The dividing lines are already starting to blur. Across the league teams are threatening to jump or fall from one tier to the other. But as we’ve yet to approach the one-quarter mark of the season, I’m still conceiving of the Western Conference in four tiers:
Tier No. 1: The five teams that should be better than everyone else: Thunder, Grizzlies, Spurs, Lakers, Clippers. The Clippers have lost four of five and the Lakers are doing whatever it is they do at 7-8, but these five should eventually shake out as the five best teams in the conference.