Which Teams Have Stood out in This Season’s NBA?

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo nba

James Budgen

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Memphis Grizzlies

After just making the play-offs last season, defeating Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament, the expectations for this young Grizzlies team was to improve themselves individually and as a team to make the play-offs again, however, they exceeded all expectations this season.

This young team matched the franchises' record for most wins in a regular season, 56, which was good for the second-seeded in the Western Conference and positioned them really well for the play-offs.

In their first-round series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, despite some struggles from their star player and the NBA’s most improved player Ja Morant, their other young guard, Desmond Bane stepped up in a great way, scoring over 23 points in the final four games.

They made the Western Conference semi-finals, but an injury to Ja Morant left them short-handed, and despite a huge 39 point win without him, his absence was really noticed in game six, with Bane struggling with a back injury, but this team will be back with their young core not going away anytime soon.

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Cleveland Cavaliers

After a combined 60 wins in their last three seasons, unsurprisingly not many people were taking notice of the Cavaliers going into this season, but they shocked everyone by coming out of the gates very strong, and despite a lot of injury troubles during the season, they still exceeded expectations to finish 44-38 and make the play-in tournament.

Despite having a lot of great young players, it usually never translates to a lot of wins, but their frontcourt of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, not only has a combined age of 22-years-old, was one of the best defensive duos in the league this season.

Losing their 2018 eighth overall pick Collin Sexton for the season just eleven games into the season was thought to derail their season, but it just brought out more from their other young guard Darius Garland, who made massive improvements this season, improving his scoring by four points per game and his assists by 2.5 per game, whilst staying efficient.

After a majorly successful first full season with their young team, this team can only improve more next season, with their team having a great base with a defensive identity, which had them finish with the seventh-best defensive rating in the NBA.

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Los Angeles Clippers

Despite missing one of the best players in the league, Kawhi Leonard, for the full season, and only having 7x All-Star Paul George for 31 games, their team still managed to rally around with no star player to finish 42-40 and eighth in the Western Conference.

After George, and Norman Powell, who only played five games for them before also getting injured, their top scorers, Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris, averaged 16.8 points and 15.4 points per game.

This really shows how great of a coach Tyronn Lue is, and how great of a position this team is in for next season, with their defensive rating the eighth-best in the league without two of the best defensive players in the league, and the return of two of the best players in the league will almost certainly put this team into title contention.

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Boston Celtics

After a 36-36 record last season, and a 18-21 start this season, the feeling around the Boston Celtics was very poor, their core team with Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart was being questioned after failing to develop after years together, but they heard the criticism and are now just three wins away from an NBA Finals appearance.

The team turnaround this season took everyone by surprise, with their defence going from inconsistent to the best in the league, winning 33 of their last 43 games, to secure the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

In the play-offs they have continued their regular-season form, sweeping the Brooklyn Nets, the championship favourites before the season, defending Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, two of the best offensive players in the league, as well as they have been defended in their careers.

They have also knocked out the reigning champions Milwaukee Bucks in six games, and despite the Bucks missing a key player in Khris Middleton, they still defended Giannis Antetokounmpo as well as any team has in years, showing just how elite this team has become since the turn of the year.

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