Bulls

NBA Power Rankings: Raptors cruising behind East's top backcourt

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NBA Power Rankings: Raptors cruising behind East's top backcourt

The East's best backcourt is playing its hottest basketball.

All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have the Raptors on a franchise-record 11-game winning streak and are now just 3.5 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top spot in the East.

During that 11-game span, Lowry has averaged 21.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 39.1 minutes per game. DeRozan has been just as good, if not better, averaging 24.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his last 11 games.

Impressively enough, the Raptors are doing this without DeMarre Carroll, who is recovering from knee surgery. Once their defensive stalwart returns the Raptors will be even more dangerous. For now, they simply look like the second best team in their conference, with the best backcourt.

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

Rank (LW) Team
Record Comment
1 (1) (44-4) Beat the Spurs by 30, the Mavericks by 20 and the Sixers by....3? Hey, a win's a win and now they just need to go 29-5 to top the '96 Bulls.
(3) (36-13) Kevin Durant has entered the MVP conversation, and this week he averaged 34.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in three Thunder victories. They've won 10 of 11.
(5) (34-12) Kevin Love seems to like Tyronn Lue's offense. Since David Blatt's firing, Love has averaged 19.2 points on 50 percent shooting and 40 percent 3-point shooting.
4 (2) (39-8) Odd week for the Spurs, who lost by 30 to the Warriors and 14 to the Cavaliers, sandwiched between a 31-point win over the Rockets. Have to drop them for the L's.
5 (4) (32-15) DeMar DeRozan will pair with Kyle Lowry to be the first starting backcourt to play in the All-Star Game in their home city since 1972. Well deserved for both players.
6 (6) (32-16) Lots more responsibility for DeAndre Jordan with Blake Griffin out 4-6 more weeks. His 17-point, 20-rebound performance in a Sunday win over the Bulls was a nice start.
7 (7) (28-20)  Jeff Green was great for the Griz this week, averaging 26.7 points on 63 percent shooting during their 3-0 week. They could really use him to be a consistent third scorer.
8 (13) (27-22) Despite losing a lead in Orlando on Monday, the Celtics have done enough to vault into the top 10. They've maintained their No. 2 defensive efficiency while winning seven of eight.
9 (15) (27-21) Here come the Heat. They're getting healthy and now have won four straight, including victories over the Bulls and Hawks. When healthy, they might be Cleveland's biggest competition in the East.
10 (8) (27-22) Ugly road losses in Indiana and Miami leave questions about where they stand in the East. How much longer will Jeff Teague be in Atlanta?
11 (9) (26-20) Pau Gasol said the Bulls aren't disciplined. He may be right after a 27-point loss to the Clippers. The rest of their West Coast trip could be rough if they don't figure things out.
12 (10) (25-23) They had a chance for a statement-making win twice this week but ended up with narrow losses to the Cavaliers and Raptors. Props to Andre Drummond for earning his first All-Star nod.
13 (12) (28-22)  In his last five games Chandler Parsons has averaged 21.0 points on 53 percent shooting and 6.8 rebounds in, most importantly, 35.2 minutes a night. He changes the Mavs' ceiling when healthy.
14 (11) (25-25) Difficult week against San Antonio, OKC and Washington, and they lost all three. They revert back to .500 and get a red-hot Miami team on Tuesday to avoid dipping below.
15 (17) (25-22) Rookie Myles Turner is the real deal. In his last seven games he's averaged 18.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. Still, the Pacers are 3-4 in those games and are still struggling for consistency.
16 (14) (21-24) About as middling a team in the East as can be. They're just 2.5 games out of the final spot in the East, but get Golden State and Oklahoma City this week. Winning one would be huge.
17 (20) (18-28) Remarkable they've won seven of nine and could make the playoffs. Jrue Holiday averaged 27.7 points and 8.0 assists in a 2-1 week for the Pellies.
18 (23) (21-25) They've won three of four to stop the bleeding and, with Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert back, can make a run at that No. 8 seed against Portland and Sacramento.
19 (16) (20-27) Of course. After we tout them as a contender for a playoff spot they lose four straight and DeMarcus Cousins injures his ankle. Ouch.
20 (18) (23-26) Looking for an All-Star snub? Damian Lillard. Forget the numbers (which are All-Star worthy): The Blazers are currently the No. 8 seed in the West. That's absurd given what they lost in the offseason.
21 (19) (23-27) It was Kristaps Porzingis vs. the Warriors and Madison Square Garden didn't explode. Instead, Zinger had 14 quiet points and the Knicks were blown out.
22 (21) (22-25)  Love seeing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back in the lineup for the Hornets. Even more, love seeing him play well with 13 points in his season debut back from shoulder surgery.
23 (22) (18-30) Gary Harris is quietly putting a string of good games together, averaging 13.2 points on 56 percent shooting in his last five games. He looks like a piece to build on for the future.
24 (24) (20-29) Khris Middleton could have been an All-Star in the East (the Bucks' record didn't help). He's averaging 17.7 points and shooting better than 41 percent from deep.
25 (25) (21-25) A come-from-behind win over the Celtics on Sunday mercifully ended an eight-game losing streak. Aaron Gordon was huge in that win, going for 19 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in 39 minutes.
26 (26) (14-35) The L's continue to pile up, and it's worth remembering here that they were once 4-2, and once 9-12. 5-23 since.
27 (27) (7-41) The Sixers' frantic finish in Saturday's buzzer-beating loss to the Warriors was one of the funnest endings to an NBA game this year. What an upset that would have been. Alas, one step closer to Ben Simmons.
28 (28) (12-36) Brook Lopez went for 31 points and 10 rebounds in a win over the Thunder on Monday. Have to wonder if the Nets consider trading him at this year's deadline.
29 (29) (14-35) Stay hot, Devin Booker. The rookie sharpshooter averaged 17.2 points on 45 percent shooting and 1.8 3-point makes per game in January.
30 (30) (9-41) Ten straight losses for a team entirely stuck in the mud. Kobe's Sunday performance against the Hornets was fun, at least.

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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