DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: Plenty of praise for Rockets this week

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) [2]: Almost comical how dominant the Warriors are over the rest of the league right now.

2) Cleveland Cavaliers (3-1) [3]: Tristan Thompson’s free throw issues were supposed to be behind him when he switched hands a few years ago. But he’s down to a career-low 51 percent on the line this season.

3) San Antonio Spurs (2-2) [1]: Rodeo Trip. You know what that means.

4) Houston Rockets (3-0) [5]: Houston’s travel the rest of the month: one one-hour flight to New Orleans and back.

5) Boston Celtics (2-1) [4]: Very impressive win Saturday at Utah without Crowder, Bradley. Very.

6) Washington Wizards (2-1) [6]: They have already surpassed their home win total for all of last season (22).

7) Atlanta Hawks (1-2) [7]: Need Thabo Sefolosha (groin) to get back to his disruptive defensive ways after the All-Star break.

8) Toronto Raptors (1-2) [8]: Kyle Lowry says something’s got to change after Raptors blow double-digit lead Sunday and lose at home to the Pistons.

9) Utah Jazz (2-2) [9]: Will the Jazz finally get (George) Hill ‘n (Rodney) Hood back for good after the break?

10) Memphis Grizzlies (2-1) [10]: Brandan Wright’s return could potentially be one of those sneaky-good developments down the stretch of the regular season few recognize outside of town.

11) LA Clippers (2-1) [13]: Signs of shooting life from Jamal Crawford (.510 field goal percentage, .510 three-point percentage, 28 FTA) last eight games.

12) Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2) [11]: Remember when the love of your life, your soulmate, dumped you in college, and she was already gorgeous, but she somehow got in even better shape (something about a microtransgluten diet), and then she started going out with the starting quarterback, and he won the Heisman, and she discovered a new planet during her internship at NASA, and became a Rhodes Scholar, and they got married, and they live in Paris now? So, yeah.

13) Indiana Pacers (1-3) [12]: The next three weeks for your Pacers, in order: San Antonio, at Cleveland, Washington, Memphis, at Miami, at Houston, at San Antonio, at Atlanta, at Charlotte. Holy McGinnis, Batman!

14) Detroit Pistons (3-1) [15]: Since going 0-for-7 from the floor on New Year’s Day, Ish Smith is shooting 53.2 percent (58 of 109).

15) Chicago Bulls (1-3) [14]: One would think the Bulls would be all in on Jahlil Okafor. Where, exactly, are they going with the guys they thought would be big contributors by now — Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis, et. al.?


Houston Rockets (3-0): Clint Capela back in the middle not only makes the Rockets a more consistent defensive presence, but also reinforces their stratospheric offensive potential.


New York Knicks (1-3): Not because of the on-court product, which rose briefly Sunday to upend the Spurs. This. As former Knicks guard Chris Childs told TMZ Sports, “we used to be known for Willis Reed running out of the tunnel, now it’s about dragging Oak into it. Our franchise is so broken down, it’s sad to see.”

More Morning Tip: Thunder stand firm behind Westbrook | Korver adjusts to playing with LeBron | Q&A: Michele Roberts

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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