Miami (USA) (EFE).- There are exactly 46 days left for the NBA regular season to end on April 9. A little over six weeks that become a frantic race for each franchise on their way to save the objectives of the course.
Little more than twenty parties and the goals very marked. From the ring, to get a more affordable crossing. From trying to play the postseason to better positioning himself to be able to acquire Victor Wembanyama next season.
Regarding this, there are four completely evicted teams in competitive terms and that aspire to take over the French giant: Charlotte, Detroit, Houston and San Antonio. The more losses the better to increase the chances of being the number one pick in the Lottery Draft on May 16.
But the main attention will be on the other twenty-six teams, some of them with notable changes after the market close and with adjustments also in the ‘Buyout Market’.
How Kevin Love in Miami, Russell Westbrook with the Clippers or Reggie Jackson in Denver can adapt are key to understanding the future of these teams.
Until March 1st there will be time to see new names reinforcing candidate teams from free agency. Some of these players have not yet been released but it seems a matter of days before veterans like Goran Dragic and Derrick Rose, among others, will be free to choose their next destination.
the wild west
The arrivals of Kyrie Irving to Dallas and Kevin Durant to Phoenix change the scenario in the West of the NBA. A conference dominated until now by the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies, becomes a matter of at least four teams.
In the Mavericks the numbers after the arrival of Kyrie Irving could not be worse, the former from Brooklyn has coincided in three meetings with Doncic and they all lost. The team scores more and more easily, but there is a defensive handicap that they must solve if they want to have a real chance of going far.
The Suns seem more reliable, an already consolidated project, with identified leaders and who caressed the ring in 2021. The arrival of Kevin Durant puts them directly in the race for the title once he is fit to play, probably in two weeks.
The work that the Sacramento Kings are doing is excellent. It seems too early to think of the Californians as title candidates, but they should compete in the postseason.
Along with them are some Clippers who lead a huge group of pursuers, and it is that between the third and the twelfth in the west there are only four victories away.
The Lakers, last-minute students
Rob Pelinka was late for his homework. In the middle of the ‘deadline’ of the market, he decided to change the squad, releasing many players and compensating for rotation. Some say this is the Lakers’ most complete roster since they were champions in Orlando.
Even with a negative record, these Lakers have twenty-three games in front of them to show whether or not they are a Playoff team. LeBron James’ commitment to playing them all speaks volumes, plus the immediate addition of D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt to the rotation suggests that improvement could be rapid.
Of the twenty-three remaining games, sixteen are against direct rivals for postseason spots. If Darvin Ham and his team want to go straight to the ‘playoffs’ they are bound to make almost full wins. While to reach the Play-In it could be enough for them to win half of their commitments.
Last sprint for the NBA MVP
In the individual part, the NBA now faces an exciting sprint to see who gets the most fought MVP in recent years. A quarter of a season seems enough to add weight merits by the five clear candidates: Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic.
The Serbian is currently the clear favorite to revalidate the award for the third consecutive year. He has 21 triple-doubles so far this season and his performance, as usual, has been from less to more, with his Nuggets as the best team in the West.
Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo follow him in favoritism, with the same incidence on their teams as Jokic, both leading the other two best franchises in the league.
The Greek can play against the absences due to injury, while the Celtics also comes out very supported having won the MVP in the All-Star Game.
Luka Doncic’s options seem to diminish with the arrival of Kyrie Irving in Dallas, he will continue to have a lot of prominence, but he will share responsibilities with his new partner.
Joel Embiid, being the undisputed leader of the Sixers, loses out in any statistical comparison with Jokic. Although he scores more, his rebound and assist numbers are far off.