Here are my power rankings as of today April 10. Enjoy!
1. San Antonio Spurs (40-15) The Spurs just had their 11 game win streak snapped in Salt Lake City, but that was because Gregg Popovich rested Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan. The Spurs are white hot right now, and with the way they are playing, there is no reason to not think they can't win it all this year.
2.Oklahoma City Thunder (42-15) They currently have the best record out west, and they've won 2 straight after dropping 3 in a row. The Thunder should be the favorites to come out of the west, but if they want to make that happen they need better bench production. They're getting 2/3rds of their scoring from 3 guys. That should worry them with teams like Memphis and San Antonio lurking, who have much deeper benches and more balanced scoring attacks.
3. Miami Heat:40-15 No matter how much of a funk that they've been in, I can't pick the Bulls to over-take them in the East. I just can't do it. The Bulls don't seem to have made enough improvements for me to think things will be different this year, but they still gotta be worried that the Celtics are getting hot.
4. Chicago Bulls: 43-14 If they want any shot of winning the East, they have to get the #1 seed in the East. With only about 9 games left, they're gonna have to pedal to the metal to get that accomplished. Miami wants the top spot, too.
5. Boston Celtics:32-24 They've won 7 of their last 10 games, with impressive wins over the Heat, Sixers, and Pacers. Greg Steimsma has also come out of nowhere off the bench to energize this team. The Celtics are hitting their stride at just the right time.
6. Memphis Grizzlies: 33-23 With solid wins over the Heat, Mavericks, and Clippers the Grizzlies are on a roll, including winning 8 of their last 10. This is with Zach Randolph being eased back into the rotation! The Grizzlies are the sleeper team out west, and everybody needs to be more afraid of these guys. They got the depth, youth, and defensive abilities to win the western conference.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: 36-22 They barely beat the Nets, Warriors, and Hornets. They lost badly to the Suns in Phoenix, and lost at home to the Rockets. The Lakers are sleep walking right now, and Andrew Bynum is acting like a little kid. They better wake up soon, because they are not winning the west if they continue playing like this.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: 34-23 The Clippers have taken a huge step forward as a franchise this season, but they still are a couple of pieces away from contending. Still, if Nick Young gets more comfortable in their system, they could make a deep playoff run. But it would really surprise me if they did.
9.Indiana Pacers: 35-22 They're still a young team with lot of growing ahead of them, but when they play at their best, the can hang with anybody in the NBA. Roy Hibbert is a top flight big man, and he's still extremely young. Look for the Pacers to wreak havoc in the playoffs, but not win the conference.
10. Atlanta Hawks: 34-23 They are 1-5 against the Bulls and Heat this season. Granted, a couple of those losses have been pretty close, but I doubt the Hawks will pose much of a threat in the 2nd round. They have a realistic shot of advancing in the playoffs provided they aren't playing the Heat or Bulls.
11. Houston Rockets: 32-25 The Rockets are playing fantastic basketball right now winning 4 straight games all on the road. @ Chicago, @ L.A. Lakers, @ Sacramento, and @ Portland. The Rockets play like a team with urgency, and they deserve to be in the playoffs. Kevin McHale has his team playing the right way.
12. Orlando Magic: 34-23 They're lucky they play in the East, because if they were out west, they'd be missing the playoffs for sure. With all this Dwight Howard wanting to fire Stan Van Gundy drama, they will be lucky to win a series.
13. Denver Nuggets: 31-26 The Nuggets are a tough team to face because they don't have one clear go to guy or an all-star. But they are a well assembled team of many talented players. Kenneth Faried just had 27 points and 17 rebounds against the Warriors last night. I know it was against the Warriors, but the "Manimal" as he is called is living up to his nickname. If Faried can keep this up, the Nuggets will be a lot better. Faried is such a large young man that he's gonna give a lot of teams trouble.
14. Dallas Mavericks: 31-26 Having to part ways with Lamar Odom is likely the best thing for this team, but it is still a real bummer for the Mavs that they couldn't get Odom to play well for them. Now they have to press on and hope they don't miss the playoffs, which is a real possible.
