The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks are two elite teams in the Eastern Conference that stand head and shoulders above the rest. Some would argue that the conference lacks focus because seven games only spread the top 12 teams in the west. The top two teams there haven’t been as dominant. The Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans are both fierce and talented teams, but some could argue that they are still too young to be crowned the best in the west. No team in the conference has one of the top three players on its roster.
With 18-9 records, the Pelicans and Grizzlies are tied for the top mark in the conference despite not having an MVP front-runner on their rosters. It is hard to explain the victory at the season’s first games in Memphis and New Orleans, and it’s tempting to point the finger at early-season ailments and controversy in Phoenix and Golden State. The Nuggets and Clippers might go on a run as their health improves. The Pelicans and Grizzlies, on the other hand, are likewise comparable. The Grizz’s second-best scorer has been absent since November 11th. Desmond Bane will likely be sidelined with his big toe injury for 3 to 4 weeks.
The second-leading scorer for the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram, has missed eight games due to an injured big toe and will be reassessed in a week. Tuesday marked the first occasion in three games that Herb Jones, one of New Orleans’ top defenders, had been on the field. Even though Jaren Jackson Jr. has only participated in half of Memphis’ games this season, he has been a bug net on defense. Even so, after 25 games, the Pels and Grizz now have the best reputation in the west, and both teams rank in the top 10 in the NBA for both defensive and offensive efficiency. In the top five are the Pelicans.