Top five NBA teams feature new, upcoming talent

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Top five NBA teams feature new, upcoming talent

Nikhil Sriram, Editor-in-Chief

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The NBA season is now in full swing, characterized by nail-biting finishes, unexpected failures, and all in all, exciting basketball. After about two months of play, shakeups continue to occur in the standings, but the teams at the top seem to have a solid grip on their respective conferences. So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at the top five teams in the NBA at the moment.

#5: Los Angeles Clippers

Current Record: 18-7

The addition of all-stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George appears to already be a smart move for the Clippers, as the two are currently averaging 24.5 points and 22.7 points respectively. The Clippers offense is further enhanced by the reliable sixth man Lou Williams and power forward Montrezl Harrell. 

Although the team has gotten off to a strong start, only time will tell if they can keep up their current level of play. In the 2018-2019 season, the Clippers began the season a similar way, but eventually fell off, finishing eighth seed in the West. Nonetheless, the performance of the Clippers early on in the season indicates that they are poised to go far in the playoffs this year. 

#4: Boston Celtics

Current Record: 17-5

Despite losing franchise centerpieces Kyrie Irving and Al Horford at the end of the 2018-2019 season, the Celtics have remained a strong contender in the East. The signing of all-star point guard Kemba Walker has proven to be a worthwhile move, as he is an experienced floor general to build around. 

The key to the Celtics’ success has been balance. Five different players, Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Marcus Smart, average double-digit points, allowing the team to stretch the floor, as each player is a threat. The roster is also very young, all players 30 or under, foreshadowing success for years to come. 

#3: Dallas Mavericks

Current Record: 16-7

The biggest climbers on the list, relative to last season, the Mavericks, led by sophomore sensation Luka Doncic, have had an impressive start to the season. They went from 14th in the West last year to second this year. The tremendous improvement is in large part due to Doncic’s fantastic performance, averaging close to a triple-double with 30.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 9.2 assists. 

The Mavs currently have the league’s highest offensive efficiency rating, likely due to their ability to spread the floor and move the ball well. This will bode well for them as the season progresses and may forecast a deep run in the playoffs for a previously struggling team. 

#2: Los Angeles Lakers

Current Record: 21-3

Coming off of a disappointing 2018-2019 season where the squad failed to make the playoffs despite adding four-time MVP LeBron James, the Lakers have completely turned their operation around. Trading for six-time All-Star Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans proved to be the spark necessary to change the outcome of this season. 

The dynamic duo of Davis and James has proven to be a dominant force in the West; Davis is currently averaging 26.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks, while James is averaging 25.6 points and 10.4 assists. The Lakers appear to be in excellent form and look poised to remain atop the Western Conference standings for the remainder of the season. 

#1: Milwaukee Bucks

Current Record: 21-3

After a phenomenal 60-22 season in which the team led the league in wins, the Bucks have not taken their foot off of the gas, as they still remain in complete command of the Eastern Conference. The reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has only improved, averaging 30.8 points and 13.1 rebounds. His supporting cast, including Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and Brook Lopez, have provided a consistent offensive threat, allowing the Bucks to average 121.0 points per game, the highest in the league. 

Last year, the Bucks lost 4-2 in the Conference Finals to the eventual champions, the Toronto Raptors. This year, the Bucks appear ready for a chance at vengeance, if not a trip to the NBA Finals.