Bulls

NBA Power Rankings: Evaluating teams at the All-Star break

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NBA Power Rankings: Evaluating teams at the All-Star break

It's been just four days since the last power rankings came out, so there wasn't much movement prior to the All-Star break (though the Bulls and Blazers did make significant movement in different directions).

So instead of analyzing what the teams did this week in their four days worth of games, we'll analyze their respective seasons as a whole and look ahead to the "second half" of the schedule.

Previous power rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15

Rank (LW) Team
Record Comment
1 (1) (48-4) They've already hinted at it, but fully expect them to gun for 73 wins in the season's second half. They need to go just 25-5 to get there. 
(2) (40-14) With a healthy Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook they're the Warriors' toughest matchup. And they'll likely meet in the West semifinals. Wild.
(3) (45-8) They're banged up right now, but Danny Green is putting things together after an atrocious first three months. He'll be key to a deep run in the West.
4 (4) (38-14) Kyrie Irving is heating up, and that's bad news for the East. In his last eight games he's averaged 26.9 points and 6.0 assists. 
5 (5) (35-17) It'll be interesting to see if they make a much-needed move for a power forward at the deadline. If they do, Cleveland's got a legitimate threat in the East.
6 (7) (32-23) Not sure they're the sixth best team in the NBA, but Brad Stevens has this group playing great defense. Will they make a move for Al Horford or Dwight Howard?
7 (6) (35-18) J.J. Redick has averaged 17.9 points on 49.6 percent from beyond the arc since Blake Griffin went out. A big reason the Clips are 18-5 without Griffin.
8 (8) (31-22) Marc Gasol's broken foot is a death sentence for a Grizzlies team playing its best basketball of the year. They'll compete, but hopes of a playoff run have been dashed.
9 (10) (31-24) The most intriguing seller to see at the trade deadline. They're competing in the East but could unload one or both of Jeff Teague and Al Horford.
10 (9) (29-24) They appear to be kicking the tires on dealing impending free agent Hassan Whiteside. If they don't, they'll be a tough out come playoff time.
11 (11) (26-26) They've got the inside track on a playoff berth now that they're healthy. They'll go as far as their stifling defense will take them, which could be far. Sleeper in the West.
12 (12) (28-25) There were plenty of great moments during All-Star Weekend. Paul George going for 41 points Sunday night was one of the best.
13 (17) (27-27) Let's see if Damian Lillard takes another All-Star snub and uses it as motivation in the second half. Wild that Portland is still in the playoff hunt this late into the season. 
14 (18) (27-26) They've recovered well after being left for dead a few weeks ago. They've won five of six, including wins over Cleveland and Indiana to gain some second half momentum. 
15 (16) (29-26) They're sort of in no-man's land, a pronounced tier behind the heavy hitters in the West but good enough so that they won't be in the lottery. Maybe they can steal a round in the playoffs.
16 (14) (27-28) They've got an important decision to make on potentially unloading Dwight Howard. Something's got to give on one of the league's most inconsistent teams. 
17 (13) (27-27) There's too much talent on this team for them not to make the playoffs (they're currently ninth). Getting KCP back to go with Drummond and Jackson should do it.
18 (15) (27-25) They've lost 13 of 18 and Jimmy Butler's on the shelf the next three weeks. It'll be interesting to see if Pau Gasol or Taj Gibson are moved this week. 
19 (19) (23-28) John Wall has a chance to average 20 points and 10 assists, which has only been done 22 times (by 10 players) since 1947. He's at 20.0/9.9 right now.
20 (21) (20-33)  Tyreke Evans is done for the year and essentially ends any hope of a late playoff push. This is just going to be a year to forget for the Pellies.
21 (20) (22-31) Six of their first eight games out of the break are against teams with winning records. Unless they catch fire they could be out of playoff contention by early March.
22 (22) (22-32) Denver was well represented this weekend with Emmanuel Mudiay (Rising Stars, Skills), Nikola Jokic (Rising Stars) and Will Barton (Dunk). Mike Malone's building something.
23 (25) (22-32) With the playoffs essentially out of reach, hopefully Jabari Parker will continue to show improvement. His post-ACL numbers have been just average.
24 (23) (17-37) Karl-Anthony Towns wins the skills competition and Zach LaVine goes back-to-back in the Dunk Contest. Good weekend for the young T-Wolves.
25 (26) (23-29) Aaron Gordon deserved to win Saturday's Dunk Contest. His second dunk in the finals will go down as arguably the best we've ever seen.
26 (24) (23-32) Godzingis was one of the many highlights from All-Star Weekend, scoring 30 points in the Rising Stars Challenge. He'll be fun in the second half.
27 (27) (8-45) Jahlil Okafor's having a fine rookie season, but his on/off splits are troubling. Philly is 11.6 points per 100 possessions better with Okafor OFF the floor.
28 (28) (14-40) Though the season's been over for awhile, it will be fun to watch rookies Chris McCollough and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (when he returns) progress. Solid pieces to build on. 
29 (30) (11-44) The weekend-long tribute to Kobe Bryant in Toronto was awesome. Good to see the Black Mamba play well in his final ASG (10 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds).
30 (29) (14-40) It's getting ugly in Phoenix. The Markieff Morris-Archie Goodwin scuffle was a new low. They're playing for lottery balls and not much else.

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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