Second Half Win-Loss Predictions for Every NBA Team

Grant Hughes@@gt_hughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2013

Second Half Win-Loss Predictions for Every NBA Team

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    Rajon Rondo's season-ending ACL tear was just the latest example of the futility of win-loss predictions in the NBA. Anyone guessing at what the Boston Celtics' record would be before Rondo went down would certainly have a different opinion after the fact.

    In other words, what we're saying is that the league has about a million variables that could tip in either direction at any time. Injuries, trades and firings are bound to happen, and each of those things have the ability to drastically redefine the NBA landscape.

    That constant state of flux means that making even the safest, most vanilla guesses about the league's future is a fool's errand. Only an idiot would risk the embarrassment of tossing out some ridiculous prognostication about even one team's second half record. Of course, it'd take a certifiable lunatic to do the same for every NBA club.

    Which is, of course, why we're going to do precisely that.

    *All records and statistics are accurate through games played Jan. 29, 2013

    **All strength of schedule information via

Atlanta Hawks

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    Current Record: 25-19

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 19-19


    The Atlanta Hawks are six games over .500 right now, but their solid record has an awful lot to do with the fact that they've played—by far—the NBA's easiest schedule this season.

    They've already used up all four of their games against the Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards. Atlanta won seven of those eight games, but won't see either of the East's two worst teams again in 2013. And with just one more game left against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Hawks have just about run out of pushovers to pad their win total.

    Josh Smith's club still has enough talent to play decent ball in the season's second half, but with his future uncertain and the loss of Lou Williams to an ACL tear, Atlanta will be lucky to win as often as it loses from here on in.


    Final Record: 44-38

Boston Celtics

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    Current Record: 21-23

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 16-22


    The Boston Celtics ranked 26th in offensive efficiency when they had a healthy Rajon Rondo running the show. Now, with their most important offensive player sidelined for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, Boston's ability to score the ball is surely headed from bad to worse.

    A stunning double-overtime win over the Miami Heat on Jan. 27 required 49 minutes from Paul Pierce and 45 from Kevin Garnett. Put simply, it's just not realistic to think those two guys can carry the load and play the minutes required to compensate for Rondo's absence.

    GM Danny Ainge isn't yet hinting at blowing up the Celtics' aging roster, but as the losses mount over the next couple of weeks, you can bet we'll start to see stories about potential trades for Garnett and Pierce.


    Final Record: 37-45

Brooklyn Nets

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    Current Record: 27-18

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 20-17


    If somebody told you the day after Christmas that the Brooklyn Nets would finish the season with 47 wins, you surely would have called that person crazy. At just 14-14, the painfully boring and dysfunctional Nets canned Avery Johnson and installed P.J. Carlesimo as interim head coach.

    Since that day, the team Jay-Z pretends to own has gone 13-4 and has rocketed up to the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference.

    Even more shockingly, Brook Lopez has played like a (cave)man possessed, pumping his PER all the way up to a ridiculous 25.41. That figure is good for fourth in the entire NBA, behind three guys who are on everyone's shortlist for MVP.

    It's possible that Brooklyn's below-average defense will stiffen up and the post-Avery Johnson honeymoon will last all the way through to the postseason. If those things happen, Deron Williams and the Nets could easily exceed our modest projection.

    We think it's a bit more likely that the Nets slow down a bit in the second half. But even a 20-17 mark the rest of the way gets Brooklyn to a very respectable win total on the year.


    Final Record: 47-35

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Current Record: 11-33

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 8-30


    The process of gradual growth is ongoing for the Charlotte Bobcats, and it's not likely to be complete before the team snags another handful of lottery picks over the next couple of years. That's not the most encouraging forecast for the Kitties' here and now, but that's the truth.

    After a first half that featured the Bobcats exceed their win total from all of last year, expect more of the same during the season's final three months: about one win every four tries.

    For the sake of the franchise's future, the second half of this season should feature a ton of playing time for Michael Kidd-Glichrist and Kemba Walker, but not too many wins. Charlotte doesn't want to take itself out of contention for the No. 1 overall pick, now, do they?


