DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: LeBron James keeps Cleveland Cavaliers humming along

David Aldridge

David Aldridge reveals which teams, to him, are the Top 15 squads in the NBA at this moment.

(last week’s record in parenthesis; previous ranking in brackets)

1) Golden State Warriors (3-0) [1]: Ian Clark and JaVale McGee, series-enders. Who would have thought that at the beginning of the season?

2) Cleveland Cavaliers (4-0) [4]: As of Friday, Roget’s Thesaurus officially ran out of adjectives to describe LeBron James.

3) San Antonio Spurs (2-2) [2]: There’s a reason I really thought the Spurs should have gone after Mike Conley last summer.

4) Houston Rockets (3-1) [3]: Rockets winning grimy vs. Thunder is a good sign for them if they advance.

5) Boston Celtics (2-2) [5]: Continued prayers to Isaiah Thomas and his family.

6) Toronto Raptors (2-2) [6]: Was wondering when Raptors would unleash the athleticism of Norman Powell into a series dominated by athletes.

7) Utah Jazz (2-2) [7]: Don’t think the Jazz can win two out of three over the Clips without a healthy Gordon Hayward.

8) LA Clippers (2-2) [8]: Its all on Chris Paul now.

9) Washington Wizards (2-1) [9]: Bradley Beal is as good a thermometer for Wizards play as anyone: when active on D, and bouncy offensively, the Wiz are tough. When he’s smooth jazz, they’re bad.

10) Oklahoma City Thunder (1-3) [10]: Big respect for Andre Roberson, despite missing those free throws Sunday; he’s doing yeoman work in this series, making James Harden work for just about everything on the floor.

11) Atlanta Hawks (1-1) [11]: Hawks’ immediate future as a franchise directly tied to Dennis Schroeder’s mental/emotional development.

12) Memphis Grizzlies (2-2) [14]: A team has never been more representative of the city in which it plays.

13) Milwaukee Bucks (2-2) [12]: Greg Monroe having a heck of a series so far for the Bucks, on top of a strong season. He’ll get a nice payday this summer.

14) Indiana Pacers (0-4) [13]: The Paul George Watch officially begins.

15) Portland Trail Blazers (0-3) [NR]: This season will end soon for the Blazers, but their future is extremely bright.

Dropped out: Miami [15]


Cleveland (4-0): If they’re not all the way back, they’re getting close. And, now, they get a week off before facing either Milwaukee or Toronto in the second round.


Indiana (0-4): The Pacers won five straight to get to the playoffs, and they sure had long stretches where they played the Cavaliers even. But you can’t blow a 26-point lead at home in the playoffs. You just can’t. And the implications of that collapse may be long-lasting.

Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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