NBA Power Rankings
1.Golden State Warriors (50-12)
No real surprises here for the team with the best record in the NBA. They’re gathering momentum after slowing down just after ASW, and are well on pace to smash the franchise record for wins in a season (59). The only question is if they’ll take their foot off the accelerator once they secure home-court advantage in the West.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers (40-25)
Still not sure if it’s the cream rising or this team is just feasting on the crappy teams in the East. LeBron is picking and choosing his spots, and Irving is emerging, but Love still seems lost and they definitely lack scoring off the bench. Some big wins on the road though and this team has to be taken seriously.
3. Atlanta Hawks (50-13)
Huge win at home over the Cavs was offset by laying an egg in Philly and losing to maybe the worst team in all of basketball, and resting starters was no excuse. Atlanta needs to find some consistency, but with less than 20 games left in the regular season, they should be able to hold on to the number 1 seed in the East.
4. San Antonio Spurs (39-23)
It was a bit touch and go for this team to make the playoffs but they’ve now completely kicked it into gear. After winning 6 straight, the Spurs are just a game behind Portland and Clippers (who both have major injury concerns), and San Antonio could easily sneak into home-court for the first round.
5.Oklahoma City Thunder (35-28)
Over his last 15 games, Russell Westbrook has put up 33.1 points, 10.5 assists and 9.6 rebounds. Kevin Durant’s foot is expected to be re-examined this week and should be back for the stretch run and playoffs, and with New Orleans breathing down their neck, OKC will have to play their best basketball just to qualify. Maybe getting top seed in the west isn’t such a good idea if you’re going to be matched up with this juggernaut?
6.Memphis Grizzlies (45-18)
Memphis’ offence has completely stalled over the last 8 games (only scoring over 90 points 5 times), which means they’re already in playoff mode. They’re currently the 2nd seed, but Houston is only 2 games back and Dwight Howard is scheduled to return soon.
7. New Orleans Pelicans (36-29)
Winners of 8 of their past 10, and with Anthony Davis back from injury, they could make one final push. I don’t think they’ll catch OKC, but Dallas appears to be in a freefall and are only 4.5 games ahead. Things could get really interesting here.
8. Houston Rockets (43-20)
The Rockets offence played much more efficiently during Howard’s injury and Terrance Jones getting the bulk of the touches inside. Any team with Harden, Howard, and Josh Smith as their leaders has to have their mental toughness questioned, but they did go 7-3 and are 3rd in the West. Maybe they’ve grown up?
9. Portland Trail Blazers (41-20)
Massive kick to the balls with Wesley Matthews’ tearing his Achilles tendon, but the trade deadline acquisition of Arron Afflalo makes for an interesting scenario. Afflalo plays incredible individual defence on perimeter scorers and doesn’t need to create his own shot. Portland, hypothetically, could be better with him starting than Matthews.
10. Indiana Pacers (28-34)
Forget the losing record; winning 11 out of 13 games will get you in the top 10. Paul George is still pushing to come back this season, and if that happens, Indy suddenly becomes the OKC of the East and nobody wants to get them in the first round.
11. Los Angeles Clippers (41-23)
It’s kind of funny how injuries change things. The Clippers appeared stagnant with Blake Griffin, and whilst they’ve struggled to keep their spot without him, they have over achieved, and when he comes back they could be legitimate contenders. DeAndre Jordan has averaged 14.5 points and 18.6 (yes, eighteen-point-six) rebounds in Griffins absence, and needs to seriously be considered for an all-nba team selection.
12. Dallas Mavericks (41-24)
All these new faces (Ellis, Chandler, Rondo, Parsons) and in hindsight, it’s easy to see how they’ve lost their identity of the team that pushed the Spurs much further than anyone else in last year’s playoffs. There’s time to fix it, but they better hurry because they’re in freefall right now.
13. Chicago Bulls (39-26)
Injuries can be catastrophic for a team when they’re least expecting it, but surely Chicago had a contingency plan for when Derrick Rose was going to get injured this season? Regardless, they’ll hold on to homecourt this season with or without Rose, but if he’s not on the court, they’ll be toast once they meet Cleveland or Atlanta.
14. Charlotte Hornets (28-34)
Coming off a pretty big beatdown from the hands of the Wizards dropped them a few places, but they’re actually running hot. Give Jordan credit here; he’s overpaid some good players to create a somewhat winning culture in Carolina.
15. Washington Wizards (36-28)
Got a much needed win in Charlotte but still only have won 3 of their last 10. Beal is back, and should alleviate some of the pressure on Wall.
16. Utah Jazz (26-36)
These guys have no shot at the playoffs in the West, but are playing hard and defending well. If they all stick around, their starting five (Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Trey Burke, Dante Exum) can mature into something special.
17. Boston Celtics (26-36)
Hard to fathom, but the Celts are only 2 games back from the final playoff spot. Since being traded, Thomas is averaging 21.4 ppg off the bench.
18. Toronto Raptors (38-25)
In a midst of winning just 14 out of their last 31 games, but they’re still somehow at 5th in the East. They’ve been competitive, but holes are showing.
19. Phoenix Suns (33-32)
It’s safe to say they won’t push for a playoff spot in the West, but 8 of their next 9 are at home.
20. Milwaukee Bucks (33-30)
The Dallas Mavericks of the East, these guys have lost 7 out of 9 and look to be nose-diving out of the playoffs.
21. Brooklyn Nets (25-36)
After beating the Warriors, they have lost 3 straight. What will it take for these guys to hand the team over to Jack instead of placing all their trust in Deron Williams?
22. Detroit Pistons (23-39)
I guess that mid-season win streak was an absolute fluke. Today’s loss to the Lakers basically killed any playoff hopes. Give them credit for being competitive, but Greg Monroe and Reggie Jackson are both free agents this off-season.
23. Miami Heat (28-35)
When it rains, it pours. Same can be said for injuries. They need to get healthy and quick if they want to make a final push, but it doesn’t look good.
24. Sacramento Kings (21-41)
Started the season with so much promise but have shown how important it is to have a PG capable of dominating a game in this league.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-48)
A plethora of young talent (Wiggins, Levine, Rubio, Bennett) and combined with KG (who has stated that he wants to return next year) and a high pick, and they could be competitive next year.
26. Philadelphia 76ers (14-49)
Somehow knocked off the East-leading Hawks at home and have held late leads in 3 of their past 4.
27. Orlando Magic (21-43)
Hey, at least they’ll have a lot of ping pong balls (and Orlando has typically been very lucky when it comes to the lottery)
28.Denver Nuggets (23-41)
So they fired their coach because he couldn’t change the culture from a run-and-gun team into a physically imposing defensive team without them making any significant trades to the playing roster. Good job guys.
29. Los Angeles Lakers (16-46)
Won today against the Pistons, but every victory is a loss as they need their draft pick to be top 5 to keep it.
30. New York Knicks (12-50)
What a depressing situation. I just hope Derek Fisher isn’t made the scapegoat because of this.