5. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are on a long three-game break but their return to the court is an instant must-watch. Gone are Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson and in their place is two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant. That bumps up the Suns on any list that there is this season, whether it’s the Teams Likely To Win a Title list or League Pass power rankings. That’s what adding KD to your team will do.
The Suns haven’t been a particularly exciting team to watch since they made it to the NBA Finals in 2021. There were no big changes that happened on the court (although significant things are happening behind the scenes). For the coming months, though, the Suns will definitely be a team to watch–not just to see how KD will fit with Devin Booker and Chris Paul but really just to watch KD play basketball minus the drama in Brooklyn.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
If you’ve been watching the Lakers in the first half of the season for the LeBron James’ buckets, then the second half of the season will be different. Not that the chase for history is out of the way, but the Lakers can focus on climbing out of the pit and into play-in tournament territory.
The Lakers made big moves at the trade deadline and now look like a totally different team from January. With James nursing a foot injury that could linger all throughout the season, LA will look to their new recruits to give life to Laker Nation and make a run for the playoffs. D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley all have the talent for it. But the question remains: how many games can Anthony Davis stay on the floor to lead the Lakers back to the top? Catch Lakers games on League Pass to find out.
3. Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz were League Pass favorites at the start of the season because of how they surprised the entire league with wins. They should be League Pass favorites now to see just how they can get themselves into the playoff mix. Four players well-loved by Utah fans are now gone: Mike Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker were shipped to Minnesota while Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley moved to LA.
In return, Jazz got a future first-round pick, but that’s someone we won’t see and meet until 2027. What Utah will see in the coming months is a freed Russell Westbrook, who’s now moved on from all the scrutiny he faced as a Los Angeles Laker. It’s safe to say his stint in LA was unsuccessful and he now has a chance to play his game as a member of the Jazz–and hopefully have fun while doing it.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
LeBron James broke the all-time scoring record set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on February 7, 2023. The shot that made it happen, a jumper over Kenrich Williams, will forever be part of NBA history. What probably won’t be remembered that day is how the OKC Thunder won that game. Their All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 30 points on the Lakers, getting buckets any which way he wanted to. Their rookie Jalen Williams scored 25 points.
The Thunder has been a secretly good team, sitting in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 27-28 record. They’ve been doing it with a roster that’s relying on youth, athleticism, and sheer guts. To think that they should’ve had second-overall pick Chet Holmgren in their active roster makes OKC a legit dangerous team that no one should sleep on.
1. Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic doing magic tricks on the court is enough reason to tune in to Dallas games on League Pass. On any given night, Doncic has the potential to shock and awe, whether through one of his patented insane moves or an equally insane statline. He’s the type of generational talent you just can’t get enough of–that we know as a fact.
Now, add Kyrie Irving alongside him. Irving is having a less-than-ideal season, making more headlines for off-court stories than actual highlights. His first three games as a Maverick have shown promise. Scoring 24, 25, and 28 points, respectively, Irving is again showing that he can get buckets wherever city he’s in. There was never any doubt about Irving’s talent as a basketball player but the noise surrounding his career has been getting more spotlight recently than his handles. If his stint in Dallas would allow him to just play hoops in the purest form, then we might be in store for his best version yet.