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The Best Starting Lineups After The All-Star Break: Brooklyn Nets Still Have A Superteam, Warriors Are Stronger Than Before

The Best Starting Lineups After The All-Star Break: Brooklyn Nets Still Have A Superteam, Warriors Are Stronger Than Before

Two major parts of the NBA season are behind us and that includes the trade deadline and the All-Star break. We are inching closer to the buyout deadline, but many of those players will not likely make their way into another team’s starting lineup. For now, those starting lineups are likely set until the rest of the year.

We have some players like Kawhi Leonard, Jamal Murray, and Paul George out for the majority of the remaining season. We may not see these players return, which is why these types of players were left off the list. For some players like Lonzo Ball and Chris Paul, who are expected to be back sooner, they were included.

With most rosters set in stone, we take a look at each team’s starting lineup for the rest of the year and rank who is the best.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder

Starting Lineup: Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

Once the Thunder shut down Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for good, this lineup is going to be young and rough. The emergence of Josh Giddey has been a nice surprise. Assuming that the Thunder gets a lottery pick this season, a third young core member could make this Thunder very dangerous down the line. For now, they are just going to need to grow together, especially when your two best players are 23 and 19 years old.

29. Detroit Pistons

Starting Lineup: Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart

The Pistons get some points with Cade Cunningham evolving as a Rookie of the Year candidate. The 2021 No. 1 overall pick will likely be a First-Team All-Rookie selection. Jerami Grant plays like a borderline All-Star when healthy and could be on the move this offseason. This rotation will depend on that haul, what the team does in the draft this season and the development of young point guard Killian Hayes.

28. Houston Rockets

Starting Lineup: Kevin Porter Jr., Eric Gordon, Jalen Green, Jae’Sean Tate, Christian Wood

Jalen Green has a lot of promise, while the tandem of Kevin Porter Jr. and him could be something special. Christian Wood is on pace to average the first double-double of his career. With that said, there is something to be said about the team that owns the worst record in the Western Conference. Given that this is based on pure starting lineups, the Rockets get a slight bump over the Thunder and Pistons.

27. Portland Trail Blazers

Starting Lineup: Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, CJ Elleby, Justise Winslow, Jusuf Nurkic

If the Trail Blazers are smart, Damian Lillard will be officially shut down at some point. The team is not playing for anything and should be looking to this offseason. Jusuf Nurkic is the only true starting-caliber player in this lineup. Anfernee Simons has more to prove when he plays on a good team, but the 22-year old has a lot of upsides.

26. Orlando Magic

Starting Lineup: Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr., Mo Bamba

The Magic own the worst record in the Eastern Conference, but if you had to choose between the Pistons and Magic starting lineup, there is a lot more upside to Orlando. Carter and Bamba are both excellent rebounders. Cole Anthony is a talented scorer. Both Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner appear to both have the talent to have long careers in this league. While the debate for starting-caliber is up in the air, given that the oldest player in this lineup is 23 makes this an interesting up-and-coming team.

25. Washington Wizards

Starting Lineup: Raul Neto, Corey Kispert, Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis, Thomas Bryant

The emergence of Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis gives this a potential competitive duo. The team took a hit when Bradley Beal was lost for the season though. Thomas Bryant is a backup center at best, while Raul Neto is a future journeyman. Corey Kispert will be fun to watch next season, but the Wizards are likely looking at next year for this team to be competitive.

24. Los Angeles Clippers

Starting Lineup: Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Norman Powell, Marcus Morris, Ivica Zubac

Speaking of next year, we are talking about potentially the best starting lineup in basketball if this team is healthy. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George could be shut down the rest of the season. The two led the team to the Conference Finals last year before Leonard was hurt. This year, George was leading this team to the playoffs before he got hurt. With Norman Powell helping stretch the floor, there is a high ceiling for the team next season.

23. Indiana Pacers

Starting Lineup: Malcolm Brogdon, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Oshae Brissett, Myles Turner

Myles Turner is projected to come back. If he does, it will be fun to see what the Pacers can do together. On paper, this could be a competitive team. Brogdon is an efficient point guard, while Halliburton is one of the better up-and-coming players. Hield is a legit three-point shooter, while Turner is the best shot-blocker in the game. The team is eight games out of the 10 seed, so making the play-in game is unlikely, but it could give a glimpse of what the future has.

22. New York Knicks

Starting Lineup: Kemba Walker, RJ Barrett, Evan Fournier, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson

On paper, there is no reason why the Knicks should be this bad. This was a top defensive team before Walker joined. You can’t blame all of the team’s troubles on him. The regression of Julius Randle has hurt, while Evan Fournier didn’t make this team better on defense. You still have an All-Star caliber player like Randle on the team, but that could change in the future.

