These are my opinions only. For a slightly more detailed description of how I rank teams, see Part One here.
Again, the Clippers aren't on this list because this is a Clippers site, and it is hard to be unbiased. But for a neutral NBA fan, they would be somewhere in my top 5.
14. Miami Heat- The Heat have some interesting storylines this season. How long can Dwayne Wade hold off father time (and injuries)? Can Whiteside consolidate and expand on his incredible breakout season last year (so far looks like a yes)? How will the Dragic-Wade-Deng-Bosh-Whiteside starting lineup look now that all of them are playing? The drafting of stud Duke wing Justice Winslow and the excellent coaching of Erik Spoelstra ensconces the Heat firmly in the interesting to watch group.
13. Sacramento Kings- DaMarcus Cousins is a top 10 talent in the NBA. He can score from anywhere on the floor now that he has added the pointer to his arsenal, and when he tries on defense he is terrific on that end. The rest of the Kings roster is a bit more mixed, but they have added quite a few solid pieces over the last couple years and have played playoff contenders very tightly to start the year. There is also the possibility of explosive conflict: the personalities of Cousins, Rajon Rondo, and Coach George Karl are all notably grating and ego-centric. No matter what, it is an interesting ride.
NOTE: Apparently DaMarcus Cousins cussed out George Karl in front of all the players (and maybe other officials as well). This is bad for Kings fans and the NBA, but means popcorn grabbing time for me while I watch the fireworks.
12. Utah Jazz- The Jazz have gone through several seasons rebuilding and out of the playoffs. This might be the year they make their return. Gordon Hayward is one of the best all-around wing players in the NBA, and he is joined in the front court by defensive monsters Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. Utah plays terrifying interior defense with those three on the court. Joining them are intriguing guards Rodney Hood and Alec Burks. If Dante Exum were healthy this team would be even more exciting, but they are plenty promising as is.
11. Atlanta Hawks- A lot of people seem to be overlooking the Hawks in terms of both winning and watchability this season. Yes, they did lose DeMarre Carroll (who is awesome), but Kent Bazemore has stepped up to plate (yes, seriously, that Kent Bazemore), and the rest of their starting lineup is as deadly as last year. Kyle Korver shooting threes is always a treat, as are Jeff Teague scoop layups and Paul Millsap pump fake drives. They play "modern" basketball with lots of ball movement, and are still going to win around 50 games barring injury.
10. New York Knicks- Rookie Kristaps Porzingis has already made a positive impact on Knicks' games this year. Considering what some thought of him as a prospect, that is a good start. He is huge, can shoot, and is athletic enough to get rebounds and play NBA defense. Porzingis has already had several unbelievable putback dunks on groups of defenders who had no idea what was coming. Enjoy Kristaps Knicks fans, you have earned it. Joining him are other youngsters such as Langston Galloway and Jerian Grant. Add that to the still incredible scoring talent of Melo and you get a very fun team to watch. They would be several spots higher on this list if they didn't still start- and give significant minutes to- the decaying corpses of Sasha Vujacic and Jose Calderon. I thought they would be in the low 30s win range this season, but they look better than that and should challenge for a playoff spot.
9. Detroit Pistons- A couple weeks ago I would have ranked the Pistons in the mid-teens at best. Now, however, things are different. Why? Andre Drummond is putting on a 2009 era Dwight Howard impression, and the rest of the team seems to be fitting around him just like those (underrated) Magic teams did with Howard back then. The Reggie Jackson-Drummond pick and roll is terrifying, and with the added shooting of Ersan Ilyasova in place of Greg Monroe the spacing is that much better. All this team needs now is a Kentavious Caldwell Pope breakout campaign.
