Power Rankings: Week Thirteen

Contenders and pretenders are beginning to unveil themselves as we hit the midpoint of the season. See where your team sits in this week’s power rankings.

  1. San Antonio Spurs(36-6)- After a dominating performance over Cleveland, San Antonio is finally the number one team on these rankings. Kawhi Leonard has emerged to be a top five player in this league, one who can stop LeBron James, and score on him. Their defense is capable of stopping the most potent attacks in the league, while their team oriented offense is almost impossible for opposing teams to figure out. San Antonio has a lot of momentum right now, and it will be interesting to see how they carry that in the second half of the season.
  2. Golden State Warriors(37-4)- Although many other sites have removed Golden State from the top rankings over the past few weeks, I kept faith in this team to dominate. Golden State slowed down this past week, while San Antonio continue to flex their muscles. Golden State is still on pace to get 70 wins, but even that may not be enough to get the best record in the conference.
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers(28-10)- After a disappointing loss in San Antonio, Cleveland demolished the Houston Rockets. After a relatively easy schedule the past few weeks, Cleveland gets a tough stretch with games Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers, and Chicago Bulls all on the slate for this week. Luckily for the Cavaliers, all of these games will be played in Quicken Loans Arena.
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder(30-12)- Oklahoma City is on a roll. Their offense is one of the scariest in the league, while the defense has the potential to be stifling. The sad thing for this team is that they play in the Western Conference. With the likes of Golden State and San Antonio in the conference, Oklahoma City will need to make a move in the next month to shore up their bench for a postseason run.
  5. Los Angeles Clippers(26-14)- Los Angeles has their ten game winning streak snapped by the Kings on Saturday night. Even though the streak was lost, Los Angeles received some great news of Blake Griffin to likely return as early as Thursday. This would be a huge boost, as Los Angeles starts a five game Eastern Conference road trip, which starts with Cleveland.
  6. Toronto Raptors(25-15)- Toronto was a participant in the league’s annual London game. The game did not disappoint the international viewers, as Orlando and Toronto went to overtime. Toronto is currently on a four game winning streak, but they do face a challenging schedule this week. With their deadly offensive attack, Toronto has a good chance to continue their winning ways.
  7. Atlanta Hawks(24-17)- Atlanta started the week off very poorly, losing to the struggling Hornets, before dropping an overtime thriller to the Bucks. Atlanta bounced back with a nearly thirty point win over Brooklyn. Atlanta is heading into a stretch of their schedule where the teams are super inconsistent. Atlanta will need to stay focused, as they cannot afford to keep dropping winnable games during the second half of the season.
  8. Dallas Mavericks(23-19)- Dallas had a tough week of basketball. They played Cleveland tough, but were blown away by both Oklahoma City and San Antonio. Dallas was able to secure a win over Chicago, and make this week somewhat positive. After a grueling schedule, Dallas gets a few bottom feeders to fix up their record.
  9. Chicago Bulls(23-16)- After a six game win streak, Chicago had a three game losing streak, and we barely able to snap it against the lowly 76ers. Against Dallas, Jimmy Butler was ineffective, and therefore the entire team struggled to produce any points. Joakim Noah has also been lost for the season with a dislocated shoulder. Although injuries are never to be cherished, it will free up Bobby Portis to get more playing time, and the Bulls are considerably better with him playing more minutes.
  10. Miami Heat(23-18)- Miami continues to struggle against the better teams in the league. This was evident by losses to the Warriors, Clippers, and Thunder this past week. Miami still has the talent to be a contender in the Eastern Conference, but unless they make a trade to add more reliable scorer, they will not be able to compete with whoever wins the Western Conference.
  11. Memphis Grizzlies(23-19)- Memphis seems to have found their groove for their season after a rocky season. Mario Chalmers has come on to be a great leader off the bench, and now that he is not the man being blamed for everything wrong, he is excelling. Marc Gasol continues to dominate the center position, and the defense we all loved is back. The schedule continues to be favorable over the next few weeks, so expect Memphis to make a nice run into the middle of the standings.
  12. Indiana Pacers(22-19)- Indiana had a very bad week of basketball. Their usual tough defense was nowhere to be found, while their offense struggled to score points. With the string of weaker competition beginning to run down, Indiana needs to win these games or face the reality of not making the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
  13. Boston Celtics(22-19)- After a four game losing streak, Boston was able to snap that last Wednesday, and get back to their winning ways. Although their defense has been lackluster as of late, their offense is beginning to find new ways to score. Other good news, Marcus mart was able to get his first ever NBA triple-double. The schedule does not ease up anytime soon, so the offense will need to keep playing at a high level.
  14. Detroit Pistons(22-18)- Detroit’s positive for the week was making the Warriors look helpless. Even though they could not slow down Curry, the rest of the Warriors struggled to figure out this team. The Memphis game was a heartbreaker, but Detroit cannot let these type of games come down to the wire.  A big game Monday, against the Chicago Bulls can help Detroit soar up the standings.
  15. Houston Rockets(22-20)- Besides any ugly loss to Cleveland, Houston has started to look like a competitive team again(Note only two of the past six wins were against winning teams). Houston’s schedule gets a lot tougher over the coming weeks, and although they are clearly better than the rest of the teams vying for a low playoff spot, they will need to step and win to keep their distance from these other teams.
