January is a great and important month on basketball calendar, and it doesn't get enough credit among fans and pundits. Sure, more fans start to give the NBA attention around Christmas, but it's not until February (specifically after the Super Bowl and the All-Star break) that it truly begins to grab the attention of the common public. Unfortunately, these fans are missing out on some of the best basketball the league has to offer.

It's important to play well in January. Obviously, teams want to finish the regular season strong and enter the playoffs playing great basketball. However, everything after the trade deadline and All-Star break is different. Teams that have no chance of reaching the playoffs -- or can't possibly miss the playoffs -- are about to enter cruise control. Tanking and resting becomes far more apparent in March.

Being a great team in January isn't a guarantee, but it's a really good indicator of who the contenders and pretenders around the league. Teams want to be playing good basketball right now.

Biggest Movers
8 Lakers
4 Celtics
1 Warriors Is it possible that we've become numb to Steph Curry? He scored 49 against a legitimately good Celtics defense and it just felt ... normal. It's amazing how those pull up 3-pointers in transition from a range nobody would dare try just feel routine at this point. 1 46-36
2 Rockets The James Harden injury somehow unlocked Chris Paul as a high-scoring point guard. Talk about a blessing in disguise. Harden is back and healthy, but that hasn't stopped CP3 from playing far more aggressive than he's typically known for. It's fun to watch him get buckets at such a high rate. 1 41-41
3 Thunder Losing Andre Roberson for the season is really bad news for the Thunder. Their identity is defense and the difference when he's on and off the floor is staggering. OKC is going to have a really difficult time replacing him. That said, nobody is hotter right now than this team. 2 57-25
4 76ers The 76ers are terrifying on defense right now. The way they're swallowing teams alive while being so young is a testament to Brett Brown's coaching. They're going to be a really dangerous team to play later in the season, or right now, really. 1 47-35
5 Timberwolves Minnesota's offense is up to third in the NBA. Tom Thibodeau's group still never shoots 3-pointers and the ball has a tendency to stick at times when they're in the lead. Nobody is having a great individual season offensively, yet it's all somehow working out. The Wolves are going against the grain and it's a fascinating experiment worth keeping an eye on. 1 56-26
6 Raptors The Raptors are beating teams so convincingly this season that an early season flaw still exists within them. It's one they've managed to hide quite well. When the Raps get into close games late, they fall back to their old offense from previous seasons that has failed them time and time again. This is going to be a concern come playoff time. -- 25-57
7 Trail Blazers Damian Lillard is finally an All-Star for the first time since 2015, and that's great because he's a fun player that will be a blast to watch in the game itself. However, this means nobody gets to witness the Lillard post All-Star break revenge tour and that's a loss for everyone. 7 21-61
8 Pelicans The Pelicans have been excellent, but all of that feels meaningless because DeMarcus Cousins is sidelined for the remainder of the season. Never mind this season, that's an injury that could impact him and the Pelicans well beyond these next few months. New Orleans will need to answer some tough questions about its future this offseason. 4 49-33
9 Pacers Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis have created a nasty pick-and-roll chemistry that can eat teams alive. They ran it to perfection during the Pacers' 21-point comeback win against the Magic. Orlando had no idea what to do with it. -- 47-35
10 Heat The Wayne Ellington renaissance has been a blast. It feels like every shot he takes goes in. Just ask the Hornets. Ellington has stuck a dagger into Charlotte's heart the two meetings. He's probably been Miami's most consistent player this season along with Josh Richardson. 2 46-36
11 Celtics The Celtics and Warriors had one of the most entertaining games of the season, thanks to a duel between Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry. However, Boston only has one win in its last six games and just lost Marcus Smart to a hand injury. The Celtics are one of those teams that could really use the All-Star break to take a breather. 4 64-18
12 Spurs San Antonio has two wins against teams over .500 since Christmas. There's a little bit of concern with Pop's squad right now. Not a lot, but just enough to be worried. It would be far easier to shake this off as just a blip if Kawhi Leonard was healthy. 2 22-60
