How the hiatus affects all 30 NBA teams

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images /

Oklahoma City Thunder: Pausing a magical season

If we hadn’t had so much time over the last week to look, a glance at the standings might be surprising. The top of the West was fairly predictable with the Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets in the top three slots, and despite their season-long struggles, the Utah Jazz sitting in fourth wasn’t much of a shock either. But the Oklahoma City Thunder occupying the 5-spot, with only one game separating them from fourth place, was one of the season’s biggest stunners.

For anyone wondering if Chris Paul still had it, this season answered with a resounding “yes.” He was instrumental to this underrated group’s magical year. Most people expected the Thunder would compete as long as they kept the roster intact. Not many thought that would actually come to fruition, with the front office standing pat at the trade deadline while CP3 embraced his mentorship of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and just plain balled out.

Danilo Gallinari was staying healthy, Steven Adams had shaken off a rocky start and OKC looked like a sleeper to steal home-court advantage in the first round. This hiatus stops them in their tracks for a bit, especially with Paul and Gallo being older and more injury-prone, but hopefully it’s just pressing pause on what’s been a major pleasant surprise.