WOAH. The last month in the NBA has been crazy. In the season where anyone can beat anyone, teams have leapfrogged all over the place since the last power rankings and to be honest this was a lot harder than I thought it would be. 11 teams moved either up or down by at least five spots with the top and bottom of the league remaining relatively intact. Nearly 50 games into the season where does everyone land?
Biggest Rise: Heat (+8), 76ers/Blazers/Clippers/Bulls (+6)
Biggest Fall: Cavaliers (-10), Nuggets/Pistons (-6)
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30. Orlando Magic ( 3)
THE Magic are tied with the Kings and Hawks for the worst record in the league and have won just three games in the last month. It’s sad after their hot start, but on the flip side, they are in the driver’s seat for the Marvin Bagley/DeAndre Ayton/Luka Doncic sweepstakes.
29. Sacramento Kings ( 5)
LOOKING at the Kings roster makes me sad. I’m a fan of guys like Buddy and Cauley-Stein. From top to bottom though, it’s just downright rubbish, I mean Z-Bo is the teams leading scorer! Your stay near the bottom of the standings isn’t ending soon, sorry Sactown.
Image from fansided.com
28. Phoenix Suns ( 2)
WHAT else should we expect from the Suns? Until they sort out their frontcourt issues I can’t see them getting out of the bottom tier of the league. Devin Booker’s 24.8 points a night (9th most in the league) eases the blow a bit.
27. Atlanta Hawks ( 2)
DESPITE languishing at the bottom of the standings the Hawks went 6-8 since my last check in, so they have earned a nice little boost.
25. Memphis Grizzlies ( 3)
ANOTHER cellar dweller who rebounded in the last 30 days were the Grizzlies. Led by Tyreke Evans and Marc Gasol, it’s not like they’ll be challenging for a playoff spot, but they did plenty to repair their rep in a ‘Mike Conley-less’ world.
24. Brooklyn Nets ( 4)
HILARIOUSLY the Nets have managed to go exactly 6-10 in between the three power rankings pieces I have written so far. Heavily reliant upon their offense, the Nets have shot a league-worst 42.9% clip since Christmas Day, hence their drop from 20th.
22. Utah Jazz ( 4)
DONAVON Mitchell highlights aside things aren’t looking good for the Jazz. Their offense has stalled recently and as a result, they are fast falling out of the playoff picture. Rudy Gobert’s return from injury should prove to be a bonus.
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21. Los Angeles Lakers (even)
EVER since LaVar Ball called out Luke Walton, the Lakers have been playing pretty well. As should be expected from a young team they have their ups and downs and I’m sure that Boston and Philadelphia are checking LA’s win/loss ledger every 30 seconds.
20. Chicago Bulls ( 5)
MAYBE the rejuvenated Chicago Bulls are here to stay? The only problem is the more they win, the worse their draft pick gets. I’d be surprised if they didn’t make a move before the trade deadline passes.
19. New York Knicks ( 5)
A tired Porzingis is largely to blame for the Knicks poor recent record. Well, that and the fact that no one else on the roster can play basketball (sorry Hardaway).
18. Detroit Pistons ( 6)
WHETHER Andre Drummond should have been an All-Star or not he certainly isn’t the one to blame for the Detroit Pistons poor form. Their six-game losing streak will only grow if they keep struggling to score.
17. Los Angeles Clippers ( 5)
LOU Williams has helped the woeful Clippers surge into a potential postseason berth. With DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin now healthy alongside him we’ll see just how legit they are.
16. Denver Nuggets ( 6)
AS the Nuggets struggle to find consistency it’s easy to forget that their starting backcourt of Murray and Harris are just 20 and 23 years old. When Paul Millsap is back in uniform they will climb back up.
15. Cleveland Cavaliers ( 11)
WHAT can I say? The Cavaliers probably should have been lower in these rankings even though they have 7th most wins in the league. Their defense has been absolutely terrible and their offense isn’t clicking now either. Sigh.
14. Milwaukee Bucks ( 5)
JASON Kidd shouldered the blame for the Bucks failing to achieve what was expected over the first half of the season. A top-four seed might now be out of reach and if they aren’t careful the playoffs aren’t a formality either.
13. Philadelphia 76ers ( 5)
TRUST. The. Process. In the last month, only the Golden State Warriors have a better winning percentage as Philly seems poised to break their playoff drought. I might be a hater, but I need to see it over the duration of the entire season to put them in my playoff picture.
12. Portland Trailblazers ( 5)
THE Trailblazers are kind of forgotten about in the uber-competitive Western Conference. With Dame Lillard firing on all cylinders they are becoming harder and harder to ignore.
11. Indiana Pacers ( 4)
LAST time we checked in with the Pacers they were flying led by Victor Oladipo, who will make his All-Star debut in February. They are going to need to lean on him some more if they want to crack the top 10 again.
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10. New Orleans Pelicans ( 3)
I’M praying that these video game-like numbers from Anthony and DeMarcus Cousins keep on coming. If the playoffs started today they would face the Spurs in round one. Imagine watching those two murder the flat-footed bigs like Gasol and Bertans in the postseason. Good lord.
9. Washington Wizards ( 4)
YOU could accuse the Wizards of underachieving this season so far. However, they are just two games behind the 3rd seeded Cavaliers. It is also worth pointing out that they are also two games away from being the 9th seed and missing the playoffs.
8. Miami Heat ( 8)
THE NBA’s darling of the past six weeks, Miami is no joke. I may be forced to eat humble pie if they can keep up their winning ways and a stretch of games against winnable foes will prove to be very interesting indeed.
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7. Oklahoma City Thunder ( 4)
IT’S official, the Thunder have found their mojo. Westbrook is back in Westbrook mode, Paul George’s chip on his shoulder doubled due to his All-Star snub and hell, even Melo’s having fun! This team could be poised to make some real noise.
6. Boston Celtics ( 3)
WHEN Irving and Horford aren’t on the floor the Celtics just can’t score the ball. It’s starting to have an effect on a team that has lost four of their last five leading up to a visit to Oracle Arena on Saturday.
5. San Antonio Spurs ( 1)
THERE are three certain things in life. Death, taxes and the San Antonio Spurs winning around 65% of their games in a no-fuss attitude. Forget the Kawhi rumours, they’re all good.
Image from youtube.com
4. Minnesota Timberwolves ( 4)
JIMMY Butler’s health is perhaps the only thing standing between the Timberwolves taking the fourth spot in the Western Conference. If he’s all good then it’s time to get excited Minnesota fans.
3. Toronto Raptors ( 2)
WHILE everyone was talking about the Cavaliers and the Celtics for the first half of the year, Toronto built a legitimate case to be the best team in the conference. Don’t rule them taking the top seed if things keep going according to plan.
2. Houston Rockets ( 1)
HOUSTON is very deserving of the second spot in the power rankings and in my eyes is the second best team in the league. We may have gotten a glimpse into a West Finals preview at the Toyota Center the other night and boy are we excited.
1. Golden State Warriors ( 1)
YEAH, no surprises here, it’s Golden State then everyone else. They haven’t had any massive winning streaks yet this season, which makes it scary considering the Warriors have the league’s best record. It would be very Golden State to go on a 12-0 run now.
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