Originally written on Celtics Green ...a boston celtics blog.  |  Last updated 11/5/14
The Boston Celtics have done the NBA and basketball fans a great disservice by assembling this team and essentially clinching the championship during the summer. To keep things interesting they've decided to play possum and allow some mediocre teams to take a lead in the standings. Since we already know who will win the NBA championship it would be interesting to see how the other "contenders" are doing and who has the best shot to come in second place. His jersey number isn't the only way Carmelohas one-up'd LeBron so far this season Still standing by what I've already said, for the article's sake lets keep things a "little" unbiased and give some credit where it's due, like to the New York Sharpshooters. The exact location of where this team came from is a mystery but we can infer that it's from a long distance away. They're shooting the ball at a torrid pace and even though they've slightly cooled off the team as a whole is still shooting over 40% from long range. The win against the Heat, without Carmelo, was as much as a statement game as theres been this season. In typical New York fashion Raymon Felton and Steve Novak decided not to miss from anywhere on the court and led the team to a gutsy win. I'm still not sold on their defense and want to see this effort for a full season and playoffs but this team has definitely taken a step forward. Carmelo is a leader in the MVP race and his approach to basketball has taken a complete turn for the better. Right now they're as much a contender as there is in the league so we just need to sit and wait for Amar'e Stoudemire to come and mess everything up. The Heat, and by Heat I mean LeBron, have been up to their old tricks and are finding ways to win close games. LeBron continues to cement himself as the best player in basketball and is playing with a consistent level of greatness the NBA hasn't sen in a while. Though they still have a 13-5 record there are many areas the team can improve on. The defense, thanks to the backstabbing Ray Allen, has taken a step back and is struggling to suffocate opponents like it used to. Dwayne Wade looks like a shell of himself and it's almost sad to watch. A player that was always effective because of his athletic abilities is finally being forced to play basketball and is struggling mightily. His jumpshot has been shaky and his defense is non existent as younger and faster guards are burning him and just abusing him. He's shown flashes of improving but at this point of his career it's going to be hard to get that consistent effort from him. It seems like LeBron will have to carry the Heat for them to win the championship, good thing he hasn't done it before. Remember when  Memphis traded one Gasolfor the other and ended up regretting it? Neither do I People need to wake up and realize that there is a real powerhouse out west. Led by a dominate center while surrounded with great shooters the Grizzlies are my lock to come out the West. Provided health isn't an issue this team is just too good to lose, too balanced to be shut down and to defensively sound to get outscored. Marc Gasol is the best center in basketball, it's not even a discussion. Dwight has for years had a limited offensive skill set while his defense was overrated as it consisted mostly of highlight real blocks. Gasol has evolved into a great two way player that is averaging 4.4 assists! The highest for a center by far and a staggering number. As a whole their team shooting from long range, something that has cost them the past few years, has greatly improved thanks to an improved bench. What the Grizzlies have done has seriously been outstanding considering they missed on two drafts by drafting Hasheem Thabeet over James Harden and also trading Kevin Love for O.J Mayo. The Spurs aren't slouches themselves and currently lead the West with a record of 17-4. They are continuing the strategy from last season as their stars have played limited minutes while their role players have won them many games. Though their record might indicate how good they are buyers beware as this is the same path they followed the previous seasons and failed with. Bench players can only carry you so far and their superstars have shown they can be beaten in the postseason. Just informed that Rondo is the consensus forbest NBA point guard.  The Clippers and Nets actually share a couple similarities as a team. They're both led by a great point guard, manned by a blossoming center and surrounded by good role players. They also are two teams I don't really respect. Now before I have Brooklyn and Lob City in a ruckus hear me out. The Nets have shown they can win regular season games but this team needs to be playoff tested before we give them any sort of respect. The Joe Johnson trade is still perplexing as he continues to struggle in the season with finding a consistent shot and is guaranteed to check out once the playoffs come around. The most puzzling anomaly, Jerry Stackhouse playing like its 2000. Maybe thats a bit of a stretch since he was almost averaging 30 points a game but still he's balling at a high level for a 50 year old but I wonder how long it can really last. "Where you going Kobe?""The bottom of the Pacific"  Now how can the Lakers be on the list of teams contending. They're struggling to get wins, losing to the Kings and have Kobe threatening to kick everybody's ass but still they're the Lakers. If anybody can trade Steve Blake and bring back an All-Star its them so they will always be contenders. Not to mention they still have the second best big man duo and a future HOF (World Peace) leading their team. (After countless threats I'm being forced to throw Kobe's name into reasons why they might get good) I actually was in favor of the D'Antoni signing because I felt that he never had players that wanted to play defense. In Los Angeles he would have great offensive weapons to complement a defensive minding center. It hasn't worked out as planned and that can be attributed to the lack of a real NBA bench. Kobe has reverted to being a selfish ball hog and Gasol is visibly irritated with a lack of touches. Unless the team can become more potent on offense they're headed for a down year, unless of course they trade for LeBron with a combination of Blake, Jaminson and draft picks. The Thunder on the other hand have been striving and are currently 16-4 with wins against Brooklyn, the Clippers and the Lakers as well. The Harden trade hasn't hurt them yet as their offense has actually taken a step forward while the defense is flourishing thanks to more energy and stronger rotations. Their bench is producing great outings and helping keep the burden on Durant low until the playoffs where he can carry them. This might be the year the Thunder put their stamp on the NBA which could be scary considering how young they still are. This season's playoffs might play out to being the most exciting in recent memory and they're teams we haven't even mentioned like the Bucks and Hawks holding their own. The NBA is constantly scrutinized for all the "super teams" but boy has it made it exciting for every basketball fan. That is of course until the Celtics ruin it for everyone. [Discuss on CG Forums!
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