Which NBA teams are most likely to go from strength to strength?
This is a list of the 30 NBA teams most likely (according to an analysis of ESPN’s BPI) to be in the playoff picture at some point during the season.
The list is in no particular order and you can find more detail at the bottom of this article.
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James: The Cavaliers are the favorites to make the playoffs, and James is the reason why.
The Cavs are just 1-1 in the playoffs and have lost four of their past six.
But James is only 24 years old and he is the leading scorer in the league right now.
He’s averaging 26.9 points per game this season.
In just the past five games, James has scored 25, 24, 21, 22, and 21 points per contest, respectively.
James has also scored 26.3 points per 100 possessions on the road this season, which is second in the NBA.
That’s a great combination of stats for a 22-year-old and the Cavaliers are only one game out of the playoffs at this point.
Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert: Gobert is an intriguing option as the Jazz try to get back to the playoffs after going 3-9 the previous two seasons.
Utah has a lot of depth at forward and Gobert could be a great addition to their roster.
Gobert has averaged 12.6 points and 8.5 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game in his career.
He also is one of the best rim protectors in the game.
Brooklyn Nets Andrew Wiggins: Wiggins is the only player in the top-30 of the BPI who has been able to stay healthy this season for more than 10 games.
He is averaging 22.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, and he’s also a tremendous shot blocker for the Nets.
He scored 18 points in a win over the Lakers on Saturday.
Wiggins is also one of only two players in the entire NBA averaging at least 10 rebounds per contest.
Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant: Bryant is still trying to adjust to life in Los Angeles and the Lakers have lost eight of their last 10 games despite a 12-3 start.
Bryant is averaging 21.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 4.7 apg and 5.8 spg per game for the Lakers, who have gone 2-2 since the All-Star break.
He could be an ideal fit for a team that has a young core, but also needs to add some talent to compete for a playoff spot.
Brooklyn Knicks Marcus Smart: Smart has been one of New York’s best players this season and has been a key part of the team’s offense.
The Knicks are 6-5 and are on pace for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Smart is averaging 19.5 ppg and 6.3 rpg.
The 6-9 forward is also shooting 50 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range this season while adding 5.2 steals per game.
He has been the primary reason the Knicks have a chance to win the Eastern Division this season despite being a wild card in the postseason.
Los, NY Nets Chris Paul: Paul has been on a tear of late, averaging 19 points per night this season as he’s been one to four of New Jersey’s 19 victories.
Paul is averaging 10.7 points per outing for the New Jersey Nets.
Paul also is averaging 5.5 steals per contest for the Knicks, who are 8-4 at home this season after winning six straight there from March 3-April 17.
Indiana Pacers Paul George: The Pacers have been one half of the All Star Game for six straight games and are 10-6 at home.
George is averaging 20.0 points and 10.5 rpg for the Pacers, who finished the regular season in eighth place in the standings.
The Pacers were also the only team in the East to finish the season with a losing record.
Memphis Grizzlies Nick Calathes: Calatheres has been playing great basketball for the Grizzlies this season following his trade from the New Orleans Pelicans last season.
Calatches is averaging 12.0 ppg for Memphis this season (7.0 a night), shooting 42 percent from deep and 32 percent from long distance.
He finished the season averaging 15.6 ppg while shooting 54.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving: Irving is the Celtics MVP candidate after going 10-3 over the past six games and is averaging 23.2 points and 13.0 rpg in the process.
He recently had a breakthrough with a pair of three-pointers and has gone 6-0 in the three games he played in China.
Irving has averaged 26.2 ppg this season with six double-doubles, four triple-duns and five steals. 10