*Rankings compiled from games played between February 24 and March 1.
1. Golden State Warriors (4-0)
The Warriors are chasing history. With 23 games remaining in the regular season, the defending champions need only 16 victories to become the second team in league history to win at least 70 games – and 20 victories to eclipse the hallowed 72-10 mark set by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96.
Steve Kerr’s team hasn’t been shy to admit that it will go for the record if in position to break it over the final two weeks of regular season play. These guys want immortality. Whether the Warriors best Jordan and company, though, it’s fair to submit their real season won’t begin until the playoffs finally do on April 16 – if Draymond Green’s recent quip about the feeling of winning a title is to be taken seriously, at least.
Just what else is there to say about Golden State? Barring an injury to Curry, Green, or Klay Thompson, the Warriors will be prohibitive favorites to repeat as champions when the postseason finally tips off come spring.
Enjoy the ride, basketball fans. No team has ever made dominance as fun as Golden State.
2. San Antonio Spurs (3-0)
Quick note: LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 20.4 points per game on 53.5 percent shooting since San Antonio’s embarrassing loss to the Warriors in Oakland on Jan. 27. Remember what Gregg Popovich said earlier this season about his team getting better offensively once March came around?
The man is a sage. It should be no surprise, then, that basketball’s top coach recently gave some advice that extends far beyond the hardwood. We’re writing this on Super Tuesday, by the way; it’s never been more difficult not to get political. But Popovich’s typically sharp, caring words at Monday’s fifth annual Champions Against Hunger dinner in San Antonio needn’t be aligned with ideals espoused by candidates from either major party.
“Everybody knows there’s disparity, but it’s almost an embarrassing situation,” the former airman said of the Alamo City’s spatial inequality with respect to wealth. “If you’re doing well, you should be embarrassed if you’re doing nothing to try to ease that gap. Whether it’s spending time with organizations, giving money, or both, it’s a responsibility that cannot be denied. If you deny it, shame on you.”