NBA Power Rankings: Week 7

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30. Milwaukee Bucks (5-19, Even): Milwaukee’s five wins all came against struggling Eastern Conference teams.  The Bucks may need a superstar more than anyone else in the league.  Holding Larry Sanders out until All-Star Break may not be a bad idea.

29. Philadelphia 76ers (7-18, Down 2): Michael Carter-Williams has missed a handful of games with a “knee infection.”  I can’t help but to think Philly doesn’t mind him taking his time returning to the court.  Although he’s only 22, he arguably makes the biggest impact on the court.

28. Orlando Magic (7-17, Even): There are very few All-Star worthy guards in the East.  I think Arron Afflalo has to make it this year: 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, four assists, 2.2 threes per game.  He’s been one of the most impressive go to-guys in the league this year.

Photo courtesy of brownsvilleherald.com

27. Utah Jazz (6-20, Up 2): Make no mistake.  Utah is playing much better basketball with Trey Burke, last year’s College Player of the Year, in the lineup.  Much like Damian Lillard did last year, Burke has come in with no fear.  His talent will be well-known in due time.

26. Sacramento Kings (7-15, Even): Rudy Gay is off to a great start with his new team.  In two games, he’s averaging 25 points on 56 percent shooting.  Kings ownership said they got a “proven scorer” in Gay.  Indeed, they did.  I hope it works out for the best of both sides.

25. New York Knicks (7-16, Down 3): I’m assuming New York wants to retain Carmelo Anthony this offseason.  If that’s the case, the front office better make some major changes.  Clearly, this roster isn’t going to cut it (healthy or not).

24. Charlotte Bobcats (10-14, Down 3): Charlotte should win three of its next five games: Kings at home, at Toronto, at Detroit, then Utah and Milwaukee at home.  Al Jefferson is still getting adjusted to the offense.  Walker and company need to feed him down-low more often.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers (9-14, Up 2): Things are going a lot better in Cleveland now.  They’ve won five of seven games and Kyrie Irving has gotten into a rhythm (29 PPG and 6.3 APG in past week).  Keep in mind, making the playoffs is a priority for this team.

22. Washington Wizards (9-13, Down 8): Down eight spots?  That easily marks the biggest fall of the week.   The Wiz have dropped four straight, three of them being at home.  Bradley Beal’s possible return to the lineup tonight should be a relief for D.C.

21. Brooklyn Nets (8-15, Up 2): Week 7 power rankings.  I want you all to remember this as my anticipated turning point to the Nets’ season.  They have Philly and Washington at home, followed by Philly on the road.  That could easily be three wins.  A healthy Deron Williams, this team should crawl into the playoffs in the near future.

20. Chicago Bulls (9-13, Down 3): I really didn’t think the Bulls’ level of play would stoop this low without their everything….well since he’s their everything, maybe I should have.  Chicago is in the middle of a problematic mental lapse.

19. Memphis Grizzlies (10-13, Down 1): The scene in Memphis isn’t too pretty at the moment.  Marc Gasol really cannot be replaced, so they’ll have to wait for him to return.  Their wing players on offense aren’t bringing much to the table.  They’re ultimately continuing to sink lower in the deep West.

18. Toronto Raptors (9-13, Up 6): Trading Rudy Gay, the Raptors aren’t exactly playing to win.  However, sometimes that’s when a team starts playing well because they feel no pressure.  Lowry, DeRozan, and Valanciunas is a competitive trio doing a fine job.

17. Boston Celtics (11-14, Up 3): The Celtics currently hold the fourth seed in the East.  I’m sure any team would enjoy the luxury of being called a playoff team.  One problem: nobody is beating Miami or Indiana, so what’s the point for a rebuilding team such as Boston?

16. Detroit Pistons (11-14, Down 3): I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who hates watching my home team play three excellent quarters of basketball….and then the 4th quarter comes, and it’s a whole different story.  It’s just really frustrating.

15. L.A. Lakers (11-12, Down 3): So far, the Lakers are 1-3 with the Mamba back in the lineup.  It’s not easy for Bryant to return and all the pieces to quickly come together.  Now, players have to worry about getting Kobe Bryant the ball.