    Final Record: 19-63

Chicago Bulls

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    Current Record: 27-17

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 24-14


    It's particularly tricky to pin down how the second half of the Chicago Bulls' season will go. On the one hand, it looks like they'll have Derrick Rose back for at least the season's final few weeks. Plus, their consistent defense and emerging bench (holy cow, Jimmy Butler!) are strong reasons for optimism.

    On the other hand, Chicago has a nasty habit of playing down to the level of its competition, as it did in losses to the Washington Wizards on Jan. 26 and the Charlotte Bobcats on Dec. 31. That's not a great sign.

    Another red flag is the insane amount of playing time coach Tom Thibodeau requires from Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, who are first and sixth in the league in minutes per game, respectively. Nobody would be surprised if those two suffered a joint slowdown—or even a breakdown.

    On the whole, we're pretty optimistic about Chicago, so we're giving the Bulls a nice run to close out the year. They'll finish just north of 50 wins.


    Final Record: 51-31

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Current Record: 13-33

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 12-24


    The list of reasons to doubt the Cleveland Cavaliers is a lot longer than the list of reasons to believe in them. Anderson Varejao is done for the year, they've got the East's second-worst per-game differential (minus-5.1 points per game), Dion Waiters can't shoot and Tristan Thompson is a left-handed player who can't go left.

    But they've got Kyrie Irving.

    Only the brilliance of Cleveland's second-year stud will keep that Cavs from finishing with the NBA's worst record. That's a small consolation because we still expect them to lose twice as often as they win during the second half. But hey, things could be much worse.


    Final Record: 25-57

Dallas Mavericks

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    Current Record: 19-26

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 18-19


    The Dallas Mavericks are going to miss the postseason for the first time in a dozen years. That's a tough pill to swallow for a franchise that has avoided the lottery since before Y2K.

    Because the Mavs have the money to reform the roster during this summer's free-agent period, there's a good chance that Dallas' postseason absence won't last long. But as presently constructed, the Mavs are simply a mediocre team.

    Dirk Nowitzki is shooting just 41 percent on the season and half of the roster is more concerned with playing for a contract than finding ways to win. That's not a recipe for success. We expect Dirk to pick things up a bit in the second half, but Dallas will still post its worst win total since the 1998-99 season.


    Final Record: 37-45

Denver Nuggets

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    Current Record: 28-18

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 24-12


    We're decidedly bullish on the Denver Nuggets for a few reasons.

    The biggest is that the Nuggets are built to pile up wins during the regular season. They're young, deep and like to push the pace. That's a combination designed to take advantage of weary teams down the stretch. Denver already plays at the league's second-fastest pace, but watch for their offensive efficiency to climb from No. 7 in the league up into the top five as tired opponents struggle to match their speed.

    Style and roster construction aside, the Nuggets have a massive home-court advantage, which they'll enjoy more often during the season's second half. Having already played 25 road games, there are just 16 more on the schedule.

    Home cooking is always good to the Nuggets. A strong second half should help Denver improve on its .609 winning percentage so far. The question is: Will that be enough for the Nuggets to move up from their current No. 6 seed in the West?

    We think so.


    Final Record: 54-28

Detroit Pistons

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    Current Record: 17-28

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 16-21


    We want to believe in the Detroit Pistons as a sleeper playoff team in the Charmin-soft East, but we just can't get past the fact that they've compiled just 17 wins despite playing the league's fourth-easiest schedule to this point.

    The Pistons should be glad to have Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in the fold, as it gives them two more promising big men than most teams have, but aside from their young duo up front, there's very little to like on the roster.

    An ill-fitting mix of talent and a lack of long-term thinking in the front office has the Pistons stuck without much hope of immediate improvement.

    We've thrown them a bone because we really like Drummond and hope he plays enough in the second half to add to his already impressive highlight reel. But 16-21 the rest of the way won't get Detroit to the postseason.


    Final Record: 33-49

Golden State Warriors

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    Current Record: 28-17

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 23-14


    The Golden State Warriors have compiled the fifth-best mark in the Western Conference despite the league's third-toughest schedule and the absence of Andrew Bogut for all but five games this year. Those are two pretty good reasons to feel positively about their chances to keep up their winning ways.

