DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: Golden State Warriors start out at top

David Aldridge

DA’s Top 15 Rankings return as the regular season gets under way tomorrow in Cleveland and Golden State.

(2016-17 season finish in brackets)

1. Golden State Warriors (67-15, won 2017 NBA championship): Defending Champions’ prerogative.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31, lost in NBA Finals): There’s a J.R. Smith situation a’ brewin’, and I’m not sure how this gets resolved amicably.

3. Houston Rockets (55-27, lost in Western Conference semifinals): Too small a sample size to draw sweeping conclusions, of course. But not only did Luc Mbah a Moute shoot 50 percent on threes in exhibition play, he took way more — three per game — than he has during any other preseason.

4. Boston Celtics (53-29, lost in Eastern Conference finals): I can’t unhear what Heinsohn said about Aron Baynes.

5. San Antonio Spurs (61-21, lost in Western Conference finals): Amazing how circumstances change: all of a sudden, the Spurs need Cousin LaMarcus a lot more than anyone thought they would.

6. Toronto Raptors (51-31, lost in Eastern Conference semifinals): Raps looking for Serge Ibaka, “slim and trim,” as I heard it during the preseason, to have a big year.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-35, lost in first round): Could one of y’all Knicks bring Carmelo’s other jacket on Wednesday? He left it there.

8. Washington Wizards (49-33, lost in Eastern Conference semifinals): Carrick Felix, the former second-round pick of the Cavaliers who’s been out of the NBA since 2014 after breaking his kneecap, makes the Wizards’ roster.

9. Milwaukee Bucks (42-40, lost in first round): Did not have him in the pool. Aren’t the Violent Femmes from Milwaukee?

10. LA Clippers (51-31, lost in first round): Preseason injuries impacting Clips’ continuity, which could be a problem out of the gate.

11. Utah Jazz (51-31, lost in Western Conference semifinals): Down to the wire with Rodney Hood on an extension.

12. Memphis Grizzlies (43-39, lost in first round): Third-year center Jarell Martin had a strong camp and preseason.

13. Portland Trail Blazers (41-41, lost in first round): Stunned that the Blazers are letting Jusuf Nurkic get to free agency, even if it’s restricted free agency. Yes, they don’t have a big sample size of Nurk in the middle, and, yes, they have a zillionaire owner who won’t lose anyone because of money, But there’s no way I’m letting Mark Cuban have a whack at recruiting this guy next summer.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51, did not make playoffs): Was wondering about this.

15. Miami Heat (41-41, did not make playoffs): Coach Erik Spoelstra starts the season with 440 wins, just 14 behind Pat Riley for the most in franchise history. Spoelstra’s current .609 winning percentage (440-282) is already the best in franchise history.

* * *

MORE MORNING TIP: 24 questions for 2017-18 | All-time best NBA GMs | DA’s Mailbag: Kobe over LeBron?

* * *

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.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.