NBA Top 30 for December 7th, 2015

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.  

We’ve officially hit the one quarter mark of the NBA season and thinks look as clear (and unclear) as they’ll ever look. The clear part is that the Golden State Warriors are the very best team in the NBA and it’s not looking like anyone is going to be able to stop them on their quest to repeat for the championship. The Cleveland Cavaliers look to be in a similar position in the East, but nothing close to the undefeated Warriors who have a chance to be one of the greatest regular season NBA teams of all-time. This is getting serious.

The unclear part? Just about everything else. The 3 through 7 seeds in the West all have the same amount of losses and are separated by just two games in the standings. The East is similar in standings with the 3 through 10 seeds separated by just 1.5 games. The East has gotten a lot better, but it’s looking more and more like another season where the top two seeds meet in the conference Finals. The only real question is: who will those teams be, besides the Warriors and Heat?

Play of the Week:

When you think of Kevin Durant you usually think smooth shooting and impossible threes, but he is so very much more than that as he showed Miami this week.

Stuff of the Week:

The Heat are a lot of fun thus far this season. They are currently tied with the Cavs for the top seed in the East and that is a very intriguing match-up come playoff time. They got a little taste of what that might be like (albeit without Lebron) this week and Hassan Whiteside showed them just how tough of a match-up he’ll be.


Below you’ll find this week’s NBA Top 30 with current future odds courtesy of Bovada.

NBA Top 30

1. Golden State Warriors (+140)

What can I say about this team that hasn’t been said? We are 1/4th of the way through the season and they haven’t lost a game. They are only 12 wins away from tying the all-time record for consecutive wins. If they somehow manage to get there, when will they ever lose? Will they lose? There have been close calls this season, but nobody in this league is on their level. Can we have the playoffs now?

2. San Antonio Spurs (+500)

In any other season, the Spurs at 18-4 would be the story as the sure thing Finals contender. Instead, they are playing second fiddle to the Warriors dynasty. While they play in the same conference, this is the greatest threat to the Warriors chances of repeating. They are an extremely tough team to play and their defense has been stifling thus far this season. Their +11.9 scoring average is second in the NBA and they are the only other NBA team with less than seven losses. This could be the greatest Western Conference Finals we ever see in our lives. I can’t wait.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers +300

Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert are nearing their returns which means that we’ll start seeing a lot less of Mo Williams, Delly and Richard Jefferson. That means that the best team in the East is about to get a whole lot better. I still want to see Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love look like they are working together before I put them as a real threat to the Warriors, but getting healthy could take this team to another level.

4. Miami Heat +2000

Probably a little high, but I think the Heat have a better chance of beating the Cavs than the Thunder or Clippers have of beating San Antonio or Golden State.

Then again, this could be smoke and mirrors. The Heat have played on five road games and fourteen home games. I believe that this team is for real, but we won’t know for sure until we see them hit the road.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder +1400

The same place they always are. If something happens to the Spurs or Warriors, they are probably a favorite to make the Western Conference. If they don’t? Sorry.

The Rest:

6. Los Angeles Clippers (+1400)
7. Indiana Pacers (+2800)
8. Houston Rockets (+3300)
9. Chicago Bulls (+1400)
10. Toronto Raptors (+4000)
11. Boston Celtics (+7500)
12. Dallas Mavericks (+10000)
13. Atlanta Hawks (+4000)
14. Utah Jazz (+10000)
15. Charlotte Hornets (+10000)
16. Washington Wizards (+10000)
17. Memphis Grizzlies (+6600)
18. Phoenix Suns (+25000)
19. Orlando Magic (+10000)
20. Detroit Pistons (+10000)
21. New York Knicks (+15000)
22. Portland Trailblazers (+30000)
23. Milwaukee Bucks (+15000)
24. Minnesota Timberwolves (+25000)
25. New Orleans Pelicans (+15000)
26. Sacramento Kings (+30000)
27. Denver Nuggets (+50000)
28. Brooklyn Nets (+50000)
29. Los Angeles Lakers (+100000)
30. Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Top 30 for November 23rd, 2015

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.  

