NBA Power Rankings 2019: Warriors rise, Kings fall with month left
30. Knicks (13-55)
Good on Allonzo Trier for becoming the Knicks best player after going undrafted. The cupboards are bare in New York and James Dolan is throwing out fans. #Winning
29. Cavs (17-52)
Collin Sexton is finishing strong and the Cavs are .500 over their last 12 games. This is a 20-25 win team for the next few seasons. Sexton will get plenty of opportunity to show he belongs.
28. Suns (16-53)
Wins over the Bucks and Warriors in a four-game stretch? Linear Champions! 5-3 over the last eight games should have people wondering one thing - what happened during the first 60 games of the season?
27. Bulls (19-50)
Framework of a squad. Zach LaVine is a player. Lauri Markkanen is a player. Otto Porter is a player. Wendell Carter showed promise. There is a path to something here.
26. Hawks (24-45)
Trae Young is averaging 26 points and nine assists per game in the 10 games since the All-Star break. He’ll get some mentions for Rookie of the Year, but that’s already sitting on Luka Doncic’s mantel. John Collins is a Most Improved candidate.
25. Mavs (27-41)
The Mavs have cashed it in for the season. They’ve dropped six straight and 11 of their last 12. Atlanta owns their pick and is loving the slide. It’s okay, the Unicorn will be ready for next season.
24. Grizzlies (28-41)
Despite sending Marc Gasol out at the deadline and shutting down Jaren Jackson Jr., the Grizz are winning just enough to mess up their pick (which the Celtics own). Mike Conley Jr. and Avery Bradley are a nice veteran backcourt pairing.
23. Pelicans (30-40)
Quality veterans gave up a year of their careers to wait and see what the franchise will do with Anthony Davis. It’s a shame.
22. Lakers (31-37)
So much blame to go around. Walton will pay the price, but no free passes LeBron James, Rob Pelinka, Magic Johnson, Jeanie Buss, Jimmy Goldstein, Jack Nicholson…
21. Timberwolves (32-37)
Has Ryan Saunders done enough to keep this job long term? The T-Wolves are in an interesting place. Too talented to be out of it this early.
20. Wizards (29-39)
Bradley Beal is having a great season and Washington is still hanging around. What will this team look like next season when it’s Beal’s show for all 82 games?
19. Hornets (30-37)
Where would this team be without Kemba Walker? They may have to figure that out next season. The veteran scorer is going to have multiple suitors in free agency. Money vs. winning is always a tough one.
18. Magic (32-38)
For the first time in a while, the Magic are in the conversation. Seven games under .500 gets you two games out of the playoff picture in the East. They have an easy schedule to finish the season, but this group hasn’t been in this situation before.
17. Kings (33-34)
Close wins and even closer losses. The Kings surprising season likely won’t end up with a fairytale ending and a trip to the postseason, but they still have a chance at cresting the 40 win mark for the first time in over a decade.
16. Pistons (34-33)
With move closer to securing a postseason berth on Wednesday, Detroit lost by 34 points to the Miami Heat. They’ve played Jekyll and Hyde all season long.
15. Heat (32-35)
That loud thumping noise was the Heat making a speed bump out of the Pistons. Erik Spoelstra is an exceptional coach with an odd roster. Whether he can turn water into wine is another story. At least he’s gotten to see Dwyane Wade give out a bunch of free jerseys to opposing players.
14. Nets (36-34)
How much money has D'Angelo Russell made with his play this season? This is a fun group that plays hard every night and is well coached.
13. Jazz (39-29)
Utah has hit a rough patch, but they have the easiest schedule in the NBA over the last 16 games. They should coast into the postseason, unless they completely lose their way down the stretch.
12. Clippers (39-30)
The Clippers hoisted the white flag at the deadline. And then they pulled it back down and thrashed a series of teams. Barring a monumental collapse, they are going to make the postseason and in doing so, hand their pick to the Celtics. Boston getting someone else’s pick seems like a theme this season.
11. Spurs (39-29)
The demise of the San Antonio Spurs was grossly exaggerated. In typical Popovich fashion, the legendary coach has his team peaking as playoff near. It looks like they’ve found another diamond in the rough with Derrick White.
10. Celtics (42-27)
Boston is 10-2 without Kyrie Irving, proving that the Earth is round. This team doesn’t have the same look or feel that they had the last few seasons. They still have time to pull it together, but are they still a contender?
9. Trail Blazers (41-26)
This is a nice little team. The additions of Hood and Kanter fit perfectly. Lillard, McCollum and Nurkic needed the help. Another quick exit from the playoffs and it might the last we see of this group together.
8. Thunder (41-27)
Who doesn’t want to watch a Thunder vs. Jazz matchup in the playoffs? It won’t happen, but that would be awkward. Heavy discussions are ahead about player and fan interactions.
7. Pacers (44-25)
Nate McMillan has done a remarkable job keeping this team together throughout the year. It’s an island of misfit toys, but somehow it works. While they are a good story, they really need home field advantage in the first round or it could be a short run.
6. Philly (43-25)
Everything is riding on the health of Joel Embiid. If he can stay in one piece, this team has the talent to come out of the East. If he can’t go, the aftermath could get ugly in Philly.
5. Nuggets (45-22)
Michael Malone pulled the plug on the Isaiah Thomas experiment. That must have been a tough conversation. Denver is dangerous and still has a shot at taking the top seed in the Western Conference.
4. Rockets (42-26)
The tune up to the playoffs are upon us. The Rockets were reminded of that Wednesday when the Warriors handed them a tough loss at the Toyota Center. James Harden is the likely MVP, but the real hardware still seems out of reach.
3. Raptors (49-20)
Not afraid to mix things up, Masai Ujiri swung for the fences and reset his roster midseason. If they gel together, this is an interesting team heading into the postseason. Kawhi Leonard should be fresh and ready for a deep playoff run.
2. Warriors (46-21)
The focus is on the postseason, but this isn’t the same team that moved effortlessly through the regular season over the last four year. They have a lot of work to do if they hope to make it a three-peat. DeMarcus Cousins showed up big in the win over the Rockets.
1. Bucks (51-17)
Giannis is a superstar and the front office in Milwaukee has built a winner. Malcolm Brogdon is having a great season. Nikola Mirotic addition might pay huge dividends in the playoffs. The Eastern Conference playoffs are going to fun to watch this season.