1. The Cleveland Cadavers: After snapping their all-time league-worst 26-game losing streak against (of course) the Clippers, the Cadavers have managed to beat both the Lakers and the new-look Knicks. But if The Zombie Survival Guide taught me anything, it's this: Rising from the grave to feed on the living is not the same as returning to life. Especially when you trade for Baron Davis.
2. The Washington
3. The New Jersey Nyets: I wanted to put the Craptors here. I really did. After all, Toronto is 1.5 games back in the win column. Or is that 1.5 games ahead in the loss column? Semantics aside, the Nyets won (lost?) out due to a slightly worse MOV, a similaly slightly worse MOV, and the fact that they are 0-9 in a division that includes...the Craptors. So far the addition of All-Star point guard Deron Williams has done Jack and Shit. And Jack left town.
4. The Toronto Craptors: The Generals still have Wall. And the Nyets have at least a season and a half of Williams. The Craptors have Andrea Bargnani through 2014-15. And, presumably, prayers for a quick and merciful death.
5. The Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love now has four 30-point/20-rebound games this season. According to ESPN Stats and Information, that ties Shaq and Charles Barkley for the second-most in a single season in the last 25 years. Shaq also had five 30-20 games in 1999-00. K-Love also ranks fourth in Player Efficiency Rating, meaning he's the fourth-best player in the league, right? And yet...the Timberwolves are 14-46 and have a Margin of Victory of -6.0. Something's wrong here.
6. The Sacramento Kings: The Anaheim Kings? Hell, at this point, the Maloof brothers would ship the Kings pretty much anywhere that would make them a quick buck. Here's my radical answer to the problem: The [Insert City Name] Kings! That's right. The Maloofs could offer five-game, 10-game, 15-game and 20-game plans. Any city could host and "own" the Kings for a limited time. Think about it. The Kokomo Kings. The Louisville Kings. The...what?
7. The Detroit Pistons: Let me get this straight: A bunch of overrated, overpaid and/or over-the-hill players staged a walkout on coach John Kuester? Well, then, the coach must be the problem. In possibly related news, at the trade deadline, opposing teams treated Detroit's various contracts like baby poo covered in hazardous toxins and wrapped in terrorists.
8. The Los Angeles Clippers: After a brief "surge," the Clippers have lost 10 of their last 12 games. Despite the ongoing and unquestioned awesomeness of Blake Griffin -- even if his car dunk was contrived and lame -- the Clippers are 22-37 and coached by Vinny Del Negro. In other words: They are who we thought they were. Still. On the bright side, they shipped Baron Davis, his fat contract, and his even fatter ass, to Cleveland. So they have that going for them. Which is nice.
9. The Golden State Warriors: Let's see: They score a lot of points. They give up a lot of points. They lose a lot of games. And we're absolutely, positively sure Don Nelson retired?
10. The Charlotte Bobcats: In case you needed any more evidence that not everything crapped out of Michael Jordan's ass is delicious candy...
11. The Milwaukee Bucks: Remember how much fun it was the Fear the Deer last season? Now the only people who fear them are season ticket holders. Milwaukee ranks dead last in PPG, FGP, eFG% and Offensive Rating. Offensively speaking, they're a D-League team playing with a rock instead of a basketball and dead fish instead of hands. Reminder: Their offseason plan revolved around adding Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden. Think about that. Just think about it.
12. The Utah Jazz: Larry Miller is dead. Jerry Sloan is retired. Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams have been replaced with Al Jefferson and Devin Harris. And Andrei Kirilenko is on the books for nearly $18 million this season. Let's just say that, if we found a compound full of dead Jazz fans and empty Kool-Aid cups, I wouldn't be completely surprised.
13. The Indiana Pacers: Much as it pains me to admit this, Indy's near-miss on O.J. Mayo typifies Larry Bird's tenure as the team's President of Basketall Mismanagement. That Danny Granger and The Misfits might actually make the playoffs is a decent argument that the balance of power hasn't totally shifted eastward.
