The NBA season is literally flying by and is moving a lot faster than casual fans realize. Starting the season two weeks earlier and providing more rest for players in between games might be the single best idea the NBA has ever had. The competitiveness and the games this season have been a lot more memorable compared to year’s past.
Finally, it seems we have moved past the “Did not play – rest” we were seeing a lot. Now the NBA still has some clear cut super teams and some teams clearly tanking but the middle of the pack teams seem to be much more competitive and the league as a whole has more depth.
Lets get on to see how the teams stack up at this point in the year:
30. Dallas Mavericks – record 3-14
The Mavericks continue to hold the worst record in the league and seem destined to be selecting in the top three of the draft. The Mavericks have a core to build around in Dennis Smith Jr, Harrison Barnes, and Yogi Ferrell. The Mavericks should target a big man in the draft. Players such as Marvin Bagley, Deandre Ayton, Mo Bamba all should be options considered. Of coarse, if they can grab Luka Doncic they will get a complete all around player with the necessary size on the wing to play Barnes as a small ball four.
29. Atlanta Hawks – record 3-13
The only relative question is will the Hawks keep Dennis Schroeder or move him as the deadline approaches. The Hawks will have suitors for Schroeder and could add additional picks for their rebuild.
28. Chicago Bulls – record 3-11
The Bulls could move Robin Lopez to a contender seeking bench help. Lopez is having a nice season in Chicago averaging 13.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and a block a game in 30.1 minutes of play. Lopez has one more year left on his deal at a little over $14 million. That’s a movable salary in today’s NBA.
27. Sacramento Kings – record 4-12
The Kings have been okay at home going 3-3 but have been absolutely dreadful on the road with a 1-9 start. The Kings are losing on average by 12.4 points a game. Easily the worst in the NBA by a large margin.
26. Los Angeles Clippers – record 5-10
Losers of now 8 in a row, Doc Rivers is running out of time and quite simply is proving to be the most overrated head coach and general manager in the league. If the losing continues, expect Rivers to be fired and for the Clippers management to entertain trade offers for Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin.
25. Brooklyn Nets – record 6-10
The Nets will boil down to what if Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell stayed healthy the entire season? The Nets could have been a sneaky good team all year competing for a playoff spot. Spencer Dinwiddie has been a great fill in however, averaging 11.3 points and 5.7 assists in 24 minutes a game.
24. Phoenix Suns – record 7-11
The Suns continue to win a few more games than expected. After giving up 90 first half points and 142 total to the Rockets to begin the week, the Suns bounced back to win two in a row over the Lakers and Bulls. T.J Warren may be one of the NBA’s most underrated players and is on a terrific contract going forward. Warren has more value than his four year $5o million extension.
23. Charlotte Hornets – record 6-9
The Hornets play a lot of close games and lose a lot of close games. The Hornets are only being outscored by a 0.9 margin on the year but a 1-7 road record has plagued their early season record. If they don’t fix the play on the road, making the playoffs will be difficult.
22. Los Angeles Lakers – record 7-10
Lonzo Ball picked up his second career triple double this past week but also decided to show he was not in the mood for fighting or sticking up for his teammates in a loss to the Suns. You can read more about that here.
21. Utah Jazz – record 7-10
The significant injury to Rudy Gobert has derailed Utah’s season for the moment. The team needs their defensive anchor in the middle to make up for the real go to player on offense. Rodney Hood is starting to emerge in the scorers role averaging 22.6 points on 53.3% shooting from 3 in his past 5 games.
20. Miami Heat – record 7-9
Up and down the Heat go and it’s looking more and more likely they’ll be a middle of the road .500 team throughout the year. No they were not as bad as they’re 10-31 start last season and no they were not as good as the 31-10 finish. They are an average basketball team that’ll be a fringe playoff contender.
19. Memphis Grizzlies – record 7-8
If the Girzzlies wanted to be a playoff team this year, they need a fully healthy season from Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Unfortunately, Conley is down and out again and the Girzzlies have now fell below .500 and are on a 4 game losing streak. Time for a rebuild?
18. Oklahoma City Thunder – record 7-8
The Thunder just can’t beat a good team. They held a 23 point lead in San Antonio before eventually losing by 7. This was a Spurs team minus Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. When do you start hearing the first player complaints in OKC?
17. Orlando Magic – record 8-8
The Magic have struggled to keep up with their impressive start to the year but overall fans should be happy. Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier have proved to be two legit pieces going forward to help build the team around. Do not be surprised if the Magic float Nikola Vucevic name in trade rumors.
