At just a quarter-way through the season, the elite teams in the league are already establishing their margin over the rest. They have gone far enough to even guarantee themselves at least a 50 wins this season.
We can usually formulate a general idea of these teams before the season even starts, because generally speaking, there is a select group of teams who are always good for an indefinite period of time. This phenomenon takes place in every sport, not just basketball. It intuitively makes sense, too. When a team is set, it remains set for a good chunk of time.
That said, there is always an occasion where a team does not live up to its usual standards (cough, Lakers, cough, cough). Which leads me into the necessary emphasis on one word: Guarantee.
In order to make the list, teams must already have a convincing argument. Also note that just because a team does not make the list, it does not mean it's not capable of winning 50-plus games. It is just that at the moment, its chances do not look as convincing as other teams who made the list.
So let's get started to make you feel really good (or really bad) about your favorite team...