Week 11 marks the first time in a very long time that anyone has been able to dethrone last week’s clear No.1 the Warriors. Leave it up to the Spurs of the East, however, to kill giants.
1. Atlanta Hawks – Legit. The real deal. As solid as they come. After running through a sea of qualifying terms, it’s time to qualify the Hawks for what they really are: the league’s best team through 11 weeks. In fact, they’ve won 22 out of their last 24 and don’t show any signs of wind resistance. The skies are clear in Atlanta.
2. Golden State Warriors – With Bogut back, the Warriors can only build upon the league’s best record. In a seven-game series, they still look like the team to beat.
3. Portland Trailblazers – It’s been a while since Portland has been synonymous with defense. But that’s been the case so far even without anchor Robin Lopez.
4. Chicago Bulls – If not for a Pau Gasol game for the record books, the Bulls would be 5-5 against a measly batch of teams. Still, this is a team that has not seen full strength consistently. And when they have, they’ve beaten the league’s best.
5. Houston Rockets – The rich get richer, which is in plain sight in the Western Conference where squads like Houston, No. 6 Dallas, and No. 7 Memphis keep piling on the player assets.
6. Dallas Mavericks – Such is the state of the west, where you can be on cruise mode one moment, and fall down a cliff the next. The Mavs are still one of the best out west even if their positioning doesn’t always reflect that.
7. Memphis Grizzlies – It says something about the competition when a major player acquisition does little to pull you out of the second round of contenders.
8. Los Angeles Clippers – The Clips are five strong, which will get you nowhere in the playoffs.
9. Washington Wizards – Just as impressive as their win against Chicago was, their loss against Atlanta was atrocious.
10. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs got to visit the White House but not all is well in the Spurs stable — at least where championship teams are concerned.
11. Toronto Raptors – The Raptors keep falling.
12. Phoenix Suns – Suns’ games are coming down to the wire as of late, which hasn’t gone their way every time.
13. Milwaukee Bucks – Milwaukee boasts some stellar defense especially since Xmas. The main reason they remain level out east.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder – Can OKC ride Dion Waiters to a championship? Find out next week, in Highly Unlikely NBA Storylines!
15. Detroit Pistons – Detroit is in the house.
16. New Orleans Pelicans – The OKC-NOLA tango continues with both teams now 18-19.
17. Denver Nuggets – Four nice wins for Denver.
18. Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets are within stinging distance of the eighth seed out east.
19. Miami Heat – Miami has Detroit and Charlotte gunning for them.
20. Utah Jazz – Rudy Gobert retains his starting spot. Not much else here.
21. Cleveland Cavaliers – Blow it up!
22. Sacramento Kings – To think that the Kings looked like a playoff team some time ago.
23. Indiana Pacers – Indy has seen better times. Deja vu, much?
24. Brooklyn Nets – Six straight…lost.
25. Boston Celtics – Assets, assets, come get your assets here.
26. Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers are undefeated at home against Eastern teams. It’s when you dig beyond that that gets you in trouble.
27. Orlando Magic – The Magic surprise the Bulls but have yet to surprise themselves with consistent play.
28. Philadelphia 76ers – 3 out of 4. 3 out of 4.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves – Andrew Wiggins has been a major bright spot in Minnesota. But winter has a habit of burying the light in the Midwest.
30. New York Knicks –New York, New Yawn.
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