Professor Sportz Nutt Hands Out First Half Grades For Each NBA Team

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Now that we’re midway through the NBA season, it’s time for their report cards. Time to analyze where the teams are, where they’re going and what they need to do. Below is each NBA team with a grade, which is based on performance and expectations. Plus a Next Step. Here goes:)

Eastern Conference

Cleveland: A

Right where we thought they would be, atop the Eastern Conference Standings, they should continue that way until making it to the NBA Finals.
Next Step: Continue to work at their conditioning, as they pick up the pace and work themselves for a Finals date with the quick Warriors.

Toronto: A+

It was expected that they would continue to improve, but to see them 3 games out of first and with the 5th best record in the NBA is amazing.
Next Step: Get one more piece to help compliment the strong backcourt they already have. Going after a PF would help Valanciunis with the rebounding.

Boston: A

Brad Stevens is coming into his own as he has gotten the most out of this group. All are very good players.
Next Step: Go after a veteran who can start and show leadership come playoff time, so that they can make a push.

Atlanta: B-

A disappointing season after last year’s run, but somewhat expected since they really didn’t have that one big superstar.
Next Step: Sell off all assets, such as Teague and Horford, because they aren’t making it too far, if they make the playoffs, as is. This will help them for next year and the free agency market.

Miami: B

Despite having a horrendous road trip and despite having so many games lost to injuries to their team, they are in contention.
Next Step: Tricky. Either trade Hassan Whiteside, as he is a UFA and will probably leave, or go after a SF (Rudy Gay?) and make a run.

Chicago: C-

I get that there have been injuries, but this is not a great team defensively, and their offensive woes continue without Butler.
Next Step: The bottom of the East is wide open, and some teams may think they have a shot, when they really shouldn’t, and will, thus, make a push, and Chicago will probably be one of them. They need an upgrade at SF.

Charlotte: C+

Many injuries again to this team, but they really aren’t that good to begin with.
Next Step: Improve up front by perhaps getting Whiteside, but, should really build for next season.

Detroit: B-

Despite their .500 record, I like their progress and where’ they’re going.
Next Step: Maintain the status quo and let this team grow together.

Washington: C+

Outside of Wall, Beal and, to an extent, Gortat, this team is mediocre at best.
Next Step: Sell high and off on some pieces, like Beal or Potter, and build for the future.

Orlando: C

Disappointing record, given the talent that is there. They have a lot of good, solid, young players.
Next Step: Try and make a push for the Hawks big names and see if they can sneak into the playoffs, setting up for something bigger next season.

New York: B

Competitive in most games, despite injuries to Melo, they’re far better this year than last.
Next Step: Try and trade Carmelo Anthony, and get whatever they can to build this team around Porzingis.

Milwaukee: D

It pains me to give this grade, but I must. This team is a powerhouse of the future, but has failed to deliver now.
Next Step: DO NOT SELL. Trade aging bench assets (like Bayless) for future assets and then get something in the offseason. This is a perfect time to get on the Bucks’ Bandwagon (with me:)).

Brooklyn: D-

Abysmal. Where’s the reset button?
Next Step: Buy out Joe Johnson. Sell off any and all marketable assets and just hope for the best.

Philadelphia: C-

Tricky, because they started off so poorly, but have been better and competitive since the Ish Smith trade.
Next Step: Don’t fool yourselves and trade away these young pieces.

Western Conference

Golden State: A+

Best start in NBA history. Nearly perfect.
Next Step: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That said, insurance for the sometimes injured Bogut could help.

San Antonio: A

Despite injuries to Duncan, Ginobili and Parker, the Spurs keep on rolling.
Next Step: Perhaps insurance for those injured parties listed above.

Oklahoma City: A

The big 2 are dominating, as per usual, and their front court is performing well as a whole.
Next Step: Keep things as is, but maybe some bench depth could help them dethrone Golden State.

LA Clippers: B-

They have played better without Blake Griffin, but their upcoming schedule will be torture.
Next Step: Either trade Griffin now, or hope he comes back and helps them move up the rankings, but this team is rather thin on their bench, with little financial flexibility. Maybe make room for Durant by unloading Griffin?

Memphis: B

This grade doesn’t take into effect the injury to Marc Gasol.
Next Step: Rebuild for next season, since they have no shot at all for this season without Gasol.

Dallas: A

Cuban was all about the rebuild when he lost on DeAndre Jordan, but they find themselves in 6th place in the West.
Next Step: Some front court depth will help, since Dirk and Zaza are old and injured too often.

Portland: A

Where did this come from? How are they doing this after losing Aldridge? Amazing.
Next Step: Go get Rudy Gay and even some front court depth. Lillard and McCollum are proving their worth already.

Utah: A

They continue to improve and are a very good defensive team.
Next Step: Go get a bonafide starting PG and watch the team explode. Jeff Teague would be a perfect fit, so long as they don’t have to give up too much of what’s working now.

Houston: D

Despite being a half game back, they are an abomination this year, with coach firings, Howard rumblings and little known named players.
Next Step: Start over and rebuild. Get rid of Howard for some more affordable pieces.

Sacramento: B

During the offseason, this was a trainwreck of a franchise. Nobody wanted to go there. Coaches and players hated each other. It was a mess. Now? They’ve already won 22 games.
Next Step: Trade Gay for some building blocks and see them blossom next season. Cassipi is a good enough starting SF to take his place.

Denver: B

I love where this team is going. The future is bright.
Next Step: Try and make a run for the playoffs this year in order to attract some better offseason pieces. Sell high on Gallinari.

New Orleans: D-

From last season’s playoff push, to this?!?!?!
Next Step: Trade Ryan Anderson and work towards making next season an improvement.

Minnesota: B-

Ignore their record, and look at their roster. The future is bright here as well.
Next Step: Trade away aging bench players like Pekovic and Martin, who can help a playoff team. They should have a good draft pick and money to spend this summer. Watch out.

Phoenix: F

An absolute trainwreck, to say the least. Injuries, sure, but it has been a battle all year to remain relevant.
Next Step: Trade away disgruntled Morris and start over.

LA Lakers: D

The youth movement has started, but it’s been put on hold for a bit while Kobe’s farewell tour requires 6136 jump shots a night.
Next Step: Continue as is and hope for the best.

And there you have it.