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30. Philadelphia – What more can you say about the 76ers? To be honest I believe the season is still a big waste. You have two guys in Noel & Okafor who both play the same position (Noel is not a great fit at the PF) and I believe one will be traded after this season. You’ve got a point guard in Ish Smith who’s played great but you know won’t be the future PG for this team and you’ve got a whole bunch of expendable pieces. On top of that your other high potential player Embid plays Center as well.
29. Phoenix – This team was decimated by injuries, disgruntle players, and having the head coach in the hot seat for months. The Suns could have possibly made a playoff run without all of these issues but that’s part of the NBA. Maybe the Suns can pull off a top 3 pick and get an impact player to put along Eric Bledsoe. They do have some guys who have some potential in Alex Len & T.J. Warren but once again injuries are holding them back.
28. L.A. Lakers – The Kobe Bryant farewell tour is almost completed and the Lakers have pretty much forfeited this season. They do have some player with some potential in Randle, Clarkson, Russell, & Nance but with Byron Scott as their head coach it’s not guarantee that they will develop. Every team Scott’s coached he’s gave up on young players and focused on the veteran players.
27. Brooklyn – After the Joe Johnson buyout Brooklyn could possibly fall further back. I don’t find Brooklyn to have many weapons on the floor other than Brook Lopez & Thaddeus Young. It’s not much of a future for Brooklyn either. Unless they luck up and make some big moves in either free agency or the draft they’ll be in this position for a few more years.
26. Minnesota – Right now the T-Wolves are “ate up” in the paint. With only Dieng and Anthony Towns healthy to man the paint it’s going to be rough for the T-Wolves. To be honest they need to make decision on what they are going to do in the future. You have Wiggins, Rubio, Muhammad, Martin, LaVine, & Bjelica all with potential of starting but they need to decide who they are going to go with in the future. For the ones who aren’t starting I think they all have solid trade value and could make some moves in the offseason to help them out. For now they T-Wolves will continue to struggle but they at least have two of the best young players in the league in Wiggins & Towns to build from.
25. New York – At one point the Knicks had a chance to make a playoff push but now those dreams far gone. On paper the Knicks are a solid team but they’ll need for Porzingis to continue to develop into the player it looks like he’ll become. This season here is a wash but with an improved Porzingis and hopefully a solid pick up in free agency or in the draft could help the Knicks make it to the playoffs.
24. Denver – Denver has some upcoming players but need to make some decisions in the off season on what direction the team will go into. Not much to them other then that.
23. Milwaukee – The Bucks waited a little bit too long to turn up this season. Throughout the season the startling line up has changed constantly. You’ve got Carter-Williams starting then going off the bench, Parker coming back from an ACL injury, Monroe not fitting in with the team. It’s been issues after issues with this squad. They have a decent roster and talent that they could of made it to the playoffs but games aren’t played on paper and this team hasn’t shown the chemistry of a playoff team, at least early on in the season.
22. Orlando – The Magic already have made some crucial moves this season. They bought out Channing Frye and traded Harris. They’ve put Aaron Gordon into starting line which seems like is working out for them and their playing a rotation of Oladipo, Hezonja, and Fournier on the wing. They’ve added Jennings & Ilyasova which are solid veteran players who probably won’t be there for long. They still have plenty of work to do and probably could have made a push to the playoffs this year which is why they are at #22 on the Power Rankings.
21. Sacramento – You could argue that the Kings are underachieving or that they don’t simply have enough talent. I think it’s a combination of both. I think a team with Cousins, Gay, & Rondo should probably get you an 8th seed but it seems like whenever the Kings make one step forward they take two steps back. They could probably use more consistency from their role players but at the end of the day I’m not sure if the George Karl-DeMarcus Cousins combination works.
20. New Orleans – Injuries all day. Pelicans have been very inconsistent this season but that’s partly because of the rash of injuries suffered throughout the season. Everybody has been injured at one point or another including Evans, Gordon, Holiday, Davis, Anderson, Asik, etc.
19. Utah – Another team suffering from the injury bug is the Utah Jazz. While the Jazz are prevailing over their injuries a lot better than the Pelicans they’ve been hit with injuries even before the season started. A lot of key players in the lineup have gotten injured but they’ve still manage to pull out the factory and scratch for that last playoff spot in the West. With the full Jazz roster I do think they have potential but it’s going to be an uphill battle to get that last spot in the West.
18. Chicago – I think the Bulls are probably going to fall back even further than this. The Bulls should easily be a top 4 team in the East but instead are struggling for their playoff lives. With all the injuries and Rose not regaining his All-Star/MVP caliber play, the Bulls are going to be in for an uphill battle to stay relevant in the East. On top of that I don’t see Gasol re-upping with the Bulls for next season.
17. Houston – Houston is the definition of an up and down team. They picked up Ty Lawson in the offseason and have already let him go. Dwight’s complaining about touches, and James Harden is still not playing defense. While things are looking extremely bad for the Rockets they can still make the playoffs.
