NBA Power Rankings: Every team's expectations after the trade deadline

The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and now the marathon that is the regular season has now turned into a sprint to the finish line. Most teams are setting up for a mad dash for playoff spots. The rest will make a run for the bottom. This is when teams that realize their season has been lost really hit the loss column and make efforts to improve their draft position.

That means random games in March that wouldn't be worth watching in December become must-see TV for the sake of seeding races and tiebreakers. Fans who like to dive deep into the nitty-gritty can really appreciate this point of the season. There's always a game with stakes on the line.

So sit back, pull up the standings page, and find a good beverage because the NBA playoff race is about to begin. 

Biggest Movers
6 Jazz
8 Thunder
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Rockets Houston added depth at the trade deadline and now it begins its sprint towards the playoffs. The Rockets will need to decide how much they value home-court against a team like the Warriors. They just might have a chance to snatch it from Golden State before season's end. --44-13
2 Raptors The Raptors stood pat at the deadline. Their plans are obvious. Take this new offense and try to keep it going in the playoffs. There's nothing more the regular season can teach us about these Raps. We'll re-convene in April. --41-16
3 Warriors The Warriors did nothing at the trade deadline. They didn't even participate in a buyout deal of some kind. Not that they need to, but it will be interesting to see how seriously they take the rest of the season. They've been caught with their pants down a couple times recently. --44-14
4 Jazz The Jazz made a big deal that helped the Cavs more than it helped themselves in the short term, but they're are going to save some money and they've managed to move a disgruntled and ineffective Joe Johnson in the process. They could end up missing Rodney Hood, but that depends on which version of Jae Crowder they get. 630-28
5 Pacers Indiana stood pat at the deadline which is probably the smart move. The Pacers have gotten a nice surprise in Victor Oladipo. They can just play the rest of this season out and make adjustments for the future in the offseason. 133-25
6 Trail Blazers The Blazers got themselves under the luxury tax by moving Noah Vonleh to the Bulls. A solid move for them all things considered. They'll play out the season as is, but they might already be near their ceiling with this core. 132-26
7 Celtics The Celtics reportedly floated Marcus Smart around in trades, but they were never able to receive the kind of return they wanted for him. The Celtics will now have to decide if they want to pay Smart this offseason or let him walk in an expected pay day. 340-19
8 Nuggets The Emmanuel Mudiay experiment is over in Denver. He never panned into what they wanted him to be and now they have veteran guard Devin Harris in his place. Harris is a solid backup that should fit what Denver needs pretty well. Now, they make their playoff run. 532-26
9 Wizards Washington's only deadline day move was to trade Sheldon Mac to free up a roster spot. Now it'll likely search for point guard depth before John Wall gets back. It will be interesting to see how far this Wizards core can go this season. 133-24
10 Timberwolves The Wolves shopped Shabazz Muhammad around a bit, but no deals were made. There are rumors they might pick up Derrick Rose off waivers, but they shouldn't do that. There are better places to find depth. 336-25
11 76ers Philadelphia is adding Marco Belinelli after his buyout from the Hawks. That's some much needed shooting and it gives the 76ers another veteran on the roster. The Sixers are going all in on this season while keeping their future flexibility. 530-25
12 Clippers DeAndre Jordan remains and Lou Williams signs an extension. Who would've guessed that Blake Griffin would be the only big name moved this season? The future is odd for the Los Angeles Clippers. They want to make a run at the playoffs, but by trading Griffin they seem primed for a rebuild. What happens from here will fascinating to watch. 230-26
13 Bucks The Bucks got bigger with Tyler Zeller and they've gotten slightly better since firing Jason Kidd, but they still feel limited. How Giannis Antetokounmpo finishes the season will likely decided how high this team can go. 232-25
14 Pistons The Pistons had a very busy trade deadline. They flipped both Brice Johnson and Willie Reed after receiving them in the Blake Griffin trade and re-united Jameer Nelson with Stan Van Gundy. Now they'll try to make a run at the playoffs. 428-29