The Warriors are one of only three teams to start the season 15-0 and with a win against the Lakers they will set the record for best start in NBA history. That win should be a no-brainer and everyone is asking how far this will go. The NBA record for consecutive wins is thirty three games. The Warriors aren’t even halfway there yet, but just for fun think about this: Game 33 is against the Cavaliers on Christmas day. Could you imagine?

Play of the Week:

The Warriors are the best and it’s not even really close right now. To get to 15-0 Golden State you need to be good, but you also need to be a little lucky too. Harrison Barnes had them covered there.

Stuff of the Week:

Whenever Deadspin runs a headline like “DeMar Derozan Ends Rudy Goebert’s Life With Ferocious Dunk” you can pretty much count on that being our Stuff of the Week.

I mean… wow.

Below you’ll find this week’s NBA Top 30 with current future odds courtesy of Bovada.

NBA Top 30

1. Golden State Warriors (+175)

Down from -200 last week, the Warriors just keep on going down in the futures market. If you are going to make a bet on them to win it all, you are running out of time. The value is shrinking and should only continue to shrink as the rest of the West proves themselves unworthy to the Warriors’ crown. These lines aren’t going to get any better.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (+250)

Before the season started it seemed like things might be a bit more open at the top of the mountain, but the Warriors have shut down the West and the Cavaliers are shutting down the East. There are injury concerns always, but the best bet in the NBA right now is the Finals being a rematch.

3. San Antonio Spurs +500

The second best point differential in the NBA and the team best equipped to beat the Warriors in a seven game series. They can run with the Warriors and if there is anyone with a shot of stopping Steph Curry it has to be the defending Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard.

Sadly, we don’t get to see these two teams play each other until January 25th.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder +1400

They are a work in progress, but a healthy Kevin Durant teaming with Russell Westbrook is always a threat in the West. They are just a match-up nightmare for any team in basketball and when they’re on, it’s over. That being said, there’s a reason their championship odds keep dropping. The Warriors and Spurs are just better. Enes Kanter and Dion Waiters in the rotation in a big playoff series against one of those teams would be an absolute disaster.

5. Miami Heat +2500
6. Chicago Bulls +1800

We’re moving these guys up from last week, but that has more to do with the Clippers and Rockets than what they’ve done.

I love Miami more than most and I think they are the toughest match-up for the Cavs in the Eastern Conference. If they are able to get the second seed (which I believe they will (this week)) than that puts them on a collision course for the Eastern Conference Finals with Lebron James. That series would be huge from a media standpoint and for Lebron’s career. If there is anyone in this league who could game plan for the Cavs, wouldn’t it be Erik Spoelstra? The guy who got the very best out of Lebron James and guided him to a championship? I love this idea so much. Please stay healthy everyone.

The Bulls continue to be in the same spot they’ve been in for years. Very good, not great. Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose are two phenomenal talents, but I’m not sure they fit together in a way that leads to championships.

7. Los Angeles Clippers +1200
8. Houston Rockets +3300

The Los Angeles Clippers are imploding. They are just 3-7 over their past ten games and Josh Smith is swearing at coaches. The defense hasn’t been great, but what’s really alarming is how big of a step back the offense has taken since last year. There is a lot of blame going around, but this has to rest on Doc Rivers who put together this roster of volatile personalities. Any goodwill Paul Pierce brought to the table was quickly shelved when they added Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith. This team is a mess and they need to turn it around quickly before guys really start fighting and the locker room is lost.

The Houston Rockets are in a similar position and they fired coach Kevin McHale last week in hopes of righting things. It didn’t work and the Rockets sit at 5-9 on the season. There is too much talent here for us to completely write them off, but something needs to change. This wasn’t a coaching problem, it’s an effort problem and that’s on the players.

Both of these teams are better than we’ve seen and I really hope they turn it around. Not only for them, but for our playoff enjoyment level. Imagine if one or both of these teams missed the playoffs? Imagine if two of the top four teams in the West last season suddenly weren’t at that level anymore? That would be not fun.

9. Toronto Raptors +4000
10. Atlanta Hawks +2800

Two great regular season teams that probably won’t make it past the second round of the playoffs. It’d be cool to be proven wrong, but I just don’t see it.

