Russell Westbrook is back, Kevin Durant is nearing his return, DeMar DeRozan is out, who’s hot and who’s not, let’s take a look at this weeks NBA power rankings!
1. Memphis Grizzlies (15-2)
Hard nosed defense and sporting an incredible 11-0 start against teams in the West. Marc Gasol is showing he should be an MVP candidate as he is also playing towards his next contract. He and Zach Randolph have the Grizzlies with the best record in the NBA.
2. Golden State Warriors (14-2)
The hot shooting Warriors leads the league at nearly a 50% clip while leading the league with a .407 FG defensive percentage. The Warriors could easily be tops next week.
3. San Antonio Spurs 12-4
The old men of San Antonio just won’t go away, only a broken rib of Tony Parker, and the ongoing issues with Tiago Splitters health have slowed them down. Coach Popovich is back after a two game absence and the Spurs don’t look like they’ll miss a beat.
4. Portland Trailblazers 13-4
The Trailblazers first month of the season has gone well for them. A loss to the Grizzlies has been the major downfall, but that’s nothing to fret over. Their schedule is about to toughen up with a road heavy slate of games.
5. Dallas Mavericks 13-5
The league’s new lob city and Dirk Nowitzki are playing at an All NBA level. The re-addition of Tyson Chandler has been vital to the Mavericks success.
6. LA Clippers 11-5
My original thoughts about the Clippers being overrated and struggling mightily this season, has completely turned around. Why, sporting a 6-1 record in the last seven games has changed my mind.
7. Houston Rockets 13-4
I’m still not convinced that the Rockets are a championship contender. They’ve played a very easy schedule to date, it remains to be seen if they can contend with the top teams in the West.
8. Chicago Bulls 11-6
Derek Rose is starting to get healthy and played in back-to-back games start to finish for the first time this year. I like how Jimmy Butler is taking the main role of being a go to guy, Pau Gasol looks lile he has his All Star swag back as well.
9. Toronto Raptors 13-4
The Raptors have been dealt a huge blow by losing DeMar DeRozan to a torn groin after a 2013-2014 campaign where most of the roster remained healthy with no starters missing more than five games. Things may get tough in Toronto as they pull away from their easy schedule.
10. Washington Wizards 10-5
Bradley Beal is back healthy again to help out fellow guard John Wall. Now they will just have to play the waiting game on Nene as he has missed the past three games.
11. Cleveland Cavaliers 8-7
LeBron James is beginning to look like his normal self again, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, with absolutely no rim protection. LeBron is willing his team to victory with those Sports Center highlight plays as usual.
12. Miami Heat 9-7
Chris Bosh is averaging 21+ points a game, and we have a Dwayne Wade sighting for the first time in nearly 2 1/2 weeks. The Heat need to find a way to keep Wade healthy or find a suitable back up as they went 3-4 while he sat.
13. Milwaukee Bucks 10-8
The Bucks are the feel good story of the young NBA season. Larry Sanders is back to anchor their defense, while the Greek freak and Jabari Parker are both averaging double figured scoring. Coach Jason Kidd seems to have figured out his niche in coaching .
14. Atlanta Hawks 9-6
The Hawks got their revenge on the Charlotte Hornets with a 30-point trashing. Jeff Teague is having a great year in terms of PER while Kyle Korver is shooting lights out from deep.
15. Sacramento Kings 9-8
They play hard without DeMarcus Cousins and are playing at a better clip than they were just 365 days ago. They have low assist numbers and if they want to continue their success they need to move the ball better.
16. Oklahoma City Thunder 5-12
The Thunder will not be a top 4 seed for the playoffs this year unless they go on an absolute record-setting winning streak but they will be in contention to claim one of the last 4 spots in the playoff race with Westbrook returning. Kevin Durant should return this week- watch out NBA. The Thunder will be out for blood.
17. Denver Nuggets 8-8
I am torn on the Nuggets. They are a team that needs to play at a fast pace to be successful but coach Brian Shaw wants to slow down the tempo. They are looking better now but it remains to be seen if they can continue to grow in coach Shaw’s system.
18. Phoenix Suns 10-8
Facing a really rough spot in their schedule, the Suns look at a losing streak while waiting for Isaiah Thomas to heal from an ankle injury.
19. Indiana Pacers 7-10
Wins over Chicago, Miami, and Dallas are impressive when playing without David West and Paul George. Frank Vogel is a good coach and he’s earning he’s keep with a below par group of players.
20.New Orleans Pelicans 7-8
Really hard to watch the most impressive player this year in Anthony Davis playing at a sub .500 mark. Hopefully the return of fellow big Omer Asik will improve the defense enough to pull out some more victories.
21. Orlando Magic 7-12
The Magic have an above .500 record after being the absolute worst team on the road a year ago.
22. Brooklyn Nets 6-9
Deron Williams looks decent but can’t seem to get back to his old Jazz playing days. The Nets could see things get worse as 10 of the next 16 games are against teams with a winning record.
23. Utah Jazz 5-12
Gordan Hayward and Derrick Favors have played very well this year and the Jazz have a top three offense but the defense just hasn’t been there. Enes Kanter is seeing his minutes decrease has he remains a huge liability on D. If Coach Snyder can establish the defensive identity he wants, the Jazz could be on the rise
24.Boston Celtics 4-10
Rajon Rondo has not played at his usual All Star level. The Celtics continue with their fourth quarter issues, a learning stage for the young Celtics.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves 4-11
Andrew Wiggins has been thrown in the fire and is assigned to guard the opponents best player night in and night out. They’re giving him the room to learn and grow and the results on an individual level are showing. Not a lot to look forward to except for a game coming up against the 76’ers
26. LA Lakers 4-13
Kobe is the first player in history with 30,000 points and 6,000 assists. He is truly the only reason to watch the Lakers this year.
27. New York Knicks 4-14
Melo is back but after the Knicks got thumped by the returning Russell Westbrook and Co. What is the bright spot in New York? I can’t think of any.
28. Charlotte Hornets 4-14
Second longest losing streak in the NBA and the Hornets have opened up their trade talks to include anyone but Walker and Jefferson. Lance Stephenson hasn’t nearly looked like the player we saw in Indiana last year.
29. Detroit Pistons 3-14
Stan Van Gundy undertook a nearly impossible task of righting the ship in Detroit. He hopes that his roster tweaking will find success.
30. Philadelphia 76’ers 0-16
The worst record in NBA history is all but inevitable. MCW and Noel really can only do so much for a team where the management is committed to losing.