(Photo Courtesy of USA Today)
As we enter the last month and a half of the regular season, we will see teams jockeying for playoff position. It is crazy to think that so many teams are hurting with key guys being injured. We have Kevin Durant with the Warriors, Kevin Love with the Cavaliers, Kyle Lowry with the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers have had injuries between Blake Griffin and Chris Paul all season. It is imperative for teams to really change their energy and focus to playoff basketball. With all of the listed injuries above, we saw a shake up in the Power Rankings. How much has your team climbed the ladder, or how much have they slid down the Chute? Read below to find out!
1). Cleveland Cavaliers- No Durant for the Warriors for 4 weeks minimum and the Cavs added two veterans to their loaded roster. Watch out.
2). San Antonio Spurs- Kawhi Leonard sees the opportunity to get the #1 seed in the Western Conference right in front of his eyes as Golden State has to regroup with the loss of Durant.
3). Golden State Warriors- The Warriors lost back-to-back games for the first time in over a year against the Bulls and Wizards. Don’t tell me losing Durant won’t hurt them. He is their best player.
4). Boston Celtics- solid win against the Cavs this week and a disappointing loss to the Suns on the road. Boston is solid but they have to maintain their focus.
5). Houston Rockets- 3rd in the Western Conference and they aren’t backing down. This team has a ton of weapons, mostly offensive.
6). Washington Wizards- Looking to bolster their bench the Wizards added point guard Brandon Jennings to their roster. I think Washington is a lock to be a top 3 seed.
7). Los Angeles Clippers- Adding Chris Paul back to the lineup was huge for this team as they look to gain some momentum heading into the playoffs.
8). Utah Jazz- I like the Jazz but I don’t know how far they will make it into the playoffs. A first- round matchup against the Thunder or Grizzlies could be an upset.
9). Memphis Grizzlies- possibly the scrappiest team in the NBA and looking to play spoiler in the first round of the playoffs.
10). Toronto Raptors- The loss of Lowry will be tough, but the Eastern Conference has been relatively consistent standing wise and I don’t think any team can make much ground on them outside of the Pacers who still have 3 games left against them.
11). Oklahoma City Thunder- As their new additions to the roster become more familiar with their roles the Thunder will become more dangerous.
12). Indiana Pacers– The Pacers look to go 3-2 on their 5-game road trip with a win tomorrow in Charlotte. Excellent win today for them over the Hawks.
13). Atlanta Hawks- I like this team and its’ heart but I think they are a defensive liability with Howard on the bench. Milsap and Illyasova together at the 4 and 5 is weak rim protection.
14). Chicago Bulls– Despite the uncertainty of this teams’ future, the Bulls look to make a late-season playoff push. Rondo is playing much better for them lately.
15). Miami Heat– Only a game and a half out of the 8th seed the Heat are pushing the Pistons for that final playoff spot.
16). Denver Nuggets- While so many expected the Pelicans to run away and get the 8th seed in the West, Denver has quietly been maintaining and separating themselves from the rest of the Western Conference teams looking to get in to the Playoffs.
17). Detroit Pistons– Still looking like a team that wants to win and win now, they are playing much better basketball. It appears however Miami might be the better and hotter team.
18). Dallas Mavericks- If there is any team that is a threat to the Nuggets its these guys. Seth Curry has been lighting it up recently and the Mavericks have finally found some continuity.
19). Milwaukee Bucks- The Bucks are playing much better basketball but still have a long ways to go before they can really be considered playoff contenders.
20). Portland Trailblazers- As long as Dame Lillard and CJ McCollum are scoring the basketball, the Blazers have a punchers chance to make a late-season push. But, don’t count on it.
21). Minnesota Timberwolves – winners of 6 of their last 10, Minnesota has been playing better of late and they look to grow this young talent for the future.
22). New Orleans Pelicans- Everyone thought that this DeMarcus Cousins trade would be an instant success. Well we all know you are not having success with Hollis Thompson and Solomon Hill as your remaining starters to complete the starting 5.
23). Sacramento Kings- We all thought that the Kings were making a bad trade last week, but they have had more success without Cousins than New Orleans has had with him.
24). Charlotte Hornets- This is a team I am still puzzled by. How can they go from so good one year ago, to a team that can barely win? I am starting to believe that MJ might rebuild this team after the season is over.
25). Philadelphia 76ers- Did the 76ers make a bad decision in trading away Nerlens Noel? The 76ers are without Joel Embiid for the rest of the year and he has struggled to stay healthy for the last 3. Greg Odon 2.0.
26). Phoenix Suns- With an impressive win over the red-hot Celtics, I decided to slide Phoenix up a few spots. Ullis might be the spark this team needs to get them a few more wins before the season.
27). New York Knicks– I see the Knicks are trying to rebuild on the fly but are stuck with Carmelo Anthony unless he agrees to a trade during the off-season. The Knicks are a poorly run franchise and have been since Donnie Walsh left.
28). Los Angeles Lakers- The Lakers have a handful of talent but it doesn’t mean a thing unless they get some real stars. As they continue to lose, the likelihood of them getting Lonzo Ball seems rather high.
29). Orlando Magic- I know the Magic are not the 2nd worst team in the NBA, but they have yet to prove to me that their franchise is worthy of respect. You traded away Sabonis and Oladipo for Serge Ibaka. Then you trade Ibaka for a late first round pick and Terrance Ross? I like TR, but he is not a starter in the NBA. Orlando has been run very poorly lately.
30). Brooklyn Nets- The Nets snapped their 16-game losing streak to the Kings and followed it up with 2 more losses. So, that makes it 18 of their last 19 they’ve lost? Yikes. Hide and cover Nets fa