By: Louis Prejean
Fifteen weeks of the NBA has blown by and nothing special is happening really. It is not like we are witnessing the greatest regular season performance by a NBA team in the history of the sport. In addition, despite that team’s amazing play, another team is still only 3.5 games behind them in the conference. That is just in one conference. On the other end, the Eastern Conference has more teams with records over .500. The NBA is not witnessing the development of talented, young players like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and others. What a boring NBA season. What a boring fifteen weeks. With all the sarcasm aside, here the top ten NBA teams at this point in the season.
1. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors cannot be stopped. Their combination of shooting with ball movement and the mixture of defense and offense is unparalleled by any other team. We are witnessing one of the greatest teams in NBA history. The Golden State Warriors are off to the best start in NBA history through 51 games with a record of 47-4. The reigning MVP, Stephen Curry, is even better than last season and the same goes for Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. This team is truly a sight to see and we are lucky to watch them play.
2. San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are doing great things as well this season. They have had twelve different starting lineups, which ranks them among the leading teams in that statistic. The Spurs have never really found themselves in slumps and steadily win games. That is all they do. They win games. LaMarcus Aldridge is being more aggressive lately. This is a good sign for the Spurs, as they look to Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge to take them to the next level. Being the best defensive team in the NBA is also a bonus.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder gave the Warriors a run for their money in Golden State. They also showed a lot of promise as one of the only team that can possibly give the Warriors problems if they meet in the postseason. Kevin Durant has become underrated in the midst of all of the Stephen Curry hype and the talk of other young players. Durant is having an amazing season that will go tragically unnoticed by most. Russell Westbrook is averaging monstrous numbers. Each of their average games are career nights for most of the players in the league. If only their second unit was more consistent then the Thunder would be taken a little more serious.
4. Toronto Raptors
Toronto has to feel real good about where they are at right now. They are winners of nine of their last ten games, two games behind first place in the East, and hosting All-Star weekend. What a time to be a Toronto fan. The Raptors are doing all of this without their main offseason acquisition in DeMarre Carroll. There are not enough words to describe what Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have contributed to this team’s success. Everyone on the Raptors is riding high going into this week-long break and they will only get better as this season progresses.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
The other four teams above the Cavaliers are playing better basketball right now. Do not freak out seeing the Cavaliers as low as five. The Cavaliers are not playing up to their potential. Most expect this team to be crushing opponents with the amount of talent they have on their roster. Kevin Love is becoming more comfortable with Ty Lue at the helm. LeBron is being LeBron. The Cavaliers need more from their second unit, as they cannot rely on four players night in and night out. But hey, a lot of teams would love to be first in the Eastern Conference and have a 37-14 record.
6. Los Angeles Clippers
Are the Los Angeles Clippers a product of a favorable schedule? No. The Clippers are merely taking advantage and winning the games they are suppose to win. That is what good teams do and they are a good team, even without Blake Griffin. It will be a while until the Clippers see Griffin back on the floor since he is recovery from a broke hand and is now suspended for four games for the team staff incident. However, as we have seen, the Clippers have been just fine without one of their best players. Literally every player on the roster has stepped up in his absence. Doc Rivers is showing he is capable of rallying a group of teammates and leading them in an impressive stretch of basketball.
7. Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are hitting their stride. They have moved up to third in the Eastern Conference with strong team play. Brad Stevens has a way of making every player on the roster a valuable asset. Whoever plays each game for the Celtics will do something that will benefit to the win. Avery Bradley has turned himself into a nice jump shooter and that ability came in handy when he hit the buzzer beater three to beat the Cavaliers in Cleveland. This team is tough and if no teams should take them for granted because they have the heart of winners.
8. Memphis Grizzlies
Despite losing their last two games, the Memphis Grizzlies are back to their winning ways. The Grizzlies have been giving opponents all they can handle by roughing games up with their old school style of play. They are trying to mix small ball in their system too but they will come to find that they are a tough team to beat when they control the pace. Zach Randolph has caught his second wind after being benched for quite some time. Jeff Green deserves a mention here. He provides a spark of versatility and athleticism this team needs. Hopefully Marc Gasol can have a speedy and successful recovery after suffering a broken foot. This All-Star break is much needed for the Memphis Grizzlies.
9. Miami Heat
Hassan Whiteside is transforming into the best rim protector in the NBA. Just wanted to throw that out there because people are starting to believe the Miami Heat are better with him off the floor. He has four triple-doubles with points, rebounds, and blocks in the last three season. The rest of the league has zero in that span. The Miami Heat need Whiteside to be competitive among the rest of the NBA’s elite teams. The Heat are staying in games with their defense rather than their offense. Maybe a nice rest and regrouping will help the Heat’s offensive woes. Once that fixes, the Miami Heat will be a problem moving forward.
10. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks went from an organization gaining stability after letting Joe Johnson and Josh Smith go back to a team of uncertainty. The Hawks are thinking of making Al Horford, Jeff Teague, and Kyle Korver available in trade talks. This is not good for a team looking to make a run in the postseason. Atlanta relies on their chemistry and ball movement. Switching up core players will most likely ruin all the work they have put into their current team. Yes, the Hawks have been inconsistent but they must stick with what they have. That is their best chance of winning. They are still in good position to make the playoffs and perhaps homecourt advantage in the first round.