The NBA Top 30 is our weekly post aimed on ranking the teams from best to worst with a 2016 NBA Futures minded approach. Using a combination of futures odds, standings and our own eye test we look to scout the NBA championship winner long before the Finals.
Can anyone stop the Warriors? No, seriously, can anyone stop the Warriors? We’re only 1/8th of the way into the season and we’re ready to crown them again. Meanwhile the Spurs keep going, coaching questions in Oklahoma City, trouble in Houston and the Cavs see the future. There’s still a lot of time until we crown the champion this season, but right now it’s time for Week 3 of the NBA Top 30.
Play of the Week:
Again, can anyone stop the Warriors? Not when Steph Curry is hitting shots like this.
Stuff of the Week:
The Cavs saw their future on Saturday and it is frightening.
Below you’ll find this week’s Top 30 with current future odds courtesy of Bovada.
NBA Top 30
1. Golden State Warriors (+200)
A drop down from +300 last week down to +200 and the season is only three weeks old. At this pace they are going to be -500 by the All-Star break. They are just so good and if everyone stays healthy I can’t imagine a scenario where they aren’t back in (at the very least) the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors at this point are a bigger favorite than Roman Reigns at Survivor Series.
The question this year might be if they can challenge the Bulls 72-10 record. Last season they won a franchise record 67 games and played at a historic pace. They started 9-2 while this year’s team is 11-0. It’s a long ways away and there’s a really tough road ahead, but they haven’t lost yet.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers +275
This team without Kyrie Irving should still be the favorite to win the Eastern Conference and if they never get him back I’d still have them in this spot. They will get him back though and this season seems destined for a rematch of last year’s Finals.
3. San Antonio Spurs +525
“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
If that doesn’t sum up the Spurs, I don’t know what does. They just keep putting the pieces together and the next thing you know they are in the Western Conference Finals. LaMarcus Aldrige had a big week with 23 points in a win over his former team followed by a 17 point, 19 rebound performance against the lowly Sixers. While their schedule has been soft, they still have the second best point differential in the NBA behind the Warriors.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (+1000)
It was only one game and it was one game without Kevin Durant, but this weekend’s loss to the Boston Celtics could be a telling sign for the Thunder’s future. Billy Donovan was a great coach in college, but that loss showed his in not even close to the same league as Brad Stevens. Donovan’s talents are mostly in getting pieces to fit together, but when it comes to high level Xs and Os he just can’t hang.
To win the West, the Thunder will have to go through at least one of the NBA’s best coaches in Doc Rivers, Gregg Poppovich and Steve Kerr. That could get interesting. Stay tuned.
5. Los Angeles Clippers +1000
Same old Clippers. Better than most teams in the NBA, but not quite as good as the elite teams. We keep waiting for the breakout that might never come.
6. Houston Rockets +2500
Kind of a high placement for a 4-6 team, eh?
They are 4-4 with Dwight Howard in the lineup so that’s encouraging, but the problem with them has been defense. Or to put it more succinctly, defensive effort. This is one of the best teams in the West on a talent level and I have to believe that one of these days they’ll look at the standings and realize they would be out of the playoffs if the season ended today and go on a run. This team should be ahead of the Clippers and (maybe) the Thunder. They just have to start playing like it.
7. Miami Heat +2500
8. Chicago Bulls +2000
9. Atlanta Hawks +2500
10. Toronto Raptors +3300
One of these three teams will be in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. One of these teams will most likely lose.
11. Washington Wizards +5000
12. Detroit Pistons +10000
13. Milwaukee Bucks +10000
14. Indiana Pacers +7500
15. Boston Celtics +6600
Five teams going for three playoff spots in the East. I see them ranking like this, but the Celtics and Pacers are so well coached that I could easily see one or both sneaking in there.
In the pre-season I talked about how much I liked Anthony Davis to win the MVP award this season with a crazy scoring and rebounding year. Should I have been talking about Andre Drummond instead? He’s currently averaging 18.5 points and 19 rebounds per game. Those are huge numbers.
Last week I said this about the Bucks:
They could make a move forward if they continue to play like they have during this four game win streak. The leap Giannis has made thus far this season has been huge and if Jabari Parker plays like the guy they thought they were getting #2 in the draft then this could be another major sleeper in the East. With their length on defense I could see them frustrating the hell out of the Cavaliers.
Saturday night the Cavaliers got a chance to see what I was talking about as they suffered a 2OT loss to the Bucks in Milwaukee. It is just a tough match-up for them. They aren’t quite there yet, but Giannis and Jabari match up really well against Love and Lebron. I’d love to see that series happen in the playoffs this year.
16. Phoenix Suns +30000
17. Utah Jazz +10000
18. Memphis Grizzlies +5000
19. Dallas Mavericks +10000
20. New Orleans Pelicans +10000
21. Denver Nuggets
This is where we differ from a traditional power ranking. Some of these teams are better than the 11-15 teams, but those teams ranked above them probably have a better chance of winning the championship than these teams. The West is much tougher at 1-5 than the East. That’s just a fact of life. Three of these teams will make the playoffs. I see them ranking like this, but I could see the Grizzlies run really being over and Rick Carlisle continuing to prove he’s one of the best coaches in the NBA. It probably doesn’t matter.
The Pelicans at 1-9 are just hanging in there. The odds are totally against them with this awful start, but if they can ever get healthy the talent is there. Still, it make take 50 wins to make the playoffs in the West and it’s hard to bet on any team (besides the Warriors) going on a 49-23 run.
22. Orlando Magic +30000
23. Minnesota Timberwolves +10000
24. New York Knicks +10000
25. Charlotte Hornets +20000
26. Sacramento Kings +10000
27. Portland Trailblazers +20000
28. Los Angeles Lakers +50000
29. Brooklyn Nets +100000
30. Philadelphia 76ers +100000