Power Rankings Week 14

1. San Antonio Spurs 36-11
This team is 5th in offensive efficiency and 4th in defensive efficiency.  Their incredible balance offensively is led by MVP candidate Tony Parker and the still great Tim Duncan. This team is not as explosive as OKC or LAC but they limit their mistakes while exploiting their opponents weaknesses.  The truest team in the NBA. (AL)

2. Oklahoma City Thunder 36-11
The Thunder are the best team in the league.The Spurs have the best record but Every year they cruise during the regular season and falter in the playoffs. They remind me of the Patriots, excuse me while I have a good cry. (EJ)

3. Los Angeles Clippers 33-13
-When does the Chris Paul injury become an issue? He has missed their last five games and the Clippers are staring an eight game road trip in the face. (BF)

4. Miami Heat 28-13
-Despite the loss to the Celtics, the Heat were able to shake it off with a nice visit to the White House. You have to think this team has two or three more gears come playoff time. (BF)

(Kudos to the Coach who went Bow-Tie to the White House.)

5. Chicago Bulls 27-17
Rose is ramping his activity up from predictable contact to “more contact”. Thanks for insight coach Thibbs. How quickly Rose can come back will greatly effect the Bulls, not just because of how good he is but because he needs time to mesh with teammates. (EJ)

6. New York Knicks 27-15
The Knicks have been playing uneven basketball, but all six of their next opponents are under .500 on the season so expect them to rip off some wins in the near future. Melo had one of his best games of the season on Sunday going off for 42 including 9 of 12 from deep, a huge relief for Knickerbocker fans who had seen Melo fall into a shooting slump of late. (AL)

7. Brooklyn Nets 27-18
After winning 10 of 11 this team has dropped two straight to Memphis and Houston, but fear not Nets fans, this team is for real and will challenge the Knicks for the division.  It’s also a shame that Brook Lopez wasn’t originally chosen for the all star team, but i expect him to replace Rondo on the East squad. (AL)

8. Golden State Warriors 27-17
-The return of Andrew Bogut is huge. Filling your biggest void on defense with a borderline all-star(when healthy), makes the Warriors a huge dark horse in the West. I don’t want think any team wants the upstart Warriors in round 1. (BF)

9. Memphis Grizzlies 29-15
The trade has allowed them to keep intact their starting five for the remainder of the season.  I’m not sure if they have the depth to truly compete, but this starting 5 is very dangerous at a +114 plus/minus on the season. (AL)

10. Denver Nuggets 28-18
The Nuggets are finally looking like the team we expected. They are running defending and dunking. Last night they showed that they could win in a slowed down game against an elite defensive team. It might have only been one win but it’s a huge step in their maturation process. (EJ)

(While the Nuggets don’t scare anyone, their defense can be stifling.)

11. Indiana Pacers 26-19
The maturation process of Paul George is an ongoing thing. Last night he tried to elevate himself from star, to superstar who makes buzzer beaters. What happened? Iguodala swallowed him up and they lost the game. (EJ)

12. Atlanta Hawks 25-19
-A twenty seven point comeback is a huge moral victory, but there is no secret that this team is hurting for a perimeter scorer. You can’t depend on Kyle Korver getting hot every game come playoff time. (BF)

13. Milwaukee Bucks 23-19
As everyone knows I am not a huge Bucks fan. However, last night Zach Lowe mentioned them as a possible landing spot for Pierce. This only happens if they get hot and look like a contender. If Boston getting Larry Sanders means rooting for Milwaukee, all I have to say is FEAR THE DEER! (EJ)

(Could Jennings be moved in the next three weeks?

14. Utah Jazz 24-21
As soon as I get back on the Jazz bandwagon, they lose by 100 to the Rockets at home. One day it looks like they will be adding a piece for a the stretch run, the next they look like a team poised for a youth movement. Too bad it’s not acceptable for my analysis of this team to be “Hell if I know”. (EJ)

15. Houston Rockets 25-22
Hanging onto the 8th seed, the ever streaky Rockets having won 3 of their last 4 have some tough test in their next five games including tilts at Utah, at Denver, home against Golden State and at Miami.  This is a crucial stretch for their playoff hopes, splitting these games would be a nice win for this team. (AL)

16. Portland Trailblazers 22-22
As any team with no bench is wont to do they look great some games and completely worn out in others. In the NBA bench players often play better at home where they have the support of the crowd. Portland is 15-8 at home, if they can turn around their road woes by improved bench play watch out. (EJ)

17. Los Angeles Lakes 19-25
-Okay, so now the solution is Kobe needs to be more of a facilitator. Short term, this is working. Long term? History shows Mr. Bryant is going to get the shots when he wants them. (BF)

18. Boston Celtics 21-23
Rondo’s injury certainly dampened any enjoyment the C’s had in winning a double OT thriller against the Heat, but never count out a team that has two future hall of famers suiting up.  With KG and Pierce on board, this team can still play with anyone. (AL)

19. Dallas Mavericks 19-25
Four games back of the 8th seed, the Mavs find themselves in a tough spot.  They know they can’t beat the elite in a series, but they could sneak into the playoffs.  Are they sellers or buyers? With Cuban at the helm, I say they buy. (AL)

(Expect the Mavericks to be dealing this deadline.)

20. Philadelphia 76ers 18-26
I am going to continue to gush over Jrue Holiday.  In January he is averaging 21.2 points, 9.1 assists, 4.4 rebound, and nearly 2 steals, all while shooting slightly above 48% from the field. (AL)

21. Detroit Pistons 17-27
Like most young teams Detroit is better at home. Anytime they get a road win it is another step in their progression. The last such step had Brandon Knight leading his team with 31 in a win against Orlando. (EJ)

22. Minnesota Timberwolves 17-24
The Timberwolves are 1-9 in their last ten games. Normally this would signal time to shed contract and rebuild. Unfortunately, the Wolves injured players can’t be traded and since all their players are injured they will have to weather this Minnesota style blizzard of injuries.(EJ)

23. Sacramento Kings 17-29
-It gets very bogged down this low in the league, but the Kings have played average basketball. It’s unreal how much Demarcus Cousins can contribute to a game even if he doesn’t care. Imagine what he could do if he did. (BF)

24. Toronto Raptors 16-29
This team will be the most interesting sellers at the deadline as they decide who move forward with at PG (Calderon or Lowry) and try to find a trading partner for Bargnani’s contract.  The team continues to play on an average level, but right now all eyes are on the front office. (AL)

25. New Orleans Hornets 15-29
I can’t help but have fun watching this team despite them being 4th to last in defensive efficiency.  Anthony Davis keeps showing signs of the franchise player he could be.  I think he’ll have a monster post all star break, averaging a double-double in his final 30 games. (AL)

(Davis is about two years away from being something really special.)

26. Orlando Magic 14-30
-The Magic are getting bit by the “basketball gods” according to J.J. Redick. I think it might be that the lack of talent has finally caught up the Magic. Expect them to be in sell mode. (BF)

27. Phoenix Suns 15-30
-The Suns are 3-7 in their last ten, and can’t seem to put two good halves together. They have been rumored to be interested in Rudy Gay, but what could they give back? (BF)

28. Washington Wizards 11-32
-The Wizards are quietly 6-4 in their last ten games. However, it is time to fire Randy Whitman. His late game choices(bringing in a cold player to guard the ball handler in the last minute of the game) are costing them wins. (BF)

29. Cleveland Cavaliers 13-32
Kyrie Irving is the reigning eastern conference player of the week. He has shown that he can lead his team to wins despite the cast around him. His play moves them up the list on his own. (EJ)

30. Charlotte Bobcats 11-33
-The Bobcats are 4-28 in their last 32. And yes I will keep using that stat. Because every other stat shows that they are just as bad. (BF)




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