NBA Power Rankings: Kings, Warriors move up to end season
NBA Power Rankings
Where do the Kings and Warriors stand in our final power rankings of the regular season? Click ahead to find out...
30. Suns (21-61)
Devin Booker was listed as “questionable” for the last 12 games and played in none. Tyson Chandler missed the last 13 games but rarely was listed as injured. Nobody tanked better. They’ll be weeping if they don’t get DeAndre Ayton.
29. Grizzlies (22-60)
A coach will soon be hired, and if he took note of what happened with David Fizdale he’ll know he’s taking the worst job in the NBA.
28. Hawks (24-58)
Pride over reason is why the won three of their last six games, for not one player on the roster would start on a contender. Their new season begins with the draft, when we see Page 1 of GM Travis Schlenk’s plan.
27. Magic (25-57)
When a team wins eight of its first 12 games, then loses 53 of its next 70, someone pays a price. Gone is Frank Vogel, who was not hired by the current regime. The next coach will be the fifth in seven years. Wish them luck.
26. Bulls (27-55)
Bobby Portis knocks out Nikola Mirotic before the season opener, after which they lose 17 of their first 20 games. The franchise Michael Jordan revived deserves its own crying face meme. Shed a tear, Benny the Bull.
25. Nets (28-54)
Yes, they play hard and fast. Yes, they jack up a ton of triples (36 per game). No, they aren’t on the rise. After selling 49 percent of the team, Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokharov has one giant foot out the door.
24. Mavericks (24-58)
Dirk Nowitzki, who turns 40 in June, says he’s coming back for another season. He said nothing about wanting another ring, avoiding the prospect of folks laughing at him in public.
23. Knicks (29-53)
Jeff Hornacek was hired to run an offense he didn’t like, stayed to coach players he didn’t want and was fired because his new boss didn’t see signs of “consistency.” There are times when being fired is cause for celebration.
22. Kings (27-55)
We like De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic and can’t believe Jack Cooley tops the team in PER. Once the pride of NorCal NBA, they now own the league’s longest playoff drought, 12 years. It’s going to take a lot of work to avoid another 12.
21. Hornets (36-46)
Between Steve Clifford’s health issues and Dwight Howard’s technical foul habit, another strong season by Kemba Walker couldn’t get them into the playoffs. Michael Jordan, the player, never would settled for this.
20. Lakers (35-47)
They fired warning shots by winning eight of 10 after the All-Star break. They unlocked Julius Randle and liked what they saw. They’re poised to make a playoff run next season, and Lonzo Ball will among the reasons.
19. Pistons (39-43)
And to think, they started off 14-6, with wins over eight teams bound for the playoffs. They were 23-26 when they added Blake Griffin, 16-17 after he arrived. Stan Van Gundy the coach can’t be happy with SVG the GM.
18. Clippers (42-40)
They say they’re going to “reshape.” What to do with Doc, though? It would be sad if he’s fired despite impressive work amid a ton of injuries. But maybe it’s time. The old Clippers were so much fun. We miss them.
17. Wizards (43-39)
They would be the most puzzling squad in the league if their problems weren’t so transparent. The bench is bad, chemistry is worse. Can Neil deGrasse Tyson explain how GM Ernie Grunfeld has lasted 15 years?
16. Heat (44-38)
They may have the weakest roster in the playoffs, but Erik Spoelstra always seems to generate more than the sum of his parts. Miami makes opponents earn everything. Welcome back to the postseason, D-Wade.
15. Nuggets (46-36)
Untimely injuries could have crushed them, but it didn’t happen. A furious rally put them in playoff position and gave the youngsters valuable experience. Michael Malone has to be safe after this.
14. Timberwolves (47-35)
The 14-year absence from the playoffs is over, thanks largely to Jimmy Butler. His intensity is infectious for some, but Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins ride their talent. If only a Tom Thibodeau team could D up.
13. Bucks (44-38)
They were supposed to soar after acquiring Eric Bledsoe and then after firing Jason Kidd. Not so. Their mental errors would deflate any coach and they still need another shooter. Giannis, though, we bow to his precious gifts.
12. Spurs (47-35)
Coach Pop won’t win his fourth Coach of the Year award, but he has done an incredible job with LaMarcus Aldridge and a bunch of spare parts. It is utterly amazing that Manu Ginobili still produces in meaningful moments.
11. Pacers (48-34)
Welcome to the NBA Elite, Victor Oladipo. And while your star was rising, Darren Collison and Domantas Sabonis were putting up nice seasons, too. Guess Nate McMillan, on his third job, can coach a little.
10. 76ers (52-30)
We love the games of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the shooters they have around them and the coaching of Brett Brown. Reviving NBA hoops in Philly is a beautiful thing. Get the Sixers now, for they’re coming to get you later.
9. Pelicans (48-34)
Remarkable recovery after losing DeMarcus Cousins. Rajon Rondo is engaged, Anthony Davis is healthy and Niko Mirotic is firing. If those trends continue, this bunch is a load to deal with. If they don’t, the Pels are done.
8. Thunder (48-34)
Russell Westbrook has another triple-double season, Carmelo Anthony fades toward irrelevance and Paul George is solid for a guy with one eye on LA. They’d be truly dangerous if not so allergic to effective fourth quarters.
7. Celtics (55-27)
Lost Gordon Hayward on opening night. Lost Kyrie Irving for the final month. Leaned on a rook that turned 20 in March. There were times when we wondered how they won. Then we saw Brad Stevens holding a whiteboard.
6. Blazers (49-33)
In terms of importance to his team, Dame Lillard is top-five. He is why Terry Stotts can get halfcourt offense from a fabulous backcourt and three bags of bread. They finished with the No. 3 seed. They overachieved.
5. Raptors (59-23)
Props to Dwane Casey for demanding defense, to Masai Ujiri for building the league’s deepest roster and to DeMar DeRozan for expanding his game to spectacular heights. Oh, how we wish we could trust them in the playoffs.
4. Jazz (48-34)
Beat the Warriors by 30 and by 40. They went from rubble after Gordon Hayward’s departure to brick house with rookie Donovan Mitchell as the pillar. If Quin Snyder doesn’t get a piece of Coach of the Year, he has a legit beef.
3. Cavaliers (50-32)
They were not a top-five team. They were, by turns, fearsome and fickle and their defense is five green lights. But LeBron is the miracle man of the year, and any team in the East with him on board is the favorite to reach The Finals.
2. Warriors (58-24)
Stephen Curry misses 31 games, Andre Iguodala misses 16, Kevin Durant misses 14, Draymond Green misses 11, Klay Thompson misses eight. They gave away a few games, never achieved continuity and still won 58.
1. Rockets (65-17)
They were similar to the 2014-15 Warriors, having fun laying waste to opponents. They played decent defense and hoisted triples in their sleep. Yes, James Harden deserves this MVP award. But now he and CP3 take the real test.