1-tie Spurs (1)
They have 2 early season hiccups, but no glaring holes that would make anyone think that they won’t be beaten in June.
1-tie Pistons (2)
Detroit starts out on fire, making LB feel a bit red in the face early on. With Miami catching an injury bug and still searching for chemistry, Motown looks like the early favorite in the East. “Flip, Flip, Flip…but you don’t hear me though.”
3 Mavericks (7)
Dirk is Dirk and they may have gotten a little early season luck from Mark Cuban’s stunning blazer. Keith Van Horn has been surprisingly productive, but they will need a lot more than KVH playing Running Ute-Era ball to stay near the top.
4 Bucks (24)
The surprise team of the first month, Milwaukee is soothing the Packers’ fans suffering early on in Wisconsin. Bogut is coming along nicely and Michael Redd is playing MVP type ball. Imagine if he signed with the Cavs this summer- Yikes!
5 Pacers (4)
Even though Charles Barkley still can’t pronounce Sarunas Jasikevicius’ name, he and the rest of the country will soon have it roll off their tongue like Ginobili. Letting the Bucks slip by them last week causes them to slip a bit, but that shouldn’t be happening when the games really count.
6 Wizards (12)
A loss to Minnesota recently doesn’t mean they should be near the top of the East. Will give Miami a good run for the division and Gilbert and Co. are showing early that they weren’t a D4L-type “one-hit wonder.” Caron Butler and Antonio Daniels only make this team better.
7 Heat (3)
Shaq going down early hurt, but having ‘Zo as a backup isn’t too bad. Watching J-Will and Antoine Walker argue early on came sooner than expected, but GP will have a huge role as the season rolls on.
8 Cavaliers (11)
LBJ is ready to have a Michael Jordan ‘88-’89 kind of season and the early return on the Cavs is good. Let’s just hope they don’t fold like the Indians down the stretch.
9 Grizzlies (17)
Eddie Jones has looked good playing for Jerry West’s team and their chemistry may be even better without Williams. Pau Gasol gets the early nod for best facial hair of the season.
10 Suns (5)
Joe Johnson is scorching in Atlanta, but they don’t miss Q that much, yet. Nash isn’t slowing down and Barbosa is looking like he is developing into a formidable running mate in the backcourt.
11 Clippers (22)
Sam I am guaranteed the playoffs, and the Clips are playing like the best team in California right now. Elton Brand needs to get his due this season, but a grumbling Magette could cause problems.
12 Warriors (20)
The team many picked to be the surprise of the year is off to a good start. Baron Davis is elevating his game to be mentioned among the top point guards in the league and Jason Richardson is looking more and more like a complete player everyday.
13 76ers (14)
Allen Iverson cannot be stopped and it looks like AI2- Andre the Giant can’t be either. He will become a household name at the All-Star weekend, whether it be through the dunk contest, the rookie-sophomore game or in the Sunday feature itself.
14 Nets (10)
So much for a reloaded bench, Zoran looked great in the preseason but is getting splinters now. Kidd, RJ and VC look great, Nenad is solid, but it will take a lot more to show they are for real.
15 Nuggets (8)
Uh oh, a Kenyon Martin injury no matter how severe should send up a caution light, but ‘Melo and Camby should hold the fort down for a while.
16 Bulls (13)
Kirk Hinrich is slowly becoming one of my personal fav’s, and Ben Gordon hasn’t lost a step. No matter how much Duhon might add to chemistry, BG needs to start. It’s time Luol Deng gets to show what he’s capable of as well.
17 Rockets (6)
T-Mac’s short-lived injury was a setback, but once he is fully-healthy, him and Yao should “rocket” back up the charts. Someone send out an A.P.B., Juwan Howard is missing.
18 Celtics (21)
The young kids are showing some skills in Beantown, Al Jefferson will be a beast in years to come. But will Paul Pierce be around to see him bloom?
19 Timberwolves (19)
Kevin Garnett is doing what he can, but Eddie Griffin, Troy Hudson, and Wally Szczerbiak need to step up in a big way or else the trade rumors will increase around No.21.
20 Jazz (25)
They got off to a nice start, but will most Boozer for the rest of the calendar year. An embarrassing loss to the Knicks left a “salty” taste in everybody’s mouth.
21 Lakers (15)
Kobe and Phil haven’t had a spat yet and Chris Mihm…??Chris Mihm is playing solidly down low. Lamar Odom and Smush Parker need to keep it up to have the Lake Show compete for a playoff spot.
22 Kings (9)
Perhaps the biggest disappointment so far, Sacto maybe is running out of time on the Rick Adelman Era. Shareef has been fine, but with Peja wanting out of cow-town, things could become very ugly soon in Cali’s capital.
23 Blazers (27)
Nate McMillan has Zack Randolph and Darius Miles playing better than ever, and if Sebastian Telfair and Martell can come along as the season progresses, Portland may finally escape the cloud which has hovered over their franchise for so long.
24 Knicks (16)
OK, so it wasn’t the ideal start for Larry Brown. Two wins were followed up by a Kobe demolishing. Steph looks like he’s safe for now, but another 5 game losing streak could prove different.
25 Hornets (29)
J.R. and Chris Paul are looking as good as advertised, but Desmond Mason must be cursing the day he was dealt to Oklahoma City/N.O. David West has been a nice surprise, and no matter how many games they win, they should be exciting to watch all year.
26 Sonics (18)
Rashard is waiting for Ray to come around, but even that may not save this team. Losing Nate could be bigger than anyone in the Great Northwest could have imagined.
27 Magic (23)
Dwight Howard just may be an all-star this year and if this team ever gets back Grant Hill, they could sneak up on the East.
28 Bobcats (28)
Emeka looks huge, but the Carolina boys have yet to produce much. They are a work in progress…a long work in progress. Good thing nearby Duke started the season with a 50+ point blowout this week.
29 Hawks (26)
Marvin Williams is putting up the kind of numbers you’d expect from a sixth man in college, but not of a top-5 pick. They should turn around soon, but Josh Smith needs to show all that off-season work was done at least partly on his jumpshot, not just his jumping ability.
30 Raptors (30)
Someone needs to get Jalen Rose out of exile and he might be dealt soon. Bosh would probably be happy to join him and it doesn’t look too great up in Canada. Good thing hockey came back this year.