Now that the NBA trade deadline has come and gone, we have a pretty good picture of where teams are at heading into the final stretch of the season. Based on the moves that happened this week, and their performance over the past few months of the season, it's clear who's a contender and who's not, as well as who's overachieved, and who's underachieved.
Some of those are obvious: the Grizzlies, for example, have come out of nowhere to jump into the playoff race, while the 76ers have been a borderline disaster and look nothing like a possible contender. But what other teams make the list? Here's a look at some of the biggest over and underachievers of the season, as it pertains to their .
Dallas Mavericks: 31-20 (Preseason over/under: 42.5)
Factoring in Luka Doncic's improvement, the arrival of Kristaps Porzingis and some other smart offseason moves, the general consensus was that the Mavericks would be much better this season, and possibly even a playoff team. They've done that and then some. Even though they've cooled off a bit since their red-hot start, they're still 31-20, and not only well on pace to hit their over, but right in the mix to secure a top-four seed in the West.
Memphis Grizzlies: 26-25 (Preseason over/under: 27.5)
Every season there's usually at least one team that just comes out of nowhere, and this time around it's been the Grizzlies. There was never a doubt that this group had a bright future with Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., but no one thought for a second they would make the playoffs. Their win total projection was 27.5! At 26-25, they've almost cleared that mark already, and are sitting comfortably in the eighth spot in the West. Morant and JJJ have been spectacular, the former expected to win Rookie of the Year, and they made some nice moves at the deadline that should make them even better.
Milwaukee Bucks: 44-7 (Preseason over/under: 57.5)
When a team is coming off a season where they won 60 games, and had the best record in the league, it's hard to imagine how they could get better. And yet, the Bucks are somehow once again in the overachievers group, because they're absolutely destroying their competition. Giannis Antetokounmpo is on his way to a second straight MVP, and they're out to a 44-7 start which has them in serious contention to be the third team in NBA history to win 70 games. They'll have to go 26-5 to reach that mark, which will be a big challenge, but regardless they should have no trouble hitting their over.
Miami Heat: 34-16 (Preseason over/under: 44.5)
Jimmy Butler's arrival in South Beach raised expectations for a Heat team that missed out on the playoffs last season, but even still, they were projected to perhaps be a few games over .500. Instead, Butler's elite play, the emergence of young big man Bam Adebayo and strong contributions from young players such as Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson have turned them into one of the East's top teams. At 34-16, they're on pace to crush their over, and are still in the mix for the No. 2 seed, sitting just 2.5 games back of the Raptors.
Los Angeles Lakers: 38-12 (Preseason over/under: 48.5)
The Lakers are another team where it's sort of strange to look at them as overachievers considering their talent, but at the same time, there were some real questions about how this would all work heading into the season. So far, they've all been answered definitively. LeBron James looks rejuvenated, Anthony Davis has been everything the Lakers were hoping for and they've received strong production from a supporting cast that looked a bit questionable. At 38-12 they have the best record in the West and should have no problem whatsoever with hitting their over.
Oklahoma City Thunder: 31-20 (Preseason over/under: 32)
If it wasn't for the Grizzlies, the Thunder would be the most surprising team in the league this season. They were written off for dead, though a big part of that was the expectation that they would trade many of their veterans, such as Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari. Those two have stayed, however, and played some tremendous basketball to turn the Thunder into not only a playoff team, but a genuine threat to earn homecourt advantage in the first round. At 31-20, they're tied for sixth, and only two games back of the Rockets for fourth in the West.
Toronto Raptors: 37-14 (Preseason over/under: 46)
Toronto has a little too much talent to really be one of the most surprising teams in the league, but they've absolutely been impressive. Despite losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in the offseason, and dealing with a ridiculous among of injuries, they've battled on to the tune of a 37-14 record and second place in the East. Pascal Siakam has made another leap, Kyle Lowry is doing Kyle Lowry things and they've gotten a bunch of production from unheralded players. While their ceiling isn't quite as high without Leonard, they once again have a chance to make some noise in the East.
Atlanta Hawks: 14-38 (Preseason over/under: 34)
This was an interesting one. The Hawks looked very fun towards the end of last season, and with multiple top-10 picks joining Trae Young and John Collins, you could see how there was some hope for the future in Atlanta. But getting over 34 wins always seemed unrealistic, and well past the midway point of the season, they haven't even gotten halfway there. At 14-38, they're just a game ahead of the Cavaliers for the worst record in the East, and will be preparing for another top lottery pick again. They did just trade for Clint Capela, however, so that will be interesting to watch over the last few months here.
Golden State Warriors: 12-40 (Preseason over/under: 47.5)
We all know the story here. Nearly everyone, Las Vegas included, had faith that the Warriors were still dangerous with Steph Curry and Draymond Green leading the way, and that they could make a playoff run -- especially if Klay Thompson returned late in the season. Instead, Curry went down with a broken hand almost immediately, and they've dealt with all sorts of other injuries in the weeks and months since. They have the worst record in the league, and have no chance of hitting their over.
Philadelphia 76ers: 31-21 (Preseason over/under: 55)
The Sixers have been by far the biggest disappointment this season. Projected to win 50-plus games, they were seen as the main challenger to the Bucks in the East. Instead, they've struggled with an inconsistent offense and internal drama, and are stuck in a tie for fifth place in the East at 31-21, a whopping 13.5 games back of the Bucks. They'd have to go 25-5 the rest of the way to hit their over, which obviously isn't happening. While they might still have a high playoff ceiling because of their talent, it's been a rough regular season in Philly.