By: Louis Prejean
Six weeks of the 2015-16 NBA season has been completed and every fan should feel blessed to watch what is going on. The Warriors are off to the absolute best start by a team in NBA history and the San Antonio Spurs are showing that age is nothing, but a number. So much has happened in the NBA, so let’s break down who has been the best of the best after six weeks.
- Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are 23-0 and they are off to the best road start in NBA history by winning their 13 games away from Oracle Arena. Stephen Curry has clearly been the early MVP candidate with one quarter of the season out of the way. Many thought the Indiana Pacers would end the streak, but the Warriors proved everyone wrong yet again by scoring 131 points on one of the league’s top defenses. Golden State had a scare in Toronto and Utah on this road trip, yet they persevered like great teams do. The Warriors are definitely hungry and they are the best team in the NBA after six weeks. The record speaks for itself.
- San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are the second hottest team in the NBA. Many can argue that the Spurs are the only team that can actually beat the Warriors, but their matchup is over one month away so we will not know until then. The play that the Spurs are getting out of Kawhi Leonard goes to show that San Antonio knows how to maximize talent better than every team. The Spurs are 9-1 in their last 10 games and hold second place in the Western Conference with a record of 18-4. The Spurs are winning with their number one defense as they continue to adapt their offense with Aldridge and Leonard at the helm.
- Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are one of the best and deepest teams when healthy. The combination of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant is too much for other teams to handle. Their defense could use some help, but with Oklahoma City scoring the second most points per game they are doing enough to win games in the regular season. The Thunder are 7-3 in their last 10 games and just dominated the Memphis Grizzlies on the road by 37. Everything is rolling for OKC and when they are playing like this they are easily amongst the elite teams in the association.
- Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers seem to have slipped as of late. The Cavaliers recently went on a three-game losing streak, but won their last game against the Trail Blazers. LeBron did rest for the game at Miami after a tough overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. It was Blatt’s decision to sit LeBron because he is basically doing 90% of the work for his team. Kevin Love has played well this season, but there is no denying that the Cavaliers are a below .500 team without LeBron James playing. James lifts everyone’s play and lifts the Cavaliers to a top five team in the NBA based off of his ability to give Cleveland a chance to win any game.
- Miami Heat
The Miami Heat did beat the Cavaliers, but that was without LeBron James. Still some credit is due for the Heat because they are playing very well in terms of stopping teams from scoring. Miami has one of the best defenses in the NBA with the best rim protector in the league in Hassan Whiteside. The Heat are without Luol Deng, but Gerald Green will be serviceable for the time being. The Miami Heat’s depth along with the timeless play of Dwyane Wade and consistency of Chris Bosh elevates them above a lot of NBA teams.
- Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls have beat the Cavaliers, Spurs, Thunder, and Pacers this season. That is pretty good. The Bulls have proved that they can compete with their talented roster. Jimmy Butler has taken over as the leader of this team while Derrick Rose has, respectfully, taken the backseat. Fred Hoiberg has Chicago playing at a faster pace by ranking 8th in the NBA in possession per 48 minutes. The Chicago Bulls still have some trouble scoring the ball, so the more opportunities the better. Chicago’s toughness on the defensive end propels them into the top ten of the NBA and once they find their rhythm on offense they are capable of taking over the Eastern Conference.
- Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte has been on a roll lately. Steve Clifford has done an outstanding job as the head coach for this Hornets team. Clifford has instilled a winning attitude and changed the culture in Charlotte. The Hornets have become a great team at home with a record of 9-3 when playing in their own arena. Their overall record currently stands at 12-8 and the Hornets are tied with the Indiana Pacers for fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. However, with Charlotte rattling off wins they will surely take over that fourth spot for themselves soon enough. They have a tough schedule over the next five games because all five opposing teams have winning records. Charlotte fans should not be too worried because the Hornets believe they can go out and win all five.
- Toronto Raptors
So close, yet so far. The Raptors were close to handing the Golden State Warriors their first loss of the season, but fell short. Toronto has shown to be a shaky and inconsistent team in the Eastern Conference. Right after winning three games in a row, the Raptors lose three of their next four games. Toronto also faced some bad news with DeMarre Carroll out for an unknown time with a right knee contusion. The Raptors are one of the worst teams in terms of ball movement and rank toward the bottom in assists per game. However, the combo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan has been the second highest scoring backcourt in the NBA. No one knows how long they can carry the Raptors on their backs, but Toronto is still a good team defensively and deserves to be mentioned among the top ten teams in the association.
- Dallas Mavericks
It was good to see Wesley Matthews put up that 36 point performance and hit 10 threes in the Mavericks’ win over the Wizards. The Dallas Mavericks currently have a record of 13-9 and a majority of their games have been on the road. The Mavericks have played 14 games on the road, as opposed to 8 at home. With all of the road games, Dallas is still fourth in the Western Conference. No one expected great things from this Mavericks team, but Dallas is undoubtedly playing beyond expectations. Dirk seems to have found the fountain of youth and Rick Carlisle is showing yet again that he can win with any roster given to him. The Mavericks play at home for their next three games and have a legitimate shot at a 3-0 home stand, which would show again that Dallas is proving everyone wrong.
- Indiana Pacers
This is the best Paul George has looked in his young career. That is saying something after coming off of a right leg injury that had many doubting he could return to playing at a high-level. Indiana has lost three straight after winning five in a row. The Pacers still have a top ten defense, but their offense begins and ends with Paul George. That is no way to run an offense, but Frank Vogel can coach this team to wins by himself. The Indiana Pacers will need to find that same intensity they had before this losing streak because their schedule does not ease up. On the other hand, Frank Vogel and Paul George have proven they are the ones the fans can count on to steer this team in the right direction.
You can follow me @LouisPrejean.
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