We are halfway done with January and the playoffs will be here before we know it. Both conferences are looking to be legit six teams deep; we are set for some exciting playoffs. This month’s edition of Stock Rising/Falling features some surprise teams currently in the playoff picture, a team that took a while to find themselves, and more – check it out below.
Utah Jazz: The Utah Jazz are 9-1 in their last ten games and have looked unstoppable. They also lead the league in net rating over the last ten, along with having the top effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage in the league during this stretch. It has become an annual tradition for them to start slow and then catch fire after their disappointing start.
The Jazz have been running with Donovan Mitchell as the primary ball-handler, Rudy Gobert manning the paint, and Bojan Bogdonovic, Joe Ingles, and Royce O’Neale sandwiched between them on the wings. This lineup has been insane, and Jordan Clarkson has also been a great addition; he is making a case for Sixth Man of the Year with his production. The Jazz are back to being a contending team and if Mike Conley can add positive production, this team will be dangerous.
Memphis Grizzlies: Don’t look now but the Grizzlies have won 8 of their last 10 and currently are the 8th seed in the West. They are also fourth in net rating over the last ten games. They had a very impressive win over the Rockets a few nights ago where they were smothering James Harden all night — despite scoring 40 points, he never found his rhythm.
A lot of their winning has been fueled by hot shooting, but that’s okay. This is a super young team that has looked great over this last stretch. They will come back down to earth, but their future looks bright as ever. Oh yeah, and Ja Morant is also a wizard with the ball.
Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers are sporting the 24th worst net rating over the last 10 games and have just looked straight up bad on the court. They are currently in 10th place in the West and have only won four games out of their last 10. While they are only 2.5 games out of the playoffs right now, they are 5.5 games out of the 7th seed.
If the Blazers can get it together, they might be able to get the 8th seed but they will almost certainly lose in four or five games. If their bad performance continues, they could fall out of the playoff hunt completely. It is at the point where their first-round pick is way too valuable to move for a short-term “win-now” deal. They are better off punting on the rest of this season and trying again next year when they get their health back, and maybe signing some actual forwards might help (looking at you Neil Olshey).
Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are 3-7 and have the 22nd worst net rating over the last 10. However, that’s not even why they are on here. Blake Griffin had season-ending surgery, Luke Kennard is out for a few weeks, and Andre Drummond is involved in all sorts of trade talk, and does not look interested whatsoever (he also appears to hate his jersey).
What sucks about the Pistons’ situation is that their role players have looked good this season; if only Blake could have been healthy enough to give the production he gave last year, because this season is already over.