Even though teams such as the Grizzlies and the Clippers have been phenomenal throughout the year, they seem bound to make a trade at the deadline with big names including Rudy Gay and Eric Bledsoe. Look to see which player seems most likely to part ways with their club and comment if you disagree with another player.
15. Atlanta Hawks
Don’t say you weren’t warned—the Hawks are falling back down to earth and fast. A solid offensive team, the Hawks managed to score just 58 points against the Bulls on the road, scoring just five points in the second quarter. This may be the league-worst performance thus far, but it only got worse—the Hawks fell victim to John Wall’s return and lost, scoring just 83 points. Atlanta also just scrapped up 83 points against another Eastern Conference bottom dweller, the Cavs, where they lost by 16. Atlanta will probably end up in the playoffs, but they will continue to hit their ceiling of the second round if they manage to get out of the first.
Last Week: 11
Most Likely to be Traded: Josh Smith
14. Milwaukee Bucks
After parting ways with head coach Scott Skiles early in the week, the Bucks surged under Jim Boylan’s command. The Bucks beat the Bulls in Chicago and came back against the Raptors, also on the road. With Boylan calling the shots in Milwaukee, it is possible to see this team in the playoffs. Although, for them to push through and get into the postseason, they must also part ways with Monta Ellis. Ellis is toxic to this team as he takes away from Brandon Jennings development as a star and takes away from shots Larry Sanders could be taking in the post.
Last Week: 16
Most Likely to be Traded: Monta Ellis
13. Houston Rockets
The Rockets have lost their last three after winning five in a row, but Houston should not be as worried as teams should be if put in that situation. The Rockets a re a young bunch that could score at torrid paces with the leadership of James Harden. Their issue comes on defense where they rank 29th in the league, allowing 103 points per game. Omer Asik is a solid defender and could stop players from getting easy shots in the paint up, but past that this team does not have a lockdown defender. Maybe Daryl Morey will look to acquire at the trade deadline with all the picks and young prospects he has in the fold.
Last Week: 10
Most Likely to be Traded: Terrence Jones
12. Boston Celtics
The Celtics are still using momentum from their huge victory at New York last week to go 3-0 this past week with wins over the Suns, Rockets and Bobcats all by double digits. Avery Bradley’s return has been a well needed boost for Boston as they have won five of their past six and seem primed to contend in the East yet again. Role players Jeff Green and Jason Terry are starting to get into the thick of things for the Celtics and provide sparks off the bench. The Celtics continue to live off their success of being old and counted out, but then coming back as strong as ever.
Last Week: 12
Most Likely to be Traded: Jeff Green
11. Brooklyn Nets
Mark it down as six in a row for the revived Brooklyn Nets. With P.J Carlesimo at the helm the Nets are 7-1 and have quality wins over the Thunder and Pacers. The most exciting fact about this stretch for the Nets is that Deron Williams has been playing his best ball as a Net. In the month of January, Williams is scoring just under 20 points per game to go along with his 8 assists while shooting 46-percent from the field, all season highs. When D-Will is playing his best, so do the Nets, Joe Johnson is playing better than what his season average is showing and the same for Brook Lopez. The Nets now are back on the Knicks heels as they stand just two games back of their renewed rival with a whole lot of season left.
Last Week: 13
Most Likely to be Traded: Kris Humphries
10. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers streak of eight in their past eleven has pushed them into the three seed in the East. The two teams above this streaking squad are the Knicks and Heat—both of which fell into the Pacers game plan of defense first, neither broke 80 points. The Pacers would have pulled just a game and a half back of the Heat for the first spot in the East, but they fell victim to the back-to-back grind and fell to the Nets at the Barclays Center. Paul George has carried this team however and the Pacers should be opening up offers for Danny Granger, who may not be needed in Indiana much longer.
Last Week: 14
Most Likely to be Traded: Danny Granger
9. Miami Heat
The Heat always seem to face some sort of trouble or adversity during the year, and now you have it, the Heat have lost three of their last four and are clearly relying too much on Lebron as it showed when Dwyane Wade was benched in the fourth quarter of their loss to the Jazz on Monday. The Heat role players have been nonsexist this season, but Mario Chalmers has been solid and has had several great moments, such as his ten three pointers against the Kings on Saturday, a franchise record. With the lack of talent in the East it is hard not to call this team a favorite to go back to the Finals, but the Heat are not playing like champions.
