DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: Celtics keep on rising; Warriors fall from top

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 Cavaliers (3-1) [2]: Kyle Korver can play in any system, but he truly thrives with teams who have strong screen-setters that Korver can play off of. In Atlanta, that was Al Horford; who will it be in Cleveland?

2) San Antonio Spurs (3-0) [3]: You can’t possibly be surprised that Davis Bertans can come in and dominate an NBA game, can you? Have you been paying attention the last two decades?

3) Houston Rockets (4-0) [4]: If Nene starts rising up and shooting 3-pointers, I’m going home.

4) Golden State Warriors (3-1) [1]: Are the Warriors in some kind of existential trouble after blowing a couple of fourth-quarter leads to Cleveland and Memphis? No. But the Dubs do have to decide if they’re comfortable with the current roster against potential big and physical playoff opponents like the Cavs and Grizzlies.

5) Boston Celtics (3-0) [7]: Marcus Smart has absolutely no fear on a basketball court.

6) Toronto Raptors (1-3) [5]: What looked like a Raptors laugher again in the Atlantic Division is down to a single game over the Celtics.

7) LA Clippers (4-0) [10]: J.J. Redick percolating (14 of 26) on 3-pointers this week.

8) Memphis Grizzlies (2-2) [6]: Chandler Parsons struggling to find his form.

9) Atlanta Hawks (3-0) [12]: Have no doubt that the Hawks will continue to win and evolve with the players they bring in going forward. But I truly enjoyed watching their Al Horford-Paul Millsap-Kyle Korver teams flourish the last two years, passing and moving without the ball and playing at a really, really high level.

10) Utah Jazz (1-3) [8]: Nine of next 12 at home after finishing five-game swing 2-3 Sunday.

11) Oklahoma City Thunder (1-3) [9] : Thunder sticking with “Maul Ball,” with Steven Adams and rookie Domantas Sabonis up front, and Enes Kanter coming off the bench to anchor the second unit, instead of emphasizing playing small like the rest of humanity.

12) Charlotte Hornets (1-3) [11]: Charlotte is hard-pressed to win without Nicolas Batum (hyperextended knee).

13) Washington Wizards (2-2) [13]: Trey Burke starting to give bench a much-needed offensive lift.

14) Milwaukee Bucks (2-2) [14]: Fortunately, some of us aren’t surprised at all that Malcolm Brogdon is playing so well as a rookie.

15) Chicago Bulls (3-0) [NR]: Jimmy Butler averages 38 per game, including games of 52 and 42 points, in the Bulls’ three wins last week — which may have saved their season from descending into chaos.

Dropped Out: New York Knicks [15]


Philadelphia (2-1): Not a misprint, mon frère. With the 76ers’ win Sunday in Brooklyn, the Sixers won their 10th game of the season, matching their win total for all of last season.


Denver (0-4): It is hard to give up 123.75 points per game in four games, even in today’s NBA. But the Nuggets did last week. It’s hard to argue with coach Mike Malone’s contention that they’re the worst defensive team in the league right now.

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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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