30) Atlanta Hawks- as far as the Hawks go, well let’s just say this, the Hawks are more concerned with entertaining their fans with stadium renovations and attractions than they are adding talent to this team. It’s like going into a Dave and Busters and there is a game on in the background. You’re more concerned with what extracurricular activities the franchise is providing.
29) Memphis Grizzlies- There is nothing positive to say about the Grizzlies this season. They fired a great coach in David Fizdale all because of an egomaniac at center. I used to love Marc Gasol, but the way he forced Fizdale out of Memphis rubs me the wrong way. This team will be better off trading Gasol and embracing a rebuild.
28) Phoenix Suns- still without Devin Booker, we are seeing how weak this roster is. The Suns aren’t a very good basketball team and they will more than likely tank this season again.
27) Dallas Mavericks- while the Mavericks have veteran talent on this team, they’re still playing poorly. Their talent consists of role players and an aging Hall of Famer. DSJ is the only positive attraction right now for the future of this team.
26) Sacramento Kings- The Kings continue to play decent basketball and Frank Mason has played well lately. This team has a few too many veterans on it and they need to embrace the youth movement. I am hoping that the Kings find away to acquire a draft pick for George Hill. They need to improve their small forward position.
25) Orlando Magic- I cannot believe how poorly the Magic have been over the past month. This team looked to be making progress but now the only two players I am consistently happy with are Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Simmons. They need to reconsider the talent on this roster and heavily shop most of this roster.
24) Charlotte Hornets- to say the Hornets have been underwhelming this season is an understatement. There is still plenty of time in the season to right the ship, but I am starting to have my doubts. This might be the end of the MKG era in Charlotte. They need to make some personal changes, and make them fast.
23) Brooklyn Nets- since the Nets traded away Trevor Booker they have been struggling. Okafor is not seeing the floor on a consistent basis and the coaching and training staff are working and pushing Okafor to get in better shape. Therefore so many franchises discourage the ‘tank mode’. When you develop a losing mentality, you create unhealthy habits for young talent. I hope that the Nets can turn around Okafor’s career.
22) Los Angeles Lakers- with the Lakers impressive win over the Rockets this week, we see exactly what this team can bring to the table. I am a huge fan of Kyle Kuzma and I love the continued growth of Lonzo Ball. Easily the biggest target in the NBA, Lonzo has worked on his jumper and is starting to grow defensively. Lastly, you can’t overlook how incredible Ingram has been for the Lakers as their number one option.
21) Los Angeles Clippers- I am so glad that Teodosic is back in the lineup. The Clippers need a real point guard and not some combination of Lou Williams and Austin Rivers. While the Clippers are still underwhelming us this season, they’re still is plenty of talent on this roster to compete for a final playoff spot.
20) Utah Jazz- The Jazz are once again without Rudy Gobert and this means more Favors to come. I like Utah but they’re just not consistent enough to believe in. God-ney Hood looked really impressive in the Jazz’ win over the Spurs on Thursday evening, but we don’t usually see God-ney…we see Rodney. Lastly, the Jazz should be happy that ‘Young King’ aka Donovan Mitchell is battling Ben Simmons for ROY. He is pushing Simmons to the max too.
19) Chicago Bulls- The Bulls went on a 7-game winning streak once Mirotic returned to the lineup. They did lose Thursday by 3-points, but that was against Cleveland in Cleveland. So, I’m not saying the Bulls are Playoff bound, but with Kris Dunn starting to play well and Zach Lavine set to return, I like the Bulls as a young, up and coming team.
18) Philadelphia 76ers- The Sixers have fallen out of the Playoffs standing wise and once again, Joel Embid is trying to overcome back injuries. You have to feel for Embid, seeing his talent, but this is why so many who were skeptical about the 76ers felt that way. It’s still early enough in the season to fix this situation, but I think the trade for Trevor Booker had everything to do with Embid’s health.
17) Portland Trailblazers- Portland has not been playing their best basketball of late. Now tied with Denver and OKC at 16-15, I have my concerns. The roster makeup to me has too many holes at the forward positions. They have a nice backcourt and a nice center, but the three and four spots are not terrific. I had the Blazers finishing 9th this season in my preseason predictions because I have been disappointed with their off-season moves. They must right this ship, or my prediction might become a reality.
