how quickly things can change in this league, we won't know just how well these moves worked out until May. Actually, we won't know the full impact of the deadline shake-ups until July, when Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and four Milwaukee starters hit free agency with Anthony Davis on the trade market again.
- Last week: Bucks rise up as trade deadline looms
- This time last year: Jazz streak up rankings and into playoff race -- LeBron James beat the Wolves at the buzzer before the Cavs underwent a shake-up at the trade deadline, sending out six players (including two of the guys they got for Kyrie Irving) and bringing back four. Dwyane Wade returned to Miami, the Magic gave up on Elfrid Payton, and the Clippers signed Lou Williams to a reasonable contract extension. Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL, Dirk Nowitzki dunked, and Giannis Antetokounmpo jumped over Tim Hardaway Jr.
Plus-Minus Players of the Week
- Mr. Plus: Bojan Bogdanovic (IND) was a plus-77 in four games last week.
- Mr. Minus: Marco Belinelli (SAS) was a minus-70 in four games last week.
Teams of the Week
- Make It Last Forever: Pacers (4-0) -- The Pacers read your stories about there being four great teams in the Eastern Conference.
- Something Just Ain't Right: San Antonio (0-4) -- The rodeo trip strikes again, though the point differential (minus-20.8 per game) is a bit skewed by a game at Golden State without LaMarcus Aldridge or DeMar DeRozan.
East vs. West
- The West is 173-131 (.569) against the East in interconference games, though the East was 10-8 last week.
Schedule strength through Week 17
- Toughest: 1. New York, 2. Phoenix, 3. Utah
- Easiest: 1. Indiana, 2. Miami, 3. Oklahoma City
- Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
Movement in the Rankings
- High jumps of the week: Dallas (+5), Detroit (+5), Orlando (+5), Toronto (+5)
- Free falls of the week: Minnesota (-7), San Antonio (-7), Charlotte (-4)
Week 18 Team to Watch
- Portland -- The fourth-place Blazers are 1-6 against the three teams - Golden State, Denver and Oklahoma City - ahead of them in the Western Conference standings, just suffered a tough loss in Dallas, and close out their pre-break schedule by visiting the Thunder on Monday and hosting the Warriors on Wednesday.
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Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
The league has averaged 100.6 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 109.2 points scored per 100 possessions this season.
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NBA.com's Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man's opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.
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