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No, your favorite team probably did not crack the rankings. Get ready to whine some more as I rank the ten best NBA teams at the beginning of December.
10. Indiana Pacers(13-7)
The Pacers are winners in six of their last seven games. Their only loss comes in a shootout against the 76ers. Domantas Sabonis is developing to one of the brightest big men in the league, averaging 18.4 PPG and 13.1 RPG. Malcolm Brogdon is a steady leader of the team with 19.4 PPG. T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb have, so far, proven themselves to be productive starters as well. Indiana was not on my radar at the beginning of the season and I will regret leaving them hanging as the season continues on.
9. Philadelphia 76ers(15-6)
Winners of four in a row after Joel Embiid’s notorious zero-point game, the 76ers are finally starting to find their stride. However, the team can only be as good as their court general Ben Simmons can be. He is only averaging 13.0 PPG, which is not good enough if you consider him to be a star and Philly a title contender. If Embiid has to continue to carry the load for the Sixers, don’t put them in any Finals prediction.
8. Miami Heat(14-5)
As I have said in weeks before, the Heat’s scoring depth is the best in the league and they are being led by two of their rookies in Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. Miami is 9-1 against the Eastern Conference and could very well be a dark horse to contend with Milwaukee and Toronto come Springtime.
7. Boston Celtics(14-5)
No longer are the days of Kyrie Irving and the Celtics and their fanbase could not be any happier. Kemba Walker is the leader this team needs and the defensive help from Marcus Smart is key to Boston’s success. The gritty Celtics are back and they will be in a tight battle all season long with the upper echelon of the East.
6. Denver Nuggets(13-4)
Look, the Denver Nuggets are really good and could really place their stamp in the league tonight against the Lakers but who cares about this team? There is little to no attention given to this team and it is justified because this Denver team just isn’t fun to watch. They are in the bottom ten of scoring and Nikola Jokic has been an average center at best. Nothing close to as dominant as he was last season. I’m not saying Denver is bad but they look like the vintage San Antonio Spurs.
5. Los Angeles Lakers(17-3)
Here’s a stat you might want to hear, the Lakers are 3-3 against teams above .500. Wow, how shocking that a team with LeBron and Anthony Davis is beating subpar teams. Lakers will be tested by the Nuggets tonight, which could give some perspective into how “for real” both teams are.
4. Dallas Mavericks(13-6)
I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is LUKA DONCIC. This incredible European product averaged a triple-double in the month of November and has made Dallas one of the must-watch teams in the NBA. With help from Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks have made themselves legit Western Conference contenders.
3. Los Angeles Clippers(15-6)
The loss to the Spurs was a bad one but the Clippers are still winners in eight of their last nine games. There is no panic in this team as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George continue to build chemistry with their similar playing styles. Barring any injury, the Clippers will continue to develop and be the best team in the NBA.
2. Toronto Raptors(15-4)
Remember when people said the Raptors needed Kawhi to be good? Nope. Pascal Siakam has taken on the role of franchise player perfectly. The Raptors have the fifth-best defense in the league and are 10th in offense. Not only has Toronto become a favorite in the East once again but they may be title favorites in the near future.
1. Milwaukee Bucks(18-3)
The best offense in the league and Giannis Antetokounmpo is even better than he was last year, what else could Milwaukee want more? The Bucks are cruising through the beginning of the regular season and are the clear NBA title favorites at the moment.