It's been over thirty days since the second half of the current NBA campaign commenced. Most of the teams that weren't doing well before the break have shown a lot of progress since then as we head into the last couple of months before the post-season.
The NBA season 2020-21 has been one of the toughest campaigns in history for many reasons. From injury problems to the league's health and safety protocols to the tight scheduling, every team has been through a lot.
This has hindered the majority of the teams' campaigns. However, the All-Star break helped several of these squads get back to full strength, enabling them to assess their strategies better than they did in the first half of the season.
On that note, let's take a look at the five teams that have made the best use of the All-Star break to improve their showings since then.
5 Most improved teams since the All-Star break
#1 Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks' season record before the break was at 16-20, with a win % of .444, placing them 21st overall in the league at that time. The Hawks needed to make a few bold changes to turn their season around, which is exactly what they did. They fired then head coach Lloyd Pierce and hired interim coach Nate McMillan as his replacement.
The move worked wonders for them as they won ten games since his appointment and lost just four. Eight of those wins were registered post the All-Star break, which saw the Hawks' record improve to 24-24.
The Atlanta Hawks had an offensive rating of 112.7 before the break, which improved to 116.7 after the break, which is the fifth-best overall in that period.
#2 Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings had registered just 14 wins out of the 35 games they played before the All-Star break. They were having a decent season until the start of February, but a nine-game losing streak saw their campaign go on a downward spiral, which did not let abate until the All-Star break.
However, they made sure they used the time off from the regular season in the best way possible. They are level with the Blazers, Clippers and Hawks for the best record since the start of the second half of the campaign at 8-4.
Although they aren't one of the best defensive units in the league, they have still improved a lot in that department post the break. They were last as per the defensive ratings in the first half of the campaign at a dismal 118.9, but since the start of the second half of the campaign, have achieved a rating of 113.5.
#3 Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets were looking like the weakest of the strongest teams before the break. Their slow start to the campaign saw them fall to 1-4, which eventually slowed them down a little. Jamal Murray's inconsistent performances during that time did not help them either, as they continued to have a start-stop season until the All-Star break came to their rescue.
They started the second half of the campaign with a 21-15 overall record, but since then have managed to win nine games, losing just three and improving their season record to 30-18. The Nuggets relied heavily on MVP award frontrunner Nikola Jokic in the first half but have managed to perform as a team lately and are looking unstoppable at the moment.
#4 LA Clippers
LA Clippers were brilliant in the first couple of months before their win over the Miami Heat on February 15th. They had a stellar season record at 21-8 at the time and were living up to their tag as one of the best teams in the league. However, what followed later was not something the Clippers or anyone in the NBA saw coming.
Kawhi Leonard and his team failed to register consecutive victories from 17th February to 17th March due to various factors like injuries to Leonard and Paul George, major defensive woes, and so on.
However, the Clippers overturned that poor run and proved their mettle by winning six games on the trot, starting with a win against the Charlotte Hornets on 20th March. They also managed to beat the best sides in the league, like the 76ers and the Bucks during that stretch. This helped them experience a major change in their showings post the break, propelling them to the third-best record at 8-4 along with the Blazers, Hawks and Kings.
#5 Charlotte Hornets
The young Charlotte Hornets side have been one of the most exciting teams to watch this season. They have surprised everyone by staying within the top ten of the Eastern Conference standings for the longest time, as they now aim to qualify for the playoffs directly by achieving a sixth-place finish or better.
Before the All-Star break commenced, the Hornets pretty much seemed like a team that would have to go through the play-in tournament to fight for a playoff spot later this season due to how consistent they were at that time. They started the second half of the campaign with a 17-18 record overall, but after a decent 7-5 run post the break, they now find themselves 4th in the East.
Their performances have been very solid, as the young stars in the team have matured well with each match helping them be a force to be reckoned with.