Bulls

NBA Power Rankings: Healthy Jazz team looking dangerous

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NBA Power Rankings: Healthy Jazz team looking dangerous

The Utah Jazz haven't been to the playoffs since 2012, but that may change so long as they stay healthy.

Since Derrick Favors returned after missing 15 straight games, the Jazz are 6-1 and tout the NBA's most efficient defense (92.9) and fourth best net rating (9.9).

Their current six-game winning streak hasn't been over much steep competition, but they're trending in the right direction behind Favors and Rudy Gobert, who missed 18 games in December/January. In fact, when those two play the Jazz are 13-7; when one or both are out they're 12-18.

That's not even to mention Gordon Hayward, who could have been a Western Conference All-Star, or the improving Rodney Hood (14.6 points, 2.0 3-pointers).

The Jazz look like the favorites for the No. 8 seed, and while they won't knock off the Warriors if they make the postseason, they sure won't be a fun matchup.

On to the rankings:

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

Rank (LW) Team
Record Comment
1 (1) (46-4) Nine straight wins since the hiccups in Denver and Detroit. They're one game better than the '96 Bulls were after 50 games (45-5).
(2) (38-14) They couldn't dethrone the Warriors in Golden State on Saturday, but they sure like the team best equipped to do it in late May/early June.
(4) (43-8) The Spurs have won four straight. More importantly, they had the coolest Kobe Bryant farewell tribute to date. Watch it here.
4 (3) (36-14) They're 14th in 3FG% (35.4%) after ranking fifth in it a year ago (36.7%). Kyrie Irving (25.5%) and LeBron James (26.7%) need to get going.
5 (5) (34-16) Now just 2.0 games behind the Cavs for first place in the East, the Raptors have won 13 of 14. They'll get Cleveland at home on Feb. 26.
6 (6) (34-17) The Clips would be foolish to consider trading Blake Griffin, though the numbers don't lie: They're 17-4 without him since Dec. 26.
7 (8) (31-22) Huge week for Avery Bradley. The defensive stud averaged 15.0 points and one of his 11 3-pointers was the game-winner in Cleveland.
8 (7) (30-21) Watching Vince Carter connect on a trio of late 3-pointers in Memphis' win over New Orleans on Tuesday was an absolute joy to watch.
9 (9) (29-23) Rookie Justise Winslow is coming on strong of late, averaging 33.5 minutes in his last 10 games. Averaging 7.7 rebounds and 1.0 steal in that span.
10 (10) (30-23) We all know the Hawks aren't shooting it like they did last year, but they're up to No. 5 in defensive efficiency. 
11 (18) (25-25) The biggest movers of the week. The trio of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert is a scary one when healthy. They should be a playoff team.
12 (15) (27-24) Paul George's 30-point effort in a win over the Pistons was one the Pacers needed to avoid losing three of four (L's against CLE and ATL).
13 (12) (27-25) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope avoided serious injury and should be back after the All-Star break. Great news after what looked to be a bad spill.
14 (14) (27-26) Will the real Rockets please stand up? A 13-point win against Miami, slipping by Phoenix at home and a 17-point home loss to Portland. They get Steph and Co. on Tuesday.
15 (11) (27-23) Huge sigh of relief from the Advocate Center as Jimmy Butler avoids serious damage to his knee in Denver. That good news notwithstanding, the Bulls are 2-4 on their road trip.
16 (13) (29-25) An overtime win in Memphis both avoided a four-game skid and could become a springboard for the season's second half. A win over Utah on Tuesday would be huge.
17 (20) (25-27) The rest of their February schedule is brutal. Keep an eye on their Feb. 21 game against Utah. Those two could fight the next two months for the No. 8 seed.
18 (22) (25-26) Let's see if their Kemba-less victory over the Cavs can help them get back on track. Al Jefferson could return to the lineup shortly to help matters, too.
19 (16) (22-27) They're just 3.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the East, but it feels like more than that. John Wall still looking for consistent help.
20 (19) (21-30) They've absolutely imploded since a five-game winning streak. Sitting 4.5 games out of the No. 8 spot in the playoffs, the fun might be over.
21 (17) (18-32) Anthony Davis and co. get knocked back to reality with double-digit losses to Memphis, San Antonio and Cleveland. The home loss to the Lakers, though? That's on them.
22 (23) (21-31) Rookie Nikola Jokic is averaging 15.6 points and 9.8 rebounds in his last five. His 27-point, 14-rebound effort helped Denver stop Toronto's nine-game winning streak.
23 (26) (16-36) Karl-Anthony Towns in the T-Wolves' wins at the Clippers and against the Bulls: 21.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks. He'll be an All-Star in the next two years.
24 (21) (23-31) Derek Fisher's firing Monday morning was a bit of a surprise. Would Phil Jackson ever consider hiring Tom Thibodaeu? Contrasting styles, but Thibs' resume is the best one out there.
25 (24) (20-32) Here's a scary thought. The Bucks win the lottery this summer and tout a small ball frontcourt of Ben Simmons, Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
26 (25) (22-28) Losers in 15 of 18, their reward before the All-Star break is a road game in Atlanta and hosting the Spurs. Tobias Harris may be on the move to clear up minutes.
27 (27) (8-43) Great to see Jahlil Okafor (22 points, 17 rebounds) and Nerlens Noel (18 points, four steals, three blocks) tag-team in a win over the Nets on Saturday.
28 (28) (13-39) They've lost six of seven since a double-digit win over the Thunder. Hiring a general manager before the trade deadline would be a good move for them.
29 (30) (11-42) Black Mamba back? Kobe has averaged 28.3 points (on 22.3 FGA) in his last four games. His 38-point effort against Minnesota was a fun vintage moment.
30 (29) (14-38) A silver lining in this disaster of a season? Phoenix may have found something in guard Archie Goodwin (16.1 points, 4.6 assists in his last nine games).

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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