NBA Top 10 Teams

by Glenn Kaplan
by Glenn Kaplan

The NBA trade deadline is in two weeks from today. The west continues to be wild day by day in the NBA. The east remains top heavy, but the bottom half of the east isn't very strong. Who are the Top 10 teams in the NBA at the moment?

10. Utah Jazz: The Jazz got off to another slow start this season, but they have been climbing up the Western Conference latter once again this season. Utah has won their last eight-out-of-10 games. The Utah Jazz defeated the Denver Nuggets 114-108 at home on Wednesday night. Donovan Mitchell erupted for 35 points. He also grabbed six rebounds, recorded six assists, and had two steals. He is their best player and is averaging 22.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.4 BPG, and 1.2 SPG. Quin Snyder is one of the most underrated coaches in the NBA. They play good defensively. Utah is currently in seventh in the west with a 27-22 record. The Jazz will have a big game on the road next Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

9. Portland Trail Blazers: The Trail Blazers currently sit in fourth place in the west with a 29-20 record. They have two favorable match ups before Portland plays the Utah Jazz at home next Wednesday night. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum continue to put up numbers. Jusuf Nurkic is one of the players on this team that doesn't get enough credit for what he does. Nurkic is a reliable rim protector. He is averaging 15.1 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.6 BPG, and 1.1 SPG so far this season.

8. Boston Celtics: The Celtics have won five straight games but over the last week, four of those wins have been against teams that are under .500. Give them credit for taking advantage of weak opponents, but Boston will be tested big time this Saturday night at home against the Golden State Warriors. A lot of people were talking about this as a possible NBA Finals Preview for the season started. We will see if that is the case or not this weekend. The Boston Celtics have the talent to make a run. Boston currently sits in fifth place in the east with a 30-18 record so far this season.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder: Paul George has taken over the Thunder's number one option on the team. He hit the game-winning three-pointer against the Philadelphia 76ers on the road on Saturday afternoon 117-115. George scored 31 points in that game. Russell Westbrook scored 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and recorded six assists in that game. Oklahoma City also had another big win on Tuesday night at home against the Portland Trail Blazers 123-114. Paul George also scored 36 points in that game. The Oklahoma City Thunder currently sit in third place in the west with a 29-18 record. They have a big game at home on Sunday evening against the Milwaukee Bucks.

6. Indiana Pacers: The Pacers took down the Toronto Raptors 110-106 at home on Wednesday night, but it came at a costly price. Victor Oladipo injured his knee in the second-quarter and he had to be taken off the court on a stretcher. Oladipo will need season ending surgery. He averaged 18.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.2 APG, 0.3 BPG, and 1.7 SPG during the 2018-2019 season. Indiana has a very good supporting cast that they might be able to overcome this injury, but Oladipo's presence will be missed eventually. The Indiana Pacers currently sit in third in the east with a 32-15 record. They could trade for point guard Mike Conley on the Memphis Grizzles. Indiana is also one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.

5. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid continues to make a strong case for MVP. He continues to play both ends of the floor at an elite level. Embiid is averaging 27.2 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 2 BPG, and 0.6 SPG so far this season. He scored 32 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and blocked three shots in a 121-93 win at home o Monday night against the Houston Rockets. Embiid scored 33 points and 19 rebounds in a 122-120 win at home on Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs. Jimmy Butler has missed the last couple of games because of a wrist injury. They will need him back at some point. Ben Simmons recorded another triple-double on Wednesday night with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists. Simmons is averaging 16.6 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 8.3 APG, 0.8 BPG, and 1.3 SPG so far this season. Markelle Fultz will be back at some point. They could use him as a possible trade piece for Mike Conley. The 76ers currently sit in fourth place in the east with a 32-17 record. Philadelphia will begin a four-game road trip starting this Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets. Corey Brewer has been a key energy guy for this team and he was recently signed.

4. Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets have been very good offensively as of late, but they are struggling playing defense. Denver lost to the Utah Jazz on the road on Wednesday night 114-108. Nikola Jokic was a monster on Wednesday night with 28 points and 21 points. He could very well be an MVP candidate. Jokic is one of the best players in the NBA and he isn't talked about enough. They always have different players step up every night. Gary Harris has struggled staying healthy as of late, but he scored 16 points on Wednesday night. Harris can score at will when he is one the court. Gary Harris is averaging 15.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.4 BPG, and 0.9 SPG so far this season. The Denver Nuggets currently sit in second place in the west with a 31-15 record. Denver has a big game at home on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

3. Golden State Warriors: The Warriors have strung eight straight wins together. Golden State might become unbeatable but they aren't there yet. Klay Thompson made 10 3's and scored 44 points in a 130-111 win on Monday night on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Golden State Warriors continue their road trip and they will play the Washington Wizards on Thursday night. Golden State will also face the Boston Celtics in Boston on Saturday night and the Indiana Pacers in Indiana on Monday night. DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 11 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4 APG, 0.5 BPG, and 0.5 SPG in his first two games with the Golden State Warriors and those numbers could possibly get better. Their record so far this season is 33-14. Golden State is currently the number one seed in the west.

2. Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard has missed the last couple of games due to rest. He hasn't been injured and they want him to be healthy for the postseason. Leonard has made an impact for the Raptors so far this season. He is averaging 27.6 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, 0.5 BPG, and 1.9 SPG so far this season. Pascal Siakam has blossomed into a star for Toronto. He scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and recorded four assists, in a 110-106 loss on the road on Wednesday night to the Indiana Pacers. The Toronto Raptors sit in second place in the east with a 36-14 record. They have a big game on the road Friday night against the Houston Rockets. Toronto continues to prove they are one of the deepest teams in the NBA.

1. Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks have won five straight games. They sit in first place in the east with a 34-12 and Milwaukee is the best team in the NBA. All five of those wins have been against teams under .500. They will face another under .500 team on Saturday night against the Charlotte Hornets. The Milwaukee Bucks will have a big game on the road on Sunday evening against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, and recorded five assists, in a 116-106 win at home on Monday afternoon against the Dallas Mavericks. He is averaging 26.5 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.4 BPG, and 1.3 SPG so far this season. Antetokounmpo is one of the favorites to win MVP right now. Brook Lopez also scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in that game. He has been very helpful for the Bucks so far this season. Sterling Brown has seen some play time this season and he scored 11 points against Dallas. Mike Budenholzer continues to influence this team in a positive way.