NBA Power Rankings: Kings avoid big slide; Warriors into Top 3
From 30 to 1
Four weeks are now in the books...
30. Mavs (2-10)
Mark Cuban must sleep on a giant Cry Jordan Face pillow, with a matching duvet cover. You can’t fix old. Good to see Seth Curry getting some burn.
29. Wizards (3-9)
This is not a good team. At some point it’s time to break it up and start over. The Wizards are quickly approaching that moment.
28. Philly (3-10)
Break up the 76ers! A 3-3 week in Philly is about as rare as finding a sandwich shop in the city that doesn’t sell a cheesesteak. Joel Embiid was worth the wait and he’s the best twitter follow in the league. Can’t wait to buy cases of “The Process - Shirley Temple in a bottle.”
27. Pelicans (4-10)
Jrue Holiday returns, the Pelicans win. Anthony Davis can’t do it alone and so far this season that is exactly what he has had to do. A series of poor free agent miscues have left this roster barren of talent.
26. Suns (4-10)
The youth movement is in full swing in Phoenix. Earl Watson has turned to 19-year-old Marquese Chriss already this season to go with early-20’s somethings Devin Booker, T.J. Warren and Alex Len. No looking back now.
25. Nets (4-9)
Brooklyn has shook off their early attempts to be mediocre and gone right back to the bottom after a four game losing streak. No namers are stepping up to fill some of the holes in this roster, which at least gives them a shot to compete on a nightly basis.
24. Heat (4-8)
After a six game skid, Miami has won two straight to avoid the bottom of the rankings. They lose to good teams and beat the bad teams. They need more games against bad teams. [Enter 76ers stage left]
23. Timberwolves (4-8)
Wiggins and Towns continue their evolution into NBA stardom. This team might be dangerous midway through the year when Thibodeau's teachings begin to sink in. Kris Dunn is in way over his head, but that was to be expected.
22. Nuggets (5-8)
Emmanuel Mudiay is Toonces the Driving Cat and Michael Malone keeps handing him the car keys. 4.3 turnovers per game? Check. 4.3 3-pointers per game despite shooting 27.5 percent from deep? Check. (car flies off cliff and explodes).
21. Kings (5-9)
Dave Joerger has seen enough! He’s going away from the two-big lineup that has clogged the middle and collapsed the Kings’ spacing. The schedule has done this team no favors, but neither has lackluster starts and poor shootarounds. A big controversial win over the Raptors snapped the Kings’ four game losing streak and stopped them from a major slide in the rankings.
20. Bucks (5-7)
A two-man wrecking crew rarely works in the NBA. One week this team is on, the next week they are circling the bowl. Too many repetitive pieces. Jason Kidd’s unwillingness to use Greg Monroe is one of the true mysteries of the game.
19. Magic (6-7)
The NBA’s waistline is filled with teams hovering around .500 like Frank Vogel’s Magic. A 3-1 week against low level talent has Orlando sitting in a tie for the 8th spot in the East and their upcoming schedule is soft.
18. Knicks (6-7)
Is this team playing possum? They have tons of talent, although it’s a hastily thrown together lot. Will they figure it all out and become contenders in the East or will Carmelo and crew remain pretenders?
17. Pistons (6-8)
Come back Reggie. Come back. Jackson is the engine that makes the Pistons purr. Without their flamboyant point guard, the middle is clogged and the 3-point shooters aren’t nearly as open.
16. Lakers (7-7)
Luke Walton invested heavily in smoke and mirrors during the offseason. He has his players buying in, but keeping up this pace is nearly impossible. So many jump shooters and only one ball.
15. Jazz (7-8)
The Jazz are locks, right? They’re going to better than this, right? Does their entire season depend on George Hill? Too many questions?
14. Pacers (7-7)
Half their roster has a sprained ankle, yet the Pacers found a way to win 3-of-4 this week. Nate McMillan deserved another shot to coach in the league. This looks like a solid five or six seed in the East.
13. Celtics (7-6)
Isaiah Thomas is trying to will the Celtics to victory every single night. Boston has the ability to add a star down the stretch, which makes them dangerous.
12. Trail Blazers (8-7)
Dame and C.J. are still lighting it up in Rip City, but this team should have a better record than they do. They have just one win over a team above .500. They are starting to look like they are still a piece or two away from being a top tier team in the West.
11. Thunder (8-6)
When you rely on a player to lead your team in points, rebounds and assists, don’t be surprised when you go through major swings. OKC has lost 5-of-7 after a fast start. Two of their eight wins have come against teams above .500.
10. Grizzlies (8-5)
The Chandler Parsons Project is on hold once again. Memphis keeps plugging away with the same core. Vince Carter beat Father Time in a game of one-on-one and gets to keep playing. The Grim Reaper has next.
9. Rockets (8-5)
If you are going to have a one-man band, surround him with as many shooters as possible. Harden’s scoring and rebound numbers have dipped, but he’s still handing out 12.5 assists per game.
8. Bulls (9-5)
Jimmy Butler was supposed to see a reduction in touches with the additions of Wade and Rondo. That hasn’t happened. The 27-year-old wing is having a breakout season and the Bulls are winning.
7. Raptors (8-5)
Terrence Ross’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was .1 second late Sunday in Sacramento, stopping the Raptors from an appearance in the Top 5. The Kings have their number, which is very strange. If they can stay healthy, this is a dangerous team - until the playoffs.
6. Hawks (9-4)
Atlanta’s lost two in a row and their injury list looks more like a menu at a swanky restaurant. 82 games is a grind on every team in the league, but the Hawks are facing some early season bruises.
5. Hornets (8-4)
Kemba Walker is averaging over 25 points per game. That’s nuts. He’ll need another scorer to step forward if this team has a chance to make noise late in the season.
4. Spurs (10-3)
Gregg Popovich has become an outspoken voice in the anti-Trump movement. Love it or hate it, it’s distracting folks from another great early start by the Spurs who take a five-game win streak into Dallas on Monday night.
3. Warriors (11-2)
Riding a seven-game winning streak, the Warriors are on the rise. But Golden State’s early season schedule is weak sauce. It will turn eventually and the Western Conference All-Star team will have to face competition worthy of their talent. Blowing out the lower echelon of the NBA is expected and nothing to celebrate.
2. Clippers (12-2)
Los Angeles is firing on all cylinders. Their bench is the best it’s been in years. The window is closing on this team, but Chris Paul has his foot in track holding it open for one last run.
1. Cavs (10-2)
It’s convenient to leave the Cavs here. Kevin Love is averaging 20 and 11 and Kyrie is the team’s leading scorer. When was the last time LeBron James didn’t lead his team in scoring? The answer is never.