The top of the heap looks little changed from last week’s NBA Power Rankings except for a slight drop by the Raptors and a meteoric rise by the San Antonio Spurs which should serve as a big FU to the rest of us for ever doubting them.
1. Memphis Grizzlies – Marc Gasol is playing like the Most Valuable Player and, who would have thunk it, the Most Valuable Gasol. With his stellar all-around play, the Grizz are looking like a dominant force unlike themselves.
2. Golden State Warriors – Owners of the active longest running streak that doesn’t involve the misery the 76ers are wading through, the Warriors are just a hair shy of Memphis’ reign and might only get there with their own defeat of their conference rivals.
3. San Antonio Spurs – For those who hadn’t yet counted the San Antonio Spurs out, we salute you. Their offense still needs a kick in the rear to shape back to last season form but they’re back to their silent-but-deadly team-trashing ways.
4. Portland Trail Blazers – The Blazers have an identical record for the last ten games played as Golden State (9-1) but that one loss was a beating handed to them by Memphis in what could have been a postseason test to come.
5. Toronto Raptors – Even with two games squandered in a row, the Raptors remain the East’s top dog, err, dino.
6. Dallas Mavericks – In a span of a few days, Dallas proved that it could beat the East’s best (Toronto) but lose to its lackluster middle (Indiana, and almost New York). Still, Dallas continues to look deadly on offense.
7. Houston Rockets – The Rockets have San Antonio, Dallas and the Clippers riding their coattails. Any minor slip-up and they can drop all the way down to the bottom of the Western Conference bracket. Such is life out west.
8. Los Angeles Clippers – The Clips are finally finding the bottom of the net. By doing so, they’re climbing away from the bottom of the West’s expected contenders and into more familiar territory. Let’s hope it lasts.
9. Chicago Bulls – With their starting five fully healthy, the Bulls look invincible. If only they were, though…
10. Washington Wizards – The Wiz continue to get it done, seemingly out of the radar of the media. That might be because their road record of 4-3 just won’t cut it in the playoffs.
11. Atlanta Hawks – With a somewhat casual four games lined up for them, the Hawks have it in them to climb the charts out East — not that that’s a major accomplishment.
12. Miami Heat – The Heat, even without Wade’s regular help, had been able to keep ahead of LeBron’s Cavs until last night when they were steamrolled by the Wizards.
13. Sacramento Kings – The Kings just can’t seem to get it done without Boogie on the floor.
14. Phoenix Suns – The Suns just aren’t getting to the line which is only amplified by Isaiah Thomas‘ absence. A loss to lowly Magic only brings down their stock.
15. Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs look like a playoff team again. Everyone rejoice!
16. Milwaukee Bucks – Beneficiaries of the league’s easiest schedule, the Bucks might have trying times ahead of them which will change the look of the Eastern Conference standings. Can they pull through?
17. Denver Nuggets – Arron Afflalo is turning the corner and, by association, so are the Nuggets. A hotly contested West might have just gotten a bit more stifling.
18. New Orleans Pelicans – Not even Anthony Davis can help these Pels soar out of the bayou.
19. Indiana Pacers – Though ranked 19th, the Pacers are doing just enough to hold onto their conference’s last playoff seed. The Eastern Conference, everyone!
20. Orlando Magic – Just when the Magic look defeated, they nab a close encounter against the Suns.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – One half of the dynamic duo is back and OKC is already back to its winning ways. Their mad scramble to carve out some miraculous playoff positioning begins.
22. Brooklyn Nets – Another beating like the one they received by the Bulls on Sunday and the Nets might want to get a restraining order against the league’s winning teams. At least AK47 might be departing this hell.
23. Boston Celtics – Thank God for the Raptors because the Atlantic Division is looking atrocious.
24. Minnesota Timberwolves – The young ones have come out to play with Minnesota’s proven veterans out of contention. But, it hasn’t fared very well for them as they’ve only one two games in their last 10 contests.
25. Utah Jazz – Utah’s closest loss of the last few days against Chicago (95-97) is good indication of how much of this season might play out for the struggling squad.
26. Los Angeles Lakers – If we judged the Lakers by their Eastern Conference record alone (3-0), they’d be the only undefeated team in the league. Sadly, there’s the uneasy reality that they’ve gone 1-13 against the NBA’s ruling conference.
27. New York Knicks – The rebuilding phase in Madison Square Garden is starting to get painful.
28. Charlotte Hornets – Really, has anyone seen the Hornets’ offense?
29. Detroit Pistons – You know you’re in abysmal territory when your winning percentage is somehow worse than that of a team’s that has lost nine straight (see: Charlotte).
30. Philadelphia 76ers – At this point, Philadelphia’s only true opponent are the history books as they’re one more loss away from dethroning the 2009-10 Nets for worst starting record at 0 and 18.