Top 10

Craig

  1. Boston Celtics (8-2): The Celtics somehow have the best record in the league, even without Gordon Hayward. Boston is playing great team ball and closing out games late in the fourth quarter.
  2. Houston Rockets (8-3): The Rockets are another team dealing with injuries yet still playing great basketball. James Harden has been on fire lately, and that isn’t good for opposing defenses.
  3. Golden State Warriors (7-3): The Warriors were towards the bottom of the top 10 a week ago, but they’ve found their way to the top. It looks like things are finally starting to click for Golden State.
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-3): The Timberwolves are off to a great start. I’m feeling better each week about putting them in my preseason top 10. Minnesota could definitely cause problems in the Western Conference.
  5. Detroit Pistons (7-3): Detroit is another team that is climbing the rankings each week. Reggie Jackson is having an outstanding season. He may finally be ready to lead a team.
  6. San Antonio Spurs (6-4): The Spurs dropped a few games this past week, but they still remain one of the best in the league. The team is desperately needing Kawhi Leonard to return from injury.
  7. Memphis Grizzlies (6-4): Memphis surprised a lot of people by their impressive start to the season. They have fallen off the trail a little, but still keep a spot in this week’s top 10.
  8. Orlando Magic (6-4): I definitely bought into the hype for the Orlando Magic this year. It’s starting to fizzle out, but I still think this team is capable of being a top team in the league.
  9. Portland Trailblazers (6-4): Portland has had the best guard play in the NBA for several years now. It looks like this might be the year they finally piece together some wins and make a playoff run.
  10. LA Clippers (5-4): Blake Griffin should be in the MVP talks at this point in the season. He has done a great job leading this Clippers team after the departure of Chris Paul.

Zack

  1. Boston Celtics (8-2): From an 0-2 start to eight wins a row, this team is ROLLING. I picked the Celtics as my preseason Eastern Conference Champ, but that was with Gordon Hayward. At this point, they look even more dominant than I thought they would.
  2. Houston Rockets (8-3): James Harden dropped career-high 56 points last night on a ridiculous 19-25 shooting, and the Rockets have won three in a row. It doesn’t hurt that Chris Paul is very close to returning.
  3. Golden State Warriors (7-3): It’s laughable that Golden State has not been in my Top 10 until now, but they had not earned it…until now. They’ve won their last three games by an average of 22 points, and they’re starting to look scary good.
  4. Detroit Pistons (7-3): Perhaps the league’s biggest surprise, the Pistons have figured some things out, and they look as good as they have in years. Losing to the Lakers by 20 was ugly, but besides that, they’re getting it done.
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-3): For the first time since January 2009, the Timberwolves are on a 5-game winning streak. They’ve got some chemistry figured out, and they could be a threat in the West.
  6. San Antonio Spurs (6-4): Kawhi Leonard has yet to play a game, but the Spurs are still competing. I’m afraid to see what they will do when they’re healthy.
  7. Portland Trail Blazers (6-4): Damian Lillard is on fire lately, and the Blazers are in the middle of a long home stand, and they will benefit greatly simply because the Moda Center is an incredibly tough arena for opponents. Just ask the Thunder.
  8. Memphis Grizzlies (6-4): A lot can happen in a week. The Grizzlies have lost three of their last four, including a close one to the Lakers in Los Angeles last night. We figured they weren’t as good as they were letting on, but this team is still really good.
  9. Orlando Magic (6-4): The Magic put up two more impressive wins against the Magic and the Grizzlies, but a 22-point loss to the Bulls is not pretty.
  10. Washington Wizards (5-4): The Wizards were supposed to threaten for the top seed in the East, but they are lacking composure right now. They’ve got work to do.

3 to Watch

Craig

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder (4-5): The Thunder have one of the most talented rosters in the league, but they can’t quite figure out how to piece together wins yet. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on the star-studded line up of OKC.
  2. Los Angeles Lakers (5-5): The Lakers are doing better than anyone expected. Lonzo Ball isn’t quite the scoring threat many had thought, but he is doing a great job facilitating the offense.
  3. New York Knicks (5-4): The Knicks may be off to the most surprising start of any team so far. Porzingis is having an outstanding season, and his guys are rallying behind him.

Zack

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (5-4): After an 0-3 start, the 76ers have won five of their last six. The only loss was decided by one point against the Houston Rockets. The Process looks like it could be coming together.
  2. New York Knicks (5-4): Who knew that the Knicks might actually figure some things out. Kristaps Porzingis is playing at an MVP-level right now, but can the Unicorn carry this motley crew to the playoffs?
  3. Toronto Raptors (5-4): The Raptor are tottering on the fine line of good and bad so far. Keep an eye on them to see how they manage their recent losses.

Bottom 5

Craig

  1. Dallas Mavericks (1-10): I think I stated last week that this franchise has spiraled downwards since winning the Finals years ago.. It’ll be interesting to see the rebuild of this franchise take place.
  2. Sacramento Kings (1-8): I’m honestly shocked at how poorly the Kings are performing. I thought the young fire power in their lineup would cause problems for other teams.
  3. Atlanta Hawks (2-8): The Hawks don’t really have an all-star in their lineup. This makes it hard for them to keep up on the offensive side of things. But hey, they did beat the Cavs in their last game.
  4. Chicago Bulls (2-6): The Bulls continue to be the laughing stock of the NBA. It could be a lottery pick type of season for Chicago.
  5. Brooklyn Nets (3-6): The Nets are currently in my bottom 5, but out of all these teams they have the most potential to work their way out before the season is over.

Zack

  1. Dallas Mavericks (1-10): Things are bad in Dallas. The Mavs have lost six in a row, and only one of those games was a single-digit point differential.
  2. Sacramento Kings (1-8): The only win that the Kings have is against the Mavericks in Dallas, so you could say it’s rough-going in Sacramento.
  3. Brooklyn Nets (3-6): After a win against Cleveland, this team looked like it had something going. Turns out that beating the Cavs isn’t that impressive right now.
  4. Chicago Bulls (2-6): The Bulls smacked the Magic, and then lost a close to the New Orleans Pelicans in overtime. This team has some potential, but the front office has put them in a really bad position.
  5. Atlanta Hawks (2-8): Atlanta is the latest squad to knock off the Cavaliers, but that’s not really considered a quality win right now. Their only other win is against the Mavericks, so that tells you where this team stands.

Article written by Craig Hofeld and Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.