The 2016-17 season is already at its midway point. Pretty soon the playoffs will be here, then the draft, then Kevin Durant will leave to join up with whoever beats the Warriors in the playoffs. (Just kidding. No one's beating the Warriors in the playoffs -- probably.)

It's been a stellar season, full of thrilling performances every single night, one of the fiercest MVP races in recent memory, the thrill of how great the Warriors and Cavs are at their best and the drama when they fall short, plus whatever it is that the Knicks are doing. So at the halfway mark, we wanted to get a sense of where things stand. Here are your grades, against expectations and factoring all variables, for all 30 teams.

It hasn't exactly been a great season for the New York Knicks. Getty Images


Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have been a rollercoaster. Essentially, if Mike Budenholzer is not coaching this team, they would have crashed into the ocean by now. But he is, and Dennis Schröder has been good enough to keep them afloat. They really need better production from Kent Bazemore, but look out. This team was middling this time last year and then turned into a defensive juggernaut late, en route to a 4th seed and a second-round appearance. They have to get out of the Cavs' side of the bracket at all costs, just to delay the inevitable, especially after giving them Kyle Korver. -- Matt Moore

Grade: B-

Boston Celtics

Isaiah Thomas is an elite scorer and Al Horford has fit in seamlessly. Yet the Celtics haven't been able to really gain any ground on the Raptors and don't seem like a true challenger to the Cavs. Plus with Atlanta's recent surge, the Hawks are right behind the Celtics for third in the East. The Celtics have plenty of assets, though, so there is a chance that they could shake their roster up and add some more talent around February's trade deadline. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: B+

Brooklyn Nets

Not much was expected from the Nets this season as this was a rebuilding year. Jeremy Lin's nagging hamstring injury hasn't helped matters either. But the Nets have some nice young talent in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Isaiah Whitehead. Plus Brooklyn is playing inspired ball under new coach Kenny Atkinson. And with February's trade deadline right around the corner, it will be interesting to see if they finally trade Brook Lopez. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: D

Charlotte Hornets

This team is better than this. It just is. They have Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (who is in a real struggle this season), Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams. They should be way better, even with the bench issues. But they just cannot find their way to wins. They play well game by game, but not well enough, and will have one bad stretch that dooms them. They are substantially better than this, and may be the most frustrating team in the Eastern Conference. -- Matt Moore

Grade: D

Chicago Bulls

There's not much difference between the Bulls and Bucks in the standings, but they couldn't be more different in terms of their outlooks. Chicago can't shoot, and that should be no surprise based on what the front office decided to do in the offseason. The defense is fine, but I feel bad that Fred Hoiberg has never been given the proper players to play his preferred style on the other end. It hurts to see Jimmy Butler's efforts wasted as often as they are. -- James Herbert

Grade: D

Cleveland Cavaliers

I can't praise them enough for how they've used Kevin Love, particularly early in games, and the Kyle Korver trade should pay dividends once he gets more comfortable. They're still the class of the East, as they should be, and the return of LeBron James' 3-point shooting is encouraging. The J.R. Smith injury has hurt them, though, and I can't give them an A-plus when their defense has been only average and their net rating is seventh in the league. Cleveland is great, but it isn't quite where it needs to be yet. -- James Herbert

Grade: A

Detroit Pistons

Ugh. The Pistons started the year with one of the best defenses in the NBA, and now that's all gone. It looks like coach Stan Van Gundy is at his wit's end here, and Andre Drummond still has a long way to go before his defensive discipline and effort matches his physical tools. Worse, the offense has been ugly and slow for six weeks, and the formula that they were counting on -- Reggie Jackson as the primary playmaker, with Drummond setting solid screens -- seems to leave Detroit's other players unhappy. -- James Herbert

Grade: D

Indiana Pacers

After a miserable four-game losing streak around the holidays, they won six of seven games, albeit against unimpressive competition. That's basically how this season has gone, and it looks like the Pacers will hover around the .500 mark unless they make a meaningful trade before the Feb. 23 deadline. That's definitely not what Paul George envisioned in training camp, but it's about right for a flawed roster with a new coach. I still don't like that they traded George Hill, but at least Jeff Teague has been more efficient lately. -- James Herbert

