Week 11 Power Rankings

 (The Clippers seem perfectly comfortable with the top spot.)

1. Los Angeles Clippers 27-8
-The Clippers rebounded with a bad loss to the Warriors with wins over the Lakers and those same Warriors. Only two games this week should have them well rested for a great showdown with Memphis on Monday night in Tennessee. (BF)

2. Oklahoma City Thunder 26-8
Kevin Durant is an MVP candidate. Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook are all stars. In the starting lineup they are flanked by two defensive stalwarts in Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefalosha. They have a solid scorer off the bench in Kevin Martin and solid bench big in Nick Collison. The only are of improvement they can strive for is the back up point guard position, if Reggie Jackson can develop properly you are looking at a team with no holes. (EJ)

3. Miami Heat 23-9
-As much as they don’t want to admit it, the rebounding is an issue, and Chicago showed their flaw in a major way. Miami apparently watched video of every rebound they gave up, but videos don’t make you taller. None the less, this is still the Heat. (BF)

4. San Antonio Spurs 27-10
Tony Parker is just a hair behind Chris Paul as the best PG in the west right now.  Amazingly, he leads all PGs in shooting percentage at 51% from the field. He’s in the MVP race. (AL)

5. Golden State Warriors 22-11
-The Warriors proved they may be a year away after that atrocious loss at LAC. They have had plenty of time to think about, and have a tough stretch ahead: Memphis, Denver, Portland, Miami and San Antonio are the next five on the schedule. Yeesh. (BF)

6. Memphis Grizzlies 22-10
-They’ve lost four of seven but remain an elite team in the west.  The more I watch this team the more i am in awe of the frontcourt combo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol who still dominate using intelligence and positioning rather than athleticism like most NBA players. This is the NBA’s best defensive team, better than the Pacers in my opinion. (AL)

7. New York Knicks 23-11
Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith are carrying the offense for the Knicks as they try to manage the loss of starting point guard Raymond Felton. The return of Amar’e is also a nice storyline, but he will likely need a couple more weeks before he gets back into rhythm with his teammates. (AL)

8. Houston Rockets 20-14
The highest scoring team in the NBA is getting great play from center Omer Asik as well as the guard combo of Harden and Lin.  Honestly, is their a more fun team to watch than the young uptempo (understatement) Rockets. (AL)

(The Rockets are rising. Pun intended.)


9. Atlanta Hawks 20-12
-The Hawks had the ability to get a statement win against Boston and prove they are elite. Instead, they were outscored 33-9 on their own floor in the 3rd quarter, and once again face questions of if they are ready to make the next jump. (BF)

10. Indiana Pacers 20-14
Despite Indiana’s loss to a formerly pathetic Celtics team they are a force to be reckoned with. They rebound and defend at an elite level. Their problem this season has been scoring, although recently Paul George has picked up the load. If Granger can score for them when he comes back in February the Pacers will be an elite defensive team that no longer lacks scoring. (EJ)

11. Chicago Bulls 19-13
When Chicago plays their game they are hard to beat. They have size and energy that few can match on the glass. Their defense more often than not plays like it is on a string. This year their problem has been adapting when an opponent imposes their preferred pace on the Bulls. If they are able to more consistently play their game they will vault up these rankings. (EJ)

(The Bulls and the boards have been quite close this year.)


12. Portland Trailblazers 19-15
The old adage is you win by scoring more points than your opponent. The Blazers have scoffed at this notion going 18-5 while getting outscored by 2.2 points a game. If this continues expect Portland to plummet on this list. However, for now it’s better to be lucky than good. (EJ)

13. Denver Nuggets 20-16
After under performing for essentially the whole season, Denver is finally starting to hit their stride. This week they got a signature win when knocked off the streaking Clippers. What was most important about this game was not snapping the Clippers streak but showing that they can beat an elite team in slower paced game. With a few easy games this week expect their winning ways to continue. (EJ)

14. Brooklyn Nets 19-15
-5-1 in the Carlesimo era is making Nets fans forget the early season troubles.  The big 3 (Williams, Johnson, and Lopez) are in synch and playing well.  A lack of depth hurts them, but this starting unit continues to carry them. (AL)

