Originally written November 20, 2012 on In The Neutral Zone:
The Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers are both ahead (for now) of the Lakers in the West.  Which team is more likely to stay above the Lakers though?  As impressed as I am with both the Clip and Grizz, I'm still calling a Lakers v Heat finals when all is said and done. Grizzlies - Memphis hasn't lost since the opening game of the season, reeling off eight straight wins.  They aren't exactly cherry picking win against a bunch of crap teams either.  Mike Conley has turned himself into one of the better floor generals in the league and Marc is the best Gasol in the NBA.  Nobody wants any part of the Grizz right now and they should be avoided at all cost come playoff time as well. Clippers - The Clippers went from a weak bench last season to possibly the deepest team in the NBA.  Jamaal Crawford is everything Clip fans wanted Billups to be last year.  Speaking of Chauncey, he and Grant Hill have yet to even start playing.  LA had wins over both Chicago and Miami this week to lock in their #2 spot.  Not sure this 70's baby ever thought he'd see Memphis and the Clippers ranked 1-2. Heat - After a beat down last week from Memphis (don't worry Heatles, everyone is getting a ***** smack via the Grizz right now) the Heat pulled themselves together on a grueling west coast roadie and did so short handed.  Dwyane Wade missed the last two games of the swing after being dinged up in LA.  The defending champs still pulled out wins against Denver and Phoenix to close the weekend off. Knicks - New York sure has changed it's persona after their midseason coaching change last year.  The Knicks are now a very dangerous defensive team.  So much so that they can over come bad offensive performances like the one they had in Indiana and still pull out wins with their defense.  The Knicks only loss was to the Grizzlies, so why aren't they above the Heat, a team they beat?  Heat are better. Lakers - You may be thinking that this is an awfully high ranking for a team that is just 5-5, but this is as low as this team will be ranked all season.  So why waist everyone's time by ranking them lower and gradually moving them up.  This is where the Lakers belong right now and they will stay here.  They took a loss this week to the Spurs on the road, but even still, I'd take the Lake Show over them in a playoff series. Spurs - What else can you say about the Spurs, they seems to have a life long membership in the top 10, as long as Pop and Timmie are around. Thunder - Oklahoma did go 3-1 this week but didn't exactly rack up wins against the NBA's elite.  None of their wins came against teams that would even make an appearance if this was a top 20 list.  I am ready for their Wednesday showdown with the Clippers.  In face with 14 games on the docket Wednesday and now work on Thursday, I'm planning on having a pretty good hangover and nacho breath come Thanksgiving day. Bucks - Out of the top 10 teams the Bucks seem the most likely not to be here at the end of the season, but the way they are playing now they deserve this #8 spot.  They seem to be doing everything fundamentally right, right now.  Not too mention they went 3-1 this week and  have one of my favorite backcourt duos in the league with Ellis and Jennings. Nets - New Jersey...rrrr. Brooklyn also won all three of their games this week despite not having one of my fav fantasy stat sheet stuffers, Gerald Wallace.  You can also say despite Joe Johnson not finding his flow yet with the team, which he eventually will.  The Nets will need both Wallace and Johnson as their schedule starts to pick up in the upcoming weeks. Celtics - I had a hard time putting the Celtics in the top 10, with two of their six wins coming against the winless Wizards and taking a beat down and doubling the Pistons wins on Sunday.  The combination of how sick Rondo is on the floor and the fact that my girlfriend is a die hard Celtic fan, pretty much sealed the deal with them getting the 10 spot.  Gotta look out for my love life. Player of the Week   James Harden   Harden will be nominated for this spot each and every week for single handedly saving my fantasy basketball draft.  Being traded post draft was the best thing that could have happened to me and gave me the dream back court of Paul-Harden.  The beard had games of 30, 29 and 20 points last week and solid stats across the board.   Turd of the Week   Washington Wizards   The Wiz will hold onto this spot until they decide to win a game.  This could be a few more weeks in the making.  
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