Power Rankings: Week Fourteen

It remains clear of who the top teams are, but are any darkhorse teams rising? See where your team sits in this week’s power rankings.

  1. San Antonio Spurs(38-6)- Another perfect week for the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio finally gets the matchup they, Golden State and the fans have been waiting for when they face off against Golden State on Monday night. Unfortunately for the Spurs, Tim Duncan will be sidelined for knee soreness, so we will not get a full strength matchup. Even without Duncan, Popovich will have an elite game plan to combat the other goliath within the Western Conference.
  2. Golden State Warriors(40-4)- Golden State has gotten back on their groove after a questionable week of basketball. They face the test of their season when they square up against San Antonio on Monday night. Although it is just a regular season game, it will show who has the advantage between the two teams looking like they will be hosting another banner this year.
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder(33-13)- Oklahoma City continues to be the odd man out when we talk about championship teams. In a perfect world, we would be able to move Oklahoma City to the Eastern Conference so they could matchup with the likes of either Golden State or San Antonio, but they will likely have to battle past both of these teams if they want a championship with Durant on the roster.
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers(30-12)- Cleveland dropped two humiliating losses to Golden State and Chicago this past week. David Blatt was fired, and replaced by LeBron endorsed, Tyronn Lue. Although it is said LeBron had nothing to do with this, we all know he gets his way in Cleveland. It will be interesting to see if Lue can figure out all the chemistry mid-way through the season, and get this ship back on track.
  5. Toronto Raptors(29-15)- Toronto continues to look impressive in the Eastern Conference. They are currently on a eight game winning streak, with most of these wins being by double digits. The schedule continues to be favorable for the next few weeks, so if Cleveland cannot connect with their new head coach, Toronto could make a claim for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
  6. Los Angeles Clippers(28-16)- Los Angeles was really hoping for the return of All-Star forward Blake Griffin this week, but he was not able to get cleared for game action. Los Angeles was still able to get two wins, but their losses to Toronto and Cleveland leave a bad taste in people’s minds if they can be a contender come the postseason. Los Angeles will be a better team with Griffin, but those were two prove it games for the Clippers.
  7. Dallas Mavericks(25-21)- Dallas had a mediocre week. Although Chandler Parsons had broken out the past few games, they will need this and more if they want to continue to make noise in the Western Conference. On the sad side of things, Zaza Pachulia missed out as being an All-Star starter by only 14,000 votes, so next time step up Maverick fans.
  8. Atlanta Hawks(26-19)- Atlanta needs to start winning games against weaker competition. The Kings are on a hot streak, but teams like Atlanta should be able to handle them, while a loss to Phoenix is unacceptable. The schedule is about to get stronger, so we will see how they handle the tougher competition of the league.
  9. Chicago Bulls(25-18)- Well Chicago continues to give glimpses of the potential they have. They were able to handle the Detroit Pistons, but the next game they were manhandled by the Warriors, and dropped a game in Boston. Chicago was able to rally and beat up Cleveland in Cleveland, but the inconsistency is going to cost this squad an Eastern Conference championship. If the Bulls can continue to get Warriors game Derrick Rose, they have a shot for winning the East, but other than that, things do not look so well.
  10. Memphis Grizzlies(25-20)- Memphis has won six of the past eight, and seem to have found their identity as they have completed half of their season. Memphis still needs to add some more shooters if they want to compete in the Western Conference playoffs, and with an abundant amount of shooters on the market, expect Memphis to be hitting the phones.
  11. Indiana Pacers(23-21)- Indiana has dropped five of the past six, and its been from of a lack of defense. Whether it be from the paint or the perimeter, Indiana looks to be lacking any effort defending their opponent. Without a dominant offense, Indiana will need to fix this issue soon before they fall too far down the standings.
  12. Miami Heat(23-21)- Miami is in a funk. They have dropped eight of the last ten, and those two wins were against Denver and Phoenix, so not very impressive. Their offense has been nonexist for this stretch, while their defense is riddled with holes for opponents to attack. If Miami wants to compete for an Eastern Conference crown, or a playoff spot for those matters, Miami will need to make some roster moves to add more talent to the roster.
  13. Boston Celtics(24-21)- After a good week last week, Boston went back to their up and down selves. Boston continues to tread water with the rest of the five or six teams vying for the 6-8 seeds in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, and without a good run they may slip out of the playoff standings. With all of their assets, and the trade deadline approaching next month, Boston is a team to watch out for with making a big move.
  14. Houston Rockets(24-22)- Remember when everyone was writing off the Rockets like two weeks ago? I do, as a wrote an article on how they should trade Dwight Howard, which I still think they should do. Although Houston seems to have gotten their season back on track, they still lack the talent to win this conference for this season.
  15. Detroit Pistons(23-21)- Detroit has dropped five of the past seven, and it can be attributed to their lack of effort on the defensive end of the court. Their offense can be electric, but with a porous defense, playoff caliber teams are able to exploit them for easy buckets. The schedule does not let up over the next few weeks, so if Detroit wants to slip into the playoffs they will need to man up, and play some better defense.
