DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: Key changes take place at 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) San Antonio Spurs (3-0) [2]: Seven straight wins going into showdown tonight against Houston (8:30 ET, NBA LEAGUE PASS).

2) Golden State Warriors (2-2) [1]: When the Warriors have a couple of games where Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are really off, it only reinforces how incredible their last three seasons have been.

3) Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2) [3]: Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut were solid post-trade deadline pickups, but let’s be real — everyone wants to play with LeBron. All the Cavs had to do to get those guys was wait. Acquiring Kyle Korver in January is still the biggest pickup this year by GM David Griffin, and it could wind up being a difference-maker in the playoffs, just as Channing Frye, picked up from Orlando last season, made a huge impact in Cleveland’s march through the East en route to The Finals.

4) Houston Rockets (2-1) [4]: Lou Williams shooting 13 of 34 (38.2 percent) from the floor over his last three games. No one cares.

5) Utah Jazz (2-2) [5]: George Hill’s going to get a lot of attention this summer as one of the top unrestricted free-agent point guards on the market.

6) Boston Celtics (2-2) [6]: Now it’s Al Horford (elbow) on the shelf.

7) Toronto Raptors (3-1) [7]: With Kyle Lowry out several weeks, Delon Wright, not much noted when he was taken in the first round in 2015, is suddenly very important to They The North. Plays with smarts and no fears.

8) Washington Wizards (3-1) [8]: Two West coast road trips, and 15 of their last 21 games on the road. If Wizards finish top three in the East, they will have earned it.

9) Atlanta Hawks (2-2) [9]: Lost out on Brandon Jennings, who went to the Wizards, but Jose Calderon is never going to give you a moment’s worry on the floor.

10) Memphis Grizzlies (1-2) [10]: First back-to-back games of the season last Friday and Saturday for Chandler Parsons.

11) Oklahoma City Thunder (1-3) [11]: Norris Cole, fresh off a stint this season in China, returns to the States and goes to the Thunder, who’ve been looking for a backup for Russell Westbrook all season.

12) LA Clippers (1-2) [12]: Since the All-Star break, the Clips’ defensive rating is a ghastly 113.3 http://on.nba.com/2lhYuMB — tied with Brooklyn for second-worst in the league. (The worst? Your Cleveland Cavaliers at 114.9, FWIW.)

13) Indiana Pacers (2-1) [14]: Injuries to starting four Thaddeus Young and backup Lavoy Allen come at an especially bad time for the Pacers.

14) Chicago Bulls (1-2) [13]: They have inexplicably won 18 straight home games on Thursday TNT broadcasts dating back to February, 2013.

15) Detroit Pistons (2-1) [15]: Stan Van Gundy now bringing Tobias Harris off the bench and starting Jon Leuer at small forward.


Phoenix Suns (3-1): Wins over Charlotte, Oklahoma City and Boston — the last on Tyler Ulis’s improbable steal of Isaiah Thomas and 3-pointer at the buzzer Sunday — give the Suns their best week of the season.


Los Angeles Lakers (0-3): More losses on the floor, Buss family dysfunction off it. Then again, with the Suns pulling a couple of games ahead of them at the bottom of the West, the Lakers are closing in on giving themselves the best chance to hold onto that 2017 first-round pick — and the 2019 first they would have to give to Orlando.

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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