21. New Orleans Pelicans

Starting Lineup: Devonte’ Graham, C.J. McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Herbert Jones, Jonas Valanciunas

Talk about a team where you should buy the stock now and let it rise. The Pelicans could be very fun to watch next season. Fans should not give up on both Graham and Valanciunas. Give them a chance to play with this team that has added C.J. McCollum and hopefully Zion Williamson when he is healthy. Williamson is likely going to miss all of this season. If he is healthy next year, you are looking at a darkhorse roster for a top-10 starting lineup that would feature three former All-Stars.

20. San Antonio Spurs

Starting Lineup: Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell, Doug McDermott, Keldon Johnson, Jakob Poeltl

Led by All-Star Dejounte Murray, the Spurs have the ninth-best offense in the league. Given the names that you see listed, that could come as a surprise. The team is middle in the pack on defense though. Murray and Keldon Johnson are poised to be the future, but this team needs another All-Star before the Spurs go back to being what they once were.

19. Sacramento Kings

Starting Lineup: De’Aaron Fox, Donte DiVencenzo, Moe Harkless, Harrison Barnes, Domantas Sabonis

The addition of Domantas Sabonis was huge. The idea of De’Aaron Fox playing with a legitimate big man that can pass just as good as he has the Kings rising. Harrison Barnes is also having a very quiet, successful season. Not to mention, you add a legitimate three-point threat in DiVencenzo. The Kings are three games back of the final play-in spot. Don’t be surprised if they overtake it.

18. Los Angeles Lakers

Starting Lineup: Russell Westbrook, Avery Bradley, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard

On paper, this starting lineup was supposed to make the NBA Finals. Instead, the big three of Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis have come up short. The team is a top-10 offense but has fallen to 26th in points allowed per game. The defense used to be their best attribute. Instead, this partnership has failed and the trade for Westbrook could mess up the future as well.

17. Atlanta Hawks

Starting Lineup: Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins, Clint Capela

Trae Young is having a typical season, averaging around 27 points and nine assists per game. John Collins is averaging about what he did last year. That tandem was essential in the Hawks making the Conference Finals last year. However, Clint Capela’s production has decreased, while Kevin Huerter never took a step forward in his development. We know what this team can do. They are just not showing it right now.

16. Dallas Mavericks

Starting Lineup: Spencer Dinwiddie, Luka Doncic, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell

The partnership of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis failed. Tim Hardway Jr. broke his foot. Now, you have Luka Doncic leading a Mavericks team as the only star with a few role players. In reality, Doncic is so good that he could lead the Mavericks as Nikola Jokic has done without Jamal Murray. With that said, the Mavericks are averaging just over 106 points per game. If it wasn’t for their team defense, which is second-best in the league, they would be in far worse shape.

15. Charlotte Hornets

Starting Lineup: LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre Jr., Miles Bridges, Mason Plumlee

There is not a clear update on Gordon Hayward at this moment, so if he is healthy, he will replace Oubre in the starting lineup. Even with Hayward out, you are filling his spot with a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. The lineup also features a Most Improved Player candidate and an All-Star in Ball. The Hornets are in contention for leading the league in points per game. This offense could carry the Hornets far.

14. Toronto Raptors

Starting Lineup: Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam

This lineup is vastly underrated which is exactly the way Nick Nurse likes it. Pascal Siakam is starting to look like his former All-Star self, while Fred VanVleet was an All-Star. Gary Trent Jr. is shooting 40% from behind the arc and OG Anunoby can provide 3-and-D intangibles. The difference-maker has been Scottie Barnes, the No. 4 overall pick in 2021, who is in contention to win Rookie of the Year.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves

Starting Lineup: D’Angelo Russell, Patrick Beverley, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt, Karl-Anthony Towns

The Timberwolves are poised to make the playoffs and are relying heavily on their starters. Outside of Jarred Vanderbilt, four of these starters are playing vastly over 30 minutes each night. Towns are playing like an All-Star, while D’Angelo Russell is having one of the best facilitating seasons in his career. Anthony Edwards took the next step in his development. There is finally something to be excited about in Minnesota.

12. Denver Nuggets

Starting Lineup: Monte Morris, Will Barton, Aaron Gordon, Jeff Green, Nikola Jokic

Jamal Murray could make a return before the playoffs. If that happens, the Nuggets will make a move towards the top. Murray will give the Nuggets the offensive jolt this team needs. Led by reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, we saw that he can lead this team as far as the second round of the playoffs with him as the only superstar. He’s doing that again as the Nuggets rank sixth in the West. Imagine what this team could do if they were healthy.