14. The Atlanta Hawks: Can anybody give me one good reason why the Hawks are anything other than a first round playoff exit waiting to happen? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?
15. The Denver Nuggets: The post-'Melo trade adrenaline is going to wear off. And when it does...
16. The Houston Rockets: This is the perfect place for the Rockets. They keep hovering around .500. They seem to exist only to be a pain in the ass to better teams and a scourge to lesser ones. And that mad statistical genius, Daryl Morey, just traded for Hasheem Thabeet. If there was a trophy for scrappy overachievement, the Rockets would win it, hands down. As it is...
17. The Memphis Grizzlies: Don't buy into them. Don't do it. I'm warning you. Put it this way: How much faith do you feel comfortable putting into a team built on the foundation of Zach Randolph?
18. The Phoenix Suns. Look out. They're surging.
19. The Philadelphia 76ers: Philly managed to sneak back over .500 while nobody was looking (or caring). And, sneaky as you please, the Sixers have won 13 of their past 17 games. And, going further back, they're 27-16 since their 3-13 start. All that said: Look at their roster. Look at it closely. They're not scaring anybody worth scaring.
20. The New York Knicks: Their win over the Heat does not cancel out their loss to the Cadavers. It just doesn't. I mean, would a plate full of crawling insects taste better just because somebody dumped a juicy steak on it?
21. The Portland Frail Blazers: I really have no idea how they're doing it.
22. The New Orleans Hornets: Two words: Fools' Gold.
23. The Oklahoma City Thunder: We know they can score, but the Thunder have been pretty average on defense this season (currently 16th in Defensive Rating). They're hoping Kendrick Perkins can change that. Uh oh! Perk is out two-to-three weeks because of a sprained left knee. But the good news is that the injury wasn't to his surgically-repaired right knee or his surgically repaired left shoulder. Here's another Perkins factoid: He has a higher career turnover percentage (23.0) than Kwame "Stone Hands" Brown (16.8). And Kendrick's career PER (12.9) is barely higher than Kwame's (12.6). Just some thoughts to chew on.
24. The Orlando Magic: When they were counting on significant contributions from Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter, that seemed insane, right? Now they're counting on significant contributions from Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu. Can we honestly say things have improved in Orlando?
25. The Dallas Mavericks: They seem so good. So really, really good. Clicking on offense. Clicking on defense. It makes you wonder: How are they going to flame out in the playoffs this year? Because we all know it's going to happen, we just don't know how. Yet.
26. The Los Angeles Lakers: I can hear the bleating of Lakers fans now: "But, but, but we've won four in a row coming out of the All-Star break! Including road games versus the Frail Blazers and Thunder!" Shut the hell up, Lakers fans. It's been exactly 12 days since you lost to the Cadavers.
27. The Boston Celtics: I bet people will stop mocking Danny Ainge when the Thunder buy out Kendrick Perkins and he re-signs with the Celtics for the league minimum. The Boston's gonna sign Troy Murphy, who averaged 14.3 PPG and 11.8 RPG while shooting 45 percent on threes as recently as 2008-09. Then Rasheed Wallace is gonna come back, and rumor has it he's spent the last three months completing the p90x training program. Yeah! Yeah!!
28. The Miami Heat: I know, I know. They keep kicking the absolute living shit out of bad teams, and that's supposed to be the best indicator of future (read that: playoff) success. But they're 1-7 against the league's other elite teams. And despite having two of the best three players on the planet -- both in their prime and playing like MVPs -- they've recently collapsed in crunch time against the Celtics, Bulls and Knicks. The stat geeks keep telling us this won't be a problem in the postseason, so I'm sure everything will be fine.
29. The Chicago Bulls: Their recent wins over the Spurs and Heat are somewhat mitigated by a huge defensive fail in Toronto and the fact that Keith Bogans, against all reason, is still their starting shooting guard.
30. The San Antonio Spurs: Why does it feel like they're still sort of under the radar?
Bonus Bawful: I'm going to post Chris's weekend lacktion report in the comments.