11. Indiana Pacers +7500
12. Dallas Mavericks +6600

Putting these two teams together for a very specific reason: coaching. Neither one of these teams deserves to be where they are right now based on their personnel, but here they are. That is all thanks to Rick Carlisle and Frank Vogel. They put the guys in the best position to succeed and focus on what they can do, never what they can’t. Just a great job so far by these guys and I’d love to see their teams in the playoffs. They would be a tough beat for anyone.

You know, it’s almost as if Larry Bird knows a thing or two about finding great coaches.

13. Washington Wizards +6600
14. Phoenix Suns +25000
15. Boston Celtics +5000
16. New York Knicks +10000
17. Utah Jazz +10000
18. Memphis Grizzlies +3300
19. Detroit Pistons +7500
20. Milwaukee Bucks +15000
21. Charlotte Hornets +20000
22. Orlando Magic +30000

Some of these teams will make the playoffs. Some might even make it to the second round!

The Rest:

23. Portland Trailblazers +20000
24. Denver Nuggets +30000
25. Sacramento Kings +15000
26. Minnesota Timberwolves +20000
27. New Orleans Pelicans +25000
28. Brooklyn Nets +200000
29. Los Angeles Lakers +50000
30. Philadelphia 76ers +200000

NBA Top 30 for November 16th, 2015

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.

The Rest:

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

NBA Top 30 for November 9th, 2015

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.  

The Pistons are suddenly for real, Luke Walton is making his case to be a future head coach, the Pelicans hope to make history and the Grizzlies might be toast. We’re two weeks into the NBA season and the NBA Top 30 is taking shape. Let’s start things off with our vine to blow your mind, it’s the…

Play of the Week:

There probably won’t be a lot written about the Lakers in this space this season so we thought we’d throw them a bone with this MONSTER dunk by Julius Randle.

Stuff of the Week:

When I first dreamed up this post with the Stuff of the Week I expected it to be a place where I could put an Anthony Davis highlight each and every week. Well, he’s in the highlight this week. Not as the blocker, but as the victim. Jeremy Evans out of nowhere.

As you’ll find out below the Pelicans season has been that block in a nutshell thus far and they’ll need to make (recent) history to make a playoff run this season. Below you’ll find this week’s Top 30 with current future odds courtesy of Bovada.

NBA Top 30

1. Golden State Warriors (+300)

That whole thing about defending a championship is harder than winning it? Not true for the Golden State Warriors. Through the first seven games of the season they are already better than last year’s team.

2015-16: 7-0, +18.3 point differential, 111.3 offensive rating, 92.3 defensive rating
2014-15: 5-2, +7 point differential, 102.2 offensive rating, 94.5 defensive rating

With defending MVP Steph Curry also being even better than he was last season. It’s crazy early, but he’s currently leading the league in points per game at 35.5 with 6.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds per to go along with it. Back to back MVPs?

With coach Steve Kerr out until the All-Star break, you have to give credit to the coaching staff. Luke Walton has done a fantastic job as interim head coach and Ron Adams continues to be one of the very best defensive coaches in the league.

This is the favorite to win the 2016 NBA championship and I don’t think it’s as close as people think. As we said last week, this team is ready for a repeat.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers +300

They’ve gelled into much more of a system team thus far this year and are getting contributions all around. The Lebron show is always there if they need it, but they haven’t thus far. The near 20-20 game from Kevin Love isn’t getting nearly enough press as that’s something he hasn’t done since his Minnesota days. If that’s the Kevin Love we’re getting this season then we could have a very fun Finals on our hands.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder +750

Down a spot since last week, but that’s more about Cleveland than the Thunder as they would still have to go through Golden State to get there. The three game losing streak they had last week didn’t worry me, but the Enes Kanter experiment does. He’s a great offensive player, but when he’s on defense they are playing a man short. You can do that kind of thing with a wing player, but it is far more dangerous to do it with a center.

4. San Antonio Spurs +500

They haven’t looked especially dangerous thus far in the season, but we expected that. Not only did they add LaMarcus Aldrige, but they turned over a large portion of their bench as well and these things just take time. This is a place where I’m not putting too much into early season performances because the Spurs find a way. Always.

