By Jason Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org
(Records through Friday)
1. Golden State Warriors (31-6, last week 1):
Draymond Green’s play continues to drive up his asking price in the offseason.
2. Atlanta Hawks (32-8, LW 3):
Thanks to a 12-game winning steak, the Hawks lead Washington by five games in the Eastern Conference.
3. Portland Trail Blazers (30-10, LW 2):
Back-to-back losses to playoff contenders were a reminder the Blazers still have work to do to sustain elite status.
4. Memphis Grizzlies (28-11, LW 7):
Mike Conley missed Friday’s win at Orlando with two sprained ankles, but the Grizzlies have won three in a row.
5. Dallas Mavericks (28-13, LW 4):
One of the league’s more complete offensive teams that can hurt you from all over the floor.
6. Houston Rockets (28-12, LW 5):
James Harden’s defense has been talked about this season – in a positive way – which hasn’t always been the case.
7. Washington Wizards: (27-13, LW 6):
Paul Pierce is the veteran piece that keeps a young nucleus focused.
8. Toronto Raptors (26-13, LW 9):
DeMar DeRozan is finally back from a groin injury to help the Raptors try to regain the top spot in the East.
9. Los Angeles Clippers (26-14 LW 8):
Can Austin Rivers be the answer at backup point guard the Clippers have sought since losing Darren Collison in free agency?
10. Chicago Bulls (27-14, LW 10):
Pau Gasol is showing doubters he can still play at a high level for a contender.
11. San Antonio Spurs (25-16, LW 12):
Kawhi Leonard is back, so the Spurs might be poised for a big run.
12. Phoenix Suns (24-18, LW 11):
Folks who thought the Suns would wilt with New Orleans and Oklahoma City chasing them have been wrong.
13. Milwaukee Bucks (21-19, LW 14):
Larry Sanders is hit with his second drug-related suspension in as many seasons, but the Bucks are used to playing without him.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers (21-20, LW 16):
Added J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov in trades but have lost eight of 10.
15. Oklahoma City Thunder (19-20, LW 15):
Thunder needs a nice winning streak to put itself in the top eight in the West.
16. New Orleans Pelicans (19-20, LW 13):
It’s hard to tell if the Pelicans are underachieving or just not good enough.
17. Denver Nuggets (18-21, LW 17):
Having dealt Nate Robinson, are there more trades in the works?
18. Miami Heat (18-22, LW 21):
Chris Bosh looks like he’ll still be an All-Star as the Heat looks to improve and make the playoffs.
19. Detroit Pistons (15-25, LW 23):
Have won eight of their last 10 and will be a threat to make the playoffs.
20. Charlotte Hornets (15-25, LW 22):
If Lance Stephenson can be the player the Hornets hoped he would be, there’s still time to turn around the season.
21. Brooklyn Nets (17-23, LW 18):
Injuries and more trade talk have the Nets struggling of late.
22. Kings (16-23, LW 19):
Rudy Gay and Carl Landry are the latest Kings to miss time with injuries, hurting the team’s offense.
23. Indiana Pacers (15-26, LW 20):
The Pacers have dropped three straight because injuries continue to slow them down.
24. Utah Jazz (14-26, LW 24):
Gordon Hayward is shooting 50.7 percent in his last five games.
25. Orlando Magic (15-28, LW 27):
Rookie Elfrid Payton shows he can make an impact on offense and defense.
26. Boston Celtics (13-25, LW 26):
Danny Ainge continues to use trades to stockpile draft picks.
27. Los Angeles Lakers (12-29, LW 25):
The Lakers are resting Kobe Bryant – a lot – these days but say there are no plans to shut him down for the season.
28. Philadelphia 76ers (8-31, LW 28):
Small forward Robert Covington is another young player the Sixers seem to like.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (6-32, LW 29):
Mo Williams’ career-high 52 points to end the T-wolves’ 15-game losing streak was the talk of the league.
30. New York Knicks (5-36, LW 30):
The losing streak reached 16 games as fans in London had to watch another dreadful showing.