One month into the NBA season there are various story lines that come to mind during this marathon campaign of 82 games. As most teams are starting to take form, we can look at the contenders and quickly identify the pretenders as we head into December.
1. Golden State Warriors: With Kevin Durant and the splash brothers this offense looks unstoppable, winners of 10 in a row look out for the Warriors the rest of this season.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs are shooting the ball at a historic pace. They look poised to dominate the Eastern Conference once again.
3. Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers defensive intensity has been the difference thus far this season and the reason for the hot start,
4. San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs are 9-0 on the road and are quietly having another great season.
5. Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan is proving to be worth that max contract and has elevated his game.
6. Chicago Bulls: Jimmy Butler averaged 28.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists during the Bulls’ six-game road trip. The Bulls went 4-2 on the six-game trip.
7. Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks are forcing turnovers and Dwight Howard looks to be focused on being a dominant big man again.
8. Houston Rockets: James Harden is excelling at the point guard position and is in the MVP conversation.
9. Memphis Grizzlies: The Grind House occupants are grinding out victories and will be a tough out in the Western Conference.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook is Mr. Triple Double and is carrying OKC each night.
11. Boston Celtics: Al Horford is back and has helped the Celtics get back on track.
12. Portland Trail Blazers: The Trailblazers have started off slowly and are starting to come back to life, led by their stellar backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
13. Charlotte Hornets: Over his last four games, Marco Belinelli has averaged 16.8 points on 62.5 percent shooting from 3-point range.
14. Utah Jazz: The Jazz have been great on defense holding opponents to 92.8 points per game which is number one in the NBA.
15. New York Knicks: The Knicks led by Melo are looking to take shape and get into the East playoff picture.
16. Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are playing well at home but only have one win on the road.
17. Indiana Pacers: The Pacers need to get healthy to get back in the conversation as contenders.
18. Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers are 27th out of 30 NBA teams in scoring defense, allowing 112.1 points per game.
19. Sacramento Kings: The Kings have played better as of late and are doing well with steals averaging over six per game.
20. New Orleans Pelicans: Jrue Holiday is back to compliment the great Anthony Davis and the Pelicans are playing tough.
21. Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks are looking for more production out of their big men as they look to make themselves relevant again.
22. Denver Nuggets: Guard Jamal Murray, the seventh overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft, is averaging 10.6 points and is shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range after first 16 games.
23. Orlando Magic: The Magic are struggling are in close games and are still learning to close with a young roster.
24. Minnesota Timberwolves: The T’ Wolves are struggling against the West at only 3-7.
25. Miami Heat: Hassan Whiteside is leading the league in rebounding with a 15.4 average and he ranks second in blocks at 2.57 after getting paid this off-season.
26. Washington Wizards: The Wizards have won three of their last four, after starting the season 2-8. Bradley Beal & John Wall need to keep cooking to get the Wiz back in the mix.
27. Phoenix Suns: At 2-9 against the Eastern Conference the Suns are looking to get better against lesser competition.
28. Brooklyn Nets: The Brooklyn Nets are 0-8 against teams with winning records.
29. Philadelphia 76ers: Trust the process, the 76ers are not able to win on the road and are suffering because of this.
30. Dallas Mavericks: At 2-13, the Mavericks have the worst record in the NBA. They also have the longest losing streak at eight in a row.