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 (4-0) : Another week, another 122.5 points per game average in four games. Ho hum.
2) San Antonio Spurs (3-0) : Plug in rookie Dejounte Murray for future Hall of Famer Tony Parker. Play at the defending world champion Cavaliers on Saturday night. Have Murray go 7 of 10 from the floor. Win.
3) Cleveland Cavaliers (1-2) : Lost four of last six, meaning lots of hot takes and grist for the 24-hour TV mill, but three of those have come to some of the league’s top outfits — Golden State, San Antonio and Utah.
4) Houston Rockets (2-2) : With their win Saturday at Memphis, the Rockets have at least one win over every team in the Western Conference. The only teams Houston has yet to beat this season are Atlanta, Cleveland and Miami.
5) Atlanta Hawks (3-1) : I, for one, will miss the Mo Williams Era.
6) Toronto Raptors (1-3) : DeMar DeRozan’s All-Star berth marks the fourth straight season either he or Kyle Lowry has made the game.
7) Boston Celtics (1-2) : Boston’s defensive woes of late surely related to the absence of Avery Bradley (Achilles) of late.
8) Utah Jazz (3-0) : This team’s chances in the West improve exponentially with George Hill back at the point.
9) LA Clippers (1-2) : Of course you re-sign Chris Paul this summer. Of course you re-sign Blake Griffin. But their inability to stay healthy for a full season has to impact the Clips’ thoughts.
10) Oklahoma City Thunder (0-2) : Thunder has become a solid 3-point shooting team this season — but, oddly, is much less efficient on twos. Criticism of Russell Westbrook during his career has usually gone the opposite way.
11) Washington Wizards (3-1) : You don’t hear much any more about how John Wall and Bradley Beal can’t get along on the floor and how one of them has to go, do you?
12) Memphis Grizzlies (1-2) : Tony Allen in a bit of a slump (8 of 32 from the floor last four games).
13) Charlotte Hornets (3-1) : Hornets finally look like themselves again on defense.
14) Indiana Pacers (2-2) [NR]: Pacers committed to starting Glenn Robinson III, but he’s really struggling of late.
15) Chicago Bulls (1-2) : Raise your hand if you had Paul Zipser playing an important role for the Bulls this season. You can’t see, but both of mine are soldered to my sides.
Dropped out: Milwaukee .
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Golden State Warriors (4-0): Stifling the Rockets in Houston at Toyota Center on Friday — the Warriors are now 18-3 on the road — was just as impressive as the Warriors’ dismantling of the Cavaliers last Monday at Oracle.
TEAM OF THE WEAK
Milwaukee Bucks (0-4): Bucks’ defense has nosedived — 111.3 per allowed in four losses last week — and the schedule is unforgiving this week: Houston, suddenly hot Philadelphia, at Toronto and Boston.
More Morning Tip: Young Lakers learning hard lessons | Where has depth gone in West? | Q&A with DeAndre Jordan
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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