|Posted by James FitzGerald IV on December 18, 2012 at 9:25 PM|
We are a little past the quarter pole of the NBA season. There are some early surprises so far this year. But these are the teams I feel are the cream of the crop so far. This is the @slimfizzleDa4th NBA top 5.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
They already have 20 wins for starters. They are on an 11 game winning streak as well. You would have thought the effects of the James Harden trade would have made the adjustment for the Thunder a little bit more difficult. But with a 20-4 record, they seem to be adjusting to life without " The Beard " just fine .
2. New York Knicks
They have blown out the defending champion Miami Heat twice by 20 points. That is going to be a huge confidence builder for the Knickerbockers going forward. Carmelo Anthony's averages of 27.9 pts, 6.4 boards, 47% fgs , 45.5 % 3pt, have him in the thick of the MVP race. The additions of Jason Kidd & Raymond Felton has turned out to be an improvement at the point. Throw in Rasheed Wallace's veteran stability and J.R. Smith's penchant for creating instant offense off the bench and they are a formidable squad in the Eastern Conference. The question will be, how will Amare Stoudamire and Iman Shumpert fit into the mix when they come back from injury.
3. San Antonio Spurs
It is just another regular season run for this veteran core. Ginobili , Parker and Duncan have been to a few of these rodeos. The Spurs mission is pretty simple as far as the regular season is concerned; stay healthy, get minutes and cohesion for the bench to play along with their big 3, and get ready for their playoff run come April. They are going to be a factor as usual.
4. Miami Heat
They are 15-6 so far this season. They are really just cruising along. The health of Dwayne Wade has been an issue for them so far this season. However, Wade has pressed on and continues to contribute. The additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis have helped. Their situation is similar to the Spurs. They simply want to make sure that they are healthy and have their bench together for the playoff run. They still seem to have a problem with any team that has imposing size in the middle. They hope to have a remedy for that by April. There is still plenty of season left to find answers for weaknesses.
5. Los Angeles Clippers
They could have easily been number 3 on this list right now. They have beaten the Spurs twice. They have a 10 game winning streak going on as we speak. The only reason why I have them at 5 is because they have not had that one dominating performance that tells me they are a top 3 team yet. They are playing extremly well and they are getting healthier. With Chauncey Billups coming back they are slowly rounding into the team they expected to be in the West. Depth is the Clippers biggest strength. Meshing all this depth together is the project for them.