#1 Dallas Mavericks (24-6) – They lost to a weak Raptors team last night playing without Dirk, but this team is legit so far this season, and has slayed two 10+ game winning streaks that Miami and San Antonio had going. I’ve watched a handful of Mavs games this year, and they seem to be playing a different level of defense to close out games. I’m not sure they are a favorite for a championship, but I already have more confidence in them than years past.
#2 Boston Celtics (24-5) – No Rondo, no problem. Pierce and KG have found the fountain of youth this year, and look rejuvenated and as focused as they ever have. When this team gets all the way to full strength, it might be impossible to stop them.
#3 San Antonio Spurs (27-4) – Are these Spurs going to wear down? They just beat the Lakers last night, and don’t seem to be slowing down, but at the same time I feel like there has to be a couple of injuries around the corner. Plus, they seem to be relying on late heroics a little too much for comfort. When was the last time their big three went through a season without an injury? Dunno, that one stumped me too!
#4 Miami Heat (24-9) – Who has two thumbs and picked them to be the #1 seed in the east? This guy!!! I’ll admit I thought this team was in trouble early in the season, but a 16-1 run sure makes you believe in them a whole lot more doesn’t it!?! Lebron keeps making stupid comments, but at least his team is finally winning.
#5 Chicago Bulls (20-10) – The D-Rose show is about as good as it gets. Everytime I’ve caught the Bulls it’s impossible to take your eyes off the guy. They haven’t really struggled too much with Noah out, so there’s not reason to drop them down much further than this.
#6 Utah Jazz (21-10) – Are the Jazz the best 20 win team that gets no press? Okay, maybe they haven’t been playing their best ball of the season as of late, but Okur is finally back in the rotation, so this team should start rolling ff the wins again soon.
#7 Orlando Magic (18-12) – Anytime you can beat the Celtics then Spurs on a back to back, it has to jump you up the rankings a little bit. The new additions are looking a lot more comfortable lately and it’s showed up in the win column. This team seems re-energized, and like I said before, I know this trade will work out.
#8 Los Angeles Lakers (21-10) – The Lakers struggles lately have been well documented, and rightfully so for the defending champs. Kobe might be showing his age a little, but this team will find its groove and will force me to move them up further on the next rankings I make.
#9 Seattle (21-11) – Maybe I got a little excited about the Sonics to start the season putting them as my #1 seed in the west, but maybe not. Durant is starting to play like he did all year last year, and Westbrook is improving faster than himself on a fast break which is a deadly combo.
#10 New York Knicks (18-13) – It’s fun having the Knicks relevant, how long that will last remains to be seen. Dyslecix’s mancrush on Felton has made me pay a little more attention to them this year, and their two big additions seem to be making the difference. It’s been awhile since they’ve had 18 wins and we’re only in December!
#11 Atlanta Hawks (20-13) – The Hawks are up and down this year. I’ll be honest I don’t watch them play much. You never really know what you will get from them from night to night. They beat a good team then get blown out by a bad team. They seem like the same team as last year.
#12 Denver Nuggets (17-13) – Might be too high for this team, but they are getting healthy and trying as hard as they can to convince Melo to stay. If they don’t do good over the next two weeks, expect Melo to be out like trout. The toughest part is figuring out what pieces they’d need to get for Melo.
#13 New Orleans Hornets (18-13) – The Hornets are the hardest team for me to figure out, because you know that with CP3 in there they have a shot every night. At the same time they suffer quite a few blowouts. I wonder if some of this is because of the turmoil in the front office. Uncertain workplace = tough to stay focused.
#14 Houston Rockets (15-15) – The Rockets are on a nice 5 game win streak. As always, I believe in Adelman because he just gets the job done no matter what adversity happens to come his way. They are in numerous trade talks right now, so we’ll see what/who they end up getting to improve this team. Scola definitely needs some help down low.
#15 Portland Trailblazers (16-16) – The Blazers have been better with Roy out of the lineup lately going 5-2. I’m still not sure what to make of this team since they are shopping their two best players (Camby and Miller). I think the wheels will fall off sooner than later unfortunately for them.
#16 Golden State Warriors (12-18) – Not the conventional #16 on most people’s lists, but I’m a homer damn it, and I’ll put them here if I want to! They’ve won three in a row, and are finally looking a little healthy for the first time this season. We have a huge five game road trip coming up that will tell me whether they deserved to make these rankings or not!