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NBA Power Rankings: Eastern Conference reigning supreme?

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NBA Power Rankings: Eastern Conference reigning supreme?

The West has long been considered the better of the two conferences, so much so that there was conversation about moving away from conferences as a whole in order to get the 16 best teams in the postseason.

It had credence, too, as the 40-42 Boston Celtics and 38-44 Brooklyn Nets made the playoffs in the East while the 45-37 Oklahoma City Thunder missed out on the postseason in the West last season. In 2014, Phoenix won 48 games as the No. 9 seed in the West, while in the East the 38-win Hawks earned a postseason berth.

But there's been a temporary shift in conference supremacy, at least in the early going. The Eastern Conference owns a 37-32 record against the West through four weeks, with 11 of the 15 teams in the East holding a .500 or better record against the West.

Seven teams in the West are at .500 or better, while 11 teams in the East fall under that category. It's still early, and the West still has 15-0 Golden State, but the East may not be little brother for much longer.

On to the power rankings.

Previous power rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

Rank (LW) Team
Record Comment
1 (1) (15-0) When they beat the Lakers on Tuesday they'll be the first team in NBA history to begin a season 16-0. Not much else to say.
(2) (10-3) Mo Williams (15.5 points, 5.3 assists, 47.7% from the field) has been huge for the Cavs. Also, Kyrie Irving appears close to a return.
(3) (10-3)  Four of their top five scorers are shooting 50 percent or better from the field (Leonard, Duncan, Parker, Ginobili). 
4 (5) (8-4)  The NBA's second most efficient defense through four weeks. Last season they were 19th. Hassan Whiteside (4.8 bpg) is the real deal.
5 (7) (8-4)  Taking the Warriors to the wire without Derrick Rose was a promising performance. Jimmy Butler is quickly rounding into form.
6 (9) (8-6)  Even without Kevin Durant they're turning in stellar performances, like Sunday's win over the Mavericks.
7 (9) (9-5)  The No. 10 defense and No. 11 offense has meant wins in six of their last seven. Dirk is shooting .532/.533/.912 at 37 years old.
8 (6) (9-6)  They'll have to make due without Jonas Valanciunas, who will miss six weeks after breaking his hand.
9 (10) (8-5)  Nine of their next 11 are against teams currently in the playoffs if the season ended today. We'll learn a lot about them the next two weeks.
10 (8) (9-6)  They're better than they've shown of late, losing four of five. Still, Saturday's loss to the shorthanded Cavaliers was real ugly.
11 (13) (6-4)  Otto Porter has stepped up in a big way this season, averaging 13.9 points on 52 percent shooting in a starting role.
12 (15) (7-6)  Brad Stevens has his team playing phenomenal defense while also playing at the league's third fastest pace offensively. Great combo.
13 (17) (7-6)  Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe might be the West's best backcourt not nicknamed the Splash Brothers.
14 (11) (6-7)  Losers in seven of nine, including a Sunday game in which they were down 29 to the Raptors at halftime. What's going on in L.A.?
15 (12) (7-6)  Derrick Favors has been great all year. The 24-year-old is averaging 16.1 points on 54 percent shooting and 9.2 rebounds.
16 (16) (7-6)  They could be higher after picking up an impressive home win over the Cavs last week. A nice pick-me-up after losing four straight on the road.
17 (21) (8-6)  Winners in four straight, we have to talk about Kristaps Porzingis again. The rookie went for 24, 14 and 7 blocks in a road win over Houston.
18 (18) (7-6)  The league's three most efficient offenses? Golden State, Oklahoma City, Cleveland. No. 4? Charlotte. Seriously.
19 (19) (7-7)  Perhaps it's coincidence, but Mario Chalmers' arrival has coincided with the Grizzlies winning four of their last five games.
20 (14) (5-9)  Firing Kevin McHale didn't change anything. They needed OT at home against Portland to pick up their lone win of the week.
21 (20) (6-7) The defense has been there, but the Magic are still tied for 27th in offensive efficiency.
22 (25) (6-9)  Damian Lillard has been everything we thought he'd be in a lead role, averaging 25.2 points and 6.7 assists this season.
23 (23) (6-8) Three straight losses, and five of their next six are against playoff teams from a year ago. More growing pains coming in Colorado.
24 (26) (5-9) Great to see the old Rajon Rondo again. He's averaging 13.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 13.4 assists in his last eight games.
25 (26) (5-8)  You see all the pieces starting to come together, like in last weeks' 12-point road win in Miami.
26 (22) (5-8)  The East's biggest disappointment, and it's not close. Think they'd like to have Brandon Knight right about now?
27 (28) (3-11)  Baby steps. Back-to-back wins against the Spurs and Suns, and the Pellies are now No. 9 in offensive efficiency.
28 (29) (3-11)  Not too many more underrated players than Thaddeus Young. He's averaging 15.6 points on 53 percent shooting and 8.2 rebounds.
29 (27) (2-11)  Lou Williams' follow-up act to his Sixth Man of the Year Award? 12.3 points on 33 percent shooting, and just 23.5 percent from deep. Yuck.
30 (30) (0-14)  Things aren't getting any better. And they play five of their next six on the road. Ben Simmons may not even be able to save this franchise.