Last Week: 7
Most Likely to be Traded: Norris Cole
8. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors may have peaked a little too early in this season—the Stephen Curry-led squad has dropped three of their last four and is beginning to slip in the standings, falling to fifth in the West. Despite being loaded with depth, Carly Landry and Jarrett Jack coming off the bench, the Warriors do not have superstars yet even though David Lee and Curry are well on their way. The Warriors may be bound for early exits in the playoffs with this roster in place and the competition they need to go through.
Last Week: 6
Most Likely to be Traded: Richard Jefferson
7. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies were looking very strong this week despite the strong trade rumors surrounding Rudy Gay and even Zach Randolph with wins over the Warriors and an overtime win over the Spurs. However, they seemed lost on the court at home when they lost by 26 to the Clippers in a battle of young up and coming Western Conference foes. It is confusing to see if the Grizzlies should or shouldn’t make a move come the deadline because they are so competitive with the roster intact and not many teams are willing to part ways with many components for Gay.
Last Week: 9
Most Likely to be Traded: Rudy Gay
6. Denver Nuggets
Remember when everyone ruled out the Nuggets as the leagues sleeper and said that they are just overrated? Not anymore, the Nuggets are on fire—winning their past five and are 6-1 in the month of January. While this is turning out to be themonth of the Nuggets, January has provided Danilo Galinari some recognition. The Italian forward is leading the Nuggets in scoring with 19 points per contest, and shooting 46-percent from the field. With the return of Wilson Chandler proving to be huge for the Nuggets, they have renewed confidence they hope to ride out for now.
Last Week: 8
Most Likely to be Traded: Wilson Chandler
5. New York Knicks
Maybe Melo should be a contender for MVP after all. Well, did you see that performance without him on Thursday? J.R Smith shot 10-29 from the field and the Knicks managed to scrap up just 76 points on the board. Without Melo this team does not have an identity because Amar’e Stoudemire clearly is not who he was when he first came to New York and can lead this club. The Knicks have taken steps backwards from their hot start and need to continue to rely on Anthony to bring them out of this slump.
Last Week: 3
Most Likely to be Traded: Amar’e Stoudemire
4. Chicago Bulls
In a battle of the East’s second best team, the Bulls took down the Knicks in an impressive result as they forced Carmelo Anthony to put up 32 shots and Luol Deng stepped up in a big way, scoring 33 points on 13 of 18 shooting. The Bulls defense abilities were seen in a big way when they limited a solid Hawks offense to just 58 points at home. The one knock on the Bulls this year is that they have been just mediocre at home, which they are only 11-10 at. With Derrick Rose back at practice, and wins over the Knicks and Heat in recent weeks, the Bulls may finally get over the hump and back to the NBA Finals for the first time since the Jordan era.
Last Week: 5
Most Likely to be Traded: Richard Hamilton
3. San Antonio Spurs
In one of the most well played contests of the year, the Spurs fell to the Grizzlies in overtime by three. Although a loss, the Spurs did compete with a young, competitive team for five quarters, a great sign to see for this veteran club. Although, their age caught up with them on Sunday night, when Manu Ginobili suffered a strained hamstring and is out for about 10-14 days. With someone always being out of the rotation it makes many wonder if this Spurs squad can stay sturdy enough throughout this season.
Last Week: 4
Most Likely to be Traded: DeJuan Blair
2. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers seemed as confused as the rest of the NBA when they lost to the Magic at home, so they brought their game to Memphis where they routed the Grizzlies with no worries. With such speed on offense and big bodies and quick hands on defense, the Clippers are one of the most complete teams on both sides of the ball in basketball. They also boast one of the deepest rosters in the league, Matt Barnes, Jamal Crawford, and Eric Bledsoe all are a part of a fierce bench that could all handle the duties of playing extended time if starters need a breather.
Last Week: 1
Most Likely to be Traded: Eric Bledsoe
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder had by far the leagues best week—wins over the Timberwolves by 22, the Lakers at Staples by 15, the Blazers by 4 in a thriller, and a 12-point win over the Suns. The Win against the Suns might have been the most impressive win as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant showed how great they truly are when they combined to scored 47 of the teams 51 second half points, you can’t ask for much better. Durant finished the night with 41 points on 50-percent shooting and Westbrook had 36 points on 14 of 24 shooting. The Thunder are clearly the scariest team in the NBA right now—a mix of speed and maturity since they went to the NBA Finals last season.
Last Week: 2
Most Likely to be Traded: Kendrick Perkins
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