By Jason Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org
(Records through Friday)
1. Golden State Warriors (42-9, last week 2): It’s been decades since Warrior fans could say they had a legitimate NBA title contender.
2. Atlanta Hawks (43-11, LW 1): There will be skeptics until the Hawks prove them wrong by winning in the playoffs.
3. Memphis Grizzlies (39-14, LW 3): Might be the biggest threat to the Warriors in the West with their physical style.
4. Houston Rockets (36-17, LW 4): Don’t be surprised if the Rockets are active before Thursday’s trade deadline.
5. Toronto Raptors (36-17, LW 5): Second in the East but, like Atlanta, the Raptors have plenty of naysayers.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (36-17, LW 7): Damian Lillard didn’t need to complete his revenge tour, as he was added to the All-Star team.
7. San Antonio Spurs (34-19, LW 8): Tim Duncan, the reluctant All-Star, remains a steadying force for the Spurs.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (33-22, LW 9): If Kevin Love finds his groove with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs might win the East.
9. Los Angeles Clippers (35-19 LW 10): DeAndre Jordan has been stellar with Blake Griffin out with a staph infection.
10. Dallas Mavericks (36-19, LW 6): Dirk Nowitzki’s vacation plans had to be canceled when he was a late injury replacement for the All-Star Game.
11. Chicago Bulls (34-20, LW 13): Pau Gasol is looking like the best free-agent pickup of the offseason besides LeBron James.
12. Washington Wizards (33-21, LW 11): Wizards haven’t played their best lately and need to find their way down the stretch.
13. Milwaukee Bucks (30-23, LW 15): Despite injuries, the Bucks have already doubled their win total from last season.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder (28-25, LW 16): Just a half-game out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
15. Phoenix Suns (29-25, LW 12): Have lost seven of 10, and the Thunder could overtake them in the standings soon.
16. New Orleans Pelicans (27-26, LW 14): Injuries were piling up before the All-Star break as the Pelicans lost three in a row.
17. Charlotte Hornets (22-30, LW 17): Added Mo Williams to help at point guard until Kemba Walker recovers from knee surgery.
18. Miami Heat (22-30, LW 20): Hassan Whiteside’s rise has been one of the best stories of the season.
19. Boston Celtics (20-31, LW 21): Still not out of playoff contention as team deals to add draft picks.
20. Indiana Pacers (21-33, LW 22): Paul George says he will try to play in March after breaking his leg last summer.
21. Detroit Pistons (21-33, LW 19): If Greg Monroe finishes the season well, the Pistons might have more trouble re-signing him after the season.
22. Brooklyn Nets (21-31, LW 18): Brooklyn is in danger of missing the playoffs with the biggest payroll in the NBA.
23. Denver Nuggets (20-33, LW 23): Ty Lawson is having a great season, but the Nuggets are struggling.
24. Utah Jazz (19-34, LW 24): Enes Kanter wants a trade, but how much value does he have to other teams?
25. Kings (18-34, LW 25): Two months of poor play forced the front office to make a second coaching change this season.
26. Orlando Magic (17-39, LW 26): The young talent on the roster makes this an attractive coaching job in the offseason.
27. Philadelphia 76ers (12-41, LW 30): The Sixers are poised to win more games down the stretch as they continue to improve.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves (10-40, LW 29): Trading Mo Williams means there’s still plenty of playing time for Zach LaVine with Ricky Rubio healthy.
29. New York Knicks (10-43, LW 27): The All-Star Game could be Carmelo Anthony’s last appearance of the season.
30. Los Angeles Lakers (13-40, LW 28): Have lost six in a row and are on their way to a top-five pick at this rate.