14. New Orleans Pelicans (11-11, Up 5): The Pelicans took the second highest leap, behind Toronto, this week.  Their recent offensive production has been able to overcome the absence of Anthony Davis.  The Hornets are fifth in three point percentage, third in fast break points, and second in fourth quarter points.

13. Phoenix Suns (14-9, Up 3): I made a proposal on Twitter that a few of my followers agreed with: if Phoenix beat Golden State last night, they are for real.  Hey, they did just that.  There is now talk of Phoenix possibly trading one of its lottery picks for a young, talented player who would help them now.

12. Golden State Warriors (13-12, Down 3): It’s not going to be as easy as you think for Golden State to make the playoffs.  They’re still struggling without defensive specialist Andre Iguodala.  Although Stephen Curry’s shooting is consistently automatic, the team has dropped three of its last four close games.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves (12-12, Up 4): Minnesota is that rock solid team that you can’t expect to consistently outplay other strong teams.  Although Kevin Love has high expectations for Minny, the young team is still settling into a firm identity.

10. Atlanta Hawks (12-12, Up 1): I mean, there has to be a third team in the East placing somewhat high in my power rankings.  The Hawks look to be the third strongest team in the East behind Al Horford’s excellent play.  The chemistry and leadership within this club remains on par.

9. Denver Nuggets (14-9, Up 1): There’s no doubt Denver strongly feels it belongs in the playoffs again.  This team will fight until the end under any circumstance.  Depth was always an area the Nuggets had no problem with.  A player like McGee goes down, then another seven-footer like Timofey Mosgov steps in.

Photo courtesy of sports.yahoo.com

8. Dallas Mavericks (14-10, Down 1): The Mavericks impressively remain in the top ten of my power rankings.  This is yet another Western Conference team fighting for its playoff chances.  Ellis and Nowitzki have been pacing the offense.  However, Dallas is slipping a bit on the rebounds (28th in the league).

7. Houston Rockets (16-9, Down 1): I’m not really sure what exactly qualifies as a “bad loss” in the West.  The Rockets have lost to Utah, Phoenix, and Sacramento in the past two weeks.  Regardless, Houston is playing great offense and solid defense.  They give up too many offensive rebounds (29th in league) and that has definitely held them back some.

6. L.A. Clippers (16-9, Up 2): CP3 averages nearly 20 points, 11.5 assists, and 2.3 steals per game.  However, stats don’t necessarily correlate with team success.  Inconsistent defense is not going to win you a title.  As great as your offense is, you have to sprint back and buckle down in transition defense.

5. Miami Heat (17-6, Down 1): LeBron, Wade, and Bosh remain powerful enough to keep Miami in check despite its rebounding problems.  At some point, Miami’s big weakness is going to hit them hard.  That would probably have to be sometime in May or June.

4. San Antonio Spurs (19-4, Down 1): Tony Parker is still the most underrated superstar in the league.  Parker is a magician in the fourth quarter.  When things are going wrong, put the ball in his hands and have faith.  You’ll end up winning, most of the time.

Photo courtesy of mikelucassports.com

3. Portland Trail Blazers (21-4, Up 2): At 28 years old, LaMarcus Aldridge is the NBA’s newest superstar.  How rare of a superstar to appear this late in his career.  Aldridge always had the talent, but now he has the team and motivation to be number one.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (19-4, Even): I’m just not convinced Oklahoma City is the best team in the league.  They, without a doubt, have the best scoring duo in the league.  However, OKC’s full-blown full-court attack can leave the team vulnerable on defense, at times.

1. Indiana Pacers (20-3, Even): If you’re looking for a team that has it all, it would be the Indiana Pacers: Superstar/go to-guy – check.  Post defense and rebounding – check.  Offensive rebounding – check.  Post game – check.  Mid-range and outside shooting – check.  You get what I’m saying by now.

 

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  • Bob

    How are the Warriors, Hawks and Wolves in front of Phoenix?