NBA Christmas Special – Part 3

Welcome back to the Sports Dojo NBA X-Mas Special: Part 3. You know the drill by now so let’s just get right into it. We’ve spent the past two days looking at the “playoff teams” if the NBA postseason were to start on Christmas. It’s time to turn our attention to the teams on the outside looking in. If you’ve missed out on the first two parts, you can find them here and here.

Eastern Conference: (number reflects current playoff position)

9. Chicago Bulls (10-16): Unfortunately I don’t see this team hanging around and advancing to the playoffs. After Derrick Rose dropped out, there chances were slim to none. They average 91.8 ppg, tied with Charlotte for worst in the league. One of the best small forwards not named LeBron James or Kevin Durant is Luol Deng. Quietly averaging 19.6 ppg and 7.0 rpg, he is the reason the Bulls have won as many games as they have. Although his play has been remarkable, he’s been plagued by a nagging Achilles injury. Never count this team out at home, as they are 7-5 and surprisingly have a 9-9 record against Eastern Conference teams.

10. Cleveland Cavaliers (10-16): Kyrie Irving has not had a lot of help so far this season. Remember when the Cavs shocked the NBA and took Anthony Bennett with the #1 overall pick? Well he’s averaging 2.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, and 0.2 apg. Basically sums up the season for the Cavs so far as they have not performed well. Especially on the road, going 2-12.

11. Brooklyn Nets (9-17): There aren’t many bright spots to this season as the Nets recent lost Brook Lopez to injury. They’ve gone 5-11 against the East and have struggled in all areas. Definitely not the season Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce imagined when they came to Brooklyn in the offseason.

Western Conference: (number reflects current playoff position)

9. Golden State Warriors (16-13): Over the past couple of days the Warriors have slipped into the 8th seed, but because of the timeline of these posts, we’ll keep them in the 9-hole. Stephen Curry has been brilliant, posting 24.3 ppg, 9.2 apg, and 24.6 PER. He’s attempted the most 3-pointers in the league (205) and made the 3rd most (85). One area to watch is Curry’s turnovers. He has committed the most in the league (102), which is not something to boast about. This team is starting to play well with Andre Iguodola coming back from injury to help guard some of the tougher small forwards in the league.

10. Los Angeles Lakers (13-14): One of the best stories in the NBA (other than the Derrick Rose comeback) was the Kobe Bryant comeback. It was cut short when he went down with a knee injury. Simply put, the league is better with Kobe playing and every game he plays in should be cherished, knowing he’s closer and closer to the end of his career.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-15): If you’re looking for one player to watch on a given night, watch Kevin Love. He has failed to reach a double-double in just two of the 27 games he’s played this season. Just look at this monster stat line: 25.9 ppg, 13.9 rpg, 4.2 apg, .458 FG%, .381 3P%, and 27.9 PER. He is an absolute stud. Ricky Rubio is an assist machine and gets the award for most creative passes but he needs to find that scoring touch. Although he lacks a scoring instinct, he has the most steals in the league (75) and fourth most assists (225). I expect this team in the discussion for the final two or three playoff spots in the league.

Predictions:

(East)

Chicago Bulls – 10th seed

Cleveland Cavaliers – 9th seed

Brooklyn Nets – 12th seed

(West)

Golden State Warriors – 7th seed

Los Angles Lakers – 10th seed

Minnesota Timberwolves – 8th seed

Although I promised some of the top individual shots, passes, and moves so far this season, we’re going to hold off one more day, but I can’t help myself from giving a little preview. Here are two highlights of what you can expect to see from the NBA greats.

-This guy is up there with Jamal Crawford for best one-on-one moves. He’s blossoming into one of the best 2-guards for years to come.

-This is just one of the many reasons why Ricky Rubio is a magician with the ball.

Just wait, the moves get better and the passes get more creative. As always, continue to enjoy.

Twitter: @brosephmeola

E-mail: senseimeola@gmail.com

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