We are already a quarter of the way through the condensed 66-game NBA season, and the biggest thing teams have had to deal with (most likely because of the shortened training camp) are injuries. Though injuries are certainly taking their toll, the top teams are the ones that are able to keep stacking up the wins.
1. Chicago Bulls (15-3) – If Derrick Rose had to miss a stretch of games because of this turf-toe deal, this soft part of the schedule was the time. The Bulls have been blowing out most teams during this string of sub-.500 opponents, even without their superstar point guard. Yet we’ll have to see if the Bulls can keep that up now that Luol Deng (wrist), Joakim Noah (ankle) and Taj Gibson (another bad ankle) are all ailing alongside Rose and his nagging toe. This is certainly a team to look to add Carlos Boozer and fantasy sleeper C.J. Watson to your daily fantasy basketball lineup.
2. Miami Heat (11-5) – They have been winning without Dwyane Wade — they beat the Spurs by 22, the Lakers by 11 and the Sixers by 21. However, something tells me Miami will hear a lot more about its home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks (a team that couldn’t win on the road until this past weekend) than their recent wins without Flash, which the Heatles are used to by now. Ofcourse LeBron James has been a beast as of late, but Mike Miller is back playing and Chris Bosh is playing well in Wade’s absence, two fantasy picks to consider when picking your daily fantasy basketball teams.
3. Denver Nuggets (12-5) – If they win in Sacramento, the Nuggets will come away with a 5-0 road trip and sport the league’s third-best record at 30-12 since the Melo (Carmelo Anthony) trade last February. Should we start calling it the Gallo (Danilo Gallinari) trade? Denver takes 44.3 percent of its shots within five feet of the rim, by far the highest percentage in the league. The League average is around 32 percent. Ty Lawson and Nene have also been great fantasy basketball picks throughout the entire fantasy basketball season.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (13-3) – The Thunder are one of just two teams with a better regular-season record than Denver since Melo was dealt to New York on Feb. 22, 2011: Chicago is 39-7 and OKC is 33-11. But a loss in D.C.! — Kevin Durant‘s hometown! — Completely unacceptable! Nevertheless this team is full of fantasy basketball studs including Russell Westbrook, who they just signed to a multi-year extension, and James Harden coming off the bench. They are also playing well defensively of late, which is starting with Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. Look for this team to go deep in the NBA Playoffs this season.
5. Philadelphia 76ers (11-5) - The Sixers are the most surprising team thus far. Spencer Hawes‘ may be runner-up for the MIP award during the first quarter of the NBA season (behind Houston Rockets’ point guard Kyle Lowry). His growing importance to the Sixers is tangible even when he’s not out there. Philly lost by 21 in Miami without its improving center (Achilles), after suffering its first four L’s by only 17 points combined. Their recent Losses to the Nuggets and Heat may mean you can end the talk about them being elite or even title contenders, but you can’t question if they are good. Players like Andre Igoudala, Thaddeus Young and Louis Williams have been great fantasy basketball players so far this season. Coach Doug Collins has this team going places.