3. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been the big surprise of the season. Not even the biggest of Thunder fans could've or would've predicted that they would be sitting as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference at the midway point of the season. Nevertheless, the Thunder are what their record says. And right now, OKC's record says this team is really good. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should get more consideration for the NBA's MVP award and Chet Holmgren should probably win the Rookie of the Year award. You also have to give Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault some much-deserved credit for the strides this team has made this season.
The big question for the Thunder heading into the second half of the season revolves around how much staying power they have atop the West standings. As the push toward the playoffs arrives, the Thunder will surely be tested.
I'm sure there will be many around the league waiting to see how this young team reacts to the pressure of the playoffs. It should be a good test for the Thunder.