NBA Top-10: December 1
The start of the NBA season has been exciting and enticing.
The trio of Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and LeBron James have not had the chance to play consistently together due to injury. This has left an opportunity for teams like the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors to gain huge leads in the Western Conference standings.
The East currently sits in the hands of Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks have had problems with injuries, but only trail the Nets by a few games. There is still a lot to be determined in this NBA season but this is a glimpse at the top ten power rankings heading into December.
1. Phoenix Suns (18-3)
The Suns set their franchise record for a win streak on Tuesday night with a 104-96 victory over the Warriors. Let’s not forget this team is the reigning Western Conference champions.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker seem to be out for blood as they stake their claim as the best team in the NBA by beating Stephen Curry.
2. Golden State Warriors (18-3)
Golden State has had one of its best starts in years. Curry is having the definition of an MVP season, and this is all without star counterpart Klay Thompson. The production the Warriors are getting from Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins should make them the front runners to come out the West in May.
3. Brooklyn Nets (15-6)
Brooklyn has the third best record in the league and leads the Eastern conference, but it has not been all smooth sailing for the Nets. James Harden has looked sloppy and ineffective until last night in their 112-110 victory against the Knicks.
This team is going to need Harden to be his 30 point scoring self to remain the top team in the East, especially as Kyrie Irving continues to miss games.
4. Milwaukee Bucks (13-8)
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have won their last 7 games. When Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are all in the lineup, Milwaukee is 9-0.
There is no doubt that it will be tough for the Bucks to repeat, but they have more size and defense than any team in the East that can stop the Nets.
5. Miami Heat (13-8)
Miami’s blend of veteran and youthful talent has them right in the mix in the East.
This team has played in big games before and the addition of an NBA Champion in Kyle Lowry, and should give the Nets and Bucks issues come playoff time. This team has a better roster than they did during their NBA Finals run so expect them to be a factor down the line in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
6. Chicago Bulls (14-8)
Chicago has cooled down a bit since its blazing hot start.
The scoring that Chicago is getting from players like Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan needs to continue for this team to challenge the Bucks or Nets. It is finally nice to see some decent basketball in Chicago.
7. Utah Jazz (14-7)
Before beating the wounded Trail Blazers on Monday night, the Jazz blew late game leads to the Grizzlies and Pelicans. The Jazz need to find more scoring on the floor. If they continue to live and die by Donovan Mitchell scoring 30 points, they will have trouble surviving in a crowded Western Conference.
8. Dallas Mavericks (10-9)
The Mavericks are an overlooked team in this Western Conference. Kristaps Porzingis is quietly playing his best basketball since he was with the Knicks, and Luka Doncic hasn’t missed a step when he’s been healthy.
The Mavericks can continue to get better throughout the season with their new coaching staff as long as their star duo stays on the court.
9. Charlotte Hornets (13-10)
The Hornets have proved that they will be one of the most fun teams to watch in the league this season. But there will still be growing pains for this young talented group.
The pair of LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges is how this team can make some noise in the Eastern Conference. Michael Jordan finally seems to be on to something from an ownership standpoint.
10. Washington Wizards (13-8)
The Wizards have possibly become the biggest surprise in the Eastern Conference so far. This team has been in this position before.
Washington has a tendency to break down in the postseason, and the additions of Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope need to provide scoring to take the weight off of Bradley Beal.
Davis Bertans has recently returned from injury and the Wizards are looking to get Rui Hachimura back in December as well. Look for this team to try to make a move for another scorer at the deadline if they continue to win games.
About the Contributors
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Sam Kirk is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and podcaster for the CommRadio sports department. He is also featured weekly in the CommRadio news department on Thursday newcasts. Sam has written articles all across the board that deal with baseball, football and basketball. He is also working for a football media company called Inside the Hashes, writing articles, interviewing players and contributing to their YouTube channel.