Friday, January 16, 2015
Friday's Fresh NBA Power Rankings: January 16, 2015
NBA Power Rankings
Here are my NBA Power Rankings for Friday, January 16, 2015. Enjoy!
#1. Golden State Warriors (31-5): I watched their game against my beloved Utah Jazz this week and they were hitting just about every three-point shot. It was unreal. Utah wasn't playing bad, either, but it was clear that the Warriors were playing at a whole other level. If they can play like that in the playoffs, nobody in the NBA will be able to stop them. Plus, they are very unselfish, leading the NBA in assists per game (27.0).
#2. Atlanta Hawks (31-8): The Hawks are the #2 team in assists per game (25.6) behind the Warriors and they can score in a variety of ways. Paul Millsap and Al Horford can score inside, Jeff Teague can slash and attack the basket and score from beyond the arc, and Kyle Korver is one of the most lethal three-point shooters we have ever seen. All in all, this team appears to have the pieces to win the Eastern Conference and possibly the NBA championship.
#3. Portland Trail Blazers (30-9): Damian Lillard is a budding superstar if I've ever seen one. Plus, the fact that they have a sound post presence in LaMarcus Aldridge arguably makes them more of a threat to come out of the Western Conference than the Warriors.
#4. Memphis Grizzlies (27-11): The addition of Jeff Green has put the Grizzlies back in the discussion of teams who could win the NBA championship.
#5. Houston Rockets (28-12): They face the Warriors twice in their next three games. That will be a huge test for this team.
#6. Washington Wizards (27-12): They had some good wins over the Spurs and Bulls, but getting thumped by the Hawks 120-89 has to make them worry.
#7. Toronto Raptors (26-12): DeMar DeRozan is back. That's huge.
#8. Dallas Mavericks (27-13): They've lost three out of their last four games. Not a reason to panic, but they will need a top four seed if they want to be a serious threat to win the West.
#9. Los Angeles Clippers (26-13): The arrival of Austin Rivers understandably is making headlines, but it won't make much of an impact on how the team actually performs.
#10. Chicago Bulls (26-14): The presence of Pau Gasol alone is making this team a serious contender. The man is playing the best basketball of his life.
#11. San Antonio Spurs (24-16): Kawhi Leonard is back and they need him. December was the first month they had a losing record in since February of 1999.
#12. Phoenix Suns (23-18): They are 2.5 games up on the #9 seeded New Orleans Pelicans and 3.5 games up on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Suns still have a long ways to go, but so far, things are looking good.
#13. Milwaukee Bucks (21-19): I am thoroughly impressed with the progress and improvements made to this team. These guys have a bright future.
#14. Cleveland Cavaliers (20-20): So much turmoil surrounds this team. Will David Blatt stay as head coach? Is Kevin Love a good fit? What does LeBron James want? This team has a lot of issues and looks nothing like a championship caliber team.
#15. New Orleans Pelicans (19-19): They have to take advantage of these upcoming games: @Philadelphia, @New York, vs. L.A. Lakers, and @Minnesota.
#16. Oklahoma City Thunder (18-20): I thought this team was going to be a lock for the playoffs, but right now, it doesn't appear that way. Phoenix is looking tough and the Spurs just got Kawhi Leonard back. They could be in some trouble.
#17. Denver Nuggets (18-20): Jameer Nelson might be a good fit. We'll have to wait and see.
#18. Miami Heat (17-22): Hassan Whiteside is playing really well. The Heat may have a franchise center in this young man.
#19. Sacramento Kings (16-22): One can't help but wonder if this team would be in the playoff mix if Mike Malone were still the coach.
#20. Detroit Pistons (14-25): The turnaround of this team has been remarkable to say the least.
#21. Brooklyn Nets (16-23): For the life of me I can't understand why they would even consider trading Brook Lopez. I know he's had injury issues, but the guy is one of the best centers in the game when he's healthy.
#22. Charlotte Hornets (15-25): Is it possible the Hornets are who we thought they were before they were what we thought they weren't? I.e. