15. Denver Nuggets (15): If Denver played every game with the mentality that Anthony was going to be traded if they lost, the Nuggets wouldn’t lose many games. Maybe that was their mindset when they knocked off Phoenix, Miami and Denver by an average of 30 points a game this past week.
14. Memphis Grizzlies (14): The Grizz became the latest team to knock off the Mavs with a 19-point win over Big D on Saturday. They are inching closer and closer to .500, and with most of their remaining January schedule against teams with losing records, now might be the time where Memphis decides if they want an early summer or an early playoff exit.
13. Portland Trail Blazers (12): If Nate McMillan isn’t up for Coach of the Year, that will be one of the biggest farces of the year. LaMarcus Aldridge, Wes Matthews and Marcus Camby are solid, but without Brandon Roy, there is no way that the Blazers should be better than the Grizzlies and the Rockets this season.
12. New York Knicks (11): While Stoudemire has cooled off since his streak of 30 point games, Felton is continuing to display his position as one of the league’s premier guards. Whether he is actually a good point guard or is just a product of D’Antoni’s “seven seconds or less” offense is beyond me (I’d say it’s a little bit of both). Regardless, his numbers don’t lie and neither does New York’s record. They have a tough upcoming schedule, but they shouldn’t take too much of a hit heading into all-star weekend.
11. New Orleans Hornets (13): Are the Hornets finally returning to their winning ways from the start of the season? Their current four-game winning streak (with three of those victories coming over Denver, Orlando and Houston) seems to point in that direction. They still have no depth past their top-four, so we’ll see how long this stretch of strong play lasts. My guess: not much longer.