Week 17 NBA Power Rankings (All-Star Break)
1). Warriors- 4 All-Stars on their starting 5. Clearly the team with the most talent.
2). Cavaliers- No Kevin Love for six weeks. We all know LeBron can maintain without him, but speculations are that Cleveland still may look for help.
3). Spurs (+1)- Coach Pop is just a terrific coach. Every year he gets his team to play well. Kawahi Leonard really could be named the league’s Most Valuable Player.
4). Celtics (-1)- While Isaiah Thomas is lighting it up, Danny Ainge is working to acquire Jimmy Butler? That’s right, Jimmy Buckets. That move would make them Cleveland’s biggest threat (if there is any doubt they aren’t right now).
5). Rockets (+1)- I said it last week, and I will say it again, The Rockets schedule for the month of February is a cupcake. They should be racking up W’s.
6). Wizards (-1)- The scariest thing about this team is their depth. Great starting 5, but a pretty underwhelming bench. Lou Williams is their primary target before Thursday’s trade deadline.
7). Clippers (+6)- Nice little run here by the Clippers. Winning four in a row without CP3.
8). Grizzlies (-1)- The Grizzlies have won 7 of their last 10. Ever heard the term “Old Faithful”? That’s what a Marc Gasol-Mike Conley Jr. duo is.
9). Jazz (-1)- They do have an impressive record thus far, but I have heard from outsiders this team isn’t a threat in the West. While they might not be able to beat Golden State, I think they can push teams to a different level than many are saying.
10). Hawks (-1)- Atlanta has been playing some decent basketball, but they have yet to push Washington for the third seed. They sit just a half a game behind the Raptors in the standings for 5th in the East.
11). Raptors (+1)- The Raptors made a splashy trade by acquiring Serge Ibaka. While they will need time to develop chemistry, come playoff time, the Raptors will be a tough team to beat.
12). Thunder (-1)- Honestly, unless you are in OKC the only thing you know about the Thunder’s current status is that Russell Westbrook is a triple-double machine and that he hates the Warriors, specifically Kevin Durant. As far as the team goes, they are a good team that could use some help.
13). Pacers (-3) – Has anyone every rode “The Racer” at Kings Island? Well, it is essentially a rollercoaster that has significant hills on it for the entire duration of the ride. That is exactly what the Pacers winning streaks have looked like. They win 5, lose 4. They won 7 straight, and now they are on a 6-game losing streak. Paul George is fed up, and Indiana is making their 1st round pick available in trade talks to appease PG13.
14). Heat (+1)- I know it won’t happen, but Erik Spolstra should be considered for Coach of the Year with the job he has done with this unit. Kudos to the players in Miami for battling through a tough stretch early on.
15). Bulls (+2) – While they have been openly frustrated with each other, the Bulls continue to play .500 basketball. If Jimmy Butler is dealt, then it is time for rebuild mode. I won’t be shocked if Rondo and or Wade are traded either.
16). Nuggets- Looking to acquire a big-name star, the Nuggets are holding tight to 8th in the West. Jokic has been phenomenal lately, and the league is finally taking notice. Out of all the teams in the West fighting for the 8th seed, they are the deepest.
17). Pistons (+3)- Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond are the two best players on the Pistons. Tuesday, there was a rumor out there that they were on the trading block. It sounds like Detroit wants to move on from this core and rebuild with KCP and Stanley Johnson.
18). Mavericks (-4) – I like what the Mavericks have done here lately, but Mark Cuban voiced his frustrations on ESPN Friday evening. He is extremely proud of their young guys, but he said he’s never had a losing season. Hopefully, Rick Carlisle can make keep that streak alive.
19). Bucks- The Bucks have won 3 straight games. This could be a big momentum swing for them as the last three spots in the East are still in reach. Who wouldn’t want to see the Bucks vs. Cavs in the first round?
20). Kings (-2)- The Kings front office is still not sold on signing Cousins to a max deal. If the right offer is placed in front of them, I see the Kings rebuilding (once again) this mess of a roster.
21). Pelicans (+3) – Anthony Davis and Jrue Holliday are the teams building blocks. The rest of this team is underwhelming, and it ‘d be good for the Pelicans front office to get Davis some help going forward.
22). Timberwolves- This young core is going to be a force one day. Just hold on tight and enjoy the development Wolves fans. I know patience is hard, but it will be worth it.
23). Trailblazers (-4) – I am still trying to understand what the Blazers are doing. Did they give up their only rim protector for a scoring big? It is evident that the Blazers want to change this roster up a bit but why would they sign Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe to 16-18 million dollar deals? That’s bad managing.
24). 76ers (-1) – Embiid has been dealing with an injury recently, and the 76ers have missed his presence. I am just glad that the 76ers aren’t the worst team in the NBA again.
25). Knicks (+2)- I am about fed up with all the Dolan-Oakley, Jackson-Melo drama. This basketball team is not even relevant, and we are spending most our time talking about this poorly run franchise. This basketball team has good pieces on it, but with so many off-court distractions, they’re causing this team to become a laughing stock. I questioned why they signed Joakim Noah to a huge deal, but who else were they going to sign? Nobody wants to play for this franchise, and it’s clear why.
26). Lakers (-1)- There is not much to say here about the Lakers. They have okay talent but nothing special outside of the potential of Brandon Ingram. They are years away from competing in the West.
27). Hornets (-2)- Recently, Kemba Walker stated that he loved coach Clifford after their 4th loss in a row. It sounds like Walker is sticking up for his coach who is more than likely on the hot seat. The Hornets have lost 11 of their last 12.
28). Magic- The Tragic, I mean the Magic are in desperation mode. GM Hennigan knows his time is coming to an end in Orlando if he doesn’t do something quick. He has already acquired a nice contract in Terrance Ross and a pick for Serge Ibaka (the worst trade in the off-season). Now he has four days to work the phone and get this roster in a better position.
29). Suns- If this is your 1st time reading my thoughts on the Suns, I will keep it simple for you, they’re a young team in the works. They’re horrible right now but will get better.
30). Nets- If a 14-game losing streak doesn’t explain to you how awful this team is, then maybe a 9-47 record will.