DA's Morning Tip
DA's Top 15 Rankings: Houston holds spot after long road trip
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 (3-1) : Rolling right along after smacking the Clippers around over the weekend.
2) San Antonio Spurs (2-2) : Back to back losses after dropping one to the Mavericks Sunday for just the second time this season.
3) Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2) : All this so the Cavs can get a backup point guard? Really?
4) Houston Rockets (1-3) : In the Central Time Zone for all but two days (one game at Charlotte) for the next month.
5) Boston Celtics (3-1) : Celtics have completely lost their defensive identity, and that can’t all be because Avery Bradley’s missed a few games.
6) Atlanta Hawks (2-2) : Kent Bazemore, 12 games in December: 15.6 percent (5-32) on 3-pointers. Kent Bazemore, 15 games in January: 44.4 percent (28 of 63) on 3-pointers.
7) Toronto Raptors (1-3) : Dropped six of seven after losing at home Sunday to Orlando, during which time the Raptors are 27th in the league in offensive rating (100.7 per 100) and last in effective field goal percentage (.463).
8) Oklahoma City Thunder (3-1) : There isn’t enough calcium on the planet to quantify the bone-headeness of Enes Kanter breaking his arm by punching a chair in frustration last Thursday during OKC’s game win Dallas.
9) Washington Wizards (4-0) : This is how long it’s been since the Wizards have won 15 straight at home, which they could accomplish with a win Tuesday at Verizon Center: the last time they did so, they were called the Bullets, and it was my first full year covering the NBA as the team’s beat writer for the Washington Post.
10) Memphis Grizzlies (2-1) : Feel bad for Mike Conley, who still has never made an All-Star team. But where’s the path with Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Chris Paul, for starters, at guard in the Western Conference?
11) LA Clippers (1-2) : They can say what they want, but can’t imagine the Clips would be all that upset about having to move Jamal Crawford (38 percent overall; 32 percent on threes) in a potential Carmelo Anthony deal.
12) Utah Jazz (1-3) : Tough week, but got Rodney Hood (knee) back in the lineup.
13) Indiana Pacers (3-1) : Myles Turner getting frisky again.
14) Chicago Bulls (2-2) : I love the Bulls’ team chemistry; how about you?
15) Charlotte Hornets (0-4) : Bugs picked a bad time to play nine of their next 13 on the road through the All-Star break and into March.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Denver Nuggets (3-0): The Nuggets have made it stick for almost three weeks: seven of last nine to take over the final playoff spot in the west. Center Nikola Jokic had gone insane — 25.6 points, 11.5 rebounds, per game during the run, with 60.1 percent shooting from the floor — before going down with a hip flexor injury against Phoenix Friday.
TEAM OF THE WEAK
Charlotte Hornets (0-4): Where has this team’s defense gone? The Hornets were sixth in the league in defensive rating (103.1 points per 100 possessions) the first two months of the season; in January, they’re 15th (107.2/100).
More Morning Tip: Wizards conjure up a turnaround | Trading ‘Melo no simple task | Q&A with Mitch Kupchak
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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