DA's Top 15 Rankings: San Antonio Spurs back in upper crust

NBA.com Global on Jan 30, 2018 08:41 AM
DA's Top 15 Rankings: San Antonio Spurs back in upper crust
SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 18: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Manu Ginobili #20 and Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs warm up before the game against the LA Clippers on December 18, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst

(Last week’s record in parenthesis; last week’s ranking in brackets)

1. Golden State Warriors (3-0) [1]: They still have not been swept in a regular season series by any team since Steve Kerr took over; Golden State salvaged a split this year with Boston with its come from behind win Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) in Oakland.

2. Houston Rockets (3-1) [2]: Lost their first game of the season after 19 wins in which James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela all play Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in New Orleans.

3. Toronto Raptors (2-1) [3]: Their brass and coaches are banging the NBA for not including O.G. Anunoby, Fred VanVleet or Jakob Poeltl in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game. I guarantee you -- they’re secretly thrilled that their kids won’t be sucked into the L.A. vortex for All-Star weekend. Thrilled.

4. San Antonio Spurs (3-1) [6]: There is only one issue that matters between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs, and it will be resolved, one way or another, on July 1, 2018, when the Spurs utter the following two sentences: “Kawhi, we’re offering you the maximum contract extension we can, for $217 million, starting in 2019. Do you want it?”

5. Boston Celtics (1-2) [4]: All units, be on the lookout for the Rookie Wall: Jayson Tatum 42-of-108 (38.8 percent) from the floor in January.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves (2-2) [5]: Andrew Wiggins (24.3 ppg this week, including his first 40-burger of the season) jumps into the breach with Jimmy Butler out.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder (4-0) [8]: Brutal season-ending injury to Andre Roberson comes just as OKC’s starting five was playing its best basketball of the season.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-1) [9]: First week above .500 since mid-December.

9. Miami Heat (1-2) [7]: Wayne Ellington earning himself a payday in July; fourth in the league in three-pointers made (150) behind James Harden (166), Klay Thompson (161) and Stephen Curry (154).

10. Milwaukee Bucks (3-0) [11]: Rookie Sterling Brown getting more run of late, including 12 points Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at Chicago.

11. New Orleans Pelicans (3-1) [12]: They started Dante Cunningham Sunday (Monday, PHL time) against the LA Clippers in place of DeMarcus Cousins, but against teams with big centers like Charlotte and Detroit, you’ll also see Omer Asik come out of mothballs.

12. Washington Wizards (1-2) [10]: “John Wall’s Knee” not the phrase that pays in D.C.

13. Philadelphia 76ers (2-2) [13]: More meaningful than this? This.

14. Indiana Pacers (2-1) [14]: Despite Friday (Saturday, PHL time) loss to Cavs, Pacers won the season series over a LeBron-based Cleveland team this year (3-1) for the first time since 2005.

15. Portland Trail Blazers (2-1) [15]: Dame in Effect: Blazers scorching offensively since Lillard’s return to the lineup for good Jan. 10 (Jan. 11, PHL time), averaging 110.4 points in those last nine games.

Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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