Grade: C+

Miami Heat

The Heat didn't intend to tank. You don't re-sign Hassan Whiteside to a max if you're planning on tanking. They thought they could cobble together a good team without Dwyane Wade. Turns out, losing your franchise icon hurts a bit. There's a lot more wrong with this team than just Wade's absence, but it certainly doesn't help. At least they're tanking in the right year. But they need major overhauls to this roster and to shed salary at light speed. They have played better this week, with wins over the Rockets and the Warriors (who were on a back-to-back and clearly enjoyed the Miami nightlife the night before), but right now this looks like a blip. If they can turn the corner, Erik Spoelstra's enough to make them decent, which is really only going to serve to make their draft pick worse. At this point, wins are losses for this team. -- Matt Moore

Grade: F

Milwaukee Bucks

I almost want to give them an A+ purely because of the development of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker. These are the franchise's cornerstones, and it's impossible not to be impressed with what the Bucks are building now. Antetokounmpo is suddenly a top-10 player, and Parker is an offensive force with newfound 3-point range. Milwaukee is much better than its record, and nobody wants to face these guys in the playoffs. -- James Herbert

Grade: B+

New York Knicks

The Knicks are an absolute mess right now. Derrick Rose skipped a game to attend a family matter yet didn't tell anyone. Phil Jackson seems to be pressuring Carmelo Anthony to waive his no-trade clause, which is something the Knicks star keeps refusing to do. And on top of all that, they just keep losing. This is shaping up to be yet another year where the Knicks don't make the playoffs. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: D

Orlando Magic

This team is bad. It had a good stretch in the middle, but it is definably bad. They have mortgaged their long-term assets to win now, and now face having to overpay for a bad roster. They still have logjams at multiple positions, their good young players like Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton have regressed and there's no real hope anywhere. So no, not a great season. They are still tough and might get it together to push a little bit and remain hovering at the back end of the playoff race, but it will take major changes to their play. -- Matt Moore

Grade: D-

Philadelphia 76ers

Led by dynamic rookie Joel Embiid, the Sixers are one of the more entertaining teams in the league, on and off the court. Embiid's social media antics coupled with their fans' #RaiseTheCat movement are highly amusing and a sign of how the culture of losing is slowly fading away in Philadelphia. The Sixers have won more games than they have in the past several seasons and are looking like a team that could be a force in the East in the not-so-distant future. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: B-

Toronto Raptors

As Jonas Valanciunas said after the Raptors beat the Celtics on Jan. 10, Toronto's main focus is the No. 1 seed in the East. So far, they've been doing a fine job all season of keeping some pressure on the Cavs. But while they likely won't catch Cleveland, the Raptors remain one of the top teams in the league, boast the second-best offense and the pairing of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry forms one of the league's deadliest backcourts. Toronto has had some ups-and-downs in the last couple of weeks but, overall, the Raptors are in a great position right now. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: A

Washington Wizards

The Wizards have the 8th-best record in the league since December 1, and have stabilized. John Wall's been terrific, and Bradley Beal almost as good. They're top 20 in both offense and defense and trending in the right direction. Basically, they'd be a lock for a playoff spot and in great position if they hadn't face-planted out of the gate. They've spent the following 45 days trying to dig out of that hole. They can't afford another swoon. -- Matt Moore

Grade: C+

The Rockets are making believers out of everyone. USATSI


Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews are looking healthier now, but the 2-13 start -- with the team depleted and facing a brutal schedule -- ruined the Mavericks' hopes of getting back to the playoffs again. It's nice that Harrison Barnes has been efficient and expanded his game, but it's sad to see Nowitzki have this little help. While there's no way to spin this season into a success, the high draft pick they have coming their way will be helpful. -- James Herbert

Grade: F+

Denver Nuggets

This team has a plethora of just heartbreaking, make-you-sick losses. They tried playing Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic together, which was a disaster, and the fallout was Jokic going to the bench for a long stretch, which was an even bigger mistake. They've lacked some direction, and the rotations have been a complete mess. But there's still talent here. There's a good team, wrapped somewhere in here. At some point, if they want to make the playoffs, they have to defend. -- Matt Moore

Grade: D+

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors have the best record, and the top offense and defense in the league. There's nothing really more to say. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: A+

Houston Rockets

In an interview with Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, Mike D'Antoni called James Harden "the perfect superstar for how I would like to coach." That's no small statement from the guy who coached Steve Nash to two MVP awards, but it's impossible to argue. Harden is halfway through the best season of his life as a point guard, and Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson have given him all sorts of room to do his thing. The defense still needs to be more consistent, but it's not the disaster some thought it would be. After a disappointing 2015-16, the Rockets have bounced back as well as anybody could have hoped. -- James Herbert

