The NBA has reached its quarter mark so it's time to make some sense of where we stand. The Warriors and Cavaliers lead their respective conferences, no surprise, but the rest of the league isn't slacking behind. It may be a two-team race for the championship, but the other squads are putting good enough teams on the floor to at least make it interesting.

Not everyone's playing well, however. The Timberwolves and Wizards have face-planted out of the gate, and Denver looks completely lost. You have to wonder if trades are on the horizon in the second quarter of the season as teams start to re-evaluate their plans and goals for this year.

We decided to give each team a grade on their performance to this point relative to expectations. There's a long way to go, but here's where your team stands at the quarter mark of the season.

How did your team fare after one quarter of the NBA season? Graphic illustration by Mike Meredith


Atlanta Hawks

There once was a point early in the season when the Hawks were near the top of the East standings. This was also around the time when the Hawks handed the Cavaliers their first loss of the season. The Hawks even had a six-game win streak in early November. Yet that now all seems like a thing of the past as the Hawks have struggled mightily and are still recovering from a seven-game skid. The Dwight Howard experiment seems to be working, and the same thing can be said about Dennis Schroder as the team's starting point guard. Atlanta remains a top defensive team as well, but overall, it has been a disappointment so far this season. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: C-

Boston Celtics

After an awful start defensively, the Celtics have started to find themselves. They've been much better defensively since Al Horford and Jae Crowder returned to the lineup, and while they have yet to come up with a signature win, it is easier now to see where all that preseason hubbub was about. Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley are both having career years, and it already looks like Horford has been playing with these guys forever. I can't comfortably give them an A when they are only 13-11, but they're closer to resembling the 16-7 Raptors than the 12-12 Pacers. -- James Herbert

Grade: B

Brooklyn Nets

What do you want from these Nets? If it's wins you're after, you're silly and you'll be disappointed. If it's competitiveness and an entertaining style of basketball, you're in luck for the first time in a while. Kenny Atkinson has Brooklyn second in the league in pace and launching 3-pointers with reckless abandon. Brook Lopez, suddenly a stretch 5, is quietly playing like an All-Star on the offensive end, and Sean Kilpatrick should be in the running for Most Improved Player. The Nets aren't good, but they aren't boring, even with Jeremy Lin missing most of the first quarter of the season. -- James Herbert

Grade: B

Charlotte Hornets

Going 8-3 right out of the gate, Charlotte's success was an early surprise at the start of the season. But since then, the Hornets have plateaued and are now 14-10, which puts them in a cluster of teams all vying for seeds 3 through 6 in the East. Charlotte could remain near the top of that group if Kemba Walker continues to play like an MVP and the Hornets remain a top-10 defensive team. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: B+

Chicago Bulls

There are two ways to look at the Bulls. One, they have won games they should lose, found ways to compensate for their spacing problems, Dwyane Wade has been tremendous, Jimmy Butler's an All-Star and the defense has been way more stout. The other is that there are a lot of games where they look like you would expect them to, and that, combined with the simmering Rajon Rondo drama leads to think they're ripe for a drop-off at some point. But they haven't, and against expectations, being 13th in win percentage, 10th in net point differential is great. -- Matt Moore

Grade: A-

Things are going rather well so far for Dwyane Wade and the Bulls. USATSI

Cleveland Cavaliers

They have about 10 games where they look like the best team in the league. Not the best team in the East, but the best team in the league. LeBron James continues to amaze with his durability and excellence, and Kevin Love looks unlocked for the first time in Cleveland. They've had some drama and some injuries, but overall, they look like the Finals lock we expected. This is the best Cavaliers team of all time, regular-season wise. -- Matt Moore

Grade: A-

Detroit Pistons

Being above .500 without Reggie Jackson for most of the year is an accomplishment, and Stan Van Gundy remains terrific. Their defense is stout, but a lot of the same problems remain. They can't shoot, Andre Drummond comes and goes game by game in terms of impact and they're short on reliable contributors. This is a good team, but they feel like a very limited one. -- Matt Moore