    Bogut's return against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 28 showcased his ability to transform the Warriors from a good team to a fringe title contender, as his passing and defensive dominance gave the Dubs an entirely new dimension on both ends.

    Of course, he'll still be limited for much of the balance of the season, and Stephen Curry is battling yet another ankle injury. So things could get rocky for Golden State if those two can't get on the floor together for at least 30 games down the stretch. Even if both Bogut and Curry miss more time, though, this team is deep enough and stable enough to play good ball the rest of the way.

    The Warriors are no joke, and if things go right, they could be the ones laughing all the way to a deep postseason run.


    Final Record: 51-31

Houston Rockets

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    Current Record: 25-22

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 20-15


    A 45-point thumping of the Utah Jazz bumped the Houston Rockets' average point differential from plus-1.5 to plus-2.5. That's a huge move at this juncture of the season, and it's somewhat emblematic of the Rockets' overall makeup.

    The 125-point outburst on Jan. 28 showed just how dangerous and explosive Houston's offense can be. The team plays at the league's fastest pace, and when things are clicking, points come in a hurry. At the same time, the huge win might also be something of a mirage.

    The Rockets still rank just 18th in defensive efficiency and their pace makes them extremely sloppy with the ball; Houston is dead last in the NBA in turnover rate.

    All of that is a long way of saying that Houston is capable of running anyone out of the gym on a given night, but could also fall prey to lesser teams when its defense and ball security issues crop up. Our prediction assumes there'll be a few more instances of the former than the latter.


    Final Record: 45-37

Indiana Pacers

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    Current Record: 26-19

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 23-14


    The Indiana Pacers' second half could look a lot like the Chicago Bulls', and no, we're not just referring to the shared defensive dominance of the two Central Division clubs.

    Like Chicago, Indiana will re-insert an injured star into its rotation in the second half, and when Danny Granger returns, he'll join a much better version of Paul George than the one he last played with. George's emergence as a star, coupled with the likelihood that Roy Hibbert will perform better than he has so far, are both indicators of a strong second half.

    But, the team's recent three-game slide and the fact that they've played the NBA's fifth-easiest schedule to date serve to temper that enthusiasm.

    Overall, we expect to see just the tiniest of dips in performance for the Pacers down the stretch. Pencil them in for third-place finish in the Eastern Conference as a couple of the teams ahead of them slide down the stretch.


    Final Record: 49-33

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Current Record: 33-13

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 23-13


    When Chauncey Billups returns to the court, the L.A. Clippers bench will legitimately be a 12-deep outfit. But as nice as all of that depth is, we know from the last couple of weeks that the only thing that matters for the Clippers is the health of Chris Paul.

    Without their star point guard, the Clips have lost three out of four games and haven't looked anything like the team that won all 16 contests it played in the month of December. Paul's return date is currently uncertain, which is why we're not optimistic about L.A.'s chances to duplicate its .719 winning percentage over the team's final 36 games.

    Even a relative lull, like the one we foresee down the stretch, will still leave the Clippers with a healthy 56-win season.


    Final Record: 56-26

Los Angeles Lakers

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    Current Record: 20-25

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 23-14


    As crazy as it sounds, we think the L.A. Lakers are going to make a big enough turnaround to sneak into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the West. That'll require at least 23 wins from now until the season ends on April 17.

    Based on the way Kobe Bryant has been passing the ball lately, it's starting to look like the Lakers are finally developing the offensive chemistry they've been seeking for three months. As Steve Nash and Dwight Howard continue to get comfortable in the pick-and-roll, L.A. should continue to remain a top-10 team in offensive efficiency.

    And as buckets come easier, the defense won't be under quite as much pressure to perform.

    Don't get us wrong, we're not suggesting the Lakers are suddenly a threat to win 20 in a row or scare the West's top four seeds. Based on the team's top-heavy roster, we just think it's inevitable that they'll find a way to keep up their solid run of late and narrowly make the postseason. That's a pretty modest prediction for a team with this kind of talent.


    Final Record: 43-39

Memphis Grizzlies

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    Current Record: 29-15

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 23-15


    In the big, convoluted schematic that diagrams the different ways to generate wins in the NBA, having a great half-court defense and a center who can pass like a guard are probably both printed in bold type. The Grizzlies have each of those things, and they've compiled the West's fourth-best record by utilizing them heavily.

