Teams That Will Improve In the 2nd Half Of The Season
Not every team has had a great start to the season, and now, the halfway point of the year, is a great time to take another look at the team, and prepare to take it all up a notch in what’s left of the season. These teams will definitely up their game in the last 41, or more if they make it to the playoffs, games.
Los Angeles Lakers
One way or another, if LeBron James has anything to say about it, the Lakers will improve in what remains of the season. LeBron chose to go to LA, and he knew the situation they were in, but there’s no chance he’s willing to miss the entire post-season, especially now that the Warriors are not in the dominating shape they were in the previous seasons. The question is whether LeBron thinks he can achieve this goal with his current squad, or that they need to make some changes to make it all happen. Last year, the Cavaliers traded half the team, so the Lakers might be convinced by the King to do the same this year. Luke Walton, the Lakers’ head coach publically has made clear he expects more passion on the court of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, so something’s got to change with the team. One thing is sure, they’ll do everything to rise in the standings, whether every current Laker will still be on the team when that happens, has yet to be seen.
The last few years, both team in New York, the Nets and the Knicks, have gone through a rough patch, but the Nets definitely had the worst side of the deal. Fortunately for the Brooklynese, everything is starting to look up for them. Even without any valuable draft picks, they’ve managed to put together quite a good team, and they’ve given players the chance to prove they belong. For example, no one had expected Joe Harris to become such a valuable player, as he had trouble finding a team as a free agent just a couple of season ago. The one draft pick they didn’t trade away was quite a gamble, but they ended up with the 2nd rounder Rodions Kurucs, who’s a great fit with the team. The Nets are currently 8th in the East, and might even make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2014-2015.
New York Knicks
Where first the Knicks seemed to be in better shape than the Nets, the opposite is true now. The Nets are still in the race for the post-season, where the Knicks’ only choice is to look to the future. The 2nd half of the season will be better for the Knicks, as Kristaps Porzingis is nearing his return. This will definitely give a spark to the team, and Porzingis can again be the threat on offense the Knicks need to get some wins. In the meantime, the Knicks is giving their young players and two-way players the chance to improve and get used to the league. As the youngsters are getting more and more confidence on the court, the Knicks are more enjoyable to watch as well.
Right now, there’s only one upside for the Suns this season: they can’t get any lower than this. Luckily, they had already resigned themselves into tanking this season, so it didn’t come as much of a shock. The core of the team is still 23 or under, including Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and DeAndre Ayton, so there is still a lot of potential within the franchise. As soon as the Suns get another real point guard to Phoenix, that will definitely lighten the load for Booker and as long as the young players get the minutes to improve themselves, the 2nd half of the season will be better.
San Antonio Spurs
Popovich and the Spurs needed some time to adapt to the post-big three and post-Kawhi era, and now they’ve finally started to look like the ‘old’ well-oiled machine we’re used to seeing with the Spurs. And with every game, they’re looking better. Furthermore, the Spurs are still on their playoff streak, and they’re not willing to part with that. In the last month, the Spurs have already managed to climb the standings to the 6th spot, and it doesn’t look like they are slowing down. The Spurs have started to trust their style of play again: a lot of ball movement and great defense. DeMar DeRozan has proven that he’s a great addition for the Texans, and he set an example when he reached his first career triple-double against his former team, the Toronto Raptors.