5. Los Angeles Clippers +900

They hung tough with the Warriors in a loss last week, but that is why they are here. They can hang with the Warriors and if things broke right for them might be able to beat them in a seven game series. They’d be underdogs, but they could hang and that’s what keeps them in the top five.

6. Houston Rockets +1600

We should just call the 3-6 spots “teams that might meet the Warriors in the Western Conference finals and therefore have a chance”. The Rockets have won four straight including wins over the Thunder and the Clippers so they deserve to be in the mix. Watch this team because I could see them climbing in the next few weeks. Healthy Dwight > everything else.

7. Atlanta Hawks +3300

After the loss on opening night to the Pistons and the loss of DeMarre Carroll we thought that the Hawks might not be the same juggernaut we saw last season. Nope, sorry. We were wrong and they’ve won seven straight. These guys play hard and play well together. They have a +5.6 point per game differential on the season and that is definitely sustainable for this squad. They’ll be a top seed in the East and that always puts you in position to contend.

8. Chicago Bulls +1200
9. Miami Heat +2800
10. Toronto Raptors +3300
11. Detroit Pistons +6600
12. Washington Wizards +4000

Dropping the Bulls back into the “if something happens to Lebron” division because their defense just hasn’t been there. We knew that starting Mirotic and Gasol together would have this effect, but allowing 101.4 per game while only scoring 100 is not a good sign for the future and not very Bulls-like.

I am drinking the Pistons Kool-Aid right now. Last night Andre Drummond had a 29 point, 27 rebound game and Reggie Jackson scored 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Pistons to a 120-103 win and a 7-1 record. Drummond is ready now and Stan Van Gundy is probably going to win Executive of the Year and Coach of the Year. Holy crap. Could you see this team upsetting the Hawks in a round two match-up? I could.

If you want to make a crazy futures bet head over to 5Dimes and grab the Pistons at +10000.

13. Utah Jazz +10000
14. Portland Trailblazers +20000
15. Phoenix Suns +20000

I think at least two of these teams are making the playoffs and possibly all three. Some crazy stuff would have to happen for them to do anything with that, but you have to be at the dance to have a chance.

16. Milwaukee Bucks +10000

Just on the outside of that second tier-East group. 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.

17. Boston Celtics +7500
18. Indiana Pacers +7500
19. Orlando Magic +30000
20. New York Knicks +10000

If things break right one of these teams might be able to steal an eight seed in the East, but they’ll probably just end up being tough wins.

21. Memphis Grizzlies +4000
22. New Orleans Pelicans +7500

The All-Disappointing Bracket. The Grizzlies, known for their grit and grind, currently have a -10.9 point differential and are allowing over 100 points per game. The defense is gone and the shooting was never there. If things don’t turn around quickly this could be a very bad year for Memphis.

As for the Pelicans, they are 0-6. The injury gods have been very, very, very unkind to them, but that is still their record. I still like this team a lot (when healthy) and think they have a great coach, but….

and…

It’s hard to see where they fit in the playoff picture. Injuries suck.

The Rest:

23. Minnesota Timberwolves +7500
24. Charlotte Hornets +25000
25. Dallas Mavericks +10000
26. Denver Nuggets +25000
27. Sacramento Kings +15000
28. Los Angeles Lakers +25000
29. Philadelphia 76ers +100000
30. Brooklyn Nets +50000

NBA Top 30 for November 2nd, 2015

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.  

Welcome to the inaugural NBA Top 30 where we rank the best teams in the NBA all the way down to the Sixers. We start each week with the Vine that blows your mind. It’s the…

Play of the Week:

The Magic and Thunder played a crazy game featuring multiple buzzer beaters. My favorite has to be Russell Westbrook’s at the end of regulation. It’s so deep, there’s no time left and you never really doubted it. #CLUTCH

Stuff of the Week:

While Westbrook’s heroics came against the young Magic, our stuff of the week came straight out of a possible Eastern Conference Finals match-up. With the Cavs down two they gave the ball to the best player on earth and Pau Gasol was having none of it.

We have a long way to go before we find out if that block ends up being meaningful in any way. Below you’ll find this week’s NBA Top 30 with current futures odds courtesy of Bovada. Continue Reading…