  16. New York Knicks(22-24)- After a couple thrilling overtime victories over the likes of Philadelphia and Utah, New York was tossed around by the Clippers and Hornets. New York has been known all season for their up and down play, and it will likely continue for the rest of the season. They are not far off from being a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, but they will likely need to make a trade to add another scorer to make a difference.
  17. Washington Wizards(20-21)- Watching this team struggle is so disappointing with how much talent is there. Their offense can hang with anyone if it shows up, but most nights they come out flat, while the defense remains a constant issue. The schedule is about to get a lot tougher, so Washington needs to step it up if they want to sniff the playoffs.
  18. Orlando Magic(20-22)- Orlando is currently on a five game losing streak, and losers in nine of the past ten games. The schedule does not get any easier in the coming weeks, so Orlando could be in for a world of hurt. The once surging squad has lost all sense of identity, and need some veteran presence to right the ship.
  19. Sacramento Kings(20-23)- Sacramento is on a five game winning streak, and three of those wins have been against current playoff seeded teams. With Rondo dominating the assist category, and DeMarcus Cousins proving to be the best center in the league, the Kings are riding high, as they should. The schedule remains favorable for them over the next three weeks, so they need to take advantage to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
  20. Portland Trail Blazers(20-26)- Portland continues to stay in the playoff hunt by winning five of their past seven. The schedule starts to fill up with playoff caliber teams in the coming weeks, so Portland will need to continue to play at a high level to stay in contention for a postseason berth. The backcourt is terrific, but a mediocre frontcourt could have the Trail Blazers hitting the phones to try and upgrade.
  21. Utah Jazz(19-24)- Without Derrick Favors this team continues to hurt on the glass and low post scoring. To make matters worse, after two heartbreaking overtime losses, Utah has finally fallen out of the current playoff seeding. The Jazz are desperate for the return of Favors, and with the pesky Kings and Trail Blazers hanging around, they need him now if they want to stay in contention.
  22. Charlotte Hornets(21-23)- Well after falling off the face of the earth for a couple weeks of terrible basketball, Kemba Walker led this team to three victories this past week. Charlotte’s schedule remains easy over the next couple weeks, so they can play their way back into playoff contention, but it will require consistent wins, or they will again be on the outside looking in.
  23. Milwaukee Bucks(19-27)- Milwaukee just looked out of gas this past week on the bookend of their four game road trip. The better defense they had been playing was lost, and the offense failed to show up. If Milwaukee wants to make a run at the playoffs, the schedule still remains favorable over the coming weeks, but they will need to stay focused to make this goal happen. On a positive side, Jason Kidd is scheduled to return this week to become the active head coach again.
  24. New Orleans Pelicans(16-27)- New Orleans has won five of the past six, and after such a disastrous start, the Pelicans have played themselves into contention for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. It would be remarkable if they were able to make it to the playoffs, but with the need to rebuild a better roster around Davis, it is hard to see why they would want to make the playoffs this season.
  25. Denver Nuggets(17-27)- Denver continues to be on a rocky season, with my valleys than peaks, but they are hanging in there. They only remain four games away from the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and a nice run could have them in the playoffs, and with the upcoming schedule it could happen. Although I do not expect this to happen, crazier things have happened in the league.
  26. Minnesota Timberwolves(14-31)- Minnesota has been as dreadful as Phoenix this season. The biggest news of the Twin Cities continues to be when they start trading of the veterans. Kevin Martin’s name has been cold as of late, but when the deadline gets closer, his name will become hot. Shabazz Muhammad has broken out this season, and the Wolves would be wise to keep developing the young wing as a piece of the future core.
  27. Phoenix Suns(14-31)- As everyone knows, Phoenix has been the biggest trainwreck of the NBA season. Devin Booker has looked great the past week, and that is a good sign for the future of the desert. Tyson Chandler has also shown signs of life this past week, and may now actually have some trade value for the Suns to take advantage of. The next month is almost all playoff caliber squads, so winning should not be expected from this squad.
  28. Brooklyn Nets(12-33)- Brooklyn was able to snap a five game losing streak by defeating the red hot Thunder on Sunday night. If trends continue, Brooklyn is in store for another losing streak after a win, so do not get any hopes up Brooklyn fans. It will be interesting to see if the Nets are able to make any moves to improve their future with so little assets on the roster.
  29. Los Angeles Lakers(9-37)– The Lakers are currently on a six game losing streak, and have lost nine of the past ten games. The defense on this team is horrid, and so is the offense. There is not much this team can do with it being Kobe’s last season, but they can sell some of their assets in the coming month to make the transition to a new era a little easier. Expect a few veterans to get shipped out soon.
  30. Philadelphia 76ers(5-37)(6-39)- Philadelphia is starting to get the hang of winning, after 45 games. Although they will not contend with any of the top teams in the league, mid-level talent teams need to watch out so they are not surprised by this young team. Although the loss to Boston was humiliating, Philadelphia hung in there and fought to the end. The schedule is about to get rough, so these types of losses may become a regular thing.

By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s