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The NBA Season

Top Five, Bottom Five

This week, with not much going on, we're starting to get a better feel for some of the trends that will likely take us into the spring. At this point the West once again looks stronger than ever. For you Easterners, sorry, you don't have any of the top teams in the league. Cleveland, Orlando and Washington are all playing hard and winning. But they need to beat one of the top five to get in. Detroit should eventually be in the top 5, as should Indy; but they're not there yet. A <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=stein_marc&id=1937861">good read</a> by Marc Stein explains some of the difficulties Detroit has been having as opposed to San Antonio's success. So without further ado...

1) San Antonio - What did the team that was one lucky shot away from the conference finals last year do in the off season? Do what they always do: draft smartly and hire a player to help fill out a weakness. The business-like Spurs continue to just get the job done. Of course it helps to have a Tim Duncan, but look no further than the drafting of Manu Ginobili & Tony Parker, both of whom are incredible ballers. From the players to the front office, these guys are top knotch.

2) Minnesota - We all know that Garnett is a freak of nature, but it took Cassell and Spree coming back and getting into the flow for the Wolves to take off. Eddie Griffin has been a Godsend. Basically a finesse team, Garnett makes up for so much. Can one guy make up the difference all by himself? Possibly.

3) Phoenix - Too tough for most teams to handle 1 - 4, and when Stoudemire starts at center, they're tough all around. But the no. 1 & 2 teams will beat them on the boards. They are an up and coming team and Amare Stoudemire is the next dominant big man to come into the league. The sky's the limit.

4) Seattle - The Sonics shoot the three better than anybody. They should scare any team in any given game. But there like Phoenix, they're a little weak in the middle. Forston adds the muscle, but Duncan or Garnett will foul him out and make him look like the slow Mahorn-like bruiser he is.

5) Sacramento - Harmony has returned to the land of cowbells. Peja and Webber are clicking again. But Sacramento is a team with a lot of ghosts to exorcise. From choke jobs, to injuries, there have always been reasons why they couldn't take it all. Hey Maloof Brothers, your team still needs to get better defensively. They still have the talent to do it. Do they have the mentality?

Bottom Five
1) Shaq & Kobe - Having a little fun with this one, we have two superstars who preferred to be middle of the packers apart instead of contenders together.

2) Atlantic Division - Look up and down the Atlantic Division. What a collection of losers. Ugly.

3) New Orleans - The other guys on the list are obvious choices but the way New Orleans has layed down, they'll probably be looking for another home after the fans run them out of town, again.

4) Atlanta
5) Chicago
5a) Golden State - Sorry guys, you have to do a little bit better. This isn't funny anymore.