Grade: B-

Indiana Pacers

You look at some of of their wins, most notably against the Bulls, Clippers and Thunder, and you start to think maybe this is a team better than their record. Then you look at all the losses to bad teams and you start to realize: this team is just wildly inconsistent, which in a lot of ways, is worse than being just bad. You know what to fix in the latter case. Indiana has talent, but is mostly just spinning its wheels (get it?). -- Matt Moore

Grade: D

Miami Heat

The Heat have a dismal record and are feeling the sting of the loss of Dwyane Wade literally everyday. Yet the Heat's losing record can in large part be attributed to their myriad number of injuries as many of their key players like Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson have been injured. Miami also has been getting excellent production from Hassan Whiteside, as the shot-blocking big man continues to put up huge stat lines. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: C

Milwaukee Bucks

I think there's a good team in here. That's really saying something considering the absence of Khris Middleton, their overall youth and how terrible Jabari Parker's defense has been. But Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a super weapon, their defense has found answers and young guys are stepping up. Maybe most notably, Greg Monroe has been terrific -- on both ends!! -- and has the best net differential on the team. -- Matt Moore

Grade: B

New York Knicks

The funniest part about all the drama among Phil Jackson and LeBron James and Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony is that it's diverting attention away from a much less appealing, but more significant story: the Knicks are pretty good! At 14-10, they are tied for third in the East, and while their net rating suggests they're really a little below-average overall, they have survived one of the toughest early schedules in the league. New York had a splashy summer, but there was risk that this would all fall apart spectacularly. If it can stay healthy, then it might actually be able to establish itself as a normal, improving team. -- James Herbert

Grade: B+

Orlando Magic

The Magic made some curious moves in the offseason by adding both Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo. They are talented defenders yet can't play together and haven't moved the needle much in Orlando. The Magic also curiously signed Jeff Green, who, in another unproductive move by Orlando, has been taking minutes away from Aaron Gordon. Orlando just continues to be one of the more unremarkable teams in the league, something which even new coach Frank Vogel can't fix. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: D-

Philadelphia 76ers

Depending on what time you're reading this, Joel Embiid could be dominating an NBA game, doing something hilarious on Instagram or saying "trust The Process" in an interview for the 450th time. Just 22 years old and 15 games into his career, his footwork, enthusiasm and shooting form leave no doubt as to whether or not the couple of years of waiting were worth it. The fact Embiid is healthy and exceeding expectations is enough to make this Sixers season matter, regardless of how putrid the offense looks when he's off the floor. Really thought that the front office would have done something about the frontcourt logjam by now, though. -- James Herbert

Grade: B-

Toronto Raptors

Move over, 73-win Golden State Warriors. Scram, Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni. Get lost, Larry and Michael and Magic. The 2016-17 Raptors are tied with this year's Warriors for the best offensive rating in NBA history -- 114.2 points per 100 possessions. DeMar DeRozan's hot start made headlines, but it's time to give Kyle Lowry the same sort of attention. In his last 10 games, he has averaged 24 points, 7.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 54 percent and making 56.2 percent of his 3-pointers. The defense is still stressing Dwane Casey out, and no, Toronto probably isn't closer to toppling a healthy Cleveland team, but who cares? Toronto is playing like a fringe contender, and that's all you can ask. -- James Herbert

Grade: A

Washington Wizards

The Wizards have been brutal, which is just mystifying as they have one of the league's best backcourts in John Wall and Bradley Beal. Otto Porter has also shown signs of life in his third season and is looking like a solid player. Yet they seem to have regressed under new coach Scott Brooks. The good news is that they still have plenty of time to right the ship and remain in contention for one of the lower seeds in the East. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: D


Dallas Mavericks

A reference to T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men" to sum up Dallas' season so far: This is the way the Mavs end. This is the way the Mavs end. This is the way the Mavs end. Not with a bang, but with J.J. Barea's injury being hugely important and that about says it all. No one wanted Dirk to go out this way (if this is how he goes out). -- Matt Moore

