1). Golden state Warriors- They’ve been Number 1 in the Power Rankings since week 4. Need I say more? 2). Washington Wizards (+3). They have won 11 of 12 and are the second hottest team in the NBA. They’re not the second most talented team in the NBA but they have been playing extraordinary basketball. 3). Boston Celtics (+3). They have won 7 games in a row and they’re only 2 games behind the Cavaliers. Isaiah Thomas is quietly in the mix for MVP this season.
4).San Antonio Spurs (-2). They have won 3 straight and 8 of their last 10 games. However, the Spurs have had an easy month of January. They hit their long 9 game road trip tomorrow. February will be a tough month for San Antonio, but they have played better on the road than at home. 5). Cleveland Cavaliers (-1). The Cavs are still the front runners to win the East but they’re not playing their best brand of basketball. Washington and Boston are playing extremely well and making the chase for top of the East interesting. 6). Atlanta Hawks (+4). From quadruple overtime to outscoring the Rockets by 18 in the 4th quarter, the Hawks have had a memorable week. Tim Hardaway Jr. has really come out of his shell this season and in the Hawks comeback against the Rockets, he took Dennis Schroder’s minutes in the 4th. 7).Houston Rockets (-4). The Rockets hit a rough little stretch there in January but Rockets fans should be excited for the month of February. They only play 7 games and 6 of those are against teams under .500. 8).Utah Jazz (-1). Utah has quietly snuck into the 4th seed in the Western Conference, passing up Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles. Gordon Hayward is finally getting the national recognition he deserves. 9).Indiana Pacers (+3). Indiana has won 6 straight and are only 2 games behind the 3rd seed Wizards. Recent injuries could hurt Indiana’s depth as they have an extremely tough month of February, playing 8 of their 10 games against teams with winning records. 10).Memphis Grizzlies (+1). The Grizzlies have stayed consistent all season long. They have winning records on the road and at home. They are a for sure to make the playoffs in the West, but I am confident they would love to get a top 4 seed so that way they can have homecourt advantage. 11).OKC Thunder (-3). The Thunder went 5-5 in their last ten games. Although Russ has been carrying the load for this group, I think the loss of Kanter will really hurt them down the stretch. Don’t be surprised if the Thunder make an unexpected deal before the deadline. 12).Los Angeles Clippers (+1). Still missing the leadership and talent of CP3, the Clippers have maintained a .500 record with him out. Their next 5 games are on the road, which will be a tremendous opportunity for them to grow together, or grow frustrated with one another if they start racking up losses. 13).Miami Heat (+9). When have we ever seen a team at 11-30 win TEN STRAIGHT games? I don’t know what to make of this recent run, but watch out for Dragic, Whiteside and Waiters. This group apparently unstoppable right now. 14).Toronto Raptors (-5). Toronto is struggling beyond my expectations. They have gone a lousy 2-8 in their last 10 games and currently sit at 5th in the East. The glaring holes of the Raptors are what make me a nonbeliever in this squad.
15).Dallas Mavericks (+12). The Mavericks went 4-0 after inserting point guard Yogi Ferrell into the starting lineup after signing him to a 10-Day contract. The undrafted rookie scored 32 points against Damian Lillard shooting 8/9 from three-point land. With his terrific success in Dallas, Mark Cuban could do nothing more than to sign him to a 2-year deal. Dallas is really pushing for the final spot in the West, and I love their willingness to never stop fighting no matter how ugly the season started off.
16).Denver Nuggets (-1). Hanging on to 8th in West by a thread, the Nuggets are in dire need of talent to maintain that spot. Wilson Chandler wants out. The Nuggets have given up on 2nd year point guard Emmanuel Mudiay and they’re trying to package those two together for a “star”. Wishful thinking is about all that Nuggets fans can rely on right now, because they’re not talented enough to obtain a star to get them over the hump of mediocrity.
