Week 13 Power Rankings

The Thunder come in at the top spot in the rankings, and they seem to have a good time doing it. Russell Westbrook is putting the rest of league on watch: Don’t try to beat the Thunder on the court, and don’t try to take him on in a lip sync contest. You’ll just end up embarressed.

1. Oklahoma City Thunder 32-9
The Thunder are the best team in the league. Watch out for their bench, if they are to hang on to the number one seed they need production from Reggie Jackson, Eric Maynor, DeAndre Liggins, or Perry Jones to step up. (EJ)

2. Los Angeles Clippers 32-10
-The Clips have rode their bench production as the difference maker in the Pacific. While a loss to Golden State showed holes earlier today, it is getting harder and harder to picture anyone outside Oklahoma being able to beat this team four times. (BF)

(Chris Paul and the Clips continue to role.)

3. San Antonio Spurs 32-11
Tony Parker has this club rolling offensively while Tim Duncan captains the defense.  The team also sets forth on its easiest stretch of the year as they won;t face a team above .500 till February 10th (8 games). (AL)

4. Miami Heat 26-12
-The Heat looked unbeatable during the California stay with wins over Golden State and Los Angeles. Is the Chris Andersen signing the one missing link to another championship? (BF)

5. New York Knicks 25-14
The Knicks have had some uneven play of late, but won both games it played this past week. While Carmelo is struggling to find his shot, Tyson Chandler is playing as good as any center in the East. (AL)

6. Memphis Grizzlies 26-14
They have won 2 in a row since dropping three straight but if the Grizz don’t show their best abilities in some tough games this week (Indiana, LAL, Brooklyn) then I think a trade will be imminent. (AL)

7. Indiana Pacers 26-16
The Pacers have the best defense and rebounding in the league. With Paul George stepping up as the alpha dog they have found the scoring that can carry them to one of the top seeds in the east. (EJ)

(We are all looking forward to see how Granger works his way in in Indiana.)

8. Brooklyn Nets 25-16
This team is red-hot and sit only two games back of the Knicks now.  The Monday afternoon tilt against the Knicks is about as meaningful as a game can be in January.  PJ Carlesimo has done a masterful job so far. (AL)

9. Golden State Warriors 25-15 
-The Warriors have come back to Earth, just 6-4 in their last ten. While this team seems to be working itself to a playoff ready contender, the Steph Curry ankle issues are a huge concern for the long term success of this team. (BF)

10. Denver Nuggets 25-18
Since January the Nuggets have sped up the pace with positive results. They are taking more shots, more free throws and sharing the ball better. They are also gambling less on defense improving their overall play. (EJ)

11. Utah Jazz 22-19
-Opposite the Nuggets, The Jazz are slowing down their pace since January. Less shots, less points, more wins. The Jazz are leaning on their front court and it is leading to wins. (EJ)

12. Milwaukee Bucks 21-18
The Bucks are rumored to be listening to trades on everyone. If they are smart they will move Jennings or Ellis for a pass first point guard who doesn’t make their teammates hate them. (EJ)
13. Chicago Bulls 23-16
The Bulls have been playing great defense, sharing the ball and making big shots. If they can continue to excel without Rose they will be a force to be reckoned with once Rose came back. (EJ)

14. Atlanta Hawks 23-18
-A nose dive in the standings compiled with a season ending injury to Lou Williams would usually be a death wish for the Hawks. But in an Eastern Conference that is getting weaker by the day, their is still hope. (BF)
15. Houston Rockets 22-21
Losers of 7 straight games, this team may not be ready for the playoffs this year.  They just can’t win consistently against the NBA elite. (AL)

(Could Lin be on the trading block this year?

16. Boston Celtics 20-20

I have no idea what to make of this team.  At times they look like an elite team, while at others they look like an aging team headed toward the lottery.  If things don’t turn around soon, Danny Ainge will have no choice but to make significant moves. (AL)

17. Portland Trailblazers 20-20
No team has a bigger disparity between their starters and bench production. Portland has started to feel the effect of not having a bench, in that their starters legs are starting to go. With negative point differential the Blazers are lucky to have as many wins as they do. (EJ)

18. Dallas Mavericks 18-24
The Mavs have won 5 of 6, losing only in OT to OKC during that stretch.  The team looks to have responded well to Dirk’s challenge as the offensive balanced has been impressive. Never underestimate a veteran group of players. (AL)

19. Minnesota Timberwolves 17-21
The Timberwolves have had their season ruined by injuries. Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic are the latest to get injured leaving Minnesota very thin in the front court. Until those two are back Minnesota is only going to plummet in these rankings. (EJ)

20. Detroit Pistons 15-25
Detroit has been improving the entire year. Despite them starting off 0-8 their improvement has made the playoff a possibility. The Pistons are using an excellent second unit to put themselves back in the playoff race. (EJ)

21. Los Angeles Lakers 17-23
-This is the lowest the Lakers have fallen within our rankings this year, and they looked hopeless in a loss at Toronto on Sunday. The Lakers are getting picked apart by the most menial of offenses. (BF)
22. Philadelphia 76ers 17-23
There is just no consistency in the 76ers play, but Jrue Holiday is an absolute star playing like a super-star. (AL)
(Holiday should absolutely be an All-Star.)
23. Toronto Raptors 15-26
They had a nice home win against the Lakers Sunday, that after dropping the previous 4. Regardless of the previous slide, once they trade Bargnani and Calderon, we should have a pretty good idea of what the near future looks like for Toronto. A lot of fun young players to like here. (AL)
24. New Orleans Hornets 14-27
Grevious Vasquez continues to play very well in helping this team to wins in 6 of its last eight.  He is currently third in the NBA in assists at 9.1 per game as well as adding 14 points and nearly 5 boards.  Anthony Davis has also looked solid recently, leaving the door slightly cracked that he could re-enter the ROY race. (AL)
25. Sacramento Kings 16-26
-It looks like the farewell tour in Sacramento will be official, as the sale was made today to the owners in Seattle. Now the question become, which players say farewell before the move? (BF)
26. Cleveland Cavaliers 10-32
With the season ending injury to Anderson Varejao not only are the Cavs a bad team but they are one without any assets to move at the trading deadline. Cleveland fans will have to wait until next year. (EJ)
27. Orlando Magic 14-26
-The Magic are just 2-8 in their last ten, and are just 6-17 in the Eastern Conference, where they could be picking up wins. Expect them to be major sellers in the first few weeks. (BF)
28. Phoenix Suns 13-28
-The firing of Alvin Gentry means the Suns saw what everyone else has been talking about all year; this team isn’t any good. Can you believe ownership thought this team had playoff material? (BF)
29. Washington Wizards 8-30
-Out of the basement! John Wall and Bradley Beal are playing excellent together, and both have shown an improvement on defense. Maybe a Nene, Wall, Beal nucleus is something to build on going forward. (BF)
(Maybe this can work.)
30. Charlotte Bobcats 10-31
-The Bobcats have free fallen all the way to last. We mentioned it on the podcast yesterday, but heading into today’s game they are 3-25 following the 7-5 start. (BF) 



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