16) New Orleans Pelicans- The Pelicans seem to be a team that is going to be consistently inconsistent all-season long. Hopefully both Cousins and Davis will remain healthy for the length of the season. As the trade deadline approaches, the Anthony Davis trade rumors will begin to catch fire. If the Pelicans truly want to rebuild they could indeed trade Davis and let Cousins walk in free agency. I don’t see this happening though.
15) Detroit Pistons- I still like this Pistons roster and team but they have some work to do. After losing seven in a row, they seem to be playing a little better. I feel like a trade for the Pistons would be helpful, but who are the Pistons giving up and what for? That is the $1M question.
14) Denver Nuggets- while the Nuggets haven’t been playing the best basketball, I still really like this team. There are definite questions about their point guard situation and if it is ever going to work, but I think they can figure out a way to make it work. As an outsider looking in, I just think it is really hard to love the backcourt of Mudiay/Murray when you could’ve had Donovan Mitchell instead.
13) Miami Heat- The Miami Heat are a game out of the 8th seed, but I just like the way they’ve been balanced on the road and at home. This team is one that you can’t overlook. Spolstra is still an underrated NBA Coach and the fact that we haven’t been hearing about the Heat’s recent play is a good motivational tool for Spolstra to keep his guys fighting.
12) New York Knicks- Wow. MSG is a special place for the Knicks this season. Not only do they have a franchise player in Porzingis, they have a lockdown rookie defender in Frank Ntilikina. To throw more fire to the roster, they have the rebirth of Michael Beasley. In all seriousness, MSG has provided the Knicks with a 15-5 record. They’re just 2-9 on the road though.
11) Washington Wizards- With John Wall back at the point, the Wizards are starting to play better basketball. I think it is safe to say that Brad Beal is probably the best player on this team, but Wall is a very close second. Regardless, this one-two punch will be a force in the East, as long as they can stay healthy.
10) Oklahoma City Thunder- Have the Thunder finally figured this slump out? Maybe. There still needs to be more evidence before we declare that the Thunder are “back”. However, they are finding ways to win. This is a team I think could make a trade before the deadline.
9) Indiana Pacers- The Pacers continue to ride the hot hand of Victor Oladipo, who has taken the league by storm. Oladipo and the Pacers fell short to the Celtics after coming back from a 20-point deficit. The Pacers are still young and they’re still growing. They’re the only team in the NBA to remain undefeated against teams in the bottom 10 record wise (9-0).
8) Milwaukee Bucks- The Bucks have looked good here the last few weeks. With a big win over the Cavaliers, the Bucks appear to be a threat in the Eastern Conference. They do have the 2nd best player all around on their roster too.
7) Minnesota Timberwolves- the Wolves are 6-games above .500, but there seems to be skepticism around the league on how good this team is. I don’t like Jeff Teague with this mix of guys, but overall this team is still extremely talented.
6) Boston Celtics- Say what you want about the Celtics, but they’ve been struggling recently. They need an athletic two guard who can really defend. Kind of like Avery Bradley…oh wait. While they’re still the number one seed in the East, they need to shake this bad little stretch here and get back to their winning ways.
5) San Antonio Spurs- The Spurs don’t look like a team that can win it all this year, but they’re still a team you can’t count out. I love the way Aldridge has played this season and Rudy Gay has been a nice pick up.
4) Cleveland Cavaliers- LeBron James is playing out of his mind this season and will more than likely win the MVP unless the Rockets win the Western Conference. The Cavs have won 8 of their last 10.
3) Toronto Raptors- The Raptors are playing the best basketball of any team in the Eastern Conference at this moment. Credit Coach Casey for keeping his team in the mix, once again.
2) Houston Rockets- Although the Rockets lost a tough game to the Los Angeles Lakers this week, they’re still one of the hottest teams in the league. With or without Chris Paul, who went down with an injury in the 4th quarter of the Lakers game.
1) Golden State Warriors- No reason to panic with Steph Curry out. The Warriors have won 10 in a row.
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