8. Portland Trailblazers- The Blazers' roster was seemingly haphazardly thrown together over the summer. Four of their five starters from last season are gone, including former franchise player LaMarcus Aldridge. In his place, GM Neil Olshey has put the keys to the future in Damian Lillard's hands, which is a good place for them. Lillard and back court mate CJ McCollum have lit the league on fire in the early going, even with far fewer weapons on the team this season. Watching the two of them go after it is reason enough to watch the Blazers, but players like Noah Vonleh and Mo Harkless have much potential as well.
7. New Orleans- The Pelicans have had a frustrating 1-6 start to the season. They reason they are ranked this high are because of what they could be, not what they are. Anthony Davis is struggling without enough playmaking or spacing on the floor, and has only put together one or two of his vintage performances. When Tyreke Evans, Quincy Pondexter, and Omer Asik return, the Pelicans should be much better and more entertaining. Hopefully they come back soon, because this version of the Pellies is sad to watch.
6. San Antonio Spurs- San Antonio being this high is mostly the cause of one man. Kawhi Leonard. Yes, Popovich gets his squad to play inspired team basketball, and Tim Duncan is somehow still effective, and Manu does amazing things. Yes. But Leonard is incredible on defense. He is both an amazing lockdown defender- shadowing his man and slithering around picks- and a fantastic team defender, helping at all the right moments and intercepting passes all over the court. His offensive game has developed a lot, and that along with the addition of Aldridge makes the Spurs much more versatile on offense.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves - Karl Anthony Towns is amazing. Seriously, if you haven't watched him, go watch. People are already anointing him the next Anthony Davis or even Tim Duncan, which might be a bit premature, but still. He is huge and athletic. He has nice post moves and superb interior passing but can also hit threes. He is aggressive on defense without fouling. Don't listen to me, go watch! Go! The Wolves also have Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins, both awesome, and newcomer Nemanja Bjelica with his Boris-Diaw/Lamar Odom type of point forwardish play.
4. Washington Wizards- Washington is only going as far as their back court takes them. John Wall is a top 5 point guard in a league stacked with them, and Bradley Beal is poised to make the jump to stardom after a terrific 2015 playoffs and start to the 2016 season. Wall uses his size and blazing athleticism to make plays nobody else can quite do, and Beal is one of the best shooters in the game. Otto Porter is an interesting third wheel as an Andrei Kirilenko esque player who can hit open shots, make great cuts off the ball, attack in transition, and just generally be the glue to the team all over the court. The Wiz would be a contender with a better big man rotation, but alas: they primarily use an aging Nene, an above average but rarely better Marcin Gortat, and a career role player in Kris Humphries.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers- The Cavs the presumptive favorite to come out of the East, and so far look like they mean business. LeBron is no longer the insane specimen he was a half decade back, but he is still one of the best two or three players in the NBA, and makes incredible plays no one else can. The rest of their roster is comprised of specialists that fit around him, mostly rebounders, defenders, and shooters. Kyrie Irving is an explosive scorer when healthy, and his slick handle can cause extreme humiliation on defenders. Mo Williams has been a superb addition so far in spacing the floor and helping run the offense when James and Kevin Love are out. The Cavs are going to win 60 games probably, and look good doing so.
2. Golden State Warriors- The most exciting spectacle in the NBA circa 2015 is a Steph Curry offensive explosion. He can hit shots from anywhere on the court, under any kind of duress. It truly is astonishing to witness, and when he gets going there is absolutely nothing that can stop him. The rest of the team is talented and fits together extremely well, but the main reason to tune in is to watch the best shooter in basketball history. Klay Thompson getting hot is fun too I suppose.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder- If Curry is the alpha dog in the NBA right now and the most enjoyable to watch on any given night, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook aren't far behind. Westbrook in particular just plays with such ferocity it is hard to turn the game off, even when he is struggling. Combine that with the smooth scoring ability of the Slim Reaper and you get my favorite team to watch on League Pass (sans Clips of course). Yes they may complain about calls a lot, and yes Serge Ibaka makes dirty plays. But the Thunder are really good, and very, very entertaining. Also, they have Dion Waiters, and he is the best.