DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: Houston Rockets take over No. 1 spot

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) Houston Rockets (3-0) [3]: Trying to keep Nene fresh this year: no back to backs for him, even though the Rockets only have 14 sets this season.

2) Cleveland Cavaliers (2-1) [2]: Jose Calderon, report for duty on the double.

3) San Antonio Spurs (2-0) [5]: “Cousin” LaMarcus Aldridge 2.0, the reboot, is off to a rousing start.

4) Golden State Warriors (1-2) [1]: Doppleganger Klay stole the show at the season opener Tuesday.

5) Toronto Raptors (2-0) [6]: Norman Powell looked fine in his first two starts at the three last week.

6) Washington Wizards (2-0) [8]: Early four-game Western Conference swing (at Nuggets, Lakers, Warriors, Kings) a good test to see if Wizards bring their defense on the road.

7) LA Clippers (2-0) [10]: Tough loss with Milos Teodosic out indefinitely with a plantar fasciitis injury. Those do not heal quickly, when they heal at all. A full rupture is usually what has to happen to facilitate a full recovery.

8) Milwaukee Bucks (2-1) [9]: Lost in the Freakness: Bucks averaged 106 in three games last week despite Khris Middleton missing 11 of his 12 three-point attempts.

9) Boston Celtics (1-2) [4]: You hear from people you respect that Jayson Tatum is going to do just fine this season if he has to log bigger minutes in the wake of Gordon Hayward’s injury.

10) Memphis Grizzlies (2-0) [12]: Boogie: how are you gonna make friends in Bluff City with that kind of attitude?

11) Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2) [7]: Russell Westbrook scored six points in Saturday’s loss to Utah, the first time in 120 regular season games he was held under double figures. Westbrook went scoreless in 19 minutes on Jan. 13, 2016, when he was ejected after a third-quarter scuffle with Dallas’ J.J. Barea.

12) Utah Jazz (2-1) [11]: I will go out on a limb and say if the Jazz continue to hold opponents to 94.3 points per game, they’ll have a fairly successful season. This is EXPERT analysis, people.

13) Minnesota Timberwolves (2-1) [13]: Rumble, young man, rumble!

14) Portland Trail Blazers (2-1) [14]: Are second in the league after the first week in Offensive Rating (118.6 per 100) could have easily finished 3-0 on road trip. Now Portland gets an incredible 10 of its next 11 games at Moda Center.

15) Detroit Pistons (2-1) [NR]: Tobias Harris (24.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 56 percent from the floor) providing the Pistons with significant offensive upgrade early on.

Dropped out: Miami Heat (15)

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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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