15. New York Knicks (16): They hit 22-15 mid-January, but have since struggled mightily. The Knicks have won three of their last four after suffering a six-losing streak, but it’s hard to imagine them returning to the top-four with Miami, Boston, Chicago and Orlando all playing so well.
14. Memphis Grizzlies (14): After battling back from as many as six games below .500, the Grizzlies have finally broke even at 24-24. They are still a few games out of the playoff picture, however, they could easily be the West’s eighth seed by the end of the week.
13. Portland Trail Blazers (12): First Oden, then Przybilla, then Roy now Marcus Camby? This team has no business being above .500, let alone a playoff team in the West. If they make the playoffs and Nate McMillan isn’t awarded Coach of the Year, I call shenanigans.
12. Utah Jazz (10): After starting off the season 27-13, the Jazz have started to fall off the boat a little bit, losing seven of their last eight, with their only win coming against Minnesota. I don’t think that they will fall out of the playoff picture, but half of their games (17) to end the season will be played on the road, where they have struggled (12-12) this year.
11. Denver Nuggets (15): It seems like Carmelo is just going to play the season out in Denver. They’ll probably make the playoffs and pose a challenge to whoever their opponent is, yet, that’s about as good as it is going to get for them before Melo walks and they are left with nothing. On the bright side, they’ve won seven of their last 10.