Take a look at the best of the best from Tuesday’s playoff action in the Top 5.
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These power rankings have dramatically changed since the initial power rankings. A lot of teams who seem to have potential haven’t pulled through while a few teams expected to be in the gutter are playing a lot better than expected.
30. Utah Jazz –The beginning of the season has been pretty terrible for the Jazz. They haven’t shown much and are actually playing a lot worse than expected. While I don’t think anybody thought the Jazz were playoff bound I think that young starting 5 they had would perform a lot better than they have so far this season. Well, at least Trey Burke is back which could be a help. To be honest though, I’d hate to see any of the top college stars end up in Utah so hopefully Utah can pick up some Ws soon.
29. Milwaukee Bucks – I was offered free tickets to see the Bucks play. I declined. There isn’t much to be excited about when it comes to the Bucks. For one the Bucks hold the longest losing streak in the league right now. On top of that they have been chasing mediocrity supremacy for the last decade. Bucks getting blown out by the Bobcats at home shows why they are ranked at 29.
28. Sacramento Kings – First of all I don’t see what the big deal is with Cousins not wanting Thomas to shake hands with Clippers. Cousins is tired of having his team be beaten on and is trying to show some of that tough K.G. type love. Second, I simply think the Kings weren’t necessarily built to win this season. They don’t have enough pieces on their roster to make it happen. So far this season they’ve failed to truly impress. If things don’t turn around soon maybe trading Cousins is not that bad of an idea.
27. New York Knicks – The struggle. That’s something the Knicks know all about. It seems like once Tyson Chandler went down the Knicks went down with him. You have JR who’s chucking his life way, Shumpert who’s been struggling, older vets who can’t stay health or play extended minutes, the only thing they have going for them right now is Melo who’s not necessarily a facilitator to help his teammates around him. Maybe they can tank the season and go after Wiggins, Parker, or Randle.
26. Brooklyn Nets – Well, the Nets haven’t been scoring at a high level. They haven’t been defending at a high level. By the looks of things it appears that the Nets are simply just too old. Nets are penciled in for one of the top 5 seed instead they are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to our power rankings.
25. Cleveland Cavaliers – The offense is simply terrible. While the Cavs are playing good Mike Brown defense they are also playing terrible Mike Brown offense. With Kyrie’s shooting being so inconsistent and so many people pointing the finger at Dion Waiters it shows that the Cavs still have a long way to go. Oh, and I almost forgot Anthony Bennett has been stinking it up. It’s to the point where I could honestly say he might be the biggest flop since Kwame Brown.
24. Washington Wizards – Wizards is another team who’s been a big disappointment so far this season. The Wizards even upgraded at the center position and got Gortat for a guy who wasn’t going to be playing in the first half of the season. To be honest John Wall has to take his game to the next level if the Wizards hope to make a playoff run.
23. Boston Celtics – Well, I think it’s a good chance that Boston will slide down even further. I think they are playing pretty hard with the talent they have but I think as the season progress things are going to be even more difficult than it already has been. With Jordan Crawford taking over point guard duties you would have thought they were purposely trying to tank but instead has backfired and now Crawford is playing pretty solid in the starting lineup.
22. Philadelphia 76ers – Michael Carter Williams at this point might already have ROY sewed up. There aren’t that many rookies producing and for the few that have been producing they haven’t been playing up to the level of MCW. While the 6ers aren’t necessarily a great team on paper they have been playing extremely hard and a lot of guys on this team are overachieving in ways I don’t think anybody could have predicted.
21. Orlando Magic – Well, the Magic recently got Big Baby & Tobias Harris back. While the Magic had a rough week last week I believe that things will get a lot better for the Magic. I believe Oladipo will improve and with other young talent getting better it’s possible that the Magic will stay or even come up in the rankings bar any kind of injuries.
20. Detroit Pistons – Floor spacing is very important is today’s NBA and the Pistons are showing you why. You have Drummond, Monroe, & Smith all on the floor at once. It’s easily one of those situations where all 3 guy scan play the big and none of them are truly stretching the floor. You’ve seen with the Rockets line up that in today’s NBA you really need to spread the floor to be effective. I could possibly see a trade for Monroe and slide Smith to the 4 real soon if they can’t find a solution to their spacing issues.
19. Toronto Raptors – Even though the Raptors can possibly make the playoffs I don’t see them going far based off how the season has started for them. They’ve pretty much let Gay & Derozan chuck them out of games hoping that someone sees their numbers and maybe trick someone into making a trade for one of them.
18. Charlotte Bobcats – Well, right now the Cats are playing decent basketball. The Bobcats have a solid starting lineup and with the East being so weak right now I could easily see the Bobcats sliding into the playoffs. Kemba has really improved this season, Al Jefferson is producing, and overall decent nucleus. The only thing that I’d hate to see is the Bobcats missing out on a good lottery draft.
17. Denver Nuggets – Well, the Nuggets have improved compared to what they were doing at the beginning of the season. While I do think the Shumpert trade could have possibly helped the Nuggets on the wings now that they have Wilson Chandler back and hopefully Gallanari back sometime soon I think the Nuggets will see a major improvement. Denver has a pretty good overall roster but they still need to gel in order to make a playoff push.
