By Aaron Jackson
A little over a tenth of the way through the season seems like a good time to get a check in with the NBA and see where teams stand. Please note, this is a “who is most likely to win an NBA Championship this season” ranking, not a “which team is the best right now” ranking.
- Golden State Warriors: The Warriors could be 0-13 right now and I’d still have them first on these rankings. Unless Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson get abducted by crazy Celtics fans I don’t foresee that changing. This team is just too good to not be considered the favorite.
- Houston Rockets: Eric Gordon seems to finally be putting together the season he’s always been capable of. Clint Capela is a force defensively, and James Harden is making a case that he should be considered the best player in the league. This team looks like the real deal, and could be one of the few squads capable of attempting to beat the Warriors in a series. What they’ve done so far this season is impressive, especially considering their all-star point guard Chris Paul has only played in one game.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: I did not expect to be this low on Lebron James at this point in the season, but here we are. I still believe Lebron is King in the East, but that gap is getting smaller by the day. Their defense is atrocious, and it appears that Dwyane Wade/Derrick Rose are not the best fit with the way this team operates. None of that will matter once Isaiah Thomas gets back though and his arrival will be the boost that the Cavs need to hoist themselves into the playoffs.
- Boston Celtics: This is the hottest team in basketball right now, there’s no doubt about that, but with that comes some uncertainty. The NBA, perhaps more than any other sport, is as much about controlling and stroking egos as it is the play on the court. At the end of the day most players want theirs, and may not always do what’s best for the team. That’s what we’re seeing with the Cavs, and what we’re not seeing with the Celtics. Before Brad Stevens took a bunch of misfits and kept them in line…but now he has a bona fide superstar in Kyrie Irving, as well as a rookie on his way to that path. Can Stevens keep this team playing as one cohesive unit? That can make up for any potential talent deficits they may have. He’s proven that in the past, but this team is almost entirely different. I’m leaning yes, but it’s impossible to tell based off this many games.
- San Antonio Spurs: You could make the case for a few teams here, but I’m going to go with the one that’s got the track record. Gregg Popovich may actually fly under the radar somehow when it comes to the top NBA coaches, but I’d argue he’s the best. This team definitely doesn’t have the most talent, but they’ll be a top 4 seed in the West come playoff time and will always be able to compete with just about any team on any given night.
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.