Photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports
Load management has become an epidemic across the association and it has caused many teams, especially the Clippers, to underachieve through the first month of the season. With this issue, let’s take a look at the ten best teams in the NBA to date.
1. Boston Celtics(10-2)
Letting Kyrie Irving walk may be the smartest move the franchise has made in this decade. Kemba Walker has been a dream for this team and he has been a positive influence for his teammates. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have become consistent, high-scoring threats and Gordon Hayward is looking like the Hayward that we came to know before we joined Boston. All cylinders firing in Titletown.
2. Los Angeles Clippers(8-5)
The Clippers 8-5 record is deceiving as their superstar Kawhi Leonard has sat out for multiple games so far. Paul George and Leonard have not played together yet and this bench has been nothing but sensational. Everyone makes productive contributions to this team and a slow start to the season is not going to stop the Clippers from being the number one team in the West.
3. Los Angeles Lakers(11-2)
Are we supposed to be shocked that a team led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis has the best record in the NBA? Outside of the physical prowess of LeBron, Davis, JaVale McGee, and Dwight Howard, there is nothing that should drive fear into the rest of the league.
4. Houston Rockets(10-3)
Yes, they can score the basketball but nothing has changed with Houston after the acquisition of Russell Westbrook. This team lives and dies by the three and if it is not falling on a certain night, then they are guaranteed to lose. Don’t buy their current seven-game winning streak.
5. Milwaukee Bucks(9-3)
The Bucks would not be my first guess when it comes to highest-scoring teams in the league. Nonetheless, they are and Giannis Antetokounmpo is filling up the stat sheet like no one has ever done before. Add in Khris Middleton’s and Eric Bledsoe’s contributions and you have a team that is averaging 118.8 points per game.
6. Miami Heat(9-3)
While I still do not see this team as a legit threat to win the East, the scoring depth goes crazy for this team. Six players are averaging over 13 points per game with rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro being some of the main contributors. Keep your eye on South Beach.
7. Denver Nuggets(9-3)
The Nuggets are doing what they are supposed to do and that is why they have not been talked about much. However, Nikola Jokic is underachieving for his standards, averaging only 16.4 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game in 30 minutes of playing time. It is still early in the season but those numbers are not going to put Denver over the hump in the West and they need more defensive contributions from their backcourt.
8. Utah Jazz(8-4)
Another team in the same boat as Denver, the Jazz are doing the job we expected from them and doing so with the best defense in the league. Mike Conley has figured things out after a brutal start to the year and he has been a great mentor for Donovan Mitchell, who is shooting at 47.9 percent. The underrated factor of this team is Bojan Bogdanovic, who was one of the best acquisitions of the offseason, and it is paying off as he is averaging nearly 20 points per game.
9. Toronto Raptors(8-4)
Pascal Siakam has transitioned into Kawhi’s replacement quite easily. Averaging 26.2 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game, you have to throw him into the MVP conversation. People forget that this team was still deep, even without Kawhi. Fred VanVleet has continued to be a superstar ever since his fantastic run in last year’s Finals. OG Anunoby and Norman Powell have both contributed over double-digit points as well, keeping Toronto relevant in the league.
10. Phoenix Suns(7-4)
Who would have thought that the young and inexperienced Phoenix Suns would have wins over the Clippers, 76ers, and Nets? Devin Booker will be an All-Star, finally, this year and Kelly Oubre Jr. has become a frontrunner for Most Improved Player. With the absence of Deandre Ayton, Aron Baynes has stepped into the role successfully, averaging 15 points per game. As much as a waste as I thought Ricky Rubio was going to be, he has been the complete opposite and fills the veteran role perfectly on this team. Do I think this great start will last for Phoenix? No, but there is something to be excited about in the desert.