Top 10

Craig

  1. Houston Rockets (18-4): The Rockets are my new number one team. They’ve won 9 out of their last 10 and I’m not sure anyone is stopping them anytime soon.
  2. Boston Celtics (20-4): Boston falls to the number two spot, but they are still one of the hottest teams in the league right now. Kyrie Irving is playing on another level, and his teammates are backing him up.
  3. Golden State Warriors (18-6): The Warriors have let a couple games slip out of their reach in the last few weeks. This team could be at the top of the league if they didn’t fall behind so much in the first quarter.
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers (16-7): Cleveland is back in my top 5, and I’m extremely happy excited about it. LeBron has finally got this team heading in the right direction.
  5. Toronto Raptors (14-7): Toronto rounds out my top five as they have won 7 out of their last 10 and have an impressive 8-1 record at home.
  6. San Antonio Spurs (15-8): It still amazes me the amount of success this team is having while dealing with injuries. The Spurs can be a serious contender this season if they can get healthy.
  7. Milwaukee Bucks (12-9): Milwaukee has had an impressive two weeks which keeps them in the top 10. If they can get past their coaching issues, they can be a dangerous team.
  8. Philadelphia 76ers (13-9): The 76ers are playing extremely well right now. The big question is how long can they keep this up?
  9. Detroit Pistons (14-8): The Pistons have fallen from the top 5 to nearly the bottom of the top 10. They’ve gone 5-5 over the last 10 games. It’ll be interesting to see how they respond to this rough patch they are in.
  10. Denver Nuggets (13-9): The Denver Nuggets round out my top 10. Currently leading the Northwest division, I’m starting to think this Denver team might be the real deal.

Zack

  1. Houston Rockets (18-4): I will be the first to admit how wrong I was about this Houston squad. I thought they were overhyped coming into the season, and when Chris Paul went down, I figured there was no way they’d be able to win consistently. I was wrong. These guys are scary good.
  2. Boston Celtics (20-4): The Celtics are still one of the hottest squads in the league, but the enthusiasm has toned down a bit. They’ve had a fairly easy schedule lately, but they’ve got some challenging matchups coming up.
  3. Golden State Warriors (18-6): This team wins about as easily as anyone, but every once in a while, they do something really stupid, like lose to the Sacramento Kings. They’re still the most talented roster in the NBA, though.
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers (16-7): 11 wins in a row, and all of a sudden, the criticism of the Cavs is almost nonexistent. Lebron James is in MVP talks, as he has been for over a decade now, and Cleveland has some enthusiasm again.
  5. Toronto Raptors (14-7): The Raptors have won seven of their last nine games, and while they’re not making a lot of noise, they should definitely be on everyone’s radar.
  6. San Antonio Spurs (15-8): Even with injuries and needing to rest guys, this team is pretty much always a threat. Kawhi Leonard should be returning to play really soon, and when that happens, there’s no telling what the ceiling is for the Spurs.
  7. Philadelphia 76ers (13-9): “The Process is here” has been a popular phrase in NBA circles lately. The 76ers look as good as they have in a very long time, and Philadelphia is looking more and more like a successful sports city again.
  8. Detroit Pistons (14-8): Two losses in a row (Wizards, 76ers) is as many consecutive losses as the Pistons have had this season, and they have an interesting matchup with the Spurs tonight. A win for Detroit would help their case to remain in the Top 10 through this week.
  9. Milwaukee Bucks (12-9): The Bucks have been a streaky team all season long, but if they’re able to find some consistency, then they should be able to make some noise in the East whenever it counts later in the season. They have won four of their last five, and they have a marquis matchup with the Celtics tonight.
  10. Portland Trail Blazers (13-10): The Blazers have lost two games in a row (Bucks, Pelicans), which matches their season-long streak, and they take on the Wizards at home tomorrow. Portland is a tough place to win, but the Blazers are only 7-6 this season. They need a big win at home.

3 To Watch

Craig

  1. Portland Trailblazers (13-10): Portland was looking like one of the top teams in the league to start the season. Lately, they’ve been struggling. Keep an eye on their upcoming schedule.
  2. New Orleans Pelicans (12-11): The Pelicans can be an extremely hard team to beat when both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are playing well. I think they could cause problems in the playoffs this year.
  3. Indiana Pacers (12-11): Victor Oladipo has done a great job leading his own team. The Pacers have potential to work their way up the ladder in the East.

Zack

  1. Denver Nuggets (13-9): The Nuggets are a borderline Top 10 team right now, but I’m not sure how long they will stick around. Even with the loss of Paul Millsap for several months, and now Nikola Jokic is missing due to a sprained ankle, Denver has been able to continue winning. However, their schedule has been extremely favorable, so who knows how long they can sustain.
  2. Utah Jazz (12-11): Rudy Gobert has been out for almost a month now, and in those 11 games, the Jazz have managed to win seven of them, including the last five. Gobert will be back on the court tonight, so this team could find its way into the Top 10 by next week.
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-10): Minnesota continues to bounce back and forth between wins and losses. Their losses aren’t really that bad, but they’re not knocking off any top-tier teams, either.

Bottom 5

Craig

  1. Chicago Bulls (3-18): The Bulls are officially the undisputed worst team in the NBA. You had to see this coming though, right?
  2. Atlanta Hawks (5-17): While the Bulls are the worst, the Hawks aren’t too far behind them. It’s gonna be a long season for the Atlanta faithful.
  3. Dallas Mavericks (6-17): The Mavericks have shown great potential at certain times this season. However, they can’t seem to keep a solid pace for all four quarters.
  4. Sacramento Kings (7-16): The Kings are loaded with a lot of young talent that quite hasn’t matured yet. This year isn’t there time, but their time could be coming.
  5. Phoenix Suns (8-16): The Suns are in a similar situation as the Kings. Lots of young talent that can’t quite figure out how to win games yet.

Zack

  1. Chicago Bulls (3-18): The Bulls have lost eight games in a row, and they don’t have a very favorable December schedule. They might not make get another win before the new year.
  2. Atlanta Hawks (5-17): Their record isn’t great by any standard, but the interesting thing about the Hawks is that outside of a few games, they seem to play up to their competition.
  3. Memphis Grizzlies (7-15): With 11 losses in a row, the Grizzlies are riding the league’s worst losing-streak. Things are rough in Memphis right now. Who even remembers that this team started the season off at 5-1?
  4. Dallas Mavericks (6-17): The Mavericks aren’t going to be impressing anyone any time soon, but they have managed to win four of their last seven games, so at least they’ve started picking up a win every now and then.
  5. Sacramento Kings (7-16): A win over the Warriors last Monday was by far the most impressive victory for this Sacramento squad, but they’re still not very good. They’re competent enough to knock off bad teams, but they’re struggling to find wins elsewhere.

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