4 NBA teams to watch down the stretch

Zion Williamson, Ja Morant
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It has been all about top-end contenders around the NBA this season. Most would love to see the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Milwaukee Bucks in the Finals.

However, there’s a number of under-the-radar teams who have proven themselves to be must-watch television.

Rookies Ja Morant and Zion Williamson have led their respective squads into playoff contention. Another team back east in that of the Miami Heat is playing great ball.

These are among the four teams we should be paying attention to as the 2019-20 NBA season comes to a culmination here soon.

Memphis Grizzlies

If nothing else, the idea of watching rookie Ja Morant blossom into a star has to be appealing to the common NBA fan. Morant is out here worrying more about getting his team into playoff positioning than any individual award. That tells us what we need to know about the rookie No. 2 overall pick.

From a team-wide perspective, Memphis is currently the eighth seed in the Western Conference with a 31-31 record. It won a total of 33 games a season ago. That just goes to show us how well first-year head coach Taylor Jenkins has performed in his new role.

With a whopping 16 of their final 21 games against current playoff teams, these Grizzlies are nothing less than must-watch NBA TV down the stretch.

Miami Heat

Currently sitting at 40-22 on the season, Erik Spoelstra‘s squad is challenging both Toronto and Boston for a top-two seed in the Eastern Conference. Not a single soul outside of South Beach saw this coming to fruition at the start of the season.

Recent struggles in Miami gave way to an electric win over the Milwaukee Bucks earlier in the week. This proves that the Heat are for real when it comes to the Eastern Conference title race.

The draw outside of surprise contention are youngsters Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. Could they be the driving force in South Beach moving forward? It’s certainly something to keep an eye on down the stretch.

New Orleans Pelicans

Star forward Zion Williamson is in the midst of an historical start to his rookie season. The generational talent just went tit-for-tat with LeBron James this past weekend and has been absurd since returning from injury. Williamson is averaging 24.0 points on 58% shooting from the field in 17 games. It has his Pelicans right on the fringe of the eighth seed out west.

I am highly intrigued to see how this entire race plays out. Williamson potentially going up against Morant for the right to take on James and the Lakers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Who could have drawn it up any better?

The backdrop here is a Pelicans squad that is loaded up and down its roster. Youngster Brandon Ingram is coming off his first ever All-Star appearance. Lonzo Ball has upped his game big time since Williamson’s return. It’s now must-watch basketball in the Bayou less than a year after the entire Anthony Davis drama.

Dallas Mavericks

Despite some recent struggles with injuries, it’s been the Luka Doncic show in Big D. The second-year wing is averaging a near triple-double (28.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.8 assists). That alone, makes the Mavericks a must-watch squad down the stretch.

Though, it’s the recent performance of Kristaps Porzingis in the blocks that has Dallas thinking it can make a run. The fourth-year big is finally living up to expectations, averaging north of 27 points over the past 12 games. If he can keep it up, these Mavs are going to be a force moving forward.