Phil Jackson famously once said that he believed the mark of a genuine contender is that the team wins 40 games before notching its 20th loss.
We're right about at the point in the NBA season where most teams have either hit that threshold or failed to meet it.
These are the teams that are either in the club already or appear likely to be get in:
Bucks - 46-8
Lakers - 41-12
Raptors - 40-15
Celtics - 38-16
Nuggets - 38-17
Clippers - 37-18
Could make still make it:
Jazz - 36-18
Heat - 35-19
Six teams, maybe as many as eight!
This strikes me as a large number of teams with a claim to contender status.
Last year, only 4 teams hit the mark (Bucks, Raps, Warriors, Nuggets). The same was true the year before that (Raps, Celts, Warriors, Rockets), and in 2017 there were 5 teams (Cavs, Warriors, Rockets, Spurs).
I don't have time to go back through the last two decades of NBA history, but I would guess that having more than 4 or 5 teams hit this mark is quite unusual.
What do you think? Do you buy that there are really this many contenders this year? Is the bottom third of the league just especially soft this year, resulting in more teams with elite records?
As good as the Bucks are, I don't think there's an invincible team this year. Each team has significant flaws, and any of the teams in range of 40-19 has a case to make for having a shot at the Finals, if not the title.