I don't know how I came up with the idea to take only a few polls at key points during the season and use them as snapshots to see how the season developed, but it is turning out to be one of my best ever.
A lot has changed since the first power poll taken one month into the season, and a lot has stayed the same.
Miami was the biggest surprise of the first poll due to their poor play and weren't ranked in the top 10. Since then they have leaped all the way to the fourth-best record in the league and when healthy show no signs of slowing up.
The most impressive team at this point has to be the Chicago Bulls.
They have gone from number nine to number five and have done it while playing without Joakim Noah for the past month or so.
For the few games that Noah, Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer played together, they were as good and as entertaining as any team in the league.
And despite an East Coast trip where they were whipped a couple of times and should have lost to Indiana, San Antonio maintains its stranglehold on the best record in the NBA.
(1.) San Antonio (37-6)
(2.) Boston (33-9)
(3.) Los Angeles (32-13)
(4.) Miami (30-13)
(5.) Chicago (29-14)
(6.) Orlando (28-15)
(7.) Dallas (27-15)
(8.) Oklahoma City (27-15)
(9.) New Orleans (28-16)
(10.) Atlanta (28-16)
DRAFT LOTTERY POLL
The Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers are the two teams which have made the most improvement since early in the season.
Two months ago, they were one and two in the race for Harrison Barnes. Now they are eight and 10.
Houston has left the lottery poll entirely, and so has Charlotte, currently the seven seed in the East even at seven games below .500.
Cleveland appears to be the team taking this race to secure the No. 1 pick the most seriously.
They weren't ranked in the bottom 10 at all on the first power poll but have high-jumped all the way to the number one spot and secured the worst record in the NBA at this point by doing things like putting Jawad Williams into the rotation.
Winning the lottery may not bring them a LeBron James in return, but it doesn't look like that will stop them from trying anyway.
There is no longer agreement on who the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft will be. Harrison Barnes has fallen off the map and is no longer considered the favorite to be taken with the first pick.
Whoever the top pick might be, these are the teams with the best chance of nabbing him.
(1.) Cleveland (8-34)
(2.) Sacramento (9-32)
(3.) Minnesota (10-33)
(4.) New Jersey (12-31)
(5.) Washington (12-29)
(6.) Toronto (13-30)
(7.) Detroit (15-28)
(8.) Los Angeles (16-26)
(9.) Milwaukee (16-24)
(10.) Philadelphia (17-25)
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