1. Los Angeles Lakers (4-0) The surprise for the Lakers has been the play of Trevor Ariza; he has given the second unit an energy boost, along with Lamar Odom, on the deepest team in the NBA.
2. Detroit Pistons (4-0) Trading fan-favorite Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson is a huge roll of the dice, given Iverson's reputation. But, the plus is that he's going to a team of good, unselfish defensive players. Maybe Iverson will be the missing piece as a scorer who can take over games, like he was in Philadelphia.
3. Boston Celtics (4-1) Except for a stinker in Indiana, the defending NBA Champs look formidable and will remain a tough team to score on.
4. Utah Jazz (4-0) For the Jazz to take the next step, Carlos Boozer has to continue the 20-10 pace he's on right now.
5. Phoenix Suns (4-1) Will the NBA pundits stop comparing Amare Stoudemire to Karl Malone and Shawn Kemp before 1996? He plays like James Worthy, and now he looks like the 2000's version with the flashy new shades compared with Worthy's goofy-looking goggles.
6. Houston Rockets (3-1) Ron Artest is already paying dividends; he allowed Tracy McGrady to sit almost the entire fourth quarter in a road win at Dallas. He's also been implosion-free so far.
7. New Orleans Hornets (3-1) You know Chris Paul wants that MVP this year, and four straight 20-10 (points and dimes) games to start the season is definitely a step in that direction.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-2) I'd give this team about two weeks to see how all the pieces fit. One thing is for certain: Mo Williams gives them yet another perimeter threat to take the defensive pressure off LeBron.
9. Atlanta Hawks (3-0) The biggest surprise in the Hawks' start, which includes wins in Orlando and New Orleans, is the fact that they're allowing a league-low 84 ppg.
10. Toronto Raptors (3-1) Chris Bosh showed how much he's improved in the Olympics, and if it carries over with 26-10 numbers this year, he deserves mention among the elite PF's in the game.
11. Dallas Mavericks (2-2) When you have Antoine Wright and Erick Dampier starting, it's like you're starting off every game playing 3-on-5. No wonder Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard face so many double teams.
12. Orlando Magic (2-2) Maybe I shouldn't have drafted Hedo Turkoglu in the fourth round. After all, it looks like last year's production was a Don MacLean-like fluke.
13. Indiana Pacers (1-2) Blowing out Boston and hanging tough with Phoenix and Detroit is a good early-season sign, made all the more promising with Mike Dunleavy still not healthy. This is a very improved team.
14. Milwaukee Bucks (3-2) So that's why they traded Mo! To give the best player you've never heard of, Ramon Sessions, the starting spot.
15. Philadelphia 76ers (2-3) They need Andre Igoudala to step up for all the money they paid him, and 10 ppg on 38% shooting isn't cutting it.
16. Golden State Warriors (2-3) For this team to win consistently, Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette, and Al Harrington are going to have to shoot a lot better. None of the three are shooting over 37% from the field.
17. Miami Heat (2-2) With all the hype surrounding Shawn Marion and Michael Beasley, the Heats' best front-line performer through the first week has surprisingly been Udonis Haslem.
18. Chicago Bulls (2-3) They said MJ couldn't shoot from the outside and couldn't play defense when he came out of college too. So far, like His Airness, Derrick Rose is proving all his doubters wrong.
19. San Antonio Spurs (1-3) Without Manu Ginobili, it's going to be tough to win games when Roger Mason Jr. is your third leading scorer and you need over 50 points from Tony Parker to beat the Timberwolves.
20. Denver Nuggets (1-3) The Nuggets better hope Billups has some game left. I have a bad feeling about trading one of the fastest guards in the league for one of the slowest.
21. Memphis Grizzlies (2-3) The Grizz have to be encouraged by the play from all three of their rookies. At the same time, they should be concerned about the regression of Mike Conley.
22. New York Knicks (2-2) If the Knicks didn't want Stephane Marbury at the beginning of the season, why not just buy out his contract? Are they that cheap?
23. Portland Trail Blazers (1-3) Greg Oden just can't catch a break. Not even five minutes into his first game, he suffers his first injury, before even recording a basket.
24. New Jersey Nets (1-2) This is going to be a bad offensive team if Devin Harris can't shake the slow start he's having.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-3) Mike Miller could prove to be a very good addition if he can spread the floor for Jefferson, giving him even more space to operate.
26. Charlotte Bobcats (1-3) Raymond Felton's days as a starter are numbered once D.J. Augustin gets a feel for the NBA pace and takes his job.
27. Oklahoma City Thunder (1-3) Joe Smith? Desmond Mason? That's one thing I love about rebuilding teams, the number of random veterans you find.
28. Sacramento Kings (1-4) The play of Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes has been one of the few bright spots in what looks like a dismal team.
29. Washington Wizards (0-3) They did this last year too; don't be surprised to see the Wiz back in first place in a couple weeks.
30. Los Angeles Clippers (0-5) Unlike the Wizards, there doesn't appear to be any precedent to the Clippers overcoming slow starts.