    But what they don't have is depth.

    Perhaps more than any other borderline elite team, the Grizzlies are vulnerable to injury. If Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph or Mike Conley were to go down, the team's 21st-ranked offense could go from being a point of mild concern to a full-on disaster.

    Predicting injuries is basically impossible, though. So we're looking more closely at the .500 ball the Grizzlies have been playing over their last 10 games as we project a slight slowdown over the team's final 38 contests. Even factoring that in, the Grizz are on pace to finish with their best record in franchise history.

    Final Record: 52-30

Miami Heat

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    Current Record: 28-13

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 30-11


    Let's face it; the Miami Heat have been coasting this year. They're a bit behind last season's .700 winning clip at this juncture, but we're betting on the team improving its focus over the second half of the year. By the time the postseason rolls around, look for LeBron James and his mates to be peaking.

    Until then, expect the rebounding deficits and lulls in defensive intensity to sporadically crop up. They'll become less frequent in the coming months, but they'll never totally go away. The reality is that the Heat probably don't feel much of a threat from anyone behind them, no matter how close the New York Knicks or Chicago Bulls creep toward them in the standings.

    And really, our second-half projection doesn't represent some drastic improvement over what the team's done so far; we just think they'll win a couple more games. If you consider that Miami fell to the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons in December, there's clearly room for the team to improve a bit down the stretch.


    Final Record: 58-24

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Current Record: 24-19

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 18-21


    It's kind of amazing that a team with two tiny guards has put together such a stout first half of defense, but the Milwaukee Bucks are presently the league's seventh-best team in terms of defensive efficiency. A lot of the credit has to go to the Bucks' rangy cadre of shot-blockers, with Larry Sanders chief among them. Whatever Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings surrender by gambling so frequently, Sanders takes back at the rim.

    The issue for the Bucks has actually been offense, which is an area they are continuing to struggle in the second half. The Bucks check in at No. 20 in points per possession and there's not much hope of that stat improving.

    Ellis and Jennings just don't generate enough high-percentage looks.

    Still, Milwaukee has the look of a team that will find its way into the postseason on the strength of its defense. Just don't expect the Bucks to do anything when they get there.


    Final Record: 42-40

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Current Record: 17-24

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 16-25


    Kevin Love will be out until sometime in March as he recovers from surgery on the same hand that cost him the first two weeks of the season. It'd be nice to say that his return will come too late to save the Minnesota Timberwolves, but truthfully, he wasn't doing much to help them even when he was on the court.

    Before their recent struggles in their last 10 games, the Wolves were 6-5 without Love this year, but just 9-9 with him. That's hardly the work of a savior.

    The Wolves have lost nine of 10 since Love's latest setback, and now Rick Adelman's perpetually wounded troops are five games back of the Houston Rockets for the eighth spot in the West. In other words, their season is over.

    Playing for pride the rest of the way ought to be enough for the well-coached, but injury-riddled Wolves to eke out a disappointing 33-win campaign.



    Final Record: 33-49

New Orleans Hornets

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    Current Record: 15-30

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 18-19


    Take our word for it; the New Orleans Hornets are a heck of a lot better than their current record. Eric Gordon is finally healthy, and he pairs nicely as a scorer with the surprisingly solid Greivis Vasquez in the backcourt.

    Up front, Anthony Davis is a guaranteed star if he can stay healthy and Robin Lopez is a big body who likes to mix it up. And we can't forget Ryan Anderson, who gives the Hornets a bona fide three-point assassin off the bench. He has made more threes than anyone in the NBA this year.

    The bench is an issue and Monty Williams has some pretty curious rotation preferences that we'd prefer he shelve. But overall, we think the Hornets are capable of continuing the pace they've established over their last 10 games...which is to say we're confident that they're really a .500 team.

    The second half of this season will be critical for the young club to build some confidence. When they morph into the Pelicans next year, watch for them to contend for a playoff spot.


