NBA Perfect Ten (Week of January 24th)

The NBA season is past the halfway point and teams have already started making moves. With the All-Star Break approaching, the top ten list is taking shape and the contenders are starting to overtake the pretenders.

Perfect Ten (Week of January 24th)

#10. New York Knicks (26-17) (+1700/+4500) - The Knicks are still active in the trade market as they try to build their roster around Jalen Brunson. Strengths: Anunoby has made a big difference on the defensive end for the Knicks and has helped tighten up the team’s rotation. Weaknesses: The Knicks will need a big man but do they have the assets to get one? Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#9. Phoenix Suns (25-18) (+650/+1300) - The Suns’ comeback on Monday night against the Bulls shows what this team is capable of at full strength. Strengths: The Big Three seems to be getting more and more comfortable playing together now. Weaknesses: The Suns are still relatively small and will need some beef, likely from the contract buyout market. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#8. Cleveland Cavaliers (26-15) (+2500/+6000) - Cleveland keeps finding ways to win with a depleted roster. Help is on the way when Mobley and Garland return in February. Strengths: Mitchell has proved his worth as not only a scorer but a distributor with Garland out. Weaknesses: Are the Cavs buyers or sellers? Despite the winning, Mitchell’s name keeps coming up in trade talks. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#7. LA Clippers (27-14) (+390/+800) - The Clippers keep on rolling and Leonard looks better than he has since Toronto. Strengths: It took a while but this team has the cohesion necessary to be a real problem in the playoffs. Weaknesses: Health is always a concern with such a veteran-laden team. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#6. Philadelphia 76ers (29-13) (+475/+1100) - Embiid put up 72 and 18 rebounds on Monday night and let it be known that he’s still very much the MVP. Strengths: Nurse has the experience with managing veterans and keeping them ready for the playoffs. That is his most important job with this team. Weaknesses: The Sixers need a solid guard who can distribute the ball behind Maxey. Kyle Lowry comes to mind after his trade to Charlotte. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#5. Minnesota Timberwolves (30-13) (+850/+2000) - Karl-Anthony Towns exploded for 62 points last night but it was telling that the Wolves kept pulling him during defensive possessions down the stretch. Strengths: Even after a tough week, the Wolves are still atop the Western Conference standings. Weaknesses: One thing was clear after last night, even after scoring 62 points, Towns has to realize this is Edwards’ team. They are better with Anthony as the focal point. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#4. OKC Thunder (29-13) (+850/+1800) - The Thunder are very difficult to put away with their ability to score and score quickly. Strengths: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the alpha dog on this team and that is very clear down the stretch of close games. Weaknesses: OKC does have the feel of a regular-season team that will fade in the playoffs if they can’t tighten up their defense. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#3. Milwaukee Bucks (30-13) (+220/+475) - Rumors are flying that the Bucks will part ways with head coach Adrian Griffin. Interesting move this late in the season. Strengths: The Bucks have been active in the trade market and look committed to trying to win it all this season. Weaknesses: The Bucks’ potential firing of Griffin drops this season directly in the lap of their veteran stars. Can they handle it? Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#2. Denver Nuggets (30-14) (+210/+450) - Denver won a close game with the Celtics ending their 20-game home winning streak. Murray and Jokic looked dominant. Strengths: Denver continues to execute at a playoff level in recent weeks and looks poised to take over the #1 spot in the Western Conference. Weaknesses: Denver has not looked like road warriors this season and that will be an issue in the playoffs. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#1. Boston Celtics (34-10) (+135/+300) - The Celtics lost a close one to Denver at home but then bounced back with wins at Houston and Dallas on back-to-back nights. Strengths: The Celtics clamped down on both Houston and Dallas on the defensive end, a sign of their overall dominance. Weaknesses: One thing the Celtics need to work on is final possession execution. They need to incorporate Porzingis and Brown more into their last-second play calls. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

Game of the Week, Season Record 5-8: Tip of the cap to the champs for taking down the Celtics at the Garden.

Philadelphia at Denver: This will be round II of the heavyweight battle between Embiid and Jokic. Embiid won round 1, I like Jokic in the rematch.

  • In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.