Grade: F

Denver Nuggets

With a mix of veterans and young talent, the Nuggets are a team in transition and are in the midst of trying to figure things out. They do have some serious blossoming talent with Nikola Jokic and rookie Jamal Murray. But Denver is just an odd team that will likely be OK but not great all season long. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: C+

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors warned everybody that they wouldn't start off 24-0 this time, and they were right: They are 21-4. By any measure, this is the best team in the league, and you could hardly ask for a smoother transition when it comes to integrating Kevin Durant. Steve Kerr has been able to rest guys and experiment with his rotation, and the returning stars are doing just fine --- Stephen Curry has a lighter load, Klay Thompson's slump is a distant memory and Draymond Green is doing everything. The only reason they don't get an A+ is because it still seems like they can find another gear. -- James Herbert

Grade: A

Houston Rockets

A feel-good story. Here's a secret. This team is better -- far better -- than the 2015 team that made the Western Conference finals and won the division. That squad had a bizarre defensive run that didn't match up with their personnel or style. This team actually seems better defensively than their metrics indicate. James Harden fully embraced the Mike D'Antoni opportunity and looks like an MVP candidate(if not favorite), Eric Gordon might be Sixth Man of the Year, Patrick Beverley looks First-Team All-Defense and Clint Capela is crushing it. They play together, they have big wins against good teams, and are a blast to watch. All Hail D'Antoni. -- Matt Moore

Grade: A

The Rockets have been clicking under new coach Mike D'Antoni. USATSI

Los Angeles Clippers

Thank goodness they don't play the Pacers every night. The Clippers fell to Indiana on consecutive Sundays, and one of the losses was by 21 points with Paul George sitting out. The good news: Those clunkers have been relatively rare -- Los Angeles is 17-7, and Golden State is the only team in the league with a better net rating. I don't have a ton of confidence in this team challenging the Warriors unless the super-team is dealing with an injury or two, but I would have said the same about the Oklahoma City Thunder this time last year. Encouragingly, the Clippers seem to have found some reliable reserves and made a major breakthrough on the defensive end. -- James Herbert

Grade: A

Los Angeles Lakers

The scoring fell off when D'Angelo Russell was out of the lineup, but you have to admire the job Luke Walton has done here. Look at the improvement from Julius Randle and Larry Nance; look at the fun Lou Williams and Nick Young are having; look at Brandon Ingram getting to try his hand at initiating the offense. The players are empowered in a way they weren't last year, and the team is about a million times more watchable than last year because of it. If these Lakers can become a not-terrible defensive team, maybe they can even compete for a playoff spot. -- James Herbert

Grade: A

Memphis Grizzlies

The injuries popped up, which half-to-most people expected, albeit in weird ways, like Mike Conley's freak back injury. Marc Gasol's been terrific, the defense remains suffocating and the offense looks different. But this team remains a horrific shooting squad, and there's zero reason to believe that a. they'll ever be full-strength or b. they'll have enough firepower to challenge in the playoffs. The offseason signings were gambles worth taking but for now, the cards haven't come up the way they hoped. And yet, they grind on. -- Matt Moore

Grade: B

Minnesota Timberwolves

Well, it looks like Tom Thibodeau is not a miracle worker as the Timberwolves have one of the worst records in the league. The Timberwolves have definitely improved though. Andrew Wiggins is turning into an excellent scorer and has improved his three-point shooting. Zach LaVine is flourishing and the same can be said of Karl-Anthony Towns, who continues to improve after a stellar rookie season. Yet while Minnesota's Big 3 have been playing well, overall, the entire team has struggled. The Wolves are a bottom-five defensive team and they've struggled in third quarters, often giving up leads or not gaining any ground. This is still a young team, so it will need to go through some growing pains. But the Wolves have talent and a knowledgeable coach in Thibodeau, who can help them turn things around. It will just take some time though. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: C+

