NBA: Takeaways for all 30 teams at the midway point of the 2019-20 season

NBA Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
NBA Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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NBA Boston Celtics
NBA Boston Celtics Jaylen Brown (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

7.  Denver Nuggets (31-14)

The Nuggets are currently slotted into the 4th seed in the West, already having beaten both the Lakers and Clippers earlier this season. They do reach the midway point a little banged up (Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap – all remain out), though they do have solid depth at almost every position and rookie Michael Porter has even turned it on in recent games.

Their Conference standing is most likely inflated, thanks to the Clippers’ commitment to load management, a down-year for the Warriors, and the Rockets’ inability to crank it up as yet (or ever). Last year’s playoff loss to Portland still raises questions about whether this team has the capability of really making some noise, though the franchise certainly looks to be heading in the right direction with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray being their 1-2 punch.

8.  Boston Celtics (30-14)

The Kemba for Kyrie free-agent swap appears to be sustaining itself for now with the Celtics currently sitting in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. While Walker is likely less of a diva than Kyrie, there’s no denying that Uncle Drew has that little bit of an extra gear – though both are tremendous scorers with arguably the two best handles in the NBA. Jayson Tatum looks pretty good some nights, as does Jaylen Brown. Gordon Hayward seems to be slowly getting back to the level we saw him play in Utah and before his gruesome leg injury.

And we know that Brad Stevens isn’t going to get out-smarted by a ton of coaches, so it could just be a matter of whether GM Danny Ainge has given him sufficient pieces to make a run in what might be a pretty-wide open Eastern Conference. The concern for Boston is really that big-teams can out-muscle them, namely Philadelphia, with whom they have yet to beat this year (0-3).