15 Spurs San Antonio stood pat at the deadline which is probably the right call. It's hard to know what the Spurs have right now while Kawhi Leonard continues to sit out injured. Unfortunately, those questions don't look like they'll be getting an answer anytime soon. 335-24
16 Lakers Los Angeles stunned everybody when it shipped Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance for Isaiah Thomas. The intention of the move was clear: Set up more cap room for free agents in the summers of 2018 and 2019. The results of this season don't have meaning to this front office. 523-34
17 Thunder The Thunder weren't able to add a replacement for Andre Roberson at the deadline. They've been struggling since the injury, despite a win over the Warriors, and might want to look into the buyout market. Anything to improve their depth. 833-26
18 Cavaliers Well, the Cavs had to do something. Nobody expected this. Their new roster of Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance and Rodney Hood feels like a completely different team. They had an incredible debut when LeBron James spoiled Paul Pierce's jersey retirement night and maybe there's some hope in this season for the Cavs after all 234-22
19 Pelicans New Orleans traded away Dante Cunningham and took a flyer on Rashad Vaughn. The Pelicans of course added Nikola Mirotic well before the trade deadline. Time to see what the Pelicans can do as they try to make the playoffs with DeMarcus Cousins. 831-26
20 Heat Dwyane Wade is back in Miami! The Heat have been sliding and Wade's skill set off the bench might be just what they need to get back on track. It's possible he eventually enters the starting lineup, but it wouldn't be a bad idea by the Heat to play him off the bench -- the same role he thrived in for the Cavs. 330-28
21 Magic The Magic took one of their first steps to move on from the previous core when they traded Elfrid Payton to the Suns. The return they got on the deal was terrible, but that's the kind of market restricted free agents have right now. 618-39
22 Hornets The Hornets only added Willie Hernangomez around the trade deadline and have now lost four in a row. If their goal was to save their season then they probably failed. However, moving on from Kemba Walker meant accepting that and not every front office can do that. 324-33
23 Hawks The Hawks couldn't turn any of their veterans into assets, but they got somehow even younger with the Marco Belinelli buyout. The Hawks will continue to tank, but they're getting the right people minutes and that's important for a rebuilding team. 118-41
24 Kings The Kings finally traded George Hill and they've bought out Joe Johnson. This is a young team that's focused on developing in that area. It was surprising to see them punt on both Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis on the same day, but they did acquire Bruno Caboclo. The Kings will continue that development as they finish out the season. 218-39
25 Bulls Chicago made a sneaky solid addition by adding Noah Vonleh for essentially nothing. He's a former top 10 pick, and while he won't turn its season around, he's a solid young big with potential. He's well worth the roster spot and rookie contract. Now, the Bulls can focus on their youth movement. --20-37
26 Mavericks Dallas added Doug McDermott which will give the team some shooting. This season has been, and will always be, about Dirk's twilight days and the development of Dennis Smith Jr. It will continue to be this way. 418-40
27 Suns The Elfrid Payton addition is interesting. It cost the Suns nothing and if it doesn't work out then they can just let him walk in free agency. He could fit in nicely with the Suns ... well, if they give him the spacing to operate. Phoenix should use this season to figure out which of its young guys it wants to buy into. 218-41
28 Grizzlies The Grizzlies flopped on deadline day when they failed to move Tyreke Evans. That was something they needed to do. They're going to start tanking soon and that means Marc Gasol is going to get more limited minutes and probably have a mysterious injury or two, but that's going to be even harder with Evans still on the roster. --18-38
29 Nets The Nets did what they do in trades and that's add draft picks. They got a second-round pick out of the Tyler Zeller deal and then they added a veteran in Dante Cunningham. Without a draft pick to tank for all the Nets have left to do is see what they got in the roster they're building. 519-40
30 Knicks New York made a couple future-based moves with the additions of Emmanuel Mudiay and Johnny O'Bryant with two second-round picks. The Knicks' season ended as soon as they lost Kristaps Porzingis, but they really should have flipped Courtney Lee into something valuable. Now, they have to figure out what to do with Joakim Noah's gargantuan contract. 723-36
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