Growing up in New York, I would often listen to New York Knicks fan talk about the “Glory Days” with Patrick Ewing. My response has always been the same, What Glory Days?
The Knicks went to 2 NBA finals in the 1990s. In 1994, they lost to the Houston Rockets in 7 games and in 1999, they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
New York hasn’t won an NBA Championship since 1973. Glory days would imply championships. The same can be said about Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. The Rockets are 11-13 and appear to be a team in disarray. D’Antoni never won a title in Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles or with the Rockets. If Houston falters during the season look form D’Antoni to be on the “hot-seat.”
NBA Top 10 Rankings:
#10) Boston Celtics,14-10:
After struggling through the first part of the season, the Celtics have now won 7 out of their last 10 games and 4 in a row. Kyrie Irving is averaging 22 points, 6.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game. This team appears to be getting healthier and that is a great sign for Boston fans.
#9) Memphis Grizzlies,14-9:
The Grizzlies team is like the guy at the YMCA that plays defense hard and takes chargers in pick up games. Playing the Grizzlies is phsycially and mentally exhausting experience. They never take a playoff and they don’t beat themselves. There is so much talent at the point guard position that Mike Conley usually gets overlooked. The former Ohio State guard is averaging 21 points and 6.5 assists per game.
#8) Philadelphia 76ers, 17-9:
The 76ers have the best starting 5 in the Eastern Conference. JJ Reddick is averaging 18 points per game and continues to be one of the best shooters in the NBA.
#7) Los Angeles Lakers,15-9:
Like the Celtics, the Lakers are now playing better. Los Angels has won 7 out of 10 and 4 in a row. LeBron James is averaging 28 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. He leads the Lakers in almost every offensive category.
#6) Los Angeles Clippers, 16-8:
The Clippers have 5 players averaging over 10 points a game. There is no real super star on this team but they all know their roles. Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari are averaging 40 points per game between them. Montrezl Harrell could be the 6th man of the year. He is scoring 16 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
#5) Oklahoma City Thunder, 16-7:
Carmelo Anthony leaves the Thunder and the team is happy and playing well. That is not a coincidence. Dennis Schroeder has been a pleasant surprise. He is averaging 16.4 points and 5 assists per game. Russell Westbrook is averaging 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists per game and Paul George leads the team scoring 24 points per game. These two are fearless and will be a tough out in the NBA Playoffs.
#4)Denver Nuggets, 17-7:
The Nuggets remind me a lot of the LA Clippers, They don’t have a legitimate number 1 option on offense, but they have several players who contribute on a nightly basis. Nikola Jokic has been one of the best centers in the NBA. He is averaging 16.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, and leads the team with 7.8 assists per game.
#3) Golden State Warriors, 17-9:
Unless the Warriors have players go down with season ending injuries, they will be ranked in my top 5 every week. Their goal is to rest their players and be healthy for the playoffs. They have been to 4 straight finals and have won three NBA Championships. They are costing through the regular season. DeMarcus Cousins will be healthy by March. In 48 games last seasons, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists. With Cousins healthy, the Warrior’s will have the greatest starting 5, in the history of the NBA.
#2) Milwaukee Bucks, 16-7:
The Bucs are 1st in the NBA, making 14.6 3 pointers per game. Mike Budenholzer is my early pick for Coach of the Year. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads his team in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Would anyone be shocked if he wins the MVP award 3 or 4 times over the next 6 or 7 years?
#1) Toronto Raptors, 21-5:
Other than “The Greek Freak” in Milwaukee, Kawhi Leonard has been the best player in the NBA. The former San Antonio Spurs super-star is averaging 26 points and 8 rebounds per game. He is shooting 53% from the floor, and 85% from the free throw line. Kyle Lowry is thriving in this system because he no longer has to be a scoring option. Lowry is averaging 10.1 assists per game. Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam are averaging 30 points and 14 rebounds per game combined. This team is long, athletic and primed to make a deep playoff run.
Follow The Sports Whisperer on Twitter: Montejp231