It’s the NBA All-Star break. Time for players to kick up their high-tops and relax while coaches refine their game plan for the second half of the season. That job is easier for some coaches than it is for others.
Outside the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, and maybe the Miami Heat, no team is guaranteed a playoff spot. To give an example of how much parity there is right now, look at the Boston Celtics – they’re currently in line for a postseason berth with the sixth seed, but are just five games ahead of the Washington Wizards’ 11th seed.
One minor losing streak can push any team out of even the play-in tournament. On the other hand, a team getting hot at the right time can propel them into a chance for a championship run. Here, we’ll be taking a look at the latter.
Here are three teams that are currently not in the playoff picture who could turn things around in the second half and get into the playoffs.
3 NBA teams primed for a second-half playoff push – Washington Wizards
As mentioned, the Wizards are currently in the 11th hole in the Eastern Conference, out of the play-in tournament, which they made last season. Despite losing Bradley Beal for the rest of the season and trading away Montrezl Harrell, the team could be in good shape for a run.
Things would especially get interesting if Kristaps Porzingis returns soon. After playing second fiddle to Luka Doncic for three seasons, we can finally see the former All-Star serve as a team’s number one option again.
The team has been offensively challenged of late, averaging the league’s second-fewest points in February, but a potentially resurgent Porzingis could change that. They also received additions by subtractions in Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans, both of whom are in Dallas and currently in the midst of their worst seasons in years.
They’re far from a sure thing to make the playoffs at this point, but they’re just one game out of the play-in tournament as it stands today. If the new-look Wizards can get hot, and if they get some losing help from the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, and Toronto Raptors, Washington could be in the playoffs for a second consecutive season.