16. Washington – .Throughout the year they’ve had multiple injuries to many of their key players. With the additions they have made after the All Star break it looks like if they can keep it up they’ll make a push to playoffs because as of right now there on the outside looking in. Wall has shown he’s an all-star caliber player but it will be up to his supporting cast to make that final push to the playoffs.
15. Detroit – Detroit Basketball is almost back in the Motor City. Drummond has shown that he can be a monster on the boards; Jackson has shown that he has the capabilities to run a team from the PG position, and it’s shown that Stan Van Gundy can put his team in a winning position. A lot of people thought it was bad when he let Josh Smith go but it seems like that has worked out just fine.
14. Indiana – Pacers are a team that should make the playoffs but also they should be concern with the development of Myles Turner. Most of this particular team is consisted of veteran players who will most likely come and go, so it is important to develop your young players while you have a chance. The Pacers are prepared to make it to the playoffs but I don’t see much more out of them once the playoffs started.
13. Charlotte – With the additions of Courtney Lee and putting Batum back in his natural position it seems like the Hornets have solidified their wing positions. In addition to that they’ve gotten Al Jefferson coming back and as a team are known to play good team defense. The Hornets will be in the playoff picture but just like Indiana I’m not sure they are going to go far.
12. Dallas – Dallas is in the playoff picture but as of right now it’s going to be them going through the 3 headed monster of Golden State, San Antonio, and Oklahoma. The addition of David Lee will help but it won’t put them over the top. In the end the Mavs are a solid team but in the West they are simply going to need more fire power.
11. Portland – The Lillard & McCollum show is now airing in Portland. Pretty much the backcourt has been carrying this team on their backs this season. If there was a surprise team this season it would have to be the Trailblazers. After pretty much losing their whole starting line-up other than Lillard they have shown to be resilient and contend for a playoff spot once again even after such massive losses in the off season. While the playoffs are in their future going anywhere deep into the playoffs seems nonexistent, well at least for now.
10. Memphis – With Gasol going down Memphis should of easily went near the bottom of the rankings but instead they having been fighting strong. Even with Jeff Green trade people felt like that was the Grizz waving the white flag. Grizzles are a tough team and will make it to playoffs but once they make it to the playoffs it’s going to be rough.
9. Miami – To be honest, The Heat & Hawks are interchangeable in this power ranking with the Heat looking to possibly go down with the loss of Chris Bosh. While I do think the Heat have a real solid line up I’m not sure if everything will gel. For the most part they have decent depth and easily can put together a real good starting lineup but at the end of the day I’m not sure if the team can come together in order to go far in the playoffs. If they play Boston or Toronto I’m not sure if they can pull it off in a series even though on paper they might be equally talented.
8. Atlanta – Atlanta has shown that while they are good they aren’t as good as they were last year. People don’t realize that Carroll was a big loss for the Hawks, along with that you got trade rumors for pretty much all the starters in the Hawks line up. Millsap and Horford made it back to the All Star game but the backcourt hasn’t been the same this year. I don’t think this is a squad many teams in the East would want to see in the playoffs but the Hawks aren’t as powerful as they were last year.
7. Boston – Good coaching and solid players. While the Celtics don’t have a superstar they have a team full of solid players who are playing good defense and executing on offense. Boston might be the sleeper team in the East. They’ve shown a mentality that’s similar to the Detroit Pistons who upset the Shaq/Kobe/Malone/Payton Lakers winning by great overall team play rather then relying on stars.
6. LA Clippers – Winning without Blake shows to me that Doc might actually be a good coach. He’s shown that he can win without his star player and make adjustments to this lineup to make sure that they can get the W. With Blake back I’d like to see if the Clippers are going to go up or down.
5. Toronto – Good basketball defines the Raptors. They’ve shown to make progression in the last few years. Lowry & DeRozan have shown that they are dependable and can lead their team to a top seed in the East. Even with the injuries that have occurred, the Raptors have shown that they can still rack up the Ws even under those circumstances.
4. Oklahoma – Any other year this could possibly be a top 2 team but this isn’t the typical NBA season. Westbrook has been putting up monster numbers and Durant has simply been Durant. They have a solid squad around two superstars but their execution late in games has held them back from being the elite of the West. Great team but this will be war to make it out the West.
3. Cleveland – Lebron isn’t getting any younger. There aren’t many more chances for him to go home with the Chip. To be honest the Cavs are a great team but it seems like team chemistry might be the biggest issue. With the season winding down it seems like the Cavs are going down rather than up. Even with those issues the Cavs should make it to the finals but the real question is can they defeat the Spurs & Warriors.
2. San Antonio – Perennial winners. Great defense and good offense is a constant from the Spurs. Leonard & Aldridge are holding it down for the youth of the Spurs and when the playoffs come expect for Duncan & Parker to step it up as well.
1. Golden State – There isn’t much that needs to be said about the Warriors. There winning in a variety ways. The Warriors might have one of the best regular seasons of all time.
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.