DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: Injuries not slowing down Grizzlies

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) Cleveland (4-0) [4]: When LeBron’s on the first bus, you’re in trouble.

2) San Antonio (3-1) [2]: Pop lays into his guys again after a poor performance on the road in a loss to Chicago. That’s the third time he’s called them out publicly already this season. That’s not normal. But they’ve deserved it.

3) Golden State (4-1) [1]: JaVale McGee giving the Dubs some good, non-Shaqtin’ moments off the bench.

4) Houston (4-0) [5]: Firing on all cylinders: since going 7-of-29 on 3s in their season opener, the Rockets have made at least 10 3s in 23 straight games, an NBA record.

5) LA Clippers (1-1) [3]: When you can figure these guys out, let me know.

6) Toronto (2-1) [6]: In five spot starts this season, Norman Powell is averaging 15.6 points on 26 of 50 shooting (52 percent) from the floor.

7) Memphis (4-0) [9]: Marc Gasol muscling and shooting his way into the MVP discussion.

8) Utah (3-1) [8]: I know Golden State handled the Jazz, minus four starters, on Thursday. But if Utah faces the Warriors down the road — maybe in a postseason series — it had to be encouraged by how Rudy Gobert dominated things in the second half. Couldn’t the Jazz try to run the Dubs off the 3-point line regularly and just funnel everything to the Stifle Tower?

9) Boston (1-3) [7]: Isaiah Thomas’ streak of 103 consecutive games played ended last Wednesday against Orlando (strained groin).

10) Oklahoma City (2-1) [10]: Bags packed: nine of next 13 on the road through New Year’s.

11) Charlotte (3-1) [12]: Jeremy Lamb’s numbers since returning to the lineup just after Thanksgiving: 10 points per game, 50 percent shooting from the floor, almost all off the bench.

12) N.Y. Knicks (3-1) [13]: Is Phil pulling a Jerry Krause and getting his whole team to rally together against management — in this case, him?

13) Detroit (2-2) [11]: Wait: The Pistons aren’t getting Paul George? Really?

14) Chicago (2-2) [14]: Cristiano Felicio getting minutes ahead of Bulls’ 2015 first-round pick, Bobby Portis.

15) Atlanta (2-1) [NR]: Very impressive win in Milwaukee Friday after trailing the Bucks by 20 at halftime.

Dropped out: Milwaukee [15]


Memphis (4-0): Plug and play continues to work for the Grizz, with Troy Williams and Andrew Harrison inserted into the starting lineup after the team’s latest bout with injuries. Yet Memphis rolls right along, with its rout of Golden State Saturday the team’s sixth straight win — in its sixth straight game without Mike Conley.


Miami (0-4): Benching the guy you’re paying $98 million the next four years because you are seeking more energy and life on the glass is not encouraging for your short-term prospects. But the Heat did do a cool thing letting Udonis Haslem skip that game with Miami so he could see his son Kedonis play in his final high school football game. Nice touch.

More Morning Tip: Wizards trying to turn things around | Motiejunas situation in Houston

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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