DA's Morning Tip
DA's Top 15 Rankings: Clippers, Pistons climb a few notches
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 (3-0) : A close scrape here and there, including a one-point escape at Philly Saturday, but overall, tney’re not exerting themselves too much during the first fortnight of the regular season.
2) L.A. Clippers (3-1) : Have already spanked Portland in Portland and San Antonio in San Antonio, and are 3-0 on the road so far with wins over three playoff teams from last season.
3) Golden State Warriors (2-1) : Warriors have lost 21 regular season games, total, on the road the last two-plus seasons. Inexplicably, three have now come to the Lakers at Staples.
4) San Antonio Spurs (1-2) : Perhaps Danny Green is a smidge more important to the Spurs than his frequent critics would ever acknowledge.
5) Oklahoma City Thunder (2-1) : Jerami Grant can definitely help off the bench.
6) Atlanta Hawks (2-2) : Patriot League alum Mike Muscala (Bucknell) now leads the NBA in field goal percentage (.710).
7) Detroit Pistons (2-1) : Ish Smith filling in more than adequately for the injured Reggie Jackson, averaging 7.5 assists per game with an assist-turnover ratio of 3.75.
8) Charlotte Hornets (2-0) : They’ve only allowed 100 points once in first five games.
9) Toronto Raptors (3-1) : Stunned that more teams haven’t done what the Kings did Sunday against the white-hot DeMar DeRozan: run people at him to get the ball out of his hands and make someone else beat them.
10) Portland Trail Blazers (2-2) : What’s up with Al-Faroqu Aminu behind the arc to start the season? He shot a career-high 36 percent on 3-pointers last season; through seven games so far this year, he’s at 25 percent (9 of 36). Small sample size, to be fair.
11) Boston Celtics (1-2) : Their defense, as evidenced by giving up 123 at home to Denver Sunday, needs some work.
12) Memphis Grizzlies (1-3) : Chandler Parsons makes season debut Sunday after missing the first week-plus of the season.
13) Chicago Bulls (1-3) : Dwyane Wade had seven 3-pointers all of last season. He has 10 threes this season in the first six games.
14) Houston Rockets (1-2) : It wasn’t hard to predict, but James Harden’s numbers thus far are still ridiculous.
15) Utah Jazz (3-1) [NR]: George Hill is balling. An extension, always more likely than not after the Jazz acquired him in June, looks like a certainty now.
Dropped out: Sacramento 
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Chicago Cubs (3-0): Oh, come on, like it could be anybody else. Happy for the real Cubs fans I’ve known for three-plus decades, like my buddy Dan, from Barrington, IL, who was physically ill in 1984 when that ground ball went through Leon (Bull) Durham’s legs. A lot of people waited a long time for that moment in Cleveland last Wednesday, and one imagines Ernie Banks and Haray Caray having a good, long pull on very expensive cigars, content at last.
TEAM OF THE WEAK
Philadelphia (0-3): Look, the Sixers are a lot more competitive, and Dario Saric started to pick things up last week, and Joel Embiid still looks like he’s going to be a monster. (And they may have gotten hosed on that non-call on J.R. Smith against Gerald Henderson in the final seconds Saturday). It’s coming, Philly. It’s coming.
More Morning Tip: Warriors, Thunder remain linked | NBA stars do more than their day jobs | Q&A with Tobias Harris
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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