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

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USA TODAY

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

After much discussion over whether or not the NBA should impose harsher penalties on teams for breaking the anti-tampering rules, an official decision has been made. The NBA Board of Governors passed a much more strict set of rules that will force teams to be compliant with the anti-tampering rules.

Among the new measures, the league will be selecting five teams per year that will undergo a "random audit", the maximum amount for a fine related to tampering has been raised to $10 million and team officials are required to save communications with agents for one full year.

The league will also retain the right to take the communication devices of owners if it is deemed necessary in investigations, though it has been stated that it is not something that Adam Silver wants to rely on moving forward. 

Though concrete details have not been released, possible punishments for tampering will reportedly include taking away draft picks, the voiding of contracts and more.

This is all in an attempt to create a more "even playing field" amid the belief that small-market teams are at a disadvantage when it comes to player movement. The new rules sound great but there is already fear among NBA GMs when it comes to how their privacy will be affected with this being a clear area of focus for the league. 

Along with the new, harsher tampering penalties, the league also announced that they have changed the language regarding traveling calls to "address the uncertainty around traveling." Another new rule announced was that teams are now required to announce their starting lineups at least 30 minutes before tipoff as opposed to 10 minutes, in an effort to "increase transparency for teams, media and fans." Teams will still be allowed to change their lineups up to the last minute if a player gets hurt in pregame warmups. 

All of the new anti-tampering rules approved by the league on Friday were a response to this wild NBA offseason we just experienced. There were many deals agreed to right at the start of free agency, such as the Bulls with Thaddeus Young, and the timing of those deals had many owners wanting the league to make tampering a greater focus. To a greater extent, moves like Anthony Davis forcing his way to the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard orchestrating he and Paul George's move to the Clippers are what got this package of anti-tampering measures passed.

Adam Silver has picked up a reputation as an NBA Commissioner who is very willing to listen to new ideas and make changes, and Friday's events support that reputation as he and the league continue to look for the best ways to get NBA teams to be in compliance with the anti-tampering rules. 

Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

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USA TODAY

Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

The Jonas Brothers are in Chicago for concerts that are taking place on Thursday and Friday night, and they have enjoyed quite a week. This week the trio has enjoyed a nice golf outing at Village Links in Glen Ellyn, had some quality BBQ at Bub City and even got the amazing opportunity to play a touch football game at Soldier Field. But one particular Bulls guard is looking to add another fun experience to their Chicago trip.

The Bulls organization welcomed the Jonas Brothers to the city with a set of custom jerseys for the trio and their significant others and that's when Ryan Arcidiacono chimed in with his offer. 

Since the Jonas Brothers have already got to play some football on the actual Soldier Field grass, Arci figured they might as well keep the Chicago sports-themed fun going and shoot some hoops with him. 

Now, Arcidiacono didn't make it clear whether or not he was offering for the Jonas Brother to get some shots up with him at the United Center, where their shows take place on Thursday and Friday night. But, either way, his time is running out as they will be moving on to Jackson County, MO for their next stop on tour on September 21.

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