1. Indiana Pacers (12-1)- The Pacers have only had one slip up this season, and they look like the best team in the league. Lance Stephenson has been good, the bench is improved, and Paul George may be the MVP. This team is a monster defensively.
2. San Antonio Spurs (12-1)- Somehow, the Spurs are getting it done this season, despite being another year older. They are getting contributions from everyone they put on the floor, and this team may be the deepest in the league. The Spurs are the Spurs again.
3. Portland Trail Blazers (12-2)- This team is on fire right now. After starting 2-2, they haven’t lost since, and they could be serious contenders. Their bench is no longer a mess, and the team is developing good chemistry. This is a great team.
4. Miami Heat (10-3)- The Heat are finally finding their groove after a slow start. Their biggest enemy this season will be themselves, but lucky for them, the East looks as bad as it’s been in a long time. LeBron looks like Lebron, and they will be near the top all season. Wade is getting a lot of rest, and that’s a good thing for them come playoff time.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (9-3)- The Thunder will bring out arguably the two best players on the floor in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, and that will be enough to win most games. They are in the top half on both offense and defense in the league, and it looks like business as usual in Oklahoma City.
6. Los Angeles Clippers (10-5)- The Clippers have a powerful offense. They can score better than anyone in the league, and Chris Paul is having his best season under Doc Rivers. Defensively they still have a question mark, but this is a very good team.
7. Houston Rockets (9-5)- The Rockets have been without James Harden recently as he battles a foot injury, but when he’s healthy, they are hard to stop. They have some issues on the perimeter defeinsively, but they have a lot of firepower. There are a few questions though, and the Omer Asik situation could lead to something soon.
8. Golden State Warriors (8-6)- The Warriors have the chance to be the best team in the West when healthy. The problem is that they can’t stay healthy. Stephen Curry has missed time, and now Andre Iguodala is out with a hamstring strain. They could experience a drop off until they get healthy, but this is still a very good team.
9. Dallas Mavericks (9-5)- The Mavericks have surprised me. I didn’t see this team playing well this season, but Dirk looks the best he’s looked in 3 years. Monta Ellis has been better and smarter, and this team has a lot of weapons to score with. They will be in contention for the playoffs.
10. Atlanta Hawks (8-6)- There are only 3 teams in the East who have winning records, and the Hawks are the 3rd team. They are playing great offensively under Mike Budenholzer, as they move the ball, and Jeff Teague should be an all-star. They have issues getting to the line, and the Celtics were able to shut them down in the 4th quarter in their last game, but this team is pretty good.
11. Memphis Grizzlies (7-6)- The Grizzlies started playing better when David Joerger went back to what made them good last year. They play good defense, and they let the rebounds dictate the offensive flow. Marc Gasol is now out for a while, so we will see if they can tread water until he gets back.
12. Minnesota Timberwolves (8-7)- The Wolves have dropped off as of late, and they need to get things on track soon. They are still a powerful offensive team, and I have faith that Rick Adelman knows what he’s doing.
13. Phoenix Suns (7-6)- The Suns have also dropped off, but that was to be expected. They still have young talent that can compete, but they ultimately want to be in the lottery. They are better than most people expected though, and they are finding gems like the Morris twins.
14. Charlotte Bobcats (7-7)- The Charlotte Bobcats are a scrappy team. They keep finding ways to win games, and Steve Clifford could be the coach of the year. With a weak East, they have a chance to squeak in the playoffs this season.
15. New Orleans Pelicans (6-6)- The New Orleans Pelicans have been playing .500 ball this season, and that’s exactly what their record says they are. They still need time for their talent to mesh, but Anthony Davis looks like an absolute monster.
16. Chicago Bulls (6-6)- The Chicago Bulls were playing great until Derrick Rose went down with a torn meniscus. Now, he could miss the entire season, and there are reports that say they could trade Luol Deng. It looks like we could be seeing a lost season in Chicago.
17. Denver Nuggets (6-6)- The Denver Nuggets are playing well under Brian Shaw, and it looks like small-ball may be their identity. JaVale McGee is out, and they have played well since he was injured. This team is dangerous, and I like what they have done lately.
18. Los Angeles Lakers (7-7)- Well, it looks like the Lakers are going to hover around .500 when Kobe returns. This team plays hard, and they play the right way. I actually like this Lakers team, and if they can get Kobe to play in the flow of the offense, they could be a playoff team. Jordan Hill and Steve Blake have been spectacular.
19. Toronto Raptors (6-7)- The Raptors are a team that is lacking consistency. Some nights they score well, and some nights they get in each others way. It looks like they could be a team that sneaks in due to a weak East as well.
20. Philadelphia 76ers (6-9)-The Sixers have 6 wins, which is more than most people expected all season. They just got Michael Carter-Williams back, and they are no pushovers. Congratulations to Brett Brown and the Sixers for showing some fight.
21. Washington Wizards (5-8)- The Wizards have started to play better as of late, and John Wall is looking confident. If they keep this up, expect them to get around .500 soon.
22. Detroit Pistons (5-8)- The Pistons have a lot of issues. Their front court is not fitting well together, and Mo Cheeks needs to find a way to make this work. Josh Smith has been horrible, and they have been a disappointment.
23. Sacramento Kings (4-9)- The Kings have played better recently, but they are still a mess. They lost to the Lakers last night, and they will probably make a trade so they can be better set up with picks and young pieces, and they have a bright future ahead of them.
24. Boston Celtics (5-10)- The Celtics were 4-4, and they are now 5-10. They go through stretches where they play worse than anyone in the league, but they also go through stretches like they did in the 4th quarter against Atlanta, and beat some teams. Look for this team to win around 30 games this season.
25. Orlando Magic (4-9)- The Orlando Magic are a young, scrappy team that is going to cause teams to work to beat them. They challenged the Heat in their last game, and they are fun to watch. If they get a high draft pick, watch out.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-10)- The Cavaliers are one of the most disappointing teams in the league. They have the talent to be good, but their offense is a mess. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mike Brown is fired soon, and they might bring in someone like a George Karl. They got shellacked in their last game against the Spurs.
27. New York Knicks (3-9)- The Knicks need Tyson Chandler back now. Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire are giving the fans a show when they attempt to play defense. The Knicks are also having issues on offense, and expect some changes in New York soon.
28. Brooklyn Nets (3-10)- The Nets are a mess. They don’t have flow on offense, they can’t stop anyone on defense, and I’m starting to think this isn’t going to work. Expect something drastic to happen if this losing continues.
29. Milwaukee Bucks (2-10)- The Bucks don’t have the talent to compete this year, and it’s showing. They should focus on playing the young guys they have to see how they do with minutes, and focus on getting one of those studs in college.
30. Utah Jazz (1-14)- The Utah Jazz have 1 win in about a month. They aren’t good. They did get Trey Burke back, but that won’t mean much. It’s good to see him playing again.
If anything, we have seen a lot of .500 basketball, and learned that the East looks bad. Really bad.