NBA Power Rankings 2019: Warriors back on top, Kings keep sliding
30) Knicks (14-58)
Their lone win in the last three weeks was over the Lakers. Are they too blind to find the four wins needed to avoid tying the worst record in franchise history?
29) Cavaliers (19-53)
They are enjoying their fourth two-game win streak this season. They don’t have a three-gamer, and they won’t. Not with five consecutive playoff teams up next.
28) Bulls (21-52)
Zach LaVine and Otto Porter Jr. are hurting and there’s no reason to play either. Let ‘em sit. Just give us Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.
27) Suns (17-56)
There was a discovery in Phoenix this season. His name is Kelly Oubre Jr. If he lets his talent speak, instead of his temper, he can thrive in the desert. For now, the pending unrestricted free agent will reportedly have season-ending surgery on his left thumb.
26) Hawks (25-48)
Vince Carter is proving it’s not risky for a 41-year-old wing to play 27 minutes and grab nine rebounds. Meanwhile, Trae Trey – or maybe Trey Trae – is making it a race to the ROY award finish line.
25) Mavericks (28-44)
Luka Fever has ebbed, leaving little to love other than those rare flashback moments when Dirk drains a jumper off the elbow. We’ll take those.
24) Pelicans (31-43)
From sweeping a first-round series last April to being eliminated from the playoffs in mid-March. For so many reasons, they are the biggest disappointment in the NBA.
23) Lakers (31-40)
Whacking Luke Walton doesn’t address the problem. LeBron has to wear this suit of failure just as much as Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka.
22) Wizards (30-43)
Injuries, internal beefs, mismanagement, ownership apathy. . . it’s always something with the Detroit Lions of the NBA. Run it back next season.
21) Timberwolves (32-40)
Why is KAT suddenly playing so hard? He’s ballin’ for dollars. If he makes one of the three All-NBA teams, he gets a $31 million bonus.
20) Hornets (32-39)
It’s time to leave the hive, Kemba. You have 12 more games to give the fans a few more memories. Free agency will be good to you.
19) Kings (35-36)
The frenzied pace. The excitement. The playoff fantasies. It was good while it lasted. They’ll have to settle for the best record in at least a decade. All things considered, not bad for a litter of frisky pups.
18) Magic (34-38)
Aaron Gordon and his boys are making a playoff push. They won’t get there, but give them props for finding motivation.
17) Grizzlies (29-42)
Mike Conley. You, sir, have the heart of a lion. Carry on.
16) Nets (37-36)
What a feisty pack of wolverines. They just keep scrapping and sometimes the talent shines. D-Lo is for real, and they may not have happened in LA.
15) Heat (35-36)
With D-Wade, Dragon and Coach Spo, this team is going to be somebody’s first-round sparring partner. There will be blood.
14) Pistons (37-34)
It’s not easy to make rebounding an exciting spectator event, but Andre Drummond manages to do it.
13) Pacers (44-29)
Losing five of seven suggests the skid that was to come after losing Victor OIadipo has arrived. Oh. Wait. The losses were five road games against the Bucks, 76ers, Nuggets, Blazers and Clippers. Never mind.
12) Clippers (42-30)
Timely extension, Doc. You earned it this season for a number of reasons but mostly by expertly managing the league’s most dangerous bench.
11) Thunder (42-30)
We see Russ is reverting to some old habits. We see they’ve lost four in row. Cause and effect in action. They’re in danger of dropping to No. 8.
10) Jazz (42-30)
Donovan Mitchell is supposed to be too inexperienced to know how to enter playoff mode. Yet he’s been that good over the past month. It has been a long road, but a top-four seed finally is within reach.
9) Spurs (42-30)
Pop has them playing defense. He has LaMarcus and DeMar playing with confidence. Rudy Gay is making an impact. They’re going to give their playoff opponent a serious trial by fire
8) Trail Blazers (44-27)
Tough break for CJ McCollum; hope he’s back before the playoffs. Just more fuel for Dame to lock up a guard spot on the All-NBA team for the fourth time in his career.
7) Celtics (43-29)
Between the egos and the internecine sniping, this bunch can’t keep it together. If they don’t find peace over the final 10 games, they’ll be vulnerable in the first round.
6) Bucks (53-19)
Giannis should return soon, but they’re going to miss Niko Mirotic and they’re really going to miss Malcolm Brogdan. Losing to the Cavs is a clue. That No. 1 overall seed is in extreme danger.
5) 76ers (47-25)
So many new parts and it’s all starting to come together. The timing is perfect. And, by the way, Joel Embiid is this league’s shadow MVP.
4) Nuggets (48-22)
We keep waiting for them to realize they’re not ready and they keep trying to prove they are. Rack up wins while you can, fellas, because the final six games are quite the gauntlet.
3) Rockets (45-27)
They haven’t lost back-to-back games since the All-Star break, but that could change with the Spurs up next. FYI: Only twice in the last 25 years has anyone shot 900 free throws. James Harden is at 747.
2) Raptors (51-21)
So soft is the remaining schedule that Kawhi could sit for half the games without a worry. Unless they blow a game, they’ll get to 60 wins.
1) Warriors (49-22)
A 3-1 roadie with Durant, Cousins and Iguodala all missing parts of it speaks of a team eager to get to the second season. And, hey, the top of the East is wobbly, so the overall No. 1 seed may be available.