1.) Nobody bettered themselves enough to beat Golden State, who will repeat as NBA Champions. The Warriors are led by last year’s MVP Stephen Curry and the point guard from Davidson College should repeat as MVP again this year. Steve Kerr’s team is averaging a league-best 115.5 PPG and is the only team with a 3-point percentage that exceeds 40 percent. No one really strengthened themselves enough to stop this high-powered offense and nobody got deep enough to play with the Warriors’ bench.
2.) The only team that will make a run at the Warriors is the Oklahoma City Thunder. Led by one-time MVP Kevin Durant and back-to-back ASG MVP Russell Westbrook, the Thunder can score with the best of them and gave Golden State a game in early February. This rivalry is beginning to bud as Curry called the Thunder out before beating them 116-108 on Feb. 6. While the Thunder are well-equipped to take a shot at the defending champs, their bench isn’t deep enough. The addition of Randy Foye from the Nuggets could be the piece OKC needs but likely it isn’t quite enough.
3.) The Cavaliers didn’t do enough at the trade deadline to win the title this year. While it’s likely to repeat as Eastern Conference Champions, Cleveland didn’t make a big move because it got too greedy. The asking price for Kevin Love was extremely high and no one was willing to go one-for-one with the Cavs. Had Cleveland lowered its asking price a tad, it could have acquired several assets worth the same cap space. After signing a five-year, $113 million deal, Love has been slightly less than worth that, only averaging 15 points and 10 boards this year.
4.) Danny Ainge doesn’t know if he’s playing for the future or contending for a title now. By not making a move Thursday, he made the direction the Celtics are going very clear – playing for the future. Boston is in third place in the Eastern Conference and is just one piece away from really contending. The East is Toronto, Cleveland and everyone else, but Love could have put the Celtics into that top tier. Instead, Boston got greedy with the pick they acquired from the Nets in the Garnett deal and refused to part ways with it. Holding on to the pick would make sense if the team was playing for the future, but they’re playing for now if they move the pick, which may not even pan out.
5.) The saga in Phoenix is over and Washington was a benefactor of it. Last summer, Marcus Morris was traded from Phoenix to Detroit so the Suns could go after free agent LaMarcus Aldridge. After Aldridge signed with San Antonio and everything simmered, the Suns were without Marcus Morris and this left his twin brother Markieff, also on the Suns, fuming. Markieff has since been nothing but trouble for the Suns, demanding trades, inciting teammates and openly expressing his displeasure with Phoenix. A trade was imminent and the Wizards acquired the better half of the twins, who may play a pivotal role for John Wall’s team. Washington is only 2.5 games out of the playoff race, but Morris could be the key to them getting right into the hunt.