NBA Power Rankings: Kings jump a few spots, battered Warriors keep slipping
NBA Power Rankings
Welcome to another week of Power Rankings! The season is winding down and teams are fighting for both playoff and lottery position. It should be an interesting final few weeks of the regular season.
30. Hawks (21-53)
Resting Dennis Schroder against the Kings after he scores a season-high 41 in a win over the Utah Jazz is pathetic. It’s hard to watch when teams don’t even try to hide the tank.
29. Grizzlies (19-54)
You have to try to lose 19 straight game. The Grizzlies tried and succeeded. This is the reason there needs to be changes in the draft lottery. The basketball gods can’t reward this behavior.
28. Suns (19-55)
Two ten game losing streaks in the last 21 games for the Suns. Josh Jackson has started to put up numbers, but it’s hard to judge a players stats when his team is consistently losing by 25. 30th ranked team in both offensive and defensive rating this season. Consistent.
27. Mavs (22-51)
Cuban stopped talking about tanking to avoid losing more than just a giant wad of cash. Maybe he’s just working on his potential presidential campaign slogan. Or Shark Tank. Is he still allowed to say Shark Tank?
26. Magic (22-51)
Frank Vogel is looking like one of the first coaches to lose his job come mid-April. That’s a shame. The Magic started the season 8-4. They are 14-47 since.
25. Nets (23-51)
Dante wrote a book about this. Unfortunately, the Nets have only reached the seventh level of hell. Two more levels to go.
24. Bulls (24-49)
A team that’s 19 games under .500 is all the way up at No. 24? Welcome to the 2017-18 tank-a-thon! Chicago has found a couple of pieces for their rebuild, but like the 18 teams below them in the standings, they needs a star to add to the mix.
23. Kings (24-50)
Buddy Hield is finishing the season strong. The Kings are 6-7 over their last 13 games. They are a young team still trying to figure things out, but there is an outline of a future in Sacramento.
22. Knicks (27-47)
Scott Perry has a lot of work to do. This roster is missing most of it’s parts and the one piece they do have (The Unicorn) isn’t going to be ready to play for the first few months of next season. Good luck with that.
21. Pistons (33-40)
Stan Van Gundy’s last ditch effort to salvage the Pistons season backfired in dramatic fashion. This team has too much talent to be this bad in the East. We’ve been saying this for two or three seasons. Time for a change.
20. Hornets (33-41)
Dwight Howard dropped a 30-30 game this week. Too bad it came with his 16th tech and a suspension. The 32-year-old is having a surprisingly good season. He has Hall of Fame credentials, including 14 straight seasons averaging over 10 rebounds per game.
19. Lakers (32-40)
Luke Walton has done a great job with this young team. Julius Randle has turned into a bull and made things very interesting this summer when he hits free agency. The Lakers have some big decisions to make this offseason.
18. Clippers (39-34)
Doc Rivers has done an amazing job keeping this team in the hunt. They’ve fallen back from the pack over the last week, but after losing CP3 and dealing Blake, this looked like a 30 win team.
17. Nuggets (40-33)
Denver is in a dogfight. They trail the Jazz by a game for the eighth seed with nine remaining. They’re also three and a half games out of the four seed. It’s a tight race that will come down to the wire, but Michael Malone and his club have a lot riding on this last stretch of games.
16. Bucks (39-34)
Disappointing to see the Bucks back their way into the playoff. On paper, they look a lot better than an eighth seed. Milwaukee is 16-12 since the firing of Jason Kidd, but just 6-9 over their last 15 games.
15. Heat (39-35)
Never count out an Erik Spoelstra coached team out. They’ve holding onto the eighth spot in the East and are just a game and half behind the Wizards for the sixth seed. Either way, they are set for an early exit from the playoffs, but you have to love the fight.
14. Wizards (40-33)
John Wall better hurry up and get back on the court, because this team is struggling. The Wizards invested heavily in this group over the last few years. They never seem to take the leap forward that you expect.
13. Timberwolves (42-32)
It wasn’t that long ago that Minny was the darling of the league. Now they are clinging to their playoff hopes. They have a game and a half lead over the Nuggets with eight games remaining, but they play Denver twice. They could really use Jimmy Butler right about now.
12. Pacers (43-31)
This is a typical middle of the pack Eastern Conference team. Kevin Pritchard did a nice job of assembling talent. Nate McMillan has flown under the radar with the coaching job he’s done. This team isn’t scary, but they play hard and have lots of options.
11. Pelicans (43-31)
If it wasn’t for the season that James Harden is having, Anthony Davis might be looking at an MVP award. What he has done in the absence of DeMarcus Cousins has been amazing. They trail the Spurs by a half game for the fifth seed, but their final eight games are no cake walk.
10. Spurs (43-31)
The Kawhi Leonard saga drags on. The star wing has put Gregg Popovich’s run of 50-win seasons in jeopardy. Team meeting, no team meeting, this team has no chance in the playoffs unless Leonard rejoins the group.
9. Jazz (42-32)
This team has been on fire since late January. They could finish as high as third in the West, but they could also stumble and find themselves on the outside looking in. Ben Simmons has been really good, but Donovan Mitchell gets our vote for Rookie of the Year.
8. Philly (42-30)
Philly is making their move. They’ve strung together six straight wins and they trail the Cavs by just a game for the third seed. They are still really young, but this might be one of those teams that no one wants to face come playoff time.
7. Thunder (44-31)
This team very well could finish in the top three in the West after sputtering through much of the season. Who knew that Corey Brewer would be the missing ingredient for a team packed with highly paid stars?
6. Cavs (44-29)
LeBron is doing Lebron things. Kevin Love is back. The additions of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. look like homeruns. George Hill is playing very similar in a Cavs jersey to the guy that showed up in Sacramento for the first half of the season.
5. Celtics (50-23)
Kyrie Irving is out 3-6 weeks after a knee procedure, but Boston’s spot in the playoffs is already secured. Terry Rozier is the man of the hour for the Celtics as they try to hold it together down the stretch and potentially into the first round without their star.
4. Warriors (54-19)
The Warriors injury report looks more like an MVP ballot. Steph’s knee issue has to have the team worried. Quinn Cook has come out of nowhere to help this team, but the Dubs have no shot of repeating if they can’t get healthy.
3. Trail Blazers (45-28)
Terry Stotts is pulling all the right strings. Six of their final nine games come against teams vying for playoff position. They also get a couple of freebies against the Grizzlies as they try to hold onto the three seed in the West.
2. Raptors (54-20)
This might be the Raptors year to come out of the East. Dwane Casey has his team playing incredible ball and they’ve avoided the big injury. It will always come down to LeBron James and the Cavs, but the Toronto might finally have the team and the system to get through.
1. Rockets (60-14)
Houston has run away with the top seed in the West and they’ve stayed relatively healthy in doing so. The Rockets are 26-1 over their last 27 games and it doesn’t even feel like we’ve seen their best yet.