5 Losing teams that can still make the NBA Playoffs this season
As we approach the halfway mark of the 2019-20 regular season campaign, the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks have separated themselves from the rest of the pack with a substantial margin. While the second seed in the East lags behind by 7 games to Milwaukee, the latest West runner ups in Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz both still have a 4-game differential between them and the Lakers.
The rest of the standings in each conference are crammed to the nose, making it conducive for a wild ending down the stretch. Recent draft picks and multiple player transactions have also resulted in an unprecedented lineup of teams possessing a slight edge.
With the trade deadline right around the corner, it will be interesting to track the moves by teams looking to make a final playoff push. In this piece, let's take a look at a few sub 0.500 teams that might still bag a postseason berth despite their underwhelming runs so far.
#1 Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers have found it hard to carry over the momentum from last season, as they struggle to clinch consistent wins this year. The Blazers are currently 10th on the West standings, with an 18-24 (0.429) win-loss record next to their name, after having lost six of their last ten matchups.
However, of all teams that can be counted as fringe playoff squads, Portland stands out in a fairly positive light. They have experienced floor generals who can also score in bunches, and make up for the glaring loss of manpower on their roster.
Despite missing Jusuf Nurkic, Rodney Hood, and Skal Labissiere to season-altering injuries, the Blazers are managing to score roughly 112 points per contest. Only if Coach Terry Stotts could tighten up the defensive end and the front office could pull in some much-needed reinforcements before February 6, Portland could have a legit shot at the playoffs.