Atlanta Hawks: Paul Milsap has been the best player offensively for the Hawks, but Dwight Howard has stepped up on the other end of the court.
Boston Celtics: Injuries. Al Horford and Jae Crowder have both missed extended periods of time, and Bradley and Isiah have been left to somewhat fend for themselves.
Brooklyn Nets: They’re not nearly good enough, but Brook Lopez is leading the team and could bring good trade returns later.
Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker is the most dominant force, but for the Southeast leaders, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has stepped his game up in other areas.
Chicago Bulls: Jimmy, Dwayne, and Rajon are still trying to figure it all out. Jimmy leads in points but Rajon is an NBA leader in assists. They also figured out how to hit threes early in the season.
Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron is an early MVP favorite, and he’s learned to let Kyrie play his game.
Dallas Mavericks: I don’t think anyone expected the Mavericks to be as bad as they have been. Good thing that’s not prime Nowitzki they’re wasting.
Denver Nuggets: With a surplus of big men, the Nuggets need some guards, but remain a fun team to watch. Their rebounding is phenomenal.
Detroit Pistons: A pre-season playoff favorite, the Pistons don’t quite look like that team. Drummond is a leader in every statistical category except assists.
Golden State Warriors: After some problems meshing, the Warriors are figuring it out. Durant leads in points and Green in every other category.
Houston Rockets: James Harden is quietly running a team on his own. While Russell Westbrook has been loudly averaging a triple-double, Harden is a few rebounds from doing it himself.
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers, another expected playoff team, is quietly under .500. I say quietly because they’re not receiving nearly the grief they need to be. With a team made up of Paul George, Jeff Teague, Myles Turner, Thaddeus Young, and Monta Ellis, the Pacers need to be better.
LA Clippers: The Clippers were the best team in the West early on, but they have faded recently. Blake Griffin is still a solid player, but don’t be shocked to see him leave at the end of the season.
Los Angeles Lakers: This is an extremely young team. This team has the capability to be an extremely good team. Nick Young and Lou Williams have turned their games around. Luol Deng has started every game (the only one) but Ingram has played more minutes. That’s a good thing for the Lakers.
Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies still stand upon three players: Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Mike Conley. None of them have played in all 19 games.
Miami Heat: This is a bad, bad team. But Hassan Whiteside is a good, good player. He’s averaging 15 rebounds. Insane.
Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, appropriately nicknamed “the Greek Freak”, is leading in every category except assists, where he’s a close second to his point guard Dellavedova.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Another pre-season disappointment, the Timberwolves have not yet meshed with head coach Tom Thibodeau. There’s rumors they could trade a young gun, which is not good news.
New Orleans Pelicans: Jrue Holiday makes all the difference. The Pelicans with and without the point guard are two entirely different teams with one striking similarity: Anthony Davis dominates both.
New York Knicks: It’s time to clear out and make room for Porzingis. It’s too early to predict a disappointment from the Rose/Noah experiment, but so far, it’s not worked.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple-double. He’s not messing around.
Orlando Magic: They gave up too much for a guy who will be a free agent this summer (Serge Ibaka). They haven’t made up for the loss of Oladipo yet.
Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid. Continue trusting the process because Ben Simmons is on the way. Also, continue wishing on a star about the players you could have had instead of Noel, Okafor, and Michael Carter-Williams. Actually, don’t do that. Be happy instead, 76ers fans.
Phoenix Suns: This is a complicated team. Too young to be old, too old to be young, too bad to be good, too promising to be bad. If you’re confused, welcome to the Suns this year.
Portland Trail Blazers: This is a small team, but that doesn’t stop them from being a playoff team. But as only a playoff team, they urgently need to start building a championship team around Dame.
Sacramento Kings: Boogie will be traded. There’re too many centers, and as soon as another was drafted Kings fans were put on high alert.
San Antonio Spurs: This is now Kawhi’s team, but it’s still quietly Popovich’s team. I love how upset Pop was about the election, so this team is trying its darndest to be my 2 team.
Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan though. He’s simply on fire, and this is supposed to be Lowry’s team. Toronto has to feel good about that contract.
Utah Jazz: Still the hipster’s team, Utah looks very good with Hayward, Hill, and Hood. They’re also very young, so there’s time to continue building. But Utah has no jazz so that sort of cancels it all out.
Washington Wizards: It’s the worst team in the league with one of the better point guards. It may be time to trade Wall (and Beal, please give the Thunder Beal, we need a small forward BADLY).