Grade: A+

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers did an admirable job of playing without Blake Griffin but are now heading into a difficult stretch of the season as Chris Paul is also injured. The good news is that Griffin is returning soon and the Clippers have a strong bench, which they have lacked in previous seasons. Yet without Paul, the Clippers may slide down the standings and lose their hold of the 4th seed in the West. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: B

Los Angeles Lakers

Remember the beginning of the season when the Lakers were fun to watch and among the top eight teams in the West? It all seems like a distant memory now. The Lakers are back to being one of the worst teams in the league and although they have some promising young players in D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, this is another year of transition. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: D-

Memphis Grizzlies

I'm still not sure what this team's ceiling is with a healthy Chandler Parsons, but they deserve praise for how they survived considering all the adversity they faced early in the season. Mike Conley is playing extraordinarily well for a guy who broke his back less than two months ago, and coach David Fizdale has done a good job of balancing the Grizzlies' grit-and-grind identity with their obvious need for spacing, tempo and a diversified attack. They're still one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, and I'm interested in where they'll rank offensively by the end of the season. -- James Herbert

Grade: B+

Minnesota Timberwolves

Yes, they're young. Yes, they're inexperienced. Yes, it's a new system. But there's no reason for this team to be as bad as it is. Going from Sam Mitchell to Tom Thibodeau and having this be the result is pretty catastrophic, whether you want to blame Thibodeau or the players. Andrew Wiggins is a fantastic scorer but the concerns over whether he'll be anything but that over his career are fair. Zach LaVine's been great, but is a mess on defense. And Karl-Anthony Towns hasn't made the same impact he did last year. They are young, sure, but they're also way more talented than some of the teams above them and it's fair to be critical of just how far below even modest expectations this team has been. -- Matt Moore

Grade: F-

New Orleans Pelicans

Anthony Davis is a monster, and the Pelicans are finally playing him more at center. Buddy Hield is coming along after a rough start. They've been about .500 with Jrue Holiday in the lineup. That's the good news, but they're still awful on offense and basically clueless whenever Davis is on the bench. One of the more interesting teams to watch at the trade deadline approaches. -- James Herbert

Grade: D

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder aren't unstoppable, but they need to be judged within the context of missing Kevin Durant. Many thought this team might miss the playoffs and that is definitely not the case. They are a good team that has great nights. They are vulnerable, with several Achilles heels, but they are also tough, persistent and they play together. Plus, Russell Westbrook is a Death's Head Machine. Just an incredible season from him. Andre Roberson has quietly been terrific. -- Matt Moore

Grade: A-

Phoenix Suns

Eric Bledsoe has been a beast as of late and Devin Booker is a rising star in the league. But the Suns as a whole are a team in transition and still trying to figure things out. Phoenix could make some changes around the trade deadline, especially since Brandon Knight has been rumored to be on the trade block. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: C-

Portland Trail Blazers

This is maybe the most disappointing team in the league. I thought they'd be a bottom feeder in 2016, but a berserk January-February stretch masked the fact that they were below .500 the rest of the time. Now we see just who this team really is. They can't defend, at all, to the point where it makes all their offensive firepower worthless. Their signing of Evan Turner has been disastrous overall, and every player that played at his career-high level last season has come back down to Earth. Maybe they can make it to the 8th seed, but even if so, what's the long-term plan here for Portland? -- Matt Moore

Grade: F+

Sacramento Kings

The Kings were in the 8th seed for a short period of time but have since slipped back down the standings. The final playoff spot in the West is still up for grabs, so the Kings could be part of the postseason conversation if they are able to put together a solid win streak or two -- but this is the Kings we are talking about. DeMarcus Cousins is a monster yet their woeful defense (26th overall) will likely keep the Kings from truly being in the running for the playoffs. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: C-

San Antonio Spurs

They're top-five both in offense and defense, second in the West and totally under the radar. It's a minor miracle that they're still this good defensively without Tim Duncan. While LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol kill teams with out-of-fashion midrange jumpers, superstar Kawhi Leonard just keeps getting better. Quietly, so does Patty Mills. Gregg Popovich probably won't win Coach of the Year, but perhaps he should. -- James Herbert

Grade: A+

Utah Jazz

If the Jazz could just get past their myriad health problems, they'd probably be competing for a top-4 seed. But George Hill just cannot stay off the trainer's table, and he's a big part of what makes them their ideal version. However, their metrics are great, and they have some really good wins. It's important to remember this team missed the playoffs last year and look like a team that will be a tough playoff out. They're trending in the right direction. -- Matt Moore

Grade: A