Each week during the regular season, I will rank the five best teams – and the five worst teams – in the NBA.
To view my rankings from the previous week, click here.
Team records are through Feb. 17.
THE HIGH FIVE
1. San Antonio Spurs (41-12) – The Spurs were represented by two players in the All-Star game on Sunday – Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili – but certainly could have placed a third player on the West team in Tony Parker. The young point guard will be motivated down the stretch to prove he belonged in Denver.
2. Phoenix Suns (41-13) – It was a Suns weekend in Denver. Three Suns were in the All-Star game, and Phoenix dominated All-Star Saturday with Steve Nash winning the skills competition, Quentin Richardson winning the three-point contest and Amare Stoudamire finishing second in the dunk contest.
3. Miami Heat (40-14) – Damon Jones was snubbed from the three-point contest, and he's out to prove he belonged in it. He made eight threes in a win over the Clippers last week and three big ones down the stretch in a win over the Spurs.
4. Dallas Mavericks (35-16) – The Mavericks went 4-0 on a road trip for the first time in franchise history, and three of the four wins were against Western Conference playoff teams (Sacramento, Seattle and Phoenix) The Mavericks are deep, versatile and potent.
5. Seattle SuperSonics (35-15) – The Sonics followed up big wins over Sacramento and Phoenix with disappointing losses to Dallas and Golden State. Still, they're running away with the Northwest Division and are poised for an automatic top-three seed.
THE LOW FIVE
27. Golden State Warriors (15-38) – Jason Richardson has posted All-Star numbers this season but was not invited to the Big Show in Denver. He'll have to make his team a lot better if he wants to be an All-Star next season.
28. Charlotte Bobcats (11-39) – The Bobcats haven't had much to cheer about this year, but Nelly (the hip-hop star, not the coach) was on the cover of ESPN the Magazine this week wearing an Emeka Okafor jersey. That has to be worth something, doesn't it?
29. New Orleans Hornets (11-42) – The trade deadline is coming up. Will Baron Davis remain a Hornet? Probably. He's injured and has several years remaining on a large contract. There won't be any takers.