Ball Don't Lie - NBA

If you can wrap your mind around it, we're actually at the midway point of the NBA season. Most teams have played either 41 or 40 games, and with our limited math skills, this allows us to project a team's record for the entire season, flush with the knowledge that these teams have had half a season to get things right.

Do these projected records sound about right? Click the jump for more. Next up? The Northwest Division.

Denver Nuggets, projected record: 55-27

Does that sound about right?

Sounds about perfect, actually. Chauncey Billups(notes) has been plagued by injuries and a bit of a fall off, and the team is still in perpetual search for interior depth, but improved seasons from Carmelo Anthony(notes), Kenyon Martin(notes), and the rise of rookie point man Ty Lawson(notes) have helped keep the Nuggets afloat. Whether you think they can do anything with the Lakers is not the point. They've been the West's most consistent numbah two for a season and a half now, and show no signs of letting up.

Portland Trail Blazers, projected record: 50-32

Does that sound about right?

No. That's a projected record that gives as much credibility to the rate of wins and losses accrued in November with Greg Oden(notes) around, with Brandon Roy(notes) healthy, and without Juwan Howard(notes) (when he's not struck down by TB, or whatever Juwan has these days) starting at center. Can they keep this pace up? As much as I respect the stylings of this team's coaching staff, it just doesn't appear in the cards. Don't expect too much of a drop off, though. These Blazers are made of strong stuff.

Oklahoma City Thunder, projected record: 47-35

Does that sound about right?

Well, kind of. I'm still in shock (awe, really) that this young a team has gotten it together so quickly. This season was supposed to be for seasoning, a holding pattern in shorts, and yet the Thunder could threaten for 50 wins. I don't feel as gobsmacked after going up and down the roster, and considering what sort of quality individuals Sam Presti has put together, but for coach Scott Brooks to have this group playing this well this quickly? He's done a remarkable job.

Utah Jazz, projected record: 47-35

Does that sound about right?

Yes. It's pretty good, actually, considering how mismatched this roster can seem at times, how worries over the tax and Carlos Boozer's(notes) permanence and impermanence could have convinced the rest of the roster that nothing would have counted until 2010-11 anyway, and because of a Western Conference that keeps getting better. But Utah's defense has improved considerably this year, Deron Williams(notes) is healthy and potent, and the Jazz can put on a pretty good show when they want to.

Minnesota Timberwolves, projected record: 18-64

Does that sound about right?

No, the Timberwolves should be playing better than this. I understand the mitigating factors. I understand that Ricky Rubio's(notes) European presence essentially told the current Wolves that 2009-10 doesn't count for much. I understand that, 12 months removed from an ACL tear, that Al Jefferson(notes) is starting to turn the corner. That the team's perimeter depth is crap. That Kevin Love(notes) has been hurt. That Kurt Rambis is a patient sort, bent on making 2011-12 a better place. Doesn't matter. This team is not an 18-win team. I suspect, by April, that it will not be an 18-win team.

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