Blogtable: The Two Best Teams In The NBA

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

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The West is awesome. Where are the two best teams in the league right now?

Steve Aschburner, Since you’re asking now, not in June, I’m fine going with a couple of wannabes: Indiana and Oklahoma City. Both of those teams have solid ensemble casts led by young stars, both are hungry, both can benefit from the ramp-up of 65 games or so left in their regular seasons. If both don’t find another gear by the postseason, though, I’ll likely revert to my instinctive answer to this question – Miami and San Antonio.

Fran Blinebury, I’m interpreting best to mean the ability to win a best-of-seven playoff series against anybody, so with all apologies to the wild, wild West, I’m sticking with the Heat and Pacers.

Paul George (Richard Rowe/NBAE)

Indiana’s Paul George (Richard Rowe/NBAE)

Jeff Caplan, NBA.comOklahoma City and Portland. Sorry Indiana (I know, I know, I write about 70 wins and now you’re not even in my top two). But listen, Portland’s 22-4. They’re tough. They’re steely. They keep finding ways to win on the road. LaMarcus Aldridge is putting up an MVP season. Damian Lillard, I mean what can you say about this kid’s nerves? The rook of the year is becoming a cold-blooded All-Star in Year 2. The whole thing’s been amazing to watch. As for OKC, and that’s the second-place-in-the-Northwest-Division Thunder (thank you very much, Blazers), these guys are a buzzsaw. Kevin Durant is doing it all. Russell Westbrook is as explosive as ever (and rebounding like crazy lately). Serge Ibaka keeps getting better (14.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg). Their defense is firing up and the bench is playing really well. Again, sorry Indy. I love the commitment every night, but two of your four losses are to, yep, Portland and OKC.

Scott Howard-Cooper, The Pacers and the Blazers. Not only the conference leaders, but doing well in the right-now category and winning on the road. That’s a big sign. Indiana and Miami, obviously, are the two East teams that can jump the gulf between the conferences. Indy is 6-2 against the West.

John Schuhmann, Let’s consult Monday’s Power Rankings, which have Portland No. 1 and Oklahoma City No. 2. The Blazers are now 22-4 and 12-2 on the road. They’re basically winning with offense and big shots (they’re also 12-2 in games within five points in the last five minutes), but they have plenty of quality wins. In fact, one of those was the only game the Thunder have lost in the last 33 days. OKC is 15-1, with the league’s No. 1 defense over that span.

Sekou Smith, NBA.comI know what the standings say, but if I had to line them up and have them play one game for the Larry O’Brien trophy tonight, I’d go with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers. We’re talking about the two best teams today, not the two best in a few weeks or a few months or when seasons hang in the balance in April and beyond. You don’t do what the Trail Blazers have done to the other so-called elite teams and not rank among the best of the very best. And the Thunder, as chronicled around here in vivid detail over the past few weeks, are playing with an edge that sets them apart from the other true contenders right now. Indiana, Miami and San Antonio are all right there behind those top two. And the separation between the top two and the pack isn’t nearly as great as the separation between the pack of contenders (which also includes the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets) and the rest of the wannabes floating around the league.

Lang Whitaker, All Ball blog: Well, I can’t not say Miami. I know they’ve been occasionally resting Wade and pacing themselves, but as long as the Heat have LeBron James, it’s going to take someone beating them in a seven-game series to make me believe that they’re not the best team in the NBA. As for the other team, I’m going to go with the Pacers. I’ve watched a ton of Blazers games and would have them as team No. 3 in my rankings, and I know they beat Indy in Portland. But Indiana’s the best defensive team I’ve seen this season, and when they’re taking care of the ball and Hibbert’s staying vertical in front of the rim, the Pacers look like the team that came within four quarters of a Finals trip last season.

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: Standings don’t lie. So, for me the Pacers and the Blazers are the best two teams. Indiana had a tough schedule over the past few days and really came through. Their defense is working and they’re showing a lot of consistency and stability in their game. As for the West, the Blazers are not only the team with the best record, but the one that has shown the greatest ability to win ballgames, even at the last-second. And it’s something really important, because winning builds chemistry and character — both things that don’t show up in stats or salaries.

Xibing Yang, NBA China: There’s no doubt that Heat haven’t put in their PLAYOFF-standard effort yet. We witnessed the same thing last year. Portland may have some troubles when the season gets past the 50-game mark, because four of their starters played  over 34 mins per game, which is not a good sign for a playoff team. The Spurs have won many games against under-.500 teams, and they’ve had trouble against teams in the other half of the standings. When it comes to the offense, defense, starters and bench play,Indiana is a more balanced team, and they just don’t have many weaknesses when they match up with Miami.

Akshay Manwani, NBA India: Portland may have the best record in the league currently, but I do believe the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder are the two best teams in the league right now. Both teams are talented, can compete off the bench and rank in the top five as far as net rating is concerned.

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  1. deejay says:

    it’s very clear, the 2 best teams NOW are the Blazers and the Thunders – check the standings.

  2. N says:

    The blazer are a pretty gd team all becauz the ball movement. All of the starters move the ball pretty well And I believe they can continue that way till April BUT in June they won’t make western conf final cauZ OKC N THE SPURS are way better and it’s oboe us that OKC are better than the spurs BUT if OKC arrived in the final % they will lose to the heat ,they can’t win against them otherwise the spurs are better than Miami

  3. eliza says:

    um.. the best teams at the moment are pacers and okc. but its the beginning of the season so all thats gonna change. for all we know, the clippers could get another 17 game winning streak.

