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This time in the NBA just may be my favorite, because when the final stretch approaches and the MVP crown is up for grabs, the stars really start to shine. This season in particular is even more interesting because it is the first time in a while that King James may actually need to make more of a case for himself to tack on another trophy. With Steph Curry playing consistent MVP ball all year, James Harden being truly the most valuable to his team, and Russell Westbrook replacing last year’s winner, Lebron may just be out of the conversation.

Could this be the turn of a new era if he goes two straight years without winning the award that he has won four of in the last six seasons? Ha just kidding, we know this man runs the league. You can look at picture in plain sight just viewing Cleveland’s performances with and without him, but in missing so many games and having a shaky team start he just may be out already. One thing is for sure, this league is being overrun by quick and athletic ball handlers like Wall, Walker, Lillard, and the three candidates I mentioned previously. If you’re sitting there wondering why I didn’t name-drop Chris Paul in thisdiscussion, it’s because I’m still convinced he is an even more dominant breed of guard. Along with having the experience over all of those young bucks he may just be more clutch too, regardless of having a defensive great on him.

Paul Over Garnett

CP3 has ice water in his veins and that kind of bucket making ability is more than worthy of a special Big Baby congratulations.

1) Golden State Warriors (46-12, 0)

Despite being the most recent victim of Jarret Jack’s classic clutchness in their latest battle, this team is still the most impressive in the league. They found their way out of a 26-point deficit this week with the Celtics, which is a task that I could not pick any other team to do. How they got into that terrible situation shows the small weaknesses that the team has, but a twelve-loss season is statement in itself

2) Atlanta Hawks (47-12, +1)

A perfect 3-0 since the last time we spoke. This team is surely settling down from the historic win streak that put them atop the East but a 10 game lead is comfortable enough for them. This team’s main concern right now should be preparing to beat the Cavs in their inevitable meeting in the playoffs.

3) Memphis Grizzlies (42-16, -1)

Just 6-4 in their last 10 ball games is not enough to keep up their previous ranking. Despite their incredible record as of now, many analysts aren’t even considering them as a possible champion this year. Hopefully that kind of new is enough to ignite some fire within them, because their offense has looked dull.

4) Houston Rockets (41-18, +1)

James Harden in some people’s eyes has not played to the caliber of Stephen Curry, but as I mentioned earlier, he is more valuable to Houston than Steph is to his squad. Minus his one game suspension due to a stupid stunt, Harden has played perfect basketball and has fueled their current five winstreak.

5) Cleveland Cavaliers (37-24, -1)

This team only dropped in rank because of the outstanding play from Houston. The Cavs to me are the real force to be reckoned with in the East now that ATL has been proven to be human. Lebron an company are quickly making their way to the second seed in the conference.

6) Los Angeles Clippers (40-21, 0)

With Blake Griffin out, CP3 and DJ have been ensuring that this team does not srop despite his absence. They are still playing phenomenally right now and Blake’s return isn’t going to crash this party. DJ may be playing top-3 center basketball right now.

7) Portland Trailblazers (39-19, +4)

With Aaron Afllalo on board this team has been able to fill the void in the team’s scoring. Batum has not been himself this season but this makes his job a little easier. They have all the tools to make a real run this year as I’ve said before.

8) Dallas Mavericks (40-22, -1)

Another new member to the 40-win club this season.They have shown inconsistencies throughout Rando’s time there but on many nights have looked unbeatable. Depth will be the question in the latter part of the season. We know they have it but will it show up?

9) San Antonio Spurs (36-23, 0)

So quiet but always deadly. Just taking a few wins here and there with some losses mixed in as this team strolls to another playoffs where they will undoubtedly turn it on in the first round. It doesn’t look like they can make another run, but Popp knows what he’s doing and we’ve learned not to question that.

10) Oklahoma City Thunder (33-27, +2)

Russell Westbrook is really trying to make sure the MVP trophy stays in Oklahoma City. He is making an argument for himself willing this team without KD, but Steph and Harden have not slowed down by any means. We know he is more worried about a possible championship and this team is looking likely to make it.

11) Toronto Raptors (38-22, -3)

Their close win over a lessor Sixers team was just enough to end their strung out five game skid. Their main offensive weapons have combined to shoot under 30 percent. The Cavs and Bulls are creeping on the potentialsecond place seeding to drop from the Raptors’ hands.

12) Chicago Bulls (37-23, -2)

First D-Rose and now Jimmy Butler. With no ball handlers or real offensive threats this team’s values drops drastically. If this happened in the last three seasons, which it did, this team would be fine since they sported a top tier defense. This is no longer the case so they need scoring fast.

13) Milwaukee Bucks (32-27, 0)

Just on a straight up offensive comparison since the MCW trade, the Sixers have controlled and worked the ball better than the Bucks. Obviously this team has other issues to smooth out, as well as other weapons that they need to incorporate.