    Final Record: 33-49

New York Knicks

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    Current Record: 27-15

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 21-19


    It's a little off the mark to say that the New York Knicks have suddenly developed problems with their perimeter shooting and defensive intensity. The more accurate assessment would be to acknowledge that Carmelo Anthony and his teammates played way over their heads for about six weeks in those departments and have now settled back into their true identity.

    Get used to it, folks; the Knicks are a good team—not a great one.

    In addition to the Knicks' predictable regression, concerns about age (New York is the oldest team in the league) and health should give pause to anyone still predicting a 50-win season from Mike Woodson's club.

    The Knicks should win a couple more games than they lose the rest of the way, but there's a pretty good chance that the improving Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers overtake them by season's end.


    Final Record: 48-34

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Current Record: 34-11

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 26-11


    The Oklahoma City Thunder have played the NBA's second-easiest schedule, according to That doesn't mean they're due for a collapse over their final 37 games, but it does indicate that Kevin Durant and the Thunder might not be able to sustain their amazing .756 winning percentage.

    Still, we have them pegged for a very respectable 60 wins and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

    If that happens, there's going to be a louder-than-usual discussion about Durant's candidacy for MVP, as his Thunder will have more wins than the 58 we see for LeBron James' Miami Heat. Add in a little voter fatigue (people are sick of giving James the award every year), and this could be the year KD snags his fourth-straight scoring title and first MVP award.

    And if 60 wins seems a bit conservative, let's not forget that OKC is still extremely turnover prone and dependent on the health of its two stars. Those are both reasons to slow down the pace and conserve some energy in the second half.


    Final Record: 60-22

Orlando Magic

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    Current Record: 14-30

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 8-30


    The Orlando Magic were 12-13 on Dec. 19. Since that time, they've gone just 2-17. Guess which sample we put more stock in for the rest of their season.

    Jacque Vaughn may yet prove to be an excellent coach, and Nikola Vucevic is a heck of a young center. But the rest of the roster is either too young or too unskilled to give the Magic hope in the second half of the season.

    We don't think they're as bad as the 2-17 stretch they've been on lately, but we also don't have any confidence that they'll suddenly turn back into a team capable of playing .500 ball.

    Hey, they're still the second-best team in Florida...


    Final Record: 22-60

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Current Record: 18-26

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 19-19


    Pegging Jrue Holiday's Philadelphia 76ers for a .500 record during their last 38 games is hardly an endorsement of their legitimacy as a fringe playoff contender. But we just can't find a way to get the Sixers up to the 39 wins we think it'll take to make the dance.

    In a related story, the Eastern Conference is a joke. A couple years ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder narrowly snagged the No. 8 seed in the West with a 50-win season. But we digress...

    Our mediocre outlook for Philly necessarily includes a skeptical mindset regarding the return of Andrew Bynum. Forgive us, but we're not convinced he's all that committed to playing basketball for the Sixers. So even if he does return after the All-Star break, we're not sold on him being an immediately dominant force.


    Final Record: 37-45

Phoenix Suns

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    Current Record: 15-30

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 16-21


    OK, we get it; the Phoenix Suns are bad. Their ownership is among the most reviled in the NBA and the front office's handling of the Alvin Gentry firing created a massive rift in the organization.

    Have we mentioned this team also has Michael Beasley on the roster?

    Yeah, things are pretty ugly from top to bottom in Phoenix.

    Take heart, Suns fans! There's still reason to be optimistic. Phoenix has slogged through the league's most difficult schedule so far this year, so it's got a real chance to add more wins to its record over the final 37 games on the schedule. And the positive vibes don't stop with the easier schedule; Phoenix's minus-4.2 point differential isn't really all that bad, either.

    Of course, the Suns probably should lose as much as they can to secure the best draft pick possible. Man, it's hard to know what Phoenix fans should be rooting for. Let's just move on.


    Final Record: 31-51

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Current Record: 23-22

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 19-18


    The Portland Trail Blazers have won just three of their last seven games, so it's kind of an odd time to posit the notion that they're actually capable of winning more games than they lose over their last 37 games.

    But hey, we think the stellar quartet of Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and J.J. Hickson is a pretty solid bunch. The problem is that there's really not a lot of help coming from the rest of the roster. Portland's bench is currently the league's least productive reserve outfit, and that seems unlikely to change.