17).Chicago Bulls. The Bulls really haven’t done a horrible job but the recent rumors have suggested that Jimmy Butler could be had and that they are looking at Okafor from Philly. It’s a weird time for the Bulls, but they’ve been in this spot before. They’re still 7th in East despite their underwhelming play of late. 18).Portland Blazers (-2). They’ve been nothing short of disappointing this season. The lackluster talent on this roster is noticeable and the off-season signings they made are very questionable. Portland has, the 2nd highest payroll in the NBA and they can’t even put together a .500 team? This is a problem and Portland might want to rid themselves of all these bad contracts. 19).Detroit Pistons (+1). We just talked about an underwhelming team and a disappointing team. The Pistons are both of those adjectives and more. This team is frustrating beyond measure. Why is Jon Leuer their most consistent player this season? Andre Drummond is nowhere near a number one player in the league, and they desperately need leadership outside of Stan Van Gundy. 20).Sacramento Kings (+4). The Kings have struggled all season long and despite having a decent week after Rudy Gay was ruled out for the season, reality has sunk in. The Kings just aren’t a good basketball team.
21).Philadelphia 76ers (-3). Joel Embiid has missed the last three games with a sore left knee, and the 76ers have lost three straight. They need Embiid to be a legitimate threat to their opposing teams.
22).New Orleans Pelicans (-1). New Orleans has struggled of late, but with a star like Anthony Davis and decent pieces in Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday, the Pels still have a slim chance of making a push for the 8th seed.
23).Milwaukee Bucks (-4). Despite the play of All-Star starter Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have desperately struggled. They look to add Khris Middleton back Wednesday, and if there is anything the Bucks need, it’s outside shooting.
24).Minnesota Timberwolves (-1). Things have not gone Minnesota’s way this year. After starting to build some momentum, the Wolves lose starting two guard Zach Lavine to season-ending surgery. I love the way Townes and Wiggins play, but they need a lot of help.
25).Charlotte Hornets (-11). I still can’t wrap my head around the recent play of the Hornets. They traded away backup power forward Spencer Hawes and backup center Roy Hibbert for Miles Plumlee this week. They have a great backcourt, but their frontcourt is not one of the stronger ones in the league. 26).New York Knicks (-1). Until the Melo/Phil Jackson drama is over, it is going to be a nightmare in New York. Credit to the team for going out and competing every night despite all the off-court issues going on. Record wise they look better than their ranking, but it is hard to believe that this team can do anything with all this drama going on in the organization.
27).Orlando Magic (-1). The Magic are looking to rebuild. They truly believed this roster would be able to compete in the East, but to no avail. I think Orlando’s GM Rob Hennigan needs to be reevaluated. How can you let two young players go (Oladipo and Sabonis) for a power forward with an expiring contract? Not a smart move by Hennigan and I think his addition Free Agent signings were questionable too. 28).Los Angles Lakers. When you are 19 games under .500 and you have only won 2 of your last 10, it might be time to reconsider the way you are managing minutes. I love Luke Walton but Los Angeles needs to move on from the Deng’s, Young’s and William’s of this team and allow Ingram, Randel, Clarkson and Russell sometime to gel. At least see if you have something there. If not, you know all 4 have decent trade value.
29).Phoenix Suns. The Suns backcourt has done a much better job of late, but the rest of the team needs work. You can’t blame the Suns for their record but the worst thing that could happen to them is trying to acquire Demarcus Cousins. Recent rumors have surfaced that Phoenix is interested in Cousins but at this point in his career, it would be a bad idea to go to young rebuilding team. Phoenix needs to allow Watson a few more seasons before overexaggerating to the current team’s success.
30). Brooklyn Nets. No, sleep till Brooklyn. Sure enough, I will finally get to crash for the night after writing about the Nets. The Nets are my least favorite team to watch in the entire NBA. At least their free agent acquisition of Quincy Acy has turned out nicely for them and 1st round pick Caris LeVert has showed he isn’t a slouch either. He is just on historically one of the worst teams in NBA history. As the Nets shift their focus to LeVert and Hollis-Jefferson, the willingness to deal Lopez is greater than anticipated.