30) Atlanta Hawks – Not much to say here. The Hawks are exactly the team everyone predicted they’d be.
29) Los Angeles Lakers – Yikes. The Lakers sure do miss Lonzo Ball right about now. Losers of 8-straight games.
28) Sacramento Kings – Well, George Hill is on the Trade Block. The Kings refuse to play Skal more and I am not sure the Buddy Hield trade is paying off. Maybe the Pelicans did rob the Kings for Cousins.
27) Orlando Magic – The Orlando Magic (more like tragic) have been extremely underwhelming. Aaron Gordon is playing well this year, but they are a starting point guard, shooting guard and center away from being competitive.
26) Memphis Grizzlies – The Griz have a decent amount of talent on this team but they’re not clicking. I think it would be smart to see what they can get for Tyreke Evans at the Trade Deadline.
25) Charlotte Hornets – This is the most disappointing team to me in the NBA. On my weekly podcast, The Courtroom Pod, I projected the Hornets to be the 8th seed in the East. My co-host predicted them to finish FIFTH in the East. I think if you add my 8th and Mark’s 5th, you get exactly where the Hornets might wind up…13th overall. This is a team that needs to test the trade market and revamp.
24) Phoenix Suns – The Suns had some nice games this week. Chandler with the game winning oop and Chriss had the game saving block. If they could find a way to really work out the kinks with this roster in the next couple years, they have potential to be good.
23) Chicago Bulls – While the Bulls have been playing better, Mirotic has requested a trade. Understandably so, he isn’t getting any younger and wants a chance to be on a team that will compete in April/May.
22) Utah Jazz – Quit writing articles about Ben Simmons being the Rookie of the Year because that train has parked in East Philly and is being shut down for the year. The Rookie of the Year is going to Donovan Mitchell. Young King is the real deal and a franchise-changing talent.
21) New York Knicks – Well, Kristaps is apparently tired. I’m not sure what to think of this comment, but if the leader of the team is tired, they might want to find a new leader.
20) Brooklyn Nets – Kudos to Brooklyn for continuing to compete after losing their starting backcourt. I am a fan of this team and in a few seasons, this is going to be a team that is vying for the Playoffs.
19) Dallas Mavericks – The Mavs are starting to play competitive basketball. They did the exact same thing last season. They started off horrifically and then played better midway through the season. Not much to be excited about with this team other than the late play of DSJ.
18) Indiana Pacers – Wow. The Pacers are the exact team many expected them to be without Oladipo on the court. They can’t score the basketball. Myles Turner has been an awful second option for this team. Hopefully Oladipo returns Saturday and is voted into the All-Star Game because clearly, this team would win less than 15 games without him.
17) Los Angeles Clippers – Well, the Clippers are happy to have Blake Griffin back. The talk of most podcasts this week have included the Clippers and whether they should still trade DeAndre Jordan. I think the Nets pick from Cleveland is worth it. For both parties. The dumbest decision the Clippers made though was signing the injury prone, Danilo Gallinari.
16) Philadelphia 76ers – Joel Embid is the best player on this team by a long shot. When he doesn’t play, this team really shows how shallow it’s rotation is. Also, is Brown a good head coach for this team? I am starting to doubt.
15) New Orleans Pelicans – The Pels have done a good job winning games with this mess of a roster. I still don’t love this team, but I think they will cause some problems come Playoff time.
14) Portland Trailblazers – The Blazers are a solid team. Nothing flashy about them. They are once again a bottom team in the West and they’re not a serious threat to one of the top-4 teams in the West.
13) Denver Nuggets – I’m on board with how the Nuggets have looked this season. Still they do miss a legit point-guard, but Murray is playing well. Trey Lyles continues to find success and Jokic is still Jokic. This team is on the rise, but they’re a season away.
12) Detroit Pistons – The Pistons had a lousy 7-game losing streak about a month ago, but now they’re playing consistent basketball again. Tobias Harris continues to be a solid scoring leader for this team and SVG is using Drummond in a more effective way.
11) Milwaukee Bucks – If the Bucks didn’t have Giannis, they would be in a lot of trouble. They desperately need a center that can bang. If they are unable to get a Jordan, I would be interested to see what they could get for Cody Zeller, Ian Mahinmi or Tyson Chandler.
10) Miami Heat – Well the Heat are red hot as of late. Currently 7th overall in the Eastern Conference, this team is playing smart basketball. They are the team that could trade for a difference maker at the deadline and I fully expect them to be rumored in multiple trade talks.
9) Washington Wizards – It is great that the Wizards got Wall back because they lack bench help. The 8-man rotation for this team will be scary come Playoff time, but I think they should really consider trading Mahinmi or Gortat for a few pieces off the bench.
8) Minnesota Timberwolves – The last few weeks, Jimmy Butler has been the face of the Wolves. I think the Wolves paid Wiggins too much money, but you can’t deny how talented defensively he is. The Wolves defense is suffocating and will be a factor the rest of the season. They could really use an outside shooter to help strengthen the bench.
7) Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavaliers are still the favorites to win the East but there are some teams playing better then them right now. Once the chemistry flows with IT returning to the lineup, they will be back in the top-5.
6) Houston Rockets – The Rockets have had a tough few weeks. Losing some crazy games and then losing Harden to a hamstring injury. This injury could be lingering all season long so monitor closely. I love the Rockets chances of winning without Harden because they still have CP3. Congrats to Gerald Green for having a great game in a loss to Golden State that ultimately got him a contract for the rest of the season.
5) Oklahoma City Thunder – The Thunder are one of the hottest teams in the league right now. This was my pick to face the Warriors in WCF, but I am still skeptical about Melo’s defense. He is their weakest link (in the starting 5).
4) Toronto Raptors – We The North has truly done a 180 and that’s thanks to DeRozan and Coach Casey. This team continues to evolve and while they have yet to prove they can be a serious contender in the Playoffs, I am a believer in what they have done.
3) San Antonio Spurs – I think this is the sleeping dog that the rest of the NBA has forgotten about. They have a roster full of European guys nobody’s ever heard of and they keep winning. Pop and the Spurs are going to surprise a lot of teams in the Playoffs. Watch out.
2) Boston Celtics – The Celtics are the Spurs of the East. The way Stevens is using 12 to 13 guys in his rotation is remarkable. This not only helps the health of his team, it ensures that all 12 players will be ready to fill their roll if called upon in the Playoffs. Plus, they got a pretty sweet point guard in Kyrie Irving who is one of the best finishers in the game.
1) Golden State Warriors – Man, isn’t it nice to have Steph back? The Warriors are still so dangerous with or without Steph, but they are even more dangerous when he and KD are playing at the top of their game. There is nobody in the NBA as talented or as deep as this team. As much as people want to see a the Warriors dethroned, there is no chance that they’ll be seeing a new champion this season.
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