    If Lillard can avoid the rookie wall and Batum continues his growth into one of the NBA's best "three and D" wings, Portland can finish above .500. Unfortunately, we don't see them being quite good enough to crack the postseason out West.

    Still, with a bright future ahead and some seriously good young talent on the roster, there'll be more opportunities to take the next step in the years to come.

    Final Record: 42-40

Sacramento Kings

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    Current Record: 17-29

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 9-27


    The way we see it, there have been a million reasons to be bearish on the Sacramento Kings all season long. So weak is our faith in Keith Smart and his club that we're actually stunned they've managed to win 17 games to this point.

    The second-worst point differential in the NBA (minus-6.3 per game), a roster just waiting to combust and an attention-sucking relocation battle are all factors that weigh against the Kings keeping up their modest pace during the latter half of their season.

    It seems like the current ownership tug-of-war will prevent any meaningful trades, so the city of Sacramento is stuck with this team and this roster...until the owners move this abomination to Seattle. Then they'll be Washington's problem.

    Watch out, seasonal affective disorder. There's about to be a new source of depression in the Pacific Northwest.


    Final Record: 26-56

San Antonio Spurs

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    Current Record: 36-11

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 26-9


    We think the San Antonio Spurs' winning percentage over their last 35 games will be the same as it was during their first 47—right around .760. How's that for boring and predictable?

    When it comes to Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan, there's just no point in betting against consistent excellence. There's just too long of a track record to think any differently.

    The Spurs are sure to rest some of their stars down the stretch, although this time they'll probably do it in a way that avoids a $250,000 fine from David Stern. Even if the big names take a few games off, the system in San Antonio is so efficient that it will hardly matter.

    Maybe OKC can go on a run to overtake the Spurs as the West's No. 1 seed, but even if that happens, we're still pretty confident that San Antonio is a lock to win at least 60 games.


    Final Record: 62-20

Toronto Raptors

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    Current Record: 16-29

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 13-24


    If anyone can come up with a persuasive case for a sudden improvement by the Toronto Raptors in the second half, we'd love to hear it.

    The Raptors have been involved in trade discussions all year long, but so far, nothing has come of them. Maybe they'll somehow pry Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies or ship Kyle Lowry or Jose Calderon to the suddenly desperate Boston Celtics. Who knows?

    But even if one of those deals goes through, it's hard to see any one move making enough of a difference to improve the Raptors this year.

    Toronto should be focusing on the development of young guys like Ed Davis and Terrence Ross. As the losses mount down the stretch, they'll have plenty of time to do that.



    Final Record: 29-53

Utah Jazz

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    Current Record: 24-21

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 15-22


    The Utah Jazz are going to have to figure out what they want to get out of this season. If they're interested in sneaking into the playoffs and getting slaughtered by one of the West's top two seeds, they should keep right on doing what they're doing.

    If, on the other hand, they opt to get a little value for their impending free-agent duo of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, they could quietly deal both for picks and slip out of the postseason picture. We're of the mind that that course is the wiser one.

    "The Middle" is the worst place to be in the NBA, and that's where the Jazz are right now. They'd be better served by bottoming out, which we hope they'll realize before it's too late.


    Final Record: 39-43

Washington Wizards

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    Current Record: 11-32

    Second Half Win-Loss Prediction: 14-25


    A second-half record of 14-25 doesn't sound like much, but for the Washington Wizards, it'd mark a pretty significant improvement over their current pace. John Wall and the Wizards are 6-4 over their last 10 games, and the third-year point guard has been quietly enjoying his most efficient season to date.

    Granted, Wall is still easing back into the swing of things and hasn't had to play heavy minutes yet, but combining him and rookie Bradley Beal in the backcourt has given the Wizards a nice little tandem to build on.

    While we always suggest bottoming out in an effort to get draft picks, maybe things are a little different for the Wizards. They've got a few pieces in place and perhaps the better course for them would be to get a taste of what winning feels like.

    They'll play sub-.500 ball the rest of the way, but they should be a bit better than they were in the first half. Maybe the Wizards can use the second half to sow a few winning seeds.


    Final Record: 25-57