We have made it to the NBA All-Star Break, and there have been some surprises so far this year.
The first is the play of the young Portland Trail Blazers. When Greg Oden went down at the beginning of the year no one thought this team would be any good, much less be contending for the playoffs.
Another surprise, but for all the wrong reasons, is the Miami Heat. They have the worst record in the league and look to be a lock for the 1st pick in the draft.
The play of the L.A. Lakers would have to be considered a surprise to most.
Before this season, Kobe wanted a trade for some help or he wanted out. But no one thought the Lakers had anyone who could help Kobe, and they are in the West which meant they had no chance at the playoffs.
Well, at the midway point, the Lakers own the 3rd best record in the West and seem to be a lock for the playoffs thanks to the addition of Pau Gasol.
But now with the injury of Kobe's shooting hand, the Diesel in Phoenix, and Jason Kidd possibly going to Dallas, the Lakers look to be reeling.
Here are my Power Rankings for the first-half of the 2007-2008 NBA season.
No. 1—Boston Celtics (41-9)
The Big Three have lived up to expecations and the bench has also stepped up in the absence of KG, led by Big Baby Glen Davis.
No. 2—New Orleans Hornets (36-15)
The Hornets have been led through the first half MVP Chris Paul, and it looks like this surprise team will make a run in the playoffs.
No. 3—Detroit Pistons (39-13)
Detroit has quietly gone about their business in the shadow of Boston and look to make a run at the Easten Conference title.
No. 4—Phoenix Suns (37-16)
People think the addition of Shaq is a bad move and that he is not a good fit for this offense. I think it's is a good move because he will provide some much needed experience and defense.
No. 5—L.A. Lakers (35-17)
The Lakers looked to be a favorite to win the West with Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum (when he returns). But now with Kobe's finger injury, the road looks to be a little tougher.
No. 6—San Antonio (34-17)
The defending champs have flown under the radar during the first half and aren't looking to make any trades for the playoffs. Their experience and chemistry should carry them deep into the postseason.
No. 7—Dallas Mavericks (35-18)
Everything depends on their ability to get Kidd away from New Jersey. Yes, they are giving up way too much for him, but this is a "win now" team and they need him to compete with the best in the West.
No. 8—Utah Jazz (34-19)
The Jazz shocked a lot of people last year with their run deep into the postseason. They have some good young talent and good experience from last year, but I don't think it's enough to survive in the West this year.
No. 9—Denver Nuggets (32-20)
The Nuggets have 3 All-Stars on their team, A.I., Carmelo, and Camby, but have underachieved and they don't have the depth to go far in the playoffs.
No. 10—Houston Rockets (32-20)
Yao and T-Mac seem to be playing better together and have developed a chemistry over the past few years. Now all they need is to find that final piece to the playoff puzzle in Houston.
No. 11—Golden State Warriors (32-20)
Golden State became only the 2nd team in NBA history to upset a No. 1 seed in the first round of the playoffs, but I don't think they will have that same magic come this postseason.
No. 12—Orlando Magic (33-21)
The Magic at No. 12 have finally broken the streak of Western Conference teams on my list, they are a very good team and are playing in the East, which makes them a favorite.
No. 13—Toronto Raptors (28-23)
The Raptors have the benefit of playing in the East and seeing the Nets, Sixers, and Knicks mulitiple times, but don't look for them to make any kind of run in the East.
No. 14—Portland Trail Blazers (28-24)
Portland has been the surprise of the year in the NBA. They have good young talent, a smart head coach, and Greg Oden next year. Their only problem: they play in the West.
No. 15—Cleveland Cavaliers (29-23)
Cleveland is the only team with a winning record to be outscored by their oponents this year. The Cavs need to find LeBron some help for this team to repeat in the East.
No. 16—Washington Wizards (25-27)
The Wizards could be the surprise team to make a run in the East. They have been playing good basketball, even without their best player, Agent Zero. Look for them to shock some teams when Gilbert comes back.
No. 17—New Jersey Nets (23-30)
The Nets were a pick to make the playoffs and challenge the Celtics in the Atlantic Division with their own Big Three. Now with one of the three on their way out, it's time to look to the future. Still, if the season ended today, they would be the seventh seed in the East.
No. 18—Sacramento Kings (23-28)
The Kings have good, young talent. If they trade Artest for a few prospects, they could be a team to watch in 2009.
No. 19—Chicago Bulls (21-31)
The Bulls need to rebuild. The whole "Kobe being traded to Chicago" thing in the beginning of the year really hurt their chemistry and focus.
No. 20—Philadelphia 76ers (23-30)
Somehow the 76ers are the eighth seed in the East, and would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. They have good pieces and are maybe one or two years away from contending in the East.
No. 21—Atlanta Hawks (21-28)
The Hawks have the talent for the future. All they need is one or two more players to put the Hawks back into the playoffs.
No. 22—Milwaukee Bucks (19-34)
The Bucks have the foundation of a solid team, but they need a good draft pick to make this team a contender in the East.
No. 23—Charlotte Bobcats (19-34)
I think the Bobcats are finally going to sneak into the playoffs this year. They have a good mix of youth and experience, and they play in the East. They are only four games out of the playoffs.
No. 24—Indiana Pacers (21-32)
I think it might be time to let O'Neal go and start over. They need to find a new cornerstone of the organization.
No. 25 L.A.—Clippers (17-33)
The loss of Elton Brand really hurt this team at the beginning of the year. They were a team that could make the playoffs in the West, but now they are hoping for a good draft pick to help Elton next year.
No. 26—Memphis Grizzlies (14-38)
Memphis traded away the face of the franchise in Gasol. They will have to find a new face in this year's draft.
No. 27—Seattle Sonics (13-38)
The Sonics have the makings of a team that could contend in the West, but they are still two or three years away.
No. 28—New York Knicks (15-37)
I don't know what to say about the Knicks. They go out and get Zack Randolf and now they are looking to trade him. They need to clean up and start over in New York.
No. 29—Minnesota Timberwolves (10-41)
The T-Wolves got a long list of players from the Celtics in the KG deal, but they are still one or two more top draft picks away from the bottom of the West.
No. 30—Miami Heat (9-42)
There is nothing else to say about the Heat but: dissapointing. They are only two years removed from an NBA Championship. They need to have a good draft and a good offseason.
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