NBA Power Rankings (Who’s Hot Heading into April?)
1). Golden State Warriors- The Warriors are back to their winning ways with 6 straight victories. Kevin Durant maybe ready to go before the end of the season as well.
2). San Antonio Spurs- still only two games behind the red-hot Warriors for the number one overall seed in the West, the Spurs are playing a dominate brand of basketball.
3). Boston Celtics- The Celtics are only 0.5 games out of the number one overall seed in the East. The Cavaliers might just lose home court advantage throughout the East Playoffs.
4). Toronto Raptors- the Raptors are the hottest team in the East right now winning 5 straight. The team they assembled before the Trade Deadline is starting to come together.
5). Houston Rockets- Houston is still the 3rd best team in the Western Conference. They have been as consistent as any team this season.
6). Washington Wizards- The Wizards handled the Cavaliers with ease Saturday evening and are proving they’re no slouch come Playoff time.
7). Cleveland Cavaliers- the mighty Cavaliers are just 6-8 this month and have the 29th ranked defense. Problems in Cleveland seem to be real this year. LeBron James also has publicly said this has been the toughest season for him.
8). Milwaukee Bucks- The Bucks have won 8 of their last 10 games and could honestly become the 5th seed in the East. Just two weeks ago, they were in 9th place.
9). Miami Heat- the Heat had a huge hole to climb out of after their early season woes, but with the horrible play from Detroit and Chicago, Miami is still firmly holding onto the 8th seed in the East. They are only 1 game out of 7th place Indiana, whom they have the tie breaker over.
10). Denver Nuggets- the Nuggets are fighting very hard to maintain the 8th seed in the West but Portland is right on their heels. I personally got to see them play this week, and Nikola Jokic is one of the craftiest players I have seen in the game today. This young player will be a fun guy to follow for the next 10-15 years.
11). Portland Trailblazers- I love how Damian Lillard has really carried this team to get back into contention. With help from Jusuf Nurkic the Blazers have made a hopeless season feel hopeful again.
12). Los Angeles Clippers- the Clippers are still playing solid basketball and look to be dialing in as we hit the last 10 games of the season.
13). Utah Jazz- Still jockeying for positon in the West, the Jazz have a half game lead over the Clippers. Los Angeles has been a kryptonite to Utah this season, so maintaining home court advantage would be huge for the Jazz.
14). Oklahoma City Thunder- While they are currently in 6th place in the West, the Thunder would like to move up to the 4th seed to get homecourt advantage. However, I think that facing a Houston team come Playoff time might be a more favorable matchup for them. Staying away from defensive juggernauts like the Spurs, Grizzlies and Jazz will really help their chances.
15). Memphis Grizzlies- Memphis has been sliding a little under the radar as of late and I think that is how they like it. I don’t necessarily like their matchup against the Spurs as 2-7 Playoff matchup, but if they could surpass Oklahoma City and get the 6th seed, I think they could really push Houston to the limit.
16). Atlanta Hawks- the Hawks are sliding as they have lost 6 straight games. The Hawks are hoping to remain one of the top 6 seeds, but with Milwaukee and Miami chomping at the bit, Atlanta could slide to 7th or 8th.
17). Indiana Pacers- speaking of sliding in the standings, the Indiana Pacers have gone from 6th to 7th in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers do not have the tiebreaker over Miami or Milwaukee so if they continue to lose games, they could quite frankly be the 8th seed in the East. They have a tough 3 game road schedule this Wednesday as the face Memphis, Cleveland and Toronto. These next two home games will be pivotal.
18). Dallas Mavericks- the Mavericks appear to be a little out of luck for the playoffs this year, but did they turn their season around. I remember for the first two months they were in the bottom three almost every week. Coach Carlisle is going to be grateful for a lottery pick this season and having a full off-season to work with recently acquired big man Nerlens Noel, and Yogi Ferrell.
19). New Orleans Pelicans- while they made a solid move before the Trade Deadline, they missed a golden opportunity to make the Playoffs this year. They will definitely enjoy adding some better pieces around their two monsters down low, but this year they don’t have enough to get the 8th seed in the West.
20). Charlotte Hornets- the Hornets realistically could challenge Indiana, Miami and Atlanta for the 8th seed in the East. They are only 3 games behind and if they go on an 8-2 run, they could make this race a little more uncomfortable than appears to be.
21). Chicago Bulls- This team is officially a lost cause. Management seems to be really screwed up and they have no direction. The only reason they are THIS high on the list, is because they have Jimmy Butler and a magical 8th seed Playoff run could still technically happen.
22). Detroit Pistons- Right when Detroit had a chance to keep Miami and Milwaukee out of the picture, they crumbled like a brittle piece of fine china. This team maybe the biggest disappointment of any team in the NBA.
23). Philadelphia 76ers- the 76ers don’t have much to play for but the future appears to be bright as long as Joel Embiid can remain healthy. His body has not been holding up properly, but if he can figure it out, I think they will be a very dangerous team in the future.
24). Minnesota Timberwolves- The Timberwolves have a lot to look forward to next season. Number one, they all must get better over the summer. Two, they now know coach’s tendencies and philosophy so they can apply that to their arsenal and third, they must start maturing. This is a lot to ask for a young group, but if there is anyone I believe in to accomplish this list, it’s the Timberwolves.
25). Sacramento Kings- The Buddy Hield trade seemed to really work out for the Kings. They are still a poorly run franchise, but maybe things will change for them now that Boogie Cousins isn’t the focal point of the team.
26) Phoenix Suns- while they are in complete rebuild mode, it was fascinating to see Devin Booker drop a franchise record high 70 points against on the better defensive teams in the league, the Boston Celtics. I know they have a lot of ground to makeup, but what better player to build around than this young stud?
27). Orlando Magic– there isn’t much to say here that I haven’t said all season long. The Magic need a sense of direction and right now they don’t have one. Maybe next year they can rebuild this franchise from the bottomless pit it seems to keep finding itself in.
28). Brooklyn Nets- The Nets have gone 5-5 in their last ten games. I know I don’t give them much love because they absolutely suck, but hey, they are playing better than the remaining two huge market teams.
29). Los Angeles Lakers– the Lakers are 2-8 in their last ten games and have no sense of direction. They made some horrible signings this off-season and the young talent that they have is nowhere near the talent that the Suns, Timberwolves or 76ers have. Poor drafting has been a factor of their bad play and they’re hopeful Magic Johnson can turn this ship around. The only thing Magical Ervin Johnson could do for LA, was replacing Mitch and Jerry from the front office. Other than that, we have no proof that this hiring will bring in big name stars.
30). New York Knicks- the Knicks have lost 5 straight games and their biggest Free Agent signing was assigned a bench role. Not only was Joakim Noah made a permanent reserve, he is now suspended for 20 games for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. Everything about this organization is a complete joke and I would be livid if I were a New York Knicks fan. This team is unbearable.