New Orleans Pelicans

This is tough. I feel like the Pelicans are a better team than their record shows, but their record is so bad, that's not saying much. They have talent, but can't get everyone to show up on the same night. They're really one star and a good role player away from being a playoff threat, but when you have Anthony Davis putting up the numbers the way he has, that really means something. Jrue Holiday has made them a not-terrible team, but they need someone to help them be a "maybe good" squad, and Tyreke Evans is unlikely to be that guy when he gets back. The Alvin Gentry hire, which I thought was tremendous at the time, has faceplanted. Hard. -- Matt Moore

Grade: D

Oklahoma City Thunder

With Durant taking his talents to the East Bay, Russell Westbrook is allowed to do whatever he wants and it has been glorious. Averaging a triple-double, Westbrook literally has been doing it all for the Thunder, something which Oklahoma City desperately needs him to do. And while the rest of his supporting cast has been inconsistent at times, the Thunder are heavily relying on Westbook and he has been the model of consistency, which has greatly benefited Oklahoma City so far this season. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: A

Phoenix Suns

Suns coach Earl Watson said before the season that his goal was to make the playoffs, and with a 7-17 start, that will take a minor miracle. External expectations were never high, though, so the record in itself shouldn't be seen as a disappointment. The bigger problem is that, in contrast with a team like the Lakers, the Suns have had trouble finding the right minutes and roles for everybody. Brandon Knight is struggling as a sixth man, Devin Booker has been much less efficient than you think and, with a league-worst average of 2.7 minutes between each Phoenix assist, it rarely appears as if these guys are making each other better. -- James Herbert

Grade: C-

Portland Trail Blazers

After an excellent regular season that then parlayed into a second-round playoff appearance, expectations were high for the Blazers entering 2016-17. Unfortunately, the first quarter of the season has been far from encouraging for Portland. The Blazers have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league and their pricey offseason additions, like Evan Turner, have not made even an increment of difference. The only positive aspect for Portland is that Damian Lillard is playing like a pseudo-MVP candidate and he and C.J. McCollum make up one of the best backcourts in the NBA. Yet the Blazers' reliance on Lillard and McCollum has so far translated to a sub .500 record and a tenuous hold on the eighth seed in the West. Changes have to be made in Portland and the Blazers will likely need to make a move if they want to rekindle last season's success. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: C-

Sacramento Kings

Unlike last year, the Kings aren't a total mess. Unfortunately, that's the nicest thing I can say about them. DeMarcus Cousins has never been better, but new coach Dave Joerger has not yet been able to give this team much of an identity, nor establish a regular rotation that balances their need for floor spacing with the tough task of keeping a few above-average defenders on the floor. Cousins says he doesn't want to go anywhere, but, if you were him, would you really want to stay? Sacramento desperately needs one of its young players to make a leap, and everybody's still waiting for the inevitable Rudy Gay trade. -- James Herbert

Grade: C

San Antonio Spurs

Seems crazy, right? They're leading the division and have the second-best record in the NBA. But underneath the surface, there's a lot of concerns with this team. They're short on good wins, outside of the opening night Warriors beatdown, their defense is still top 10 but shows some worrying signs for the playoffs, and they look far less dynamic than in year's past. Here's the biggest question I continue to have. Two of their best players are Pau Gasol and Tony Parker, and isn't it possible both of those players will be unplayable for certain playoff series due to defensive limitations? -- Matt Moore

Grade: B

Utah Jazz

With Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and George Hill all missing time, injuries have taken a toll on the Jazz in the first quarter of the season. But while Utah has struggled in the past when a key player gets injured, the additions its made in the offseason to bolster the depth has benefited the team greatly. Joe Johnson especially has been huge, providing a much-needed scoring punch. Rodney Hood's continued development also has been pivotal to Utah's success so far. Health remains an issue yet if the Jazz ever get fully healthy this season, they can likely be playoff bound for the first time since 2012. -- Ananth Pandian

Grade: A-