10. Denver Nuggets (15): Carmelo’s back, Billups is playing great basketball and the Nuggets have won three in a row – despite losing key reserve Al Harrington to a dislocated thumb, it seems everything is starting to go right for the Nuggets. Could continuing their solid play keep Melo in Denver, or does he already have his bags packed?
9. Utah Jazz (7): Deron Williams and the Jazz remain the comeback kids of the NBA, picking up their 11th win of the season on Wednesday night, where they erased a double-digit margin against the Clippers.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder (8): They are 23-12, but they have a glaring hole down low. While Serge Ibaka is solid, he can’t shoulder the load himself – this team needs a true anchor in the middle, and I’m pretty sure Nenad Kristic and Nick Collison aren’t capable of providing that on a regular basis.
7. Los Angeles Lakers (5): They appeared to be back on track after winning two in a row, but an embarrassing 19-point loss at home to the Memphis Grizzlies shows that this team is as complacent as ever. A collective mentality that the Lakers “will be fine” signals that this team is in dire need of a reality check.
6. Orlando Magic (9): The additions of Arenas, Turkoglu and Richardson have given the Magic quite a boost on the offensive end, as they are averaging over 104 PPG with their revamped roster.