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NBA Tier List: Raptors on the rise thanks to Scottie Barnes

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Still in the early goings of the season, it’s tough to parse fact from fiction over some of the starts – both good and bad – from teams around the league.

Therefore, like last week, expect to see this list to change quite drastically again next week, but for now, here’s how we view the league in the latest edition of the NBA Tier List.

We’re pretty sure these teams are good

Of the 30 clubs around the NBA, only the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat and Utah Jazz are teams we feel quite confident in saying that these are good teams right now.

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Both the Heat and Jazz feature point differentials in the double-figures, with Miami boasting an outstanding plus-17 differential, and all three of these clubs are top five in defensive rating at the moment.

Combined with legitimate star power on each of these teams and we have the makings of teams that look poised to dominate the regular season.

What are you?

We have 10 teams here at Tier 2, mainly because we think they could be good, but we’re still not sure.

For example, squads like the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks have got off to very hot starts and appear to be teams that could make some serious noise this season, but given their history it’s hard to say if this is just a flash in the pan or something legitimate.

On the other hand, expected contenders like the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers could all be just as good as we thought they would be, but there’s been shakiness on their parts and, particularly in the case of Milwaukee and Philadelphia, some bad injury luck with the season still in its infancy.

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Not too shabby

Of this group, the only team that you can point to as a little disappointing so far is the Atlanta Hawks as Trae Young has got off to a slow start – at least from an efficiency standpoint.

As for the rest, however, each team has played well to start the season with some pleasant surprises mixed in here such as the Toronto Raptors, who look to have a revelatory rookie on their hands in Scottie Barnes, who has looked like the team’s best player so far.

Need to pick it up

This quartet of clubs haven’t been outright horrible or anything, but they need to do more if they’re going to establish themselves in the mix of things.

The Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics, particularly, need to play better, and while the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t expected to be a very good team, rookie Evan Mobley has looked very strong for them and could raise their ceiling higher than what we initial thought.

Hey Clippers, Paul needs some help

The only team of note in this group to discuss about are the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Off to a bad 1-4 start, without Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka in the lineup, Paul George looks like a man on an island. He’s averaging 27.6 points per game and has gone off for a pair of 40-point games already, but they both came in losses.

Someone, anyone, needs to step up to relieve some of the burden George is carrying to help the Clippers regain some of the cohesion and form they showed that allowed them to reach the Western Conference Finals last season – even without Leonard.



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Kyrie Irving traded out of BKN… so what's next for Kevin Durant? | What's Wright?

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Nick Wright takes a look at the second player most impacted by Kyrie Irvings trade demand, and that’s Kevin Durant. With Kyrie heading to Dallas to play with Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, Nick details to Damonza why KD has now been presented with a golden opportunity to prove the one thing that has yet to be proven: He can lead a team to a championship on his own.



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Report: Nets exploring trading Dinwiddie, picks to Raptors for VanVleet

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Let the trade deadline drama begin in the NBA.

The first big domino fell Sunday when the Brooklyn Nets reportedly moved disgruntled star Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks, for Spencer Dinwiddie and a handful of draft capital.

However, NBA correspondent Marc Stein is reporting Monday that the deal is still not official and that a third team may enter the fold, namely the Toronto Raptors.

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Stein is reporting that the Nets have “explored the feasibility” of packaging the newly acquired Dinwiddie with draft capital in hopes of acquiring Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet.

VanVleet, along with almost every player on the Raptors roster, has been the centre of trade rumours for the past month, as the Raptors continue to remain in limbo about their team’s future.

In fact, ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that the majority of trade discussions just three days before Thursday’s deadline revolve around the Raptors.

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What Toronto decides to do remains to be seen, but the market is clearly there should they decide to be sellers.

Stein also reported Monday that the Nets are also very interested in Raptors star Pascal Siakam, though Toronto seems reluctant to part ways with its forward from Cameroon.

The Raptors just finished up a season-long road trip with a 4-3 record, and currently sit 12th in the Eastern Conference with a 25-30 overall record. They are just a half game out of the conference’s final spot in the NBA’s play-in tournament.

And while it’s undecided whether they will be buyers or sellers over the next few days, what is clear: they have some chips to play with.

The NBA’s trade deadline is this Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

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Angels GM Shared A Shohei Ohtani Spring Training Update

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(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

 

Pitchers and catchers of the Los Angeles Angels are scheduled to report on February 15.

That’s nine days from now.

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Yes: baseball is almost back.

If we have waited this long, might as well wait a few more days!

When it comes to the Angels, everybody wants to see Shohei Ohtani in action.

He was the 2021 AL MVP and the runner-up in 2022 for a reason: he is a uniquely dominant baseball player.

Angels fans who want to watch him in spring training will need to do it quick, though.

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The man has a commitment to play for his country, Japan, during the World Baseball Classic.

As a result, he will leave camp much earlier than anticipated.

“Shohei Ohtani will be at Angels camp until around March 1, and will make one start. He then leaves for Japan and the WBC, per Perry Minasian,” Angels insider Sam Blum tweeted.

The 2023 edition of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) will be played from March 8 to March 21.

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It means Ohtani will be in Japan’s camp for a week before the official start of the competition.

The Japanese were the winners of the first two editions of the classic, in 2006 and 2009.

However, Ohtani was just a kid when they both occurred, and wants his first taste of meaningful international competition.

He also wants to make sure Japan returns to the highest place in the podium.

Angels fans will get to enjoy his talents for the whole 2023 season (or until he gets traded, which is a possibility).

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Most of his March, however, will have him focused on the WBC.

The post Angels GM Shared A Shohei Ohtani Spring Training Update appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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