  16. Orlando Magic(20-19)- Orlando has fallen into a funk that plagued them in the beginning of the season. They have dropped six of the past seven, and the only win was against Brooklyn. The offense has been nonexist in those six losses. Orlando needs to find more production from Elfrid Payton, who has been below average this season. The struggle is easier this week, so Orlando needs to step up before they fall to far down the standings.
  17. New York Knicks(20-22)- After a couple weeks of winning basketball, New York came back to Earth this week. Carmelo Anthony is starting to battle injuries, and New York needs to be precaution, as they will need him to fight for a playoff spot. Kristaps Porzingis continues to dominate in his rookie year, and we can only imagine how dominate he will be when he hits his prime. New York has three extremely winnable games this week, so let us see if they can take advantage.
  18. Washington Wizards(19-20)- With the return of Bradley Beal, Washington was able to get back to winning. Beal and Wall make for one of the best backcourt pairings in the NBA, but their key is remaining healthy. Washington has to battle though quite a few playoff caliber teams over the next few weeks, so we will see if they can win, and get back to the playoff caliber team we thought they would be.
  19. Utah Jazz(18-22)- Utah was finally able to get back Rudy Gobert back, and the big man makes a huge difference, but he needs his frontcourt partner back if Utah wants to make a run for the playoffs. Derrick Favors continues to be questionable for every game, so his return is uncertain. The schedule is favorable the next two weeks, so a return of Favors could help separate the Jazz from the rest of the eighth seed contenders.
  20. Portland Trail Blazers(18-25)-The sporadic play from Portland continues. The loss to Philadelphia was embarrassing for this squad, but a week before they beat the Thunder. The schedule is rather easy over the next two weeks, so Portland can keep pace to get a playoff spot if they want to stay that course.
  21. Milwaukee Bucks(18-25)- Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton dominated their opponents this past week. Both are averaging over 20 points per game over the past week, showing great signs for the future in Milwaukee. At this time last week, many people expected Milwaukee to start exploring trades for Greg Monroe, but after a 3-1 week, Milwaukee is back in the hunt for a playoff spot if they maintain their momentum. Although a lottery pick would better suit this franchise, winning keeps the fan base happy.
  22. Sacramento Kings(17-23)- Sacramento remains as a very unpredictable team. They start the week by losing by 12 to the Pelicans, but finish the week snapping the ten game winning streak of the Los Angeles Clippers.  DeMarcus Cousins remains to be a dominate force for this team, but again his supporting cast if failing him. Sacramento has been in talks for Ryan Anderson for Rudy Gay, so it will be interesting to see if a trade can materialize between the two forwards.
  23. Denver Nuggets(16-25)- Denver continues to not give up, and that has translated to wins in four of the last six, including one over Golden State. Denver is no playoff contender talent wise, but with how bad the bottom of the Western Conference is, they may have a chance to sneak in with their recent play. Although this would not be in the best interest of the franchise, no one likes to tank besides the 76ers.
  24. Charlotte Hornets(18-22)- Charlotte continued their downward spiral this past week. Charlotte has lost all sense of identity on both ends of the court, and is unknown how this will be changed this season. With two key free agents on their team in, Nic Batum and Al Jefferson, the losing may push these players away, and send the Hornets into a even deeper hole.
  25. New Orleans Pelicans(13-26)- New Orleans will not go away this season, even though they have such a slim chance to make the playoffs. Their schedule does look favorable over the coming weeks, so it will be interesting to see if they have finally pieced everything together and can make a run for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. If winning is not obtainable, New Orleans will look to cash in on forward Ryan Anderson for the future.
  26. Minnesota Timberwolves(13-29)- Minnesota was able to snap their nine game losing streak by beating the Phoenix Suns. Winning is not likely to continue for Minnesota as their offense is not reliable, as well as a porous defense. The best thing going for Minnesota is the asset in Kevin Martin, who is already generating a lot of interest, even though his accuracy is off this season. The highlight for this season will be the continued development of Wiggins and Towns, as well as the asset they will get for Martin.
  27. Phoenix Suns(13-29)- The trainwreck season continues in the desert. Phoenix lacks any sort of identity on either end of the court, and the injuries continue to pile up for this team. The team does not have many valuable assets, so it will be interesting to see how they handle the approaching trade deadline.
  28. Brooklyn Nets(11-30)- Brooklyn continues to struggle this season without a go to star player. Many people are waiting for Brooklyn to break this squad up, and restart. Brooklyn is looking at hiring former Bulls head coach, Tom Thibodeau. This would be the highlight of their season, as Thibodeau is knowing for his defensive mind, and Brooklyn is desperate for this aspect of basketball.
  29. Los Angeles Lakers(9-34)– Los Angeles knows the season is lost at this point, and it is now about keeping Kobe healthy enough for road games. D’Angelo Russell is starting to find his groove and become the offensive mastermind they envisioned, while Randle is finding his way in the paint. This team may not be winning any titles soon, but their future keeps looking better and better with the development of Russell.
  30. Philadelphia 76ers(5-37)- Philadlephia was able to secure their first blowout win of the season against the Portland Trail Blazers. Although this is not likely going to happen often this season, it is a promising sign of how far this squad has come this year. With the trade deadline coming up, expect to hear Philadlephia to become active looking to acquire salary and picks.

By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17


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