13 Clippers If Lou Williams not making the All-Star Game means a revenge tour of some kind then I'm all for that. He's been so hot this year that the nets at Staples Center are starting to leave scorch marks behind. 2 51-31
14 Lakers Don't look now: The Lakers have won eight of their last 10 and that includes wins over the Spurs, Pacers and Celtics. The playoffs still feel like a long shot, but Los Angeles could be one of those really annoying young teams everybody hates playing in March. 8 47-35
15 Wizards Bradley Beal made his first All-Star Game this season and it's well deserved. John Wall has been fine this season, but Washington would not be where they're at this season without Beal's shooting. 2 15-67
16 Nuggets Yes, we all know Nikola Jokic is absurd, but once a game he makes a pass that feels like it shouldn't be possible, let alone attempted. His creativity is the best reason to watch the Nuggets right now. At least until they get Paul Millsap back. 3 57-25
17 Bucks The Jason Kidd firing was inevitable. I felt like a shakeup was bound to happen at the end of the season as opposed to near the halfway point. The firing may motivate the young squad in the near future, but Milwaukee won't be able to make major improvements until it can change its scheme during the offseason. 2 49-33
18 Cavaliers The drama is at maximum capacity. Between Isaiah Thomas apparently calling out Kevin Love for leaving a game early with an illness, Cleveland's putrid defense and Thomas complaining about receiving too much blame, it looks like the bubble is ready to burst soon. 2 48-34
19 Jazz Utah is healthy and back to being pesky. Thanks to Donovan Mitchell its found a scoring punch it didn't have earlier in the season. The bottom of the conference is weak, so a solid trade could actually set Utah up for a second half playoff run. It's a long shot, but there's a lot of basketball left to play. 4 31-51
20 Bulls The Bulls are a streaky team. On one hand, they can string together a win streak at a moment's notice. On the other, they can quickly fall in a funk. Even so, this is miles better than where they were at the start of the season. 3 39-43
21 Hornets Michael Carter-Williams has been pretty bad for the Hornets all season, but the time he's missing is proving to be detrimental to Charlotte. Kemba Walker played the entirety of the second half in the Hornets' loss to the Heat, because Steve Clifford didn't trust his backup guards. This is a problem. 3 21-61
22 Pistons The Pistons are tail-spinning at the worst time. They've lost eight in a row even though Andre Drummond has been excellent during that stretch. They're sorely missing Reggie Jackson and the bench's lack of solid depth is beginning to show. They need a shakeup before the deadline. 2 14-68
23 Grizzlies Mike Conley was shut down for the remainder of the season which is honestly the right move for both him and the Grizzlies. There is no salvaging this season and he just needs to make a full recovery. Memphis should be able to get a great draft pick and move forward from there. 2 27-55
24 Kings Signing Vince Carter was the best thing the Kings did this offseason. It was awesome to see him dunk in Orlando just three days before his 41st birthday, and it gave everyone a chance to talk about how fun he's been his entire career. 6 46-36
25 Magic The Magic have been better, but they still tend to fall apart in close games. They had multiple chances to put away the Pacers on Saturday and couldn't do it. It's about time to start playing guys like Khem Birch and Wes Iwundu more minutes. 1 47-35
26 Knicks The shine has completely worn off this Knicks team and they're not longer entertaining to watch -- except for Enes Kanter's feuds on the court and off it on Twitter. 1 50-32
27 Hawks The Hawks were up by one with less than two minutes to go against the Hornets and wound up losing by 11. That is an impressive level of tanking even for their standards. 1 36-46
28 Nets D'Angelo Russell hasn't been great since coming back from knee surgery -- which is to be expected. It's nice to see him back on the court though. He's someone the Nets want to build around and he needs to get minutes under his belt in their system. 3 32-50
29 Mavericks It is amazing what Rick Carlisle is constantly able to get out of his rosters. Dallas doesn't win very much, but its in so many close contests against good teams. It's a testament to his coaching. -- 50-32
30 Suns A report came out this week that the Suns are going to push their plan forward and try to be aggressive in free agency so they can win now. If that's true then that is really bad news for a Phoenix organization that just needs to settle down and let its young players develop. 2 49-33