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 Houston Rockets
NBA Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

11.  Houston Rockets (28-16)

As great as James Harden is, and make no mistake, he’s arguably the hardest player to defend in the NBA with his step-back/drive/dish game, I’m having trouble envisioning any kind of a deep-run for this Rockets team. Houston’s roster just feels like it’s a little too reliant on Harden for offense, and if you follow the Rockets closely, you’ll know that the acquisition of Westbrook was almost like a last-minute patch-fix job to offer a solution to the Chris Paul-James Harden conflict.

Rarely do these types of impulsive decisions pay dividends. While I also think Clint Capela is one of the best rim-runners in the league, and the Rockets are second in the NBA in scoring (118.7 PPG), it’d be surprising if they came out of the West, as they turn the ball over a little too much (15 a game), and give up 114.0 PPG (7th worst in the league).

12.  Dallas Mavericks (28-17)

The Mavericks are looking like geniuses following their 2018 draft-day trade for Luka Doncic, who looks to be a generational player. On the flip-side, Doncic balling out (averaging 29/10/9) has not been great news for the four teams that passed on him – namely Phoenix, whose GM Ryan McDonough was unsurprisingly let go just months after the 2018 draft.

To further big-up Dallas Management, GM Donnie Nelson looks to have fleeced the Knicks in their acquisition of Kristaps Porzingis, who is simply a match-up nightmare at 7-foot-3 for opposing teams. Even if Dallas doesn’t make much noise the rest of the way, the franchise has exceeded expectations and looks to be in pretty amazing shape for the foreseeable future.