By Adrian Guzman
As the NBA is coming towards its halfway point of the season (All-Star Break) there are many teams that are sending players on breaks, cutting minutes, or haven’t really had success all year. But there are a few teams who are showing early signs of being an NBA Finals ready team. These teams are on current win streaks and holding some of the NBA’s MVP candidates.
- Golden State Warriors (39-4)-
Golden State Warriors seem to impress more and more as the season goes on. Even though the Warriors are struggling with injuries of their superstar and last year’s MVP Steph Curry and also three other key players on the team, they still show dangerous depth. On Dec. 31, they were still able to have a 35 assist night against the Houston Rockets after a back-to-back game while missing four of their players. Is there anything that these Warriors can’t do?
- San Antonio Spurs (36-6)-
San Antonio has faced some recent trouble with their veteran big man Tim Duncan, but still plan to control the West in the same fundamental fashion. Although Tim Duncan has had multiple knee problems in the past few weeks, the team heads on their way to a 20-0 start at home, the first Western Conference team to accomplish that since the 1985-86 Rockets. They also have the 2015 defensive player of the year and a 2016 nominee in Kawhi Leonard. Most people think that Leonard is Curry´s kryptonite, being the leading defensive player in the league.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (29-11)-
The Cleveland Cavaliers were having trouble with motivation at the start of the season after last season’s disappointing loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. But with Kyrie back in the picture, everything seems to be falling in line for the Cavs. The team is seeing a healthy lineup which they have not seen since the beginning of last season’s playoffs. The Cavs seem to be gaining all the motivation that they lost. This promising lineup has reached No. 3 in defensive efficiency.
- Oklahoma City (32-12)-
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can’t co-exist in OKC? They start from being one of the many dangerous dynamic duo´s in the NBA, to the dynamic duo of the NBA. Russell and Durant have become better team players and smarter players, in general. Russell is averaging 25.2 ppg and 9.4 APG, and for Durant 26.6 ppg and 7.8 RPG. But both of them have made the team better. This January, they average 108.3 ppg as a team compared to last years 98.9 ppg.
- Chicago Bulls (24-17)-
With all the improvement of teams in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls stand to maintain their No. 2 spot in the East. Even with all the commotion in the locker room of talks of more playing time for Bobby Portis or the battle for leadership between Rose and Butler and with Rose not playing due to injury, They still manage to go on a six-game win streak under the guidance of Jimmy Butler. For the nonbelievers of Butler and his rise to superstardom, Butler made history and secured his legitimacy when he scored 40 points in a second half, to set a new franchise record surpassing Michael Jordan.
This is only the halfway point of the season, although there are many more games to be played. These teams are showing early signs of life and don’t seem to be stopping any time.There are still many more games and there are a few chances to watch some of these elite teams clash against each other. It might even be a preview to a future conference or finals match up.