Familiar Faces Atop NBA Standings


Sanjay Palta-Hill, Sports Editor

Familiar faces sit atop the NBA standings this December. After reaching the NBA Finals last year, the Boston Celtics have reclaimed the top spot in the Eastern Conference from the Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics have put up historic numbers offensively, and they are on pace to be one of the greatest offenses of all time. But the Bucks aren’t far behind, and they just got stronger with the return of Khris Middleton from injury. After starting the season off slow, the Golden State Warriors have climbed back into the playoff picture. They have played much better as of late, thanks in large part to the outstanding play of Klay Thompson. The Memphis Grizzlies have also played well so far. Led by a freakishly athletic point guard in Ja Morant, the Grizzlies currently sit in 2nd place in the Western Conference.


Many people may be surprised to see the New Orleans Pelicans in first place out West. The Pelicans have a loaded roster: from paint beasts in Zion Williamson and Jonas Valenciunas to midrange scorers like CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans are complete. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the East’s breakthrough team. After trading away a fortune for Donovan Mitchell, the guard has put together an MVP-caliber season so far. The Cavaliers also have another All-Star guard in Darius Garland, as well as two dominant bigs in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. Cleveland currently sits in 3rd place in the East. The Pelicans and Cavaliers are showing the NBA that they are forces to be reckoned with when the playoffs roll around next spring.


There have been several disappointments this season, too. Despite having an annual MVP candidate in Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks are currently in 10th place in the West. Even worse, the Los Angeles Lakers– despite having superstars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook– are in 12th place. Failures like these, as well as the breakthroughs of the Pelicans and Cavaliers, reveal the secret to success in the NBA: chemistry.