Rankings (Last weeks rankings) - NR = Not ranked
1. (1) Los Angeles Lakers (8-0) - Straight up, this is why they're the champs. The chemistry of the Lakers is UNBELIEVABLE. They have proven to everyone that they, not the Heat, are (once again) this year's favorites to win it all. They're undefeated and largely due to Pau Gasol playing some of the best basketball of his career. They have accomplished so much already and Kobe isn't even averaging 25 PPG. There has been a lot of talk about whether this team can break (or match) the record 7- win season of the 95-96 Bulls. I'm not so sure about that, but once Kobe is 100% healthy...they could come awfully close.
2. (9) New Orleans Hornets (7-0) - Okay, let's be honest. Who saw this happening? There has been a complete revival in the Big Easy. Chris Paul has led this team to an undefeated, 7-0 start to the season amidst his future with the team being unknown. They've beat top teams such as Miami and San Antonio in convincing fashion. All I can say is that with the gelling together of this team, as long as their success continues, CP3 will be in a Hornets jersey for a long time coming.
3. (7) Orlando Magic (5-1) - After being completely dismantled by Miami, the Magic have bounced back and won 4 consecutive games. Dwight Howard has been playing like a beast of late and was awarded the most recent NBA Player of the Week award. Orlando seems to have found their form and as they've shown in the past, can be a very dangerous team. Key for them is a healthy Jameer Nelson.
4. (4) Boston Celtics (6-2) - The Celtics have been very impressive thus far. The Big Three are all healthy which is key to this team being a top contender. Kevin Garnett seems to be revitalized as he's playing with more aggressiveness than he has in the past few years (mainly because he's finally healthy). Rajon Rondo is averaging just under 15 assists per game which is just ridiculous. He has proven himself to be one of the top 4 point guards in the league. With a match up with Miami tonight, we'll see if Boston's defensive intensity can disrupt the Heat again.
5. (2) Miami Heat (5-2) - The Heat are this low on the list just because they haven't beat any top teams besides the Magic. Once this team can play as a cohesive, dominant unit on a consistent basis, they will move up the rankings. On a side note, LeBron is leading the team in assists and just had his first triple-double- I think Miami has found their point guard. Additionally, their has been recent criticism of Chris Bosh saying he is not able to contribute on a superstar level. I expect him to step it up and become a true dominant presence for the Heat starting...now. Last night's double-double was step one.
6. (NR) San Antonio Spurs (5-1) - They just know how to win. The Spurs have been doing this for years. They are possibly the most consistent team in the history of the world. The core of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili is really that good. The team is aging but if they can stay healthy, they could emerge as a top team in the West (once again).
7. (6) Atlanta Hawks (6-2) - The Hawks hit a bump in the road, losing 2 in a row after winning their first 6. The good news for them is that they will continue to win games. This is a very well balanced offensive team and they seem to improve each year. The have established themselves as a perennial contender in the East.
8. (10) Chicago Bulls (3-3) - The Bulls may only be .500 but I like what I've seen from them. They have the leading scorer and the leading rebounder in the league in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. The development of Joakim has taken everyone by surprise. You can overlook his horrid looking shot (that somehow goes in) because he's able to average 15 rebounds per game. Once Carlos Boozer is healthy? Watch out. Oh, and as much as it killed me to watch this happen to my team...this right here was RIDICULOUS.
9. (3) Portland Trailblazers (6-3) - Portland has thus far beaten all the teams they should. But, in order to remain in these rankings, they must start beating upper echelon teams. The continues growth of LaMarcus Aldridge is scary and he could eventually be an All Star in this league. Oh yeah, Marcus Camby is a contender (once again) for Defensive Player of the Year.
10. (NR) Dallas Mavericks (4-2) - The Mavs are good. That's it. They are a good team. Dirk is averaging over 25 PPG, Jason Kidd (yes he still plays) is averaging 10 assists per game and they're getting quality production from their bench. This is a team to watch out for. Plus, Dirk Nowitzki currently has the best flow in the NBA. Have you seen his hair?
Outside looking in: The Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, and Denver Nuggets (8)
Dropped from rankings: The Denver Nuggets (8) and Oklahoma City Thunder (5)
(I'm sorry Thunder fans. I love watching them as much as you do...but they lost to the Clippers and it wasn't even close. That's just unacceptable.)