Blakely's NBA Six Pack Power Rankings: Mar. 20
Blakely's NBA Six Pack Power Rankings
BOSTON — As college basketball fans (OK, me) bemoan all those cross-outs-to-be of teams picked to win (but will probably get smoked) in your NCAA Tournament pool, NBA execs are swimming in information that they hope will lead them to an informed, well-thought selection for a player they hope will be the next building block for their franchise.
And this year's draft seems to have a little bit of everything for everyone near the top draft board.
You need a center that's going to be an established rim protector for years?
Kansas' Joel Embiid is your guy.
How about a scorer with some strength in the frontcourt?
Duke's Jabari Parker, anyone?
Or maybe you want a smooth wing who is starting to show his growth into an elite player at the next level?
Kansas' Andrew Wiggins fits the role.
Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart and Australia's Dante Exum are solid choices as well.
There are others, obviously, that can fill a number of needs that exist on just about every roster.
So for now, NBA scouts and executives will watch, wait and evaluate the talent that's out there.
As for their respective NBA teams, those near the bottom of the standings like Boston will have a chance to draft one of the top players in June's NBA draft so they are trying to simply finish out this season.
Meanwhile, more established playoff-bound teams are just trying to crack a sweat and stay healthy for the postseason.
And with that, here's this week's NBA power rankings.
THE FLAT PACK
Current Ranking (last week)
30. (30) Philadelphia — Just five losses away from tying the longest losing streak (26) in NBA history which was set by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
29. (29) Milwaukee — Aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo, there's not a lot to like about this Bucks club.
28. (28) Orlando — The Magic have played 12 games against Western Conference teams and have lost them all. Sounds familiar Celtics fans?
27. (26) Los Angeles Lakers — Painful to watch, but fans still come out in huge numbers which is evident by them having the league's eighth-highest attendance per game this season.
26. (25) Boston — Brad Stevens lost 49 games in six seasons at Butler. He may surpass that mark before the end of this month.
25. (27) Utah — Head coach Tyrone Corbin's job appears to be safe even as the Jazz fail to get into the postseason for the second straight season, and third in four years under Corbin's watch.
BACK OF THE PACK
24. (20) Cleveland — Kyrie Irving's strained tendon injury should get the Cavaliers a couple more ping-pong balls before all is said and done. #restkyrie
23. (23) Sacramento — The Kings go as Rudy Gay goes. In wins, he's averaging 23 points. In losses, he's down to 18.4.
22. (24) Detroit — The jury is still out on whether Brandon Jennings is the right point guard to lead this team going forward.
21. (22) New Orleans — You have to wonder how competitive they would have been this season if Ryan Anderson didn't get hurt.
20. (21) Denver — Showing signs of life with wins in three of their last four games.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
19. (19) Minnesota — They need to find the best shooting coach out there and lock him in a room all summer with Ricky Rubio.
18. (16) Charlotte — The Bobkitties continuing to purr along, doing just enough to stay on the inside looking in, of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
17. (18) Atlanta — Have won five straight but may have fallen too far behind to make up enough ground to contend for home court in the first round of playoffs.
16. (17) Phoenix — Eric Beldsoe's back in the Suns lineup. But it hasn't had quite the bounce they were hoping for, with the Suns being just 3-2 since his return.
15. (15) New York — The Knicks continue to rack up the wins, but there's one problem: so are the Atlanta Hawks who are ahead of them in the No. 8 spot.
14. (12) Washington — Biggest change with the Wizards this season? They can win on the road, evident by their 18-16 record which is actually better than their home mark (17-16).
13. (14) Dallas — Dirk Nowitzki recently moved past Celtics legend John Havlicek for 12th place on the NBA's All-Time scorer's list.
12. (13) Memphis — Will learn a lot about this team in their next two games at Miami and back home against Indiana.
11. (7) Brooklyn — Nets continue strong play in March with wins in eight of 10 games, but aren't likely to move any higher than fifth in the East.
RUNNING WITH THE PACK
10. (10) Toronto — From being on the trading block to a being a potential building block for the future, Kyle Lowry has come a long way.
9. (8) Chicago — Who would have thought they would actually be better without Luol Deng?
8. (9) Portland — With their next six games against teams in the East, this is a time when the Blazers really should get on a nice roll.
7. (11) Golden State — Hard to imagine a team known for chuckin' up shots, has morphed into a strong defensive unit that's limiting opponents to 43.4 percent shooting which is the third-best mark in the NBA.