NBA Power Rankings: Warriors still not No. 1; Kings slip
From 30 to 1...
James Ham stacks up all 30 teams...
30. Nets (8-24)
Back to the bottom with you! Losing with pace is still losing. 1-7 over their last eight. Not a lot to like here.
29. Philly (8-24)
I want a t-shirt of Joel Embiid wearing a Joel Embiid t-shirt. He and DeMarcus Cousins are still swatting each other on the back-side. The NBA is a better place with Embiid in it.
28. Suns (10-24)
It’s Dragan Bender time! Brandon Knight needs a new home. Jared Dudley was playing well before getting benched. Building through the draft never feels good.
27. Heat (10-25)
Just read that Hassan Whiteside was “poked in the eye and it is unclear if he will be available Sunday.” The Heat’s injury report is brutal, but the wording is strangely amusing.
26. Lakers (12-25)
Lakers are 2-14 after a 10-10 start. Lou Williams has been a bright spot, but Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell are basically the same player. Bands with four lead guitarists rarely work out.
25. Mavs (10-24)
There should be a giant “For Sale” sign hanging on the outside of the American Airlines Center. I’m not sure what you build around here, but Dallas needs to pick up assets for aging players before they turn into dust.
24. Timberwolves (11-23)
Zach LaVine is quietly becoming a star. It’s confusing why this team isn’t better. Blaming Ricky Rubio for being Ricky Rubio seems like a strange approach. Thibs could use some veterans to help this thing along.
23. Magic (15-20)
No balance. Trade partners needed. Inquire within. Pretty sure they are regretting dealing Oladipo over the summer.
22. Pistons (16-20)
Another rough stretch for the Pistons has them in 11th place in the East. This was a team primed for a breakout season. Still time to recover, but surprising Detroit is so low in the ranks.
21. Pelicans (14-21)
For the second straight season, the Western Conference has waited around to see if the Pelicans can wake up from an early season slumber. Not sure that Donatas Motiejunas helps, but he was worth a shot on a budget deal.
20. Trail Blazers (15-21)
Dame is down. I repeat, Dame is down. 2-2 without your star is impressive. Blazers still don’t play any D, but C.J. McCollum’s 43 on Sunday night is another sign that he is more than a second option.
19. Bulls (16-18)
How could signing Rajon Rondo possibly go this wrong? Wait...you only play with one ball in the NBA? Okay, now it all makes sense.
18. Knicks (16-17)
Just when you thought they had it all figured out, the Knicks drop four in a row. It’s still an odd collection of talent. Can Jeff Hornacek find the right recipe to make this into a cohesive unit?
17. Nuggets (14-19)
Hot on the trail of mediocrity. Someone has to make the eight spot in the West and it looks like a four team race. Michael Malone is fighting the good fight with a mixed bag roster.
16. Kings (14-19)
Manic. Four game win streak. Two game losing streak. DeMarcus Cousins is putting up MVP stats, but Sacramento needs to avoid the highs and lows that have torn this team up over the past few seasons. Kings look brilliant for getting that rumored non-disclosure agreement with George Karl.
15. Pacers (17-18)
Still searching for an identity, the Pacers are an intriguing team. They should be better than a game under .500, but it’s early. Do they have the pieces to get Paul George more help?
14. Wizards (16-16)
Solid recovery by the Wiz. It wasn’t that long ago that this team was six games under .500. Scotty Brooks has John Wall and Bradley Beal singing the same tune.
13. Bucks (16-16)
If Khris Middleton can make it back this season, the Bucks get a whole lot more interesting. If he doesn’t, this team will hang tough with the understanding that their future is very bright.
12. Hawks (18-16)
Rumors hit the airwaves Sunday night that the Hawks are willing to listen to offers for All-Star Paul Millsap. That might be the most interesting thing to happen with this team in a while.
11. Hornets (19-15)
Under the radar. No natural second scorer, but coach Steve Clifford is using baseball like platoons at multiple positions. It’s got them in the fourth seed in the East, but is that saying much?
10. Clippers (22-14)
Six straight losses? Blake Griffin out 4-6 weeks? This team has never had the depth of the other elite teams and it’s coming back to haunt them. They probably should be lower, but their early season dominance can’t be ignored.
9. Grizzlies (22-14)
Dave Joerger didn’t take all the grit and grind when he left for Sacramento. If they can get healthy, this team will compete for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But that’s a huge if.
8. Thunder (21-13)
Westbrooks is fun. Oladipo returns. Steven Adams is a throwback. They need more. Swing for the fences Sam Presti or deal with an early exit.
7. Jazz (21-13)
Getting George Hill back is huge. Alec Burks is getting close as well. This team is dangerous and they play hard every night. No. 7 might not be their ceiling.
6. Celtics (20-14)
The legend of Isaiah Thomas grows. 52 points, including 29 in the fourth quarter against the Heat, vaulted Thomas into the top 5 in the league in scoring. His 27.7 points per game is tops in the Eastern Conference. Payday coming.
5. Raptors (23-10)
Good enough to push the Cavs for the top spot in the East during the regular season, but no chance of dethroning the champs. Can they land another piece? Would that even help?
4. Spurs (27-7)
The Spurs can win without Kawhi. But they’ve also shown they can win without Tony, Manu and Tim. The Spurs are still elite, but the Rockets are too hot not to move up.
3. Rockets (26-9)
53 points, 17 assists, 16 rebounds… James Harden is the MVP so far this season. He isn’t just posting big numbers, he’s winning games and making his teammates better. We should all consider growing beards.
2. Warriors (29-5)
This isn’t the same defensive team that challenged for a title the last two seasons, but the Warriors still have a ton of room to grow. Nothing is a sure bet in the West, but Golden State is still the team to beat.
1. Cavs (25-7)
This team is rope-a-doping through the regular season. No reason to push too hard, the East is weak sauce and the Cavs know it. That win over the Warriors will keep them in the top spot for a little while longer.