1. LA Lakers: Lamar Odom hired his mother-in-law, Kris Jenner, as his new manager. If the knee injuries to Kobe Bryant  and Andrew Bynum  don’t spell doom for the Lakers, this could, as anybody who has seen “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” can attest. We’ll leave them in the top spot — until Kris makes Odom pose nude or something.
Paul Pierce  appears to be up to his old game-winning ways. And the Celtics  bench seems to keep getting deeper and deeper. The play of Semih Erden, Stephane Lasme and Luke Harangody has been an encouraging sign. So far, the injury bug has only claimed Delonte West , and he’s suspended for 10 games anyway.
 3. Miami: First it was Dwyane Wade’s hamstring, and now it’s LeBron James ‘ leg cramps. I heard somewhere that if Wade really does miss the remainder of the preseason, the Heat’s Big 3 (do they have a nickname yet?) will have only played a few minutes together before taking on the Celtics on opening night. I think it’s just a marketing ploy.
 4. Oklahoma City: Larry Brown  recently called the Thunder everything that’s right with the NBA: young, talented and well-behaved. I couldn’t agree more. This team should be fun to watch all season long, especially if Longar Longar makes the roster.
5. Dallas: With this new technical foul rule, how much in fines do you think Mark Cuban will spend this year? I’m putting the over/under at $1 million. In other news, I love the nickname for Mavericks rookie Dominique Jones: DoJo.
6. Orlando: If Dwight Howard  really is taking the game more seriously, I might’ve been completely wrong about the Magic. An angry Dwight Howard is not somebody I’d like to meet in a dark alley. Even Shaq is backing away from his jabs about the faux Superman.
7 . Portland: Brandon Roy  told reporters, “I want the ball a lot more.” Try staying healthy first, Brandon. By the way, who is more than Greg Oden  that the Brett Favre  genitals story broke? Now, Greg’s not the most famous athlete sexter.
8. Chicago: Who has an easier road to the playoffs than the Bulls? I mean, have you checked out the Central Division lately? Cleveland. Detroit. Indiana. Milwaukee. Should we just give them the division title now, or do we have to wait until the end of the season?
9. Utah: The Jazz  are 3-0. Is that the best record an Al Jefferson  team has had since he was in high school? Big Al’s teams have had a 163-329 (.331) in his six-year NBA career. Still, I don’t think that means anything for Utah this season.
  10. Atlanta: Did you know that the Hawks drafted former WWF wrestler Giant Gonzalez in 1988? Well, Giant died recently at the age of 44. Even if the Hawks still had him, they’d be the fifth-best team in the Eastern Conference — at best.
 11. San Antonio: The Spurs became the first team to knock off the Miami Heat  this preseason. And then they waived New Zealander Kirk Penney, who’s former team was called — and you can make this stuff up — the New Zealand Tall Blacks. Really?
 12. New York: The Knicks keep flip-flopping around these rankings, even in the preseason. I liked what I saw from them against the Celtics, especially their new Russian assassin: Timofey Mozgov. As Ivan Drago said, “I defeat all man. Soon I defeat real champion.”
13. Phoenix: Suns coach Alvin Gentry had to ask his players to give more effort. Never a good sign. I may end up being wrong about these Suns making the playoffs. Still, I’m not sure who else from the Western Conference could oust them.
17. LA Clippers: So, Blake Griffin  really is a monster. Not to mention the fact that a Kaman-Griffin frontcourt duo sounds like some crazy rare bird who will devour all of mankind.
18. Golden State: Coach Keith Smart hopes the Warriors take fewer 3-pointers this season. Um, you do realize Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis  are on your team, right?
24. Minnesota: Any fan who buys a 10-game “Flex pack” to Timberwolves  games this season gets their name in lights on an electronic billboard on the arena. Yippee! Is that really how the T-Wolves plan on getting fans in the seats?
25. Washington: If you needed any more proof that Gilbert Arenas  has lost his mind, he faked a knee injury so a teammate could start in his place. I know this is a crazy idea, but how about asking the coach to start the other guy instead? Should be a strange Wizards season.
26. Charlotte: Wait, the Bobcats have Kwame Brown ? I may have been wrong about them. He was a No. 1 pick after all, so he can’t be that bad, right? Wrong. He’s that bad.
the Nets  and Stoli Vodka have become business partners. And New Jersey will continue to play as if they’ve been partners all along. Zing.
29. Cleveland: So, a Wisconsin-based company called Perfect Timing released their annual NBA wall calendars, and guess who’s on the cover for the Cavs? Yup, LeBron. Way to rub it in. Perfect Timing indeed.
30. Toronto: Did you see Stephane Lasme facialize Andrea Bargnani? Bargnani is supposed to be one of the Raptors’ best players this year, and Lasme could be the last man on the C’s bench. Needless to say, that’s not a good sign for the folks in Toronto.