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Five storylines to look out for after the NBA All-Star Break

Five storylines to look out for after the all-star break

Teams around the association are gearing up for the second half of the season as the NBA All-Star break concluded in Atlanta on Sunday. With so much at stake in one of the stranger seasons we have ever seen already, here are five storylines to look out for after the All-Star break.


The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers had an indifferent run before the All-Star break, suffering an injury, battling both mental and physical fatigue, and trying to keep pace atop the West without the services of superstar big man Anthony Davis. Davis has been sidelined with an Achilles since the early parts of the season. The roster has had difficulties replacing his production thus far.

The Lakers did find some success with going small and giving extended minutes to veteran Markieff Morris in the frontcourt. Experienced Center Marc Gasol saw an increase in numbers, but Davis’ presence on both ends seems insurmountable as currently constructed.

Because of this, they’ve brought in promising Center Damian Jones to help fill some of the vertical voids Montrezl Harrell lacks. The Lakers will reportedly be heavily involved at the trade deadline, as they try and address some issues before Davis returns.

By all reports, the All-NBA power forward will return to action sometime in the coming months, and the Lakers will have to lean on the greatness of main man LeBron James and dynamic point guard Dennis Schroder in the meantime. Davis’ injury has already impacted the Lakers significantly this season, but their primary concern is to be healthy and whole come playoff time.


 Out East, the Brooklyn Nets are building a super team of their own, signing Blake Griffin after the Detroit Pistons bought him out. As injuries derailed his career, Griffin understandably isn’t the player he once was, but his addition gives the roster an upgrade on both ends of the floor.

The 31-year-old has grown into a floor spacer on the backend of his career, and his presence in the frontcourt alongside former L.A. Clippers teammate Deandre Jordan only strengthens the Nets’ chances to come out of the East.

At this stage, it looks as though the former All-Star will come off the bench on Steve Nash’s team, but Griffin’s abilities could see him become to be the most overqualified role player in the entire association. The Nets will still be run by their scoring trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, but Griffin is the latest noteworthy piece to round out their super team.   


Finally, the New York Knicks are good again. After undergoing somewhat of a revamp from the ground up this offseason, the Knicks have been the most pleasantly surprising team in the entire league so far. Led by first-time All-Star Julius Randle, the Knicks currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference and above .500 at 19-18. Bringing in head coach Tom Thibodeau has been a stroke of genius, as the roster has taken on his defensive identity, ascending into one of the best defenses in the league.

Their impressive first half of the season has resulted from regular contributions from a mixture of talented young players and veterans who fit their culture perfectly. Emerging young talent such as R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Kevin Knox have been superb, and the veteran leadership of Derrick Rose, Reggie Bullock, and Austin Rivers have helped guide their growth.

For the first time in a long time, the Knicks look like a legitimate playoff team; the only question remains if they can sustain this level of play for the remainder of the campaign.


 Like the Knicks, the Utah Jazz has been one of the more surprising teams this season. Currently sitting on top of the brutal Western Conference with a record of 27-9, the Jazz has been outstanding on both ends of the floor. 

Thus far, Quin Snyder’s men are the only team to rank in the top 10 in offense and defense. It has presented the question of whether the Jazz has grown into the biggest obstacle for other Western Conference contenders in the hopes of making the NBA Finals. Yes, it’s still early, but the Jazz seems to be the real deal, and their playing style changes up to include more three-point attempts has taken them to the next level.  

 They are finally getting production from veteran guard Mike Conley, and surprisingly, the roster is receiving a scoring punch from unlikely sources. Royce O’Neal, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favours, and Georges Niang have complimented All-Star duo Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert perfectly, and Jordan Clarkson’s scoring spark off the bench makes him the frontrunner for the Sixth Man of the Year award.

If history has told us anything, it’s that we can only put so much stock into the regular season before the playoffs, but the Jazz look like the best team in the league right now, and you’ll likely have to go through them too make the Finals this year. 


 After their incredible run to the NBA Finals inside the bubble last postseason, the Miami Heat have undergone a tough start to this campaign. Battling injuries, the short turnaround, and COVID-19 protocols, the Heat were not healthy or in any rhythm in the first quarter of the season. As a result, they slipped down the standings, and things looked ominous. 

 Luckily for them, the return of emotional leader Jimmy Butler turned the tide for the roster just before the All-Star break. After being on the outside looking into the playoffs, the Heat currently sits sixth in the Eastern Conference, right on .500 at 18-18. Their nice run of wins before the break has given a fresh outlook on the second half of the season, and they’re looking to pick up where they left off. 

 As the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Milwaukee Bucks continue to strengthen their teams, the Heat have reportedly been in the mix for star talent available to keep up with the conference’s elite. But even if they don’t land a big name before the March 25th trade deadline, all signs point to their rise up the standings regardless if everyone can stay on the court. 

When fully healthy, the Heat are still absolutely one of the best teams in the league, and if they can land another high-level piece at the trade deadline, they’ll be right back in the championship mix yet again. 

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Photo courtesy of Andy Clayton-King/AP.


Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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