NBA midseason update

With All-Star weekend now in the rearview mirror, the NBA is officially past the half-way point. As the Association hits the home stretch, it’s time to review which teams still got game and which cellar-dwellers are on their way to the Lottery. #1 LakersThe Lakers were rolling with Andrew Bynum. However now that he is out, it’s Kobe-time. I don’t know what it is about Kobe, but whenever he is faced with some sort of hardship or misfortune he seems to step up his game significantly. Usually Kobe-time is the fourth quarter, but with Bynum out it will have to be all the time. He is hands down the best player in the league and has a “good enough” supporting cast in the likes of Fisher and Odom. The Lakers take the one seed.#1 CelticsThe Celtics are looking to repeat as the champs in 2009. Their hunger for the top seed seems to be just as genuine as last year – it’s as if they are out to prove to everyone that they still belong there. Although they are Posey-less, they are still the most well-rounded team in the East, with the deepest bench. They skidded earlier in the season, but it seems that they have corrected their mistakes and are back on track.#2 SpursThe Spurs are No. 2, and that’s probably where they will remain for the entire season. They have been essentially the same team for almost a decade. The Spurs have a great recipe for winning. A teaspoon of Tony Parker, add a cup of Tim Duncan and four ounces of Manu Ginobili, mix thoroughly and enjoy.However, as was proven last year, San Antonio’s age may play a factor come playoff time.#2 CavaliersThe Cavs, led by LeBron James, are the No. 2 team in the East. LeBron is just too nasty to stop. He has the size of a power forward and the quicks of a guard. Also, since he was snubbed from the All-Star game, Mo Williams has been tearing it up for Cleveland in the absence of Delonte West. With Wally-Z lurking on the perimeter and Big Z doing his thing down low, the Cavs will be a headache come playoff time.#3 NuggetsThe Nuggest may be over-achieving as the third seed in the West, but don’t they look brilliant for trading Iverson for Chauncy Billups? When you get a veteran point guard with championship hardware on his fingers on your team, then you must be one good general manager. With Carmelo playing some really nice basketball, the Nuggets have climbed their way to the top tier in the west.However, competition in the conference is fierce, so a team like Portland or New Orleans can easily creep up and steal this seed. #3 MagicThe loss of Jameer Nelson, who is likely out for the season with a torn labrum, is detrimental to the No. 3 Magic. Orlando is without a point guard, which essentially means that they are without somebody who can get the ball to their most important player, Dwight Howard. Guys like Rashard Lewis are really going to have to step it up if Orlando is going to hang on to the No. 3 seed, because before they know it, a hungrier team like Atlanta might creep up and steal their show.#15 WizardsAs for the worst of the worst, I think that Washington, with 11 wins, is throwing this season away in hopes to bid for the No. 1 pick. Gilbert Arenas has proven that he is no longer reliable. The Wiz need to start from scratch because star Caron Butler is not a franchise player.They need to draft somebody that they can rebuild their franchise around. Blake Griffin from Oklahoma would be a nice choice, and Stephen Curry would have to be the obvious choice if he were to declare. #15 ThunderThe west’s worst? I think that Oklahoma City is tossing this season. Enjoying your new franchise, OKC?They have 13 wins, and even though Sacramento only has 11, I think the Thunder would welcome a high draft pick to team up with Durant and Russell Westbrook in Sea … er … Oklahoma City…