16. New Orleans Pelicans – record 8-8
The Pelicans now have Rajon Rondo playing normal minutes and got good news that Anthony Davis avoided a concussion when he went down with an injury. The Pelicans defense has been horrid of late giving up 125 and 146 points in the past two games.
15. Indiana Pacers – record 9-8
The Pacers continue to play hard despite no true star talent although Victor Oladipo still seems determined to change the narrative about him. Oladipo is still scoring over 22 points a night giving the Pacers a go to option.
14. Milwaukee Bucks – record 8-7
The Bucks are now 4-1 with the addition of Eric Bledsoe to the lineup. Had they not been blown out by the Mavericks this past weekend, the Bucks would find themselves higher than the Knicks and 76ers.
13. New York Knicks – record 8-7
The Knicks are two different teams when playing at home compared to on the road. The Knicks are 7-3 when playing at MSG and are just 1-4 on the road. Kristaps Porzingis is in shooting slump over his past 3 games only hitting 34% of his attempts, however that is unlikely to last long. Figure the Knicks to be in playoff discussions for a good majority of the year.
12. Philadelphia 76ers – record 8-7
The Process is being trusted so much now that the 76ers are likely to have two Eastern Conference All Star Starters come February. Yeah that’s how good Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid truly are.
Speaking of All Stars for the East, this is the likely starting lineup: LeBron James, Ben Simmons, Giannias Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis, Joel Embiid. That’s just downright insane to comprehend the size, length, and basketball ability of those 5 players potentially in a lineup.
11. Denver Nuggets – record 9-7
The Nuggets had an extremely uneven week losing by 19 to the Blazers, beating the Pelicans by 32 before dropping a game to the Lakers by 18. Paul Millsap is undergoing a MRI for his wrist injury suffered in the Lakers game and his status is still unknown going forward.
10. Portland Trailblazers – record 9-7
Interesting trade idea, I saw floating around on Twitter past couple of days was a package of C.J McCollum being dealt for Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz. Now, I have no idea how truthful the rumor is but it is compelling thought. Portland is a franchise stuck in NBA purgatory. Not good enough to be a great team and not bad enough to get a high pick.
9. Washington Wizards – record 9-7
The Wizards have now dropped two in a row following a four game winning streak and are about to play 9 of their next 11 games away from the Nation’s Capital. This will be a good test to see how good the Wizards may be this year.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers – record 9-7
It’s actually hard to fathom a team with LeBron James has a negative point differential at this point in the year but here we are with Cleveland. The Cavs have now one four in a row but have played tough and close games in each. Their opponents? Mavericks, Hornets, Knicks and Clippers. Maybe too soon to say the Cavs are fully back.
7. San Antonio Spurs – record 10-6
When will Kawhi Leonard come back is what everyone in San Antonio has to be asking. Leonard, who is still out with a quad injury, has been monitored as day to day but has yet to see the floor this season. Even with Leonard and Tony Parker, who is still out for his injury in last seasons playoffs, the Spurs sit in the top 4 in the West.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves – record 10-6
The Timberwolves had won three in a row before losing a fourth quarter lead late to the Pistons to ruin their perfect week. Minnesota has a favorable 5 games to finish the month of November with four of the five games being at home while only playing one team with a winning record. Minnesota can start to create some separation in the pack with a solid finish to the month.
5. Toronto Raptors – record 11-5
The Raptors are starting to click and get into rhythm as a unit and are now on a four game winning streak. The Raptors only trail the Cavs in the East in terms of points per game scoring over 110 points a night.
4. Detroit Pistons – record 11-5
The Pistons keeping winning games and still remain the most suprising team in the NBA this year in terms of success. After a two game losing streak and trailing by double digits to the Twolves, the Pistons responded by coming back to win Sunday night in Minnesota. Andre Drummond is continuing his all star play and will challenge Joel Embiid for the starting spot for the All Star Game.
3. Golden State Warriors – record 13-4
Still impossible to believe the Warriors have yet to be ranked 1 in the Power Rankings or even crack the top 2 for that matter. It’s only a matter of time before Steph, Klay, KD, and Draymond want to rattle off 10 game winning streak.
2. Houston Rockets – record 13-4
Chris Paul has shown to have no problem adjusting to playing with James Harden in his two games back into the Houston lineup. The Rockets are an explosive offensive unit and have the potential to be even better defensively as Chris Paul gets off his minutes limit.
1 Boston Celtics – record -15-2
15 in a row for the Celtics! Nothing else to say except elect Brad Stevens for Team USA coach and President.