As the year 2018 comes to a close, I thought I’d take a quick scan over all 30 NBA teams to this point in the season and rate how they have performed to date.
The comprehensive rating system here at www.webtmg.com.au will use the tried an tested “4E” formula of:
- Exceed: Where the team has exceeded my expectation to date
- Expected: Team is about where I expected to this point
- Eject: Below par, needing a big 2019 to get to where they should be or some players might be heading for the exit!
- Erase: Forget it, 2019/20 can’t come quick enough!
With that explained, I’ll stop rambling and crack on with some ratings for the Western Conference….Enjoy!
Denver – Exceed
Who would have though the Nuggets lead the tough Western Conference as we roll into 2019. Hats off, great effort. And they have done it with injuries to guys like Millsap, Barton and Harris too. Jokic has been awesome, in the MVP race most years with his play to date (not this one though with Beard and Alphabet going all-world), and Murray continues to develop into a quality PG.
Golden State – Eject
Tough to label it Eject, but I haven’t been impressed with this star studded squad so far. Disharmony is creeping in and the shooting of Curry is carrying them so far. A few need to pull their finger out in 2019 to ensure the expected 3-peat remains on track.
Oklahoma City – Expected
Probably have the record I expected they should have with Westbrook and George leading the way. Adams does the dirty work for them but I worry about who they have inside after him. Noel has shown glimpses, but one more trade piece before February would add confidence these guys are for real.
LA Clippers – Exceed
Given the lack of an outstanding superstar, this team is exceeding expectations. CP3 and Griffin were the stars here not so long ago and on paper Gallinari and Harris don’t match it. However in the standings, these guys – plus the great play of Harrell, Williams, and Beverley have the Clippers firmly in the pack.
Houston – Eject
Borderline call here, as since they moved on from the Melo failure, things are on the up. But due to that poor start, plus given how much heavy lifting Harden is doing, it’s still a below par rating for mine. Capela has had a breakout year but otherwise they look too thin to contend.
San Antonio – Expected
Many underestimated the talent of DeRozan and Aldridge and wrote these guys off with Leonard leaving. Not to mention the coaching of Popp too. So the fact they are still in the playoff mix, to me that is just expected from the Spurs. We’ve had almost 30 years of them being in the mix, so why change now!
Portland – Expected
Perhaps a little lower on the table than I would have expected to this point, but the win total and overall play of the Blazers has been as expected. Nothing outstanding, but ensuring they are staying in the playoff picture is what was expected from Lillard, McCollum, Nurkic and co.
LA Lakers – Exceed
Write off the King at your own peril!! Most – myself included – wondered why he’d let the year go with a team seemingly unable to content out West, assuming the other AllStar talent will come in the offseason. But here they are, until James’ injury a couple of weeks back, right in the thick of the West playoff picture. With LBJ back, they should stay in the 8. If he misses more time, they will drop.
Sacramento – Exceed
The youthful talent is there as predicted, just didn’t expect the consistency they have shown as yet. Success story of the season so far, even though they have just slipped out of the seedings recently. Look to be a year ahead of schedule so if the nucleus stays in tact, this team could become scary good.
Utah – Eject
Below par for a team thought to be 3rd in line to the Western throne. It’s clear they need another guy who can consistently create his own shot to help Mitchell. Maybe there’s some trade activity here before the deadline to see if they can bring someone in. Too much talent here to miss playoffs – surely.??
Minnesota – Erase
Come back next season. First the Butler hold out, now Thibs is gone. Not sure about the KAT & Wiggins pairing either. RoCo is a good get, and maybe with Thibs gone we start to see some of the non-Bulls get a fair crack at minutes. But it all looks too messy in Minneapolis.
New Orleans – Erase
Where there is smoke there is fire, so the rumours about AD are not only a distraction, they must have some credence too. If so, move him now and get something for him. AD is playing well as always, Holiday having a great campaign too. Randle and Mirotic have had moment, so not sure what else they can get out of this roster?? Time for the rebuild?
Memphis – Expected
The record – hovering around .500 – is what I’d expected and they have been up in the seedings for a good period of the season until recently. Conley and Gasol solid, JJJ looks like a gun, but Anderson has been disappointing.
Dallas – Exceed
Sitting second last, but get an exceed rating? They’re only 3 games from the playoffs and who would have thought that. Doncic is better than anyone thought, clear leader for ROY. He’s carrying them already and is only a rookie! DSJ needs to improve, Jordan is solid and dependable as always but won’t carry the team. Other solid contributors but this is Doncic’s team already. Future is bright in Dallas…
Phoenix – Erase
We knew it would be bad, but not this bad. The mix of youth and experience did look a little odd leading into the season but you hoped Ariza, Crawford and Anderson would help bring the youth together and surprise a few. Well Ariza is now a Wizard and Anderson is … who knows?? Selling apparel in the team store? Ayton looks the real deal, and we know Booker can play. Bridges could be a solid dependable defender and Warren has returned from injury looking good. Parts are there, but they are victims in the tough Western conference too.