NBA Power Rankings: Will the early-season losses haunt the Warriors?
From 30 to 1...
Monte Poole stacks up all 30 teams...
30) Grizzlies (18-48)
As hard as it is to lose 17 consecutive games, it has to be even harder to lose by 34 to the Mavericks. How does Deandre Ayton like his barbecue?
29) Suns (19-49)
How far has this franchise fallen? Phoenix is hurtling toward its third straight 50-loss season after only two such seasons in the previous 27 years.
28) Magic (20-47)
Hate to see Aaron Gordon sitting out, but concussions are not to be toyed with. Take your time, AG. We suspect the front office doesn’t mind at all.
27) Hawks (20-47)
Seeing the lowly Bulls coming to town, the Hawks immediately shut down their best player, Dennis Schroder, and lost by seven. That’s next-level tanking, er, thinking.
26) Nets (21-46)
With no incentive to tank -- their top pick goes to Cleveland -- the Nets are playing as if something is at stake. Nothing is, but they’re fun to watch.
25) Kings (21-46)
They’re won five games since Feb. 1, beating Chicago, Dallas, Brooklyn, New York and Orlando. There’s a good chance the Kings will hate themselves when they take the Draft Lottery stage on May 15.
24) Bulls (23-43)
When Michael Jordan was there, we understood. When D-Rose was at his best we understood. But how on earth do the Bulls continue to lead the NBA in attendance (20,664 per game) in the midst of total rebuild?
23) Mavericks (21-46)
Wesley Matthews felt good enough to play Sunday but was told he would not, nor would he be on the team charter for the upcoming road trip. Being blatant is so much easier when the owner already has been fined.
22) Knicks (24-43)
Awful ownership, dreadful roster (without Porzingis) and seven losses in a row. Looking forward to the howls from Knicks fans on draft night.
21) Pistons (30-36)
They were 22-26 before Blake and are 8-10 since. The run toward the playoffs looked good before the break is crumbling. BTW, Blake’s craven dive as DeMar DeRozan came in for a late-game dunk was pure comedy.
20) Hornets (29-38)
Though they’ve had only one bad loss (the Nets) over their last 28 games, the pulse is fading on their playoff chances. They’re late to the tank game, so why not go for it? It is, after all, the Eastern Conference.
19) Lakers (30-36)
Is it tampering if Magic is chopping it up with LeBron’s people at Staples? Just wondering. We see you, Luke. Whatever you’re feeding Julius Randle seems to be putting some stout in his heart.
18) Bucks (35-31)
Welcome back, Brandon Jennings, on a 10-day contract. Don’t know if he can help, but he can’t hurt. The Bucks are 3-6 since the break. They’re 12-9 under Joe Prunty, were 23-22 under Jason Kidd.
17) Nuggets (37-30)
They’re young and talented. The youth often undermines the talent. Their biggest challenge is the upcoming schedule: five home games, 10 on the road, where they are slightly better than Sacramento.
16) 76ers (36-29)
They were 15-19 over their first 34 games, 21-10 over their last 31. They’ve won more games so far this season than in any of the previous six. They’re closing in on their first playoff berth since 2012.
15) Clippers (36-29)
They’re 8-3 over their last 11, with losses to the Warriors, the hot Pelicans and hotter Rockets. Doc Rivers may be doing his best coaching job since coming to LA. Trying to keep the job, eh?
14) Wizards (38-29)
Tough schedule lately for the Wall-less Wiz, and it won’t get much easier any time soon. They believe he’ll return within two weeks.
13) Heat (36-31)
Dwyane Wade’s return to South Beach has been a rousing success. The basketball ain’t bad, either. Let’s hope this hammy thing doesn’t linger, though.
12) Spurs (37-29)
Please, Kawhi, come back. Soon. We hear maybe Thursday. Good, because your productive return is the only way we’ll get Pop in the postseason.
11) Cavaliers (38-28)
Moving Larry Nance Jr. to center makes sense in today’s NBA. But it’s a bandage on a roster that, truth told, is only slightly better than the Cavs LeBron led to The Finals in 2007.
10) Timberwolves (39-29)
KAT is a beast, but losing Jimmy Butler will cost them a top-four spot in the West. Coach Thibs has fond memories D-Rose. Memories.
9) Thunder (39-29)
Losing Andre Roberson has been as devastating to OKC, so far, as the player losses in Boston or New Orleans. It’s hard to build win streaks with a wobbly D, and OKC’s D can barely stand up.
8) Pelicans (38-28)
No big man in the NBA is having a better 2018 than Anthony Davis. Monster numbers for a team thought to be done when Big Cuz went down. And, hey, Jrue, we like what you’re doing.
7) Jazz (37-30)
Nine games under .500 on Jan. 22, seven over on March 11. They’re sprinting toward the playoffs, and Rudy Gobert is loping after the DPOY award.
6) Pacers (39-28)
Victor Oladipo is a top-five shooting guard. Nate McMillan is doing the best job of his three-team coaching career. These guys don’t quit.
5) Celtics (46-21)
Anybody seen Al Horford? Tell him some dude wearing his jersey has scored 69 points in seven games since the All-Star break. Tell him this, too: Kyrie is limping about on a tender knee and looking for him.
4) Trail Blazers (40-26)
Dame. He has a measure of help, but Dame’s face is on the cash in this team’s wallet and his teammates are a deep bag of loose change.
3) Warriors (51-16)
After living a charmed existence for three years, they’re seeing the other side. Half the rotation wants to get healthy, and the other half is on the sideline. Is there any doubt those early-season losses will haunt them?
2) Raptors (49-17)
They’re 0-2 against the Warriors this season, but the wounded champs want no part of them these days. Carefully, while few folks were looking, GM Masai Ujiri has built the NBA’s most lethal bench.
1) Rockets (52-14):
They’ve underperformed several times in recent years, but this version of the Rockets is caught up in the joy of winning. The 17-game win streak ends and the next day they become the first team to clinch a playoff spot.