15. Boston Celtics 17-17
Back to back wins have this team feeling good, and a win at MSG has this team playing their best ball of the year. there is reason for optimism with the renewed focus on the defensive end thanks to to the return of third year shooting guard Avery Bradley. (AL)

16. Utah Jazz 18-18
The Jazz need to do something, whether it be trade Jefferson or Milsap, Fire Corbin or change their name to a style of music that is allowed in Utah. The Jazz are always secretive about their personnel moves, but, don’t be shocked if they are in on some of the elite players (such as Rudy Gay) come the trading deadline. (EJ)

17. Minnesota Timberwolves 15-15
For most of the season Minnesota has been a rudderless ship after losing Ricky Rubio. Now with Kevin Love going down the ship has lost its mast. Expect the Wolves to be lost adrift at sea until both come back (if they do come back 100% this year). (EJ)

18. Milwaukee Bucks 16-16
-The third coach of the year gets cut in Scott Skiles who apparently didn’t even like his team. Now that the star guards have what they wanted, can the Bucks get out of this rut? (EJ)

19. Los Angeles Lakers 15-18
-The Lakers originally were back, but I now I think they are just starting to get unlucky. Injuries to Howard and Pao couldn’t happen at a worse time, with the Rockets and Spurs on tap in back-to-back nights. These next three to four games will define the Lakers season. (BF)

(Gotta give it to you Kobe, that was genius. Now go put up 46 shots tonight.)


20. Philadelphia 76ers 15-20
A struggling team with no interior presence but talented guard play is the quickest summation of Phili.  They need to be the most aggressive team in going after DeMarcus Cousins, giving up anyone but Bynum and Holiday. (AL)    

21. Sacramento Kings 13-20
-I turned and watched ten minutes of the Kings/Grizz game last night. In that time, they went from down 2 to 20, and passed the ball three times in only 4 possessions. That’s the Kings. (BF)

22. Detroit Pistons 13-23
After a long run of losing with overpaid contracts this once proud franchise has renewed hope. Drummond has shown the skills that might allow him to one day be an elite player. Their bench has played well as of late which only increases their trade chips to improve the future. (EJ)  

23. Toronto Raptors 12-22
Andrea Bargnani’s return is still a few weeks away but in the meantime this team continues to play improved basketball.  Back to back losses have not soured what they have accomplished in winning 8 of their last 11 games. (AL)

24. Dallas Mavericks 13-22
This team is in a big slide losing 8 of 9 and even Dirk’s return to the starting lineup won’t turn this around. If things don’t get going quickly it’s time to blow things up in big D.  (AL)

(Dirk needs ALOT of help.)


25. Phoenix Suns 12-23 
-The Suns next 6 opponents are .500 or better. Not the time in the schedule to be in the struggle that they are in. (BF)

26. Orlando Magic 12-22
-The Magic have a bunch of shooters, but not alot of scorers. One bright star have been Vucevic, who is looking more and more like a steal in that Howard/Bynum trade. (BF)

27. New Orleans Hornets 9-25
Anthony Davis has been struggling the past 4 games scoring only 7.3 a game, but theres reason to be excited in the big easy as they finally have the starting lineup they envisioned in the off-season of Vasquez, Gordon, Aminu, Davis and Lopez.  Ryan Anderson continues to play well scoring 18 a game. (AL)    

28. Charlotte Bobcats 9-24
-The Cats have to be happy about the growth of Kemba Walker. He is quite fun to watch, but needs someone to pass too when he gets into the lane. Byron Mullens could be a man on the move soon. (BF)

29. Cleveland Cavaliers 8-28
As time goes on I am beginning to feel more strongly that Cleveland should trade Varejao. Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson have shown that they will at the very least, be serviceable starters for years to come. The Cavs need picks and young players. Despite Anderson Varejao having his best season, this team is not going anywhere. It’s time to look towards the future.  (EJ)

30. Washington Wizards 5-28
-Bradley Beal won rookie of the month, and John Wall has started practicing. Maybe their is a future in Washington? (BF)

-Bford

 

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