A few things have become apparent since last week’s installment of our NBA Power Rankings. 1) No one wants to be LeBron James right now. 2) The San Antonio Spurs might be sleeping giants, after all. And, 3) the Grizzlies just keep on winning.
1. Memphis Grizzlies – The Grit ‘n Grind specialists are working their magic on the league, posting a .857 win percentage. They’ve nabbed some quality wins against Sacramento, Phoenix, and the Rockets (maybe their best of the season) but their two losses (against the Bucks and Raptors) only add fire to the XN Sports theorem that they might just be playing to their cushy circumstances.
2. Toronto Raptors – A string of injuries and humiliating road losses for the Bulls has made the Eastern Conference Raptor territory.
3. Golden State Warriors – When Marreese Speights is scoring 28 points for you, you know only great things await.
4. Portland Trail Blazers – Seven straight. Not much to argue with here.
5. Houston Rockets – A close win against the Mavs secures Houston’s place as one of the league’s elite teams.
7. Washington Wizards – A good road team, and even better home team, the Wizards have proven they can beat anyone on either side of the Mississippi.
8. Chicago Bulls – A nasty road trip and lingering health concerns bring down the Bulls a few spots. Still a dangerous team, especially in light of Mirotic’s growth as a player.
9. San Antonio Spurs – Our champs are finally playing up to their pedigree. NBA, lookout.
10. Sacramento Kings – A trashing of the Bulls cemented the Kings’ standing as rightful playoff competitor.
11. Phoenix Suns – The Suns are winning under the radar and are better than people’s impression of them would suggest.
12. Miami Heat – Don’t sleep on the LeBron-less Heat.
13. New Orleans Pelicans – Not even Anthony Davis can guard Anthony Davis.
14. Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers continue to be, well, underwhelming.
15. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks continue to be, well, the Atlanta Hawks.
16. Milwaukee Bucks – Jason Kidd is proving his worth as an NBA strategist.
17. Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets are starting to look respectable.
18. Cleveland Cavaliers – Being fragile isn’t going to get you into the postseason, that’s for sure.
19. Orlando Magic – God bless the Eastern Conference, where a losing record of 6 and 9 is enough to secure the last playoff spot.
20. Brooklyn Nets – The Nets aren’t horrible but they also aren’t great. It’s looking like a long season for New Yorkers.
21. Indiana Pacers – Somewhere in some unmarked prison, the CIA is using broadcast games of this Pacers team as a torture device.
22. Utah Jazz – The Jazz have it in them to climb up a few notches as they’ve lost a number of close games. We’ll see if they can improve on their mark in the coming weeks.
23. Boston Celtics – This day 54 years ago, Wilt Chamberlain grabbed 55 rebounds in a 132-129 Boston win. These days, the Celtics are faring much worse against much lesser opponents.
24. New York Knicks – The Knicks are adding to their wins pile but they haven’t done enough to sneak out of the league’s 10 worst teams spot.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves – Apparently, a night of Wiggins doesn’t necessarily translate to wins as Andrew’s 29 points weren’t enough to get the Wolves past the Kings. Sadly, even with Wiggins in tow, the Wolves won’t be getting past much of anyone this season.
26. Detroit Pistons – The talent is there it’s just arranged in a way that’s never going to get you very far, making their tie to locomotives that much funnier.
27. Charlotte Hornets – Has anyone seen the Hornets’ offense?
28. Los Angeles Lakers – Just when it seemed the Lakers had gotten it together, they get pummeled—no, annihilated—by the Dallas Mavericks to the total tune of 140 points. Repeat: 140 points.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Owners of six straight losses, OKC could do with the help of, I don’t know, two of the league’s most dynamic players. The hurting should end soon in Oklahoma City.
30. Philadelphia 76ers – Did you expect anyone else?