  4. Raggaman says:

    Miami-can any team beat them 4 times in a series? doubt it! but they are soft in the center.
    Pacers – team most likely to topple the Heat, the heat are weak in the middle and Greg Oden is a hail Mary
    no other team is worth talking about in the east, so let’s go out west!
    Blazers-great start, very encouraging, D-Lill is special and LA is on fire, but they are untested
    Thunder – besides Durant and Westbrook, i don’t see a consistent third option, and their perimeter defense needs work
    Spurs – blew it last year, it will take divine intervention with their aging stars to take the Heat or Pacers, let alone get past OKC
    Clippers – defense is lacking, and DJ and Blake need to get their post game tight, because CP3 and Crawford are the only ones who can create their own shot.
    GSW- strong on the perimeter, no presence inside on either end, Bogut is not consistent and Speights needs to play more
    Rockets – could only beat you if the outscore you, Dwight is the only one who plays any D, and with Asik leaving, there’s a gaping hole in Houston. One of these 7 teams will win, your guess is as good as theirs.

  5. All_Day97 says:

    Yo dog, you young bloods don’t know hoops, OkC are da team dog.

  6. J says:

    Too tough. There is a bunch of teams that are in that conversation.

  7. Diddy says:

    Its a a controversial topic why not wait till end of season. the two teams that plays finals will be crown “best 2 team in d league”

  8. wak9 says:

    Miami is the best team, no question. Teams like Portland Indiana and the Thunder are going all out. While smarter teams like the heat and spurs are pacing themselves.

    I hope thos teams don’t forget the NBA season is a Marathon not a sprint!

  9. tool316 says:

    I hate Garbage like this. There are no two teams in the NBA that are better that the reaming 28. there are about 5 or 6 really elite teams and each has their own strengths and weakness. It just so happens that some teams are better matched-up with better with some than others.

  10. maj14 says:

    And as I say that both Indy and Blazers lose,,, wow.

  11. allen070791 says:

    Indiana and Oklahoma City
    they have the stars, they have height, they have quickness, they have athleticism, they have shooting, they have good bench, they have the energy. the lineup is complete. the coaching staff has done great.

  12. okc2014 says:

    Portland and OKC in the West. Indiana and Miami in the East. But if I had to rate them as of TODAY, I’d say Portland and Indiana. No doubt.

  13. Marcus says:

    Spurs are the best team in the West. They are basically coasting right now. You can tell because normally their starters play less than 30 minutes a game. Coach Pop is trying to get the bench playing time so in the event a starter gets injured, they will be prepared to play some big minutes. Great strategy by Pop.

    As for the East, Indiana is number 1 right now, but Miami has LeBron. Will be an interesting matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals for sure.

    • asdf says:

      Their starters are playing low minutes because they struggle so far, not because they are coasting. It’s been covered on this site at least a couple of times, so I don’t know where you came up with your point.

  14. maj14 says:

    The question clearly asks “Where are the two best teams in the league right now?” not where are they in April, or after 50 games… so all these comments about who wins in finals are just rubbish. As a long time Blazers fan, I am a bit biased, but you look at the teams that they have played and won against. Best record in the NBA. Best road record in the NBA. Best offense in the NBA. Best record against the other conference in the NBA….Now, do I expect them to win a championship this year? No. I would love it if they did, but the question isn’t about who will win in June, it is about right now.

  15. gambino says:

    I think Spurs are best in west, heat are best in east. But i don’t think it will be a finals rematch. Im betting one loses, either Spurs to OKC or miami to Indiana, but not both.

  16. asd says:


  17. tenby says:

    I agree with Roy on his top 4 teams. For me, the way things are shaping up for now, its the Spurs in the west and Heat in the east. However, I have this gut feeling the there wont be a repeat of the finals this year. It might be OKC vs. Pacers in the finals eventually..

  18. Roy says:

    OKC & Spurs are the best of the west, Heat and Pacers are the beasts of the east.

  19. not a hatter says:

    Nobody even mentions the Spurs at all.

    • slider821 says:

      such bs. they are media talking heads and dont use any stats to back up their claims. how can you not say the two best teams are the teams that made it the furthest in the playoffs last year? Im a warriors fan but lets be real, teams are not contenders until they make the conference finals and the best two teams are the finals teams. how is it any other way?

      it’s about proving yourself and your team in a 7 game playoff setting. portland has won some games but hasnt proved they can win in playoffs yet. same with warriors. same with clippers. same with all other teams except spurs, pacers, and heat; (memphis very obviously fell off despite conference finals LY)

    • jc says:

      I’d say the Spurs are 3rd behind the Pacers and the Blazers.

  20. D1 says:

    The best team will be decided in the NBA championship series…PERIOD!!!

  21. D1 says:

    You can not be 4real bud..PISTONS spanked PACERS like they were babies..they BEAT the HEET also…their is not BEST TEAM their are MANY good teams son.

  22. justsayin says:

    I’m confused. Sekou didn’t list the GSW among his contenders.

    /ribbing accomplished

    //mmm…. ribs.. ok lunchtime bye