NBA Power Rankings: Will anything derail Warriors from reaching Finals?
From 30 to 1...
Welcome to this week’s version of the NBA Power Rankings, where we take into account the finish line is only seven weeks away. The trade deadline smoke has cleared, buyouts loom and here comes the dash for cash.
By the way: Welcome back, Magic.
30) Nets (9-49)
Go home and stay until 2019. You’re 0-for-February and 1-25 in 2017. Your future is a gloomy shade of charcoal gray. No wonder Jay-Z bounced.
29) Lakers (19-41)
We feel you, Luke, and you, too, B-Shaw. But it’s time to play the kids, take a seat, cross your legs and chat with the celebs. Then close your eyes and hope for Lottery Magic.
28) Suns (18-41)
One road victory in the last five weeks, and that was at Sac. You’re 7-32 in the Western Conference. Thank goodness baseball starts early in the desert.
27) 76ers (22-36)
Oh, the promise of tomorrow. There was, for a brief moment, joy and hope. Suddenly, the life has been sucked out. Pour one out, again, for Philly.
26) Magic (22-38)
We don’t blame you, Coach Frankie. We blame your GM. He adds Ibaka and then subtracts Ibaka. With confusion at the top, the hamster wheel of sub-mediocrity spins on.
25) Knicks (24-35)
They wanted you gone, Melo. You should’ve wanted out. Instead, you volunteered to be locked inside the asylum known as the House of Phil.
24) Pelicans (23-37)
Boogie to the Bayou! Yes! KD says AD-Boogie “could be legendary.” Po’ boys, beignets and ring ceremonies? We think not. We’ll trust it when we see it working.
23) Kings (25-34)
Vlade says he’s out if he fails to win. Better fire up the resume. Meanwhile, Vivek believes Buddy Buckets is the next Steph. We like Buddy, but please pump the brakes to a full stop.
22) Hornets (25-33)
Three wins in the five weeks, all against the Nets and Kings. Hey Mike, it’s time for the comeback. We know you’re 54, but your team needs you on the court.
21) Timberwolves (23-36)
We see you, Wiggs. Keep bringing it. You, too, KAT. We also see Ricky Rubes, and his point-guard game looks like 50 losses and the lottery.
20) Trail Blazers (24-34)
We’d say you need more time. But we’ve been saying that since Thanksgiving. We’re out. Even with Big Nurk, it’s Dame and CJ and call it a day.
19) Mavericks (23-35)
We see the white flag, Cubes? You bounced D-Will and Bogues, for Yogi and Nerls. The post-Dirk era has begun. It’s your time, Harry B.
18) Bucks (26-31)
Winning four of five tells us you are ready to make your move. Finally. Here comes a trip to the Land. Get that, and we’ll start believing. Maybe.
17) Nuggets (26-33)
We see you holding that 8-seed. We think you’re going to lose your grip. We know you can score, but we’re not buying the league’s worst defense making it to the playoffs.
16) Heat (27-32)
You’ve won 16 of 19, so you’re serious about this playoff push. Keep in mind, fellas, that Pat and his guys are scouting up a storm. Not trying to tell you to lose. Just saying.
15) Pistons (28-31)
Happy Jersey Retirement, Rip. You and your headband deserve it. Now, about those papers Stan handed you. It’s a contract. He’s tired of looking at the other Reggie Jackson and wants you to sign.
14) Pacers (30-29)
PG stays in Indy. He wants to be a Laker. He’ll have to wait until he opts out in 2018, because we don’t see Larry Legand trading him to LaLa Land.
13) Thunder (34-25)
We believe you got better at the trade deadline. Taj will help, and so will Dougie McBuckets. But if you’re thinking top-4 seed, keep dreaming.
12) Hawks (32-26)
Snooze City. You’ve lost four of five and the Celtics are next. Even with Dwight, you remains the NBA’s plain white T-shirt, absolutely functional yet utterly inessential.
11) Clippers (35-23)
Save ‘em, CP3, because without you the Clips amount to little more than three names and a maybe.
10) Bulls (30-29)
Bad trade. We’re like Taj and you’re going to miss him. But you’ve won four in a row. And we suspect D-Wade and Jimmy B are going to will you into the second round.
9) Grizzlies (35-25)
You’ve beaten the Warriors, the Spurs, the Cavaliers and the Rockets. Nobody wants to play you. We bow to the league’s most tenacious team.
8) Raptors (35-24)
You’ve always had talent, but are we seeing signs of toughness? That would be new to The North. Show some backbone, fellas. You might surprise yourselves.
7) Wizards (34-23)
Back-to-back losses and the Warriors are next. No matter how you look, and sometime you impress, you smell like 49 wins and a second-round KO.
6) Jazz (37-22)
On Gordie, on Rudy, on G-Hill, too. Healthy at last, and here they come. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
5) Celtics (38-21)
We can’t express our disappointment enough, Danny. You had the Cavs in your sights and 111 draft picks. This was your chance. And you blinked.
4) Rockets (42-18)
Three middy Js for an entire 48-minute game? You fellas are exxtreme. Mike D wants y’all to shoot 50 treys per game, and you’re all over it.
3) Cavaliers (40-17)
Deals keep coming and Bron keeps pleading, “can’t get no satisfaction.” Has a defending champ ever made so many in-season changes? Yo, Land, you’re equal part hoops and lab experiment.
2) Spurs (45-13)
You don’t have to say it, Kawhi. We know you won’t. But we can read you. We can tell you’re tired of hearing that Russ and The Beard are the only MVP candidates.
1) Warriors (49-9)
You have your issues, yet it didn’t prevent you from clinching a playoff spot earlier than any team in history. Can’t imagine anything derailing this train to the NBA Finals.