16. Los Angeles Lakers – Well, the good is that Kobe will be returning soon. The bad news is that their simply not that good. I think right now they are clearly overachieving. Jordan Hill has been balling so far this season. Even Steve Blake has been playing pretty good in Dantoni’s offense. Now, if they can keep up their play with Kobe it’s no telling where the Lakers might land. On paper they suck but games aren’t played on paper.
15. New Orleans Pelicans –Truly an up and down season for the Pelicans so far. Anthony Davis has been playing like he wants the title of best PF in the game already. He’s been a terror on both offense and defense. While on the other end the 3 headed backcourt monsters aren’t playing like expected. Holiday & Evans have been struggling a bit and if they could pick up the pace the Pelicans can possibly slip into one of the last playoff spots. Also, with Ryan Anderson returning maybe that’s the additional piece they need to really make a push.
14. Atlanta Hawks – Did anybody know that Lou Williams was back in the rotation? Better yet did anybody know he was out the rotation? When it comes to the Hawks I swear nobody gives them any attention. That’s positive or negative. The Hawks have been playing pretty solid so far this year and have shown that losing Josh Smith was maybe a good thing.
13. Memphis Grizzlies – Well, Gasol went down with an injury. With that happening I could see the Grizzlies turning into Polar Bears. Randolph is not much of a defensive Stallworth and it’s no guarantee that Davis & Kofus will step in Gasol’s place. This is a team who’s already pretty dependent on their bigs and with Gasol going down it’s not looking too good. Before that the Grizzlies were starting to pick up and play good basketball.
12. Phoenix Suns – Eric Bledsoe has shown that he has what it takes to be an every day starter in the NBA. I’ll admit I wasn’t that impressed by the numbers Bledsoe put up in limited time on the court. Being a sparkplug off the bench and being an everyday starter in the league is two different things. If the Suns can keep up this play up Hornacek will be coach of the year because nobody expected this.
11. Chicago Bulls – With Rose out for the season it’s a good possibility that the Bulls will slide back even further. Last year they had the insurance policy of Nate Robinson. This year that policy is gone. With a lot of their key players already suffering through injuries this would have been a good year to tank the season. Hopefully D Rose can come sooner than expected for the Bulls sake. Before the injury they were playing pretty decent now with Rose gone no telling what the Bulls can do.
10. Dallas Mavericks – Who would have thought the combination of Dirk & Monta would be one of the best 1-2 combos so far this season. Monta has been extremely efficient so far this season. He’s taken some of the scoring load off Dirk. Also, the Mavs seem to have pretty good veteran talent throughout the roster which will come in handy once playoff time hit.
9. Houston Rockets – Well, I guess the Twin Tower experiment is over with which I think was a bad idea anyway. In order for the Rockets to ascend up the rankings they will need to figure what they are going to do with Asik, will Dwight show some offensive skill, and will Lin keep up his solid shooting. On top of that Harden’s defense is starting to be criticized now that he has a telescope on him judging every aspect of his game.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder – If they Thunder can continue to let their young talent develop and with Westbrook returning early the Thunder could easily go up the rankings. Durant is still the second best player in the league, Westbrook is a top 5 PG, and Ibaka has been a pretty solid PF for the Thunder. If they can get Lamb, Adams, Jackson, & Jones involved a lot more and grow into real help they have the potential to come out the West once again,
7. Minnesota Timberwolves – It’s about time the T-Wolves take off. Kevin Love is trying to prove he’s the best PF in the league. Brewer has been playing passed his expectations, and Kevin Martin has been killing it from downtown. I don’t know if the T-Wolves can sustain this great play but if they keep this up they’ll have a pretty decent run to the playoffs.
6. Los Angeles Clippers – Paul has had a record setting start to the NBA season. He’s shown he is the supreme point guard of the league. Blake has had a pretty good start to the season as well. The only thing that is really hurting the Clippers are their defense. They’ve played pretty bad on the defensive end which you think would work well with Doc Rivers coaching them but they have shown that it will take a lot longer than expected for their D to gel.
5. Golden State Warriors – Warriors are already dealing with injuries early in the season. A healthy Golden State team will put them in contentions for a NBA finals appearance. With great shooting, improved defense, and improved players the Warriors should really make a push this year.
4. Portland Trailblazers – Probably the most surprising team so far this year has been the Blazers. The Blazers have a legit 1-2 combo in Lillard & Aldridge as well as a solid supporting cast in Batum, Lopez, Matthews, Williams, Wright, etc. Last year the Blazers had no bench. This year they stocked up on bench players so that they could make a push to the playoffs.
3. Miami Heat – Miami has picked back up from where they left off last season after a slow start to this season. Lebron is once again playing to MVP levels and their bench is playing pretty good. Michael Beasley in limited time has put up great numbers while the rest of the bench has been playing pretty solid as well.
2. San Antonio Spurs – Spurs are showing they don’t have a NBA Finals hang over. Even though Tim Duncan’s numbers are down this year the rest of the team is playing great and Leonard has taken over as a vital part to the Spurs.
1. Indiana Pacers – Pacers are going for the jugular this year. George is playing at a superstar level. Hibbert is defending at a DPOY type caliber and the rest of the team has been playing their role great. On top of that Granger has been out and when he returns he might be a great addition to an already great team.