15. New York Knicks: 29-27 The Knicks roller coaster is on another upswing as they've won 2 games in a row and 7 of their last 10 games. They've beaten Indy twice, they've beaten the Sixer, the Magic, and now the Bulls. They show flashes of brilliance, but the consistency just isn't there. They're 19-10 at home, but 10-17 on the road. That's not gonna cut it in the playoffs. They gotta step it up on the road.
16. Milwaukee Bucks: 28-29 Thanks to the Sixers sliding, they still got a pulse. They are 19-4 against below .500 teams, but they are 9-25 against above .500 teams. They've been beating the teams they're supposed to beat, but they gotta do better against playoff bound teams.
17. Phoenix Suns: 30-27 It's amazing that the Suns are still in the playoff mix with the loss of Grant Hill, as well as the departure of Amare Stoudemire. It really is a testament to how good Steve Nash really is. Marcin Gortat is also having a very underrated season, and has been holding down the fort pretty well in the paint.
18. Philadelphia 76ers: 29-27 They have really gone downhill, dropping 4 games in row to the Heat, Raptors, Magic, and Celtics. The loss to the Celtics was embarrassing, and a clear sign that they are on their way out. They got a young team that still needs to grow. Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand have to step up and pull this young team out of this mess before they miss the playoffs all together.
19. Utah Jazz: 30-28 Paul Millsap said the Spurs resting their starters against them lest night was a "slap in the face" to the Utah Jazz. He said it motivated them to win. But it wasn't as if the Jazz really stomped them. With 2 minutes left, the game was tied. The Jazz should be glad Pop rested Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan. Because if he didn't, the Jazz would have gotten stomped for sure. Thanks to Pop, the Jazz still are alive in the playoff race.
20. Portland Trailblazers: 27-31 The Blazers are clearly "walking dead" at this point. They know they got no shot at the playoffs, and they are really just looking towards the Draft. They have the Nets first round pick (top 3 protected) as well as their own lottery pick which they'll get for missing the playoffs. They're already looking towards next season with an improved roster thanks to this deep draft.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves: 25-33 They've gone 4-14 since Ricky Rubio got hurt, so it's tough to really blame them for their struggles. They got a bright future in the Twin Cities with Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and co. But for right now, they're just gonna have to hit the reset button for next season. However, this could be good as they'll get a better draft pick.
22. Detroit Pistons: 21-36 They're 15-12 at home, but 6-24 on the road. Pretty much a telltale sign of a young team. They gotta get better on the road, but as a young inexperienced team aside from Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace, struggling on the road is no surprise. As far as I'm concerned, they've had a very encouraging season. Brandon Knight is the real deal.
23. Golden State Warriors: 22-34 They got absolutely mauled by the Nuggets last night. But overall, they've been playing really hard and aggressively. Expect them to play the Mavericks down to the wire on Thursday night, and perhaps even win. The game will be in Oakland.
24. New Jersey Nets: 21-37 Brook Lopez has been shut down for the rest of the season, and they clearly are all eyeballing the summer. Whether or not Deron Williams stays with the team basically determines whether or not they start from the ground up again or not. They just gotta hope he stays. Otherwise that trade with Utah will officially have been a HUGE mistake.
25. Toronto Raptors: 20-38 The loss of Andrea Bargnani has really hurt this team. Especially since they struggle when he's healthy. They got some pieces,but still they are aways away from being a serious contender.
26. Sacramento Kings: 19-38 They should be excited with the way DeMarcus Cousins is developing, as well as the rest of their roster. They're just young and inexperienced.
27.Cleveland Cavaliers: 18-36 Kyrie Irving is still out, and I wouldn't be surprised if they shut him down for the rest of the season. No need to risk further injury to their top pick. Irving already hast the rookie of the year award locked up.
28.New Orleans Hornets: 15-32 Eric Gordon hasn't been healthy all season and Jarret Jack is out for the year. It's been a rough year for the Hornets in the Big Easy. David Stern is meeting with a potential ownership group this week. Getting new ownership that is committed to this franchise long-term would really give this dire franchise a boost.
29. Washington Wizards: 13-44 They've been beating up on the Bobcats all season. Too bad they don't play them anymore!
30. Charlotte Bobcats: 7-48 They've had a rough rough season, including hearing that a college team would beat them. I just hope they get a good draft pick, and pick themselves up. I also hope Michael Jordan stops running them into the ground.