9. Philadelphia 76ers (6-4): The Sixers haven’t faced many tough opponents, but have proved they can win on the road with a 3-1 record thus far. Jrue Holiday is having a career season with a 19.1 point, 8.6 assist average. They have yet to see their hopeful franchise star–Andrew Bynum–take the court.
8. Milwaukee Bucks (6-2): Led by Monta Ellis (20.3 points, 5.9 assists per game) and Brandon Jennings (17.5 points, 8.0 assists, 3.25 steals per game), the Bucks have shown that they’re a force to be reckoned with this season. They’re currently on a three-game winning streak, and are undefeated (3-0) on the road.
7. Brooklyn Nets (6-2): The Nets, led by Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson, have started off the season with a bang in their new hometown. Currently on a five game winning streak, the Nets appear to be a team not to be slept on in the Eastern Conference.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder (8-3): Despite losing James Harden prior to the regular season, the Thunder are still a team with championship hopes. They may not be as dominant as last season right now, but they’re not giving in, either, with a road record of 3-1.
5. Miami Heat (8-3): The Heat are still the defending champions, but with an ailing Dwyane Wade, also look vulnerable right now. They’re still putting away the teams they should, but suffered significant losses against the likes of the Knicks, Grizzlies, and Clippers–granted all of which came on the road.
4. San Antonio Spurs (8-2): The Spurs are once again playing at an extremely high level. They had been at the top of the standings, but a recent loss to the Knicks at home set them back. The Clippers also defeated them handily a couple weeks back.
3. Los Angeles Clippers (7-2): The Clippers are extremely deep this season. Led by sixth man Jamal Crawford’s scoring, the Clippers have had big wins against the Spurs, Heat, and Lakers already. The sky is the limit for this team as Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill have yet to play this season. Don’t be surprised to see the Clippers jump up a spot or two if they manage to do well against their next three opponents (San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Brooklyn).
2. New York Knicks (7-1): The Knicks won their first seven games, and are holding their opponents to the lowest average in the league (90.0 points). They also have the highest margin of victory (+10.5). However, a loss in Memphis knocked the Knicks out of what would have been their number one spot.
1. Memphis Grizzlies (8-1): That leaves just the Grizzlies for the top spot. Always a team that flies under the radar, the Grizzlies have looked dominant so far this season. With victories over the Heat, Thunder, and Knicks in consecutive games, the Grizzlies have proven themselves as a legitimate title contender this season. A healthy Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph are the biggest differences this season. Both are putting up incredible numbers: Gay with 19.8 points per game and Randolph with 17.2 points and 13.8 rebounds per game.