14) New Orleans Pelicans (32-28, +3)

3-1 since the last time we spoke and they came in a fashionable effort. A newfound depth has been discovered in the absence of AD and Ryan Anderson and his name is Alexis Ajinça. The man has filled a quite a big pair of shoes to fuel their five game winstreak that came to an end last night.

15) Washington Wizards (34-26, -1)

Brad Beal didn’t have the greatest stat line in his return to the floor but the Wiz show finally did what they couldn’t without him. Win. The former number two team in the east has quickly fallen to fifth.

16) Indiana Pacers (25-34, +2)

Playing absolutely out of their minds as of late. The inevitable return of Paul George is much anticipated as it could truly shoot them right into playoff seeding, but until then they have to keep up this consistency.

17) Phoenix Suns (31-30, -2)

A team in dire need of something. I don’t know what that is, but they need it bad. According to ESPN’sSportcenter calculations, they now only have a 6 percent chance of taking the eighth seed in the West. A fire may have been kindled in the heated Miami matchup with fights and ejections taking place in Dragić’s first shot at his old team.

18) Brooklyn Nets (25-33, +3)

The Thaddeus Young/Kevin Garnett trade has worked out for both squads so far. The recent win over the top ranked Warriors is enough to give them this boost this week and shows that stealing their seed will not be an easy task for any team coming up.

19) Utah Jazz (23-35, +3)

They are 4-1 since the break and those wins have come over teams like the Blazers and the Spurs. Unfortunately they are in the West which means no postseason unless they make an ATL-like run. In the East they’d be just two games back.

20) Detroit Pistons (23-36, -4)

Taking the biggest drop of the week is Motor City after going 0-3. Continuing this kind of play will surely blur their path to the postseason and as of right now we can rule them out with improved play from Charlotte and Indiana

21) Boston Celtics (23-34, -2)

The arrival of Isaiah Thomas has done nothing but benefit this struggling squad and allowed Marcus Smart to be used in his newfound light as a shooting guard. He has the size so I’m not complaining and neither is my fantasy team. With Sully out for season, they have a lot of minutes to give to growing guys. Playoffs aren’t completely out of the picture either.

22) Charlotte Hornets (24-33, -2)

With a couple of wins this week, this squad is now just a game and a half back of owning an actual playoff spot. Players should be trying to ball as hard as they can for a contract now that MJ is officially a billionaire.

23) Miami Heat (26-33, 0)

Hassan just may end up on the Dolphins if he keeps tackling monsters like Alex Len on the hardwood. His actions will probably be enough to land him a suspension which is too bad for a team who wants to build chemistry between him and Dragić.

24) Sacramento Kings (20-37, 0)

Their upset over the Grizzlies was more costly than it was beneficial as Boogie went down in the process. He has been in and out all season which explains the team’s inconsistencies throughout. Next year will be more interesting with a HOF coach getting his first shot at a full season.

25) Orlando Magic (19-42, 0)

Last time we spoke this team still had just 19 wins and although the East is trashy, you do have to win a bit more than 20 games to make the playoffs. Thank Goodness. Maybe next year it will fall down to that mark.

26) Minnesota Timberwolves (13-46, 0)

I have to take back my previous statements about the acquirement of KG, because ever since he has hit the floor for his old team he has looked like the old #21. His veteranship is rather valuable to Wiggins and Lavine who have all the talent but a lot of learning to do.

27) Los Angeles Lakers (16-42, +2)

Before taking the recent loss to OKC, this lacking Lakers team actually won three straight ball games. Although Swaggy and Lin thought it to be a cause for celebration, Laker fans everywhere cringed at the thought that their number one pick may go to a Phoenix Suns team in dire need. Either you tank or you strive, not a hybrid of the two

28) Philadelphia 76ers (13-47, 0)

Nerlens Noel is finally turning out to be the draft pick that this team hoped for. This is great news for the Sixers, who just traded away MCW, their only proven young player from their many top picks. Nerlens looks like a young Rodman right now; if he could start working like him they could have a beast on their hands.

29) New York Knicks (12-46, +1)

Since the last issue of this blog this team’s win count has grown by a whopping 20 percent! If you aren’t great with math, just know that that remark was witty. Seems like this team just needs Melo to sit out to grab wins.

30) Denver Nuggets (20-39, -3)

Six straight losses and just two wins in their last 21 tries. Our beloved Gaucho has finally been released as his efforts were just not enough to make this team work. Now the front office can sit and watch the Kings and wonder what could have been if they didn’t release George Karl, who was let go after winning Coach of the Year

Thanks for stopping by this week! For those of you fantasy players out there, make sure to check my other weekly blog, “Fantasy Sports Island”, for managing advice and hot pickups. Hit me up on twitter for any advice you need or questions you have, I’m here to help.