11. Boston Celtics

Starting Lineup: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Robert Williams

At one point, the Celtics looked like they could be on the verge of trading Jaylen Brown and blowing this whole thing open. Instead, they stuck to their guns and the Celtics are trending in the right direction. The defense is third-best in the league with Al Horford and Robert Williams leading the way. Offensively, Brown and Jayson Tatum are leading this team back into playoff contention. We need to see more, but the team currently sits at the No. 6 seed in the East.

10. Cleveland Cavaliers

Starting Lineup: Darius Garland, Caris LeVert, Lauri Markkanen, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen

This lineup is the best defensive unit in all the NBA. The Cavaliers are leading the league in points allowed. A lot of that has to do with their length with Markkanen, Mobley, and Allen. All-Stars Allen and Garland have this team believing they could win the No. 1 seed. The addition of LeVert is going to be so huge as now he and Markkanen can stretch the floor even more. As for Garland, Allen, and Mobley, look for them to get votes for All-Defensive Team.

9. Chicago Bulls

Starting Lineup: Lonzo Ball, Ayo Dosunmu, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic

For now, both Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso are out but are expected to return this season. Once that happens, Caruso will likely come off the bench, which was a role he excelled in. The way Ayo Dosunmu is playing, he should keep the starting job over Coby White, who would be better suited to come off the bench and score. Altogether, this unit offensively is a tough one to stop. From the midrange game of DeRozan to the athleticism of LaVine, the Bulls could win the No. 1 seed this year.

8. Utah Jazz

Starting Lineup: Mike Conley Jr., Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale, Rudy Gobert

The team is dealing with some nagging injuries with Donovan Mitchell, but when healthy, this Jazz team is top-3 in offense and top-10 in defense. Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are one of the best duos in basketball. This is a team that features five starters who all understand their role. Keep an eye out for this team down the stretch.

7. Miami Heat

Starting Lineup: Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, P.J. Tucker, Bam Adebayo

The Heat and Bucks are very close in the rankings. However, the Heat need to prove they can outlast the Bucks in the season. The No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference has two older veterans in Lowry and Tucker, while the team relies heavily on bench hero, no pun intended, Tyler Herro. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are doing big things this year, but if this was a coin flip, you have to go with Giannis here.

6. Milwaukee Bucks

Starting Lineup: Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis

Losing Brook Lopez and having Bobby Portis start makes the starting lineup better, but it hurts the overall team. You can’t discount what the big three of Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Giannis Antetokounmpo can do together. After all, they won a title last season. The biggest drawback for the Bucks is that they rank 16th in points allowed. This used to be a stronger defensive unit closing out games, but their offense just barely makes it outside the top-5.

5. Memphis Grizzlies

Starting Lineup: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams

One could argue that just because the Grizzlies are a top-2 offense in the league, their defense (ranked 14th) should force them to be lower. The main difference between the Grizzlies and the Hornets and Timberwolves is that this team has Ja Morant, who will get MVP consideration this season. The Grizzlies are third in the West but would be the No. 1 team in the East with their 41 wins. Jaren Jackson Jr. is healthy, while Steven Adams is having the best rebounding season of his career. This lineup is legit.

4. Phoenix Suns

Starting Lineup: Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton

We are going to see what the Suns are made of with Chris Paul out for 6-8 weeks. Once upon a time, the duo of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton was not good enough to lead this team. That was before this team made a run to the NBA Finals. If the two can lead this team and keep them above the top of the Western Conference, then that will speak volumes for when Paul returns.

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Starting Lineup: Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid

The addition of James Harden cost the 76ers an All-Star in Ben Simmons and a reliable set of role players in Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. With that said, this big three of Harden, Tobias Harris, and potential MVP James Harden are good enough to make a run to the NBA Finals. Tyrese Maxey has flourished as a starter with Simmons out, while Thybulle is one of the most underrated defenders in the game.

2. Golden State Warriors

Starting Lineups: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney

The Suns are at the top of the West because they have a solid bench that could be deeper than Golden State. If we are talking about a pure five-on-five matchup between the starting lineups, most fans would probably take the Warriors. You have the reigning leading scorer and MVP candidate in Steph Curry, an All-Star in Andrew Wiggins, the likely winner of the Defensive Player of the Year, and Klay Thompson, who is getting healthier each day. This rotation is good enough by itself to make the NBA Finals.

1. Brooklyn Nets

Starting Lineup: Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Ben Simmons, Kevin Durant, Andre Drummond

This starting lineup by itself is borderline unbearable. For starters, Kevin Durant was on pace to win the MVP before he was injured. Ben Simmons could average a triple-double if he wanted to and play good enough defense to win Defensive Player of the Year. Kyrie Irving and Simmons can switch point guard duties to allow Irving to play shooting guard, a position where he averaged over 27 points per game last year. Then, there is that really good shooter in Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, who is a former rebounding champion with plenty left in the tank. If this was a five-on-five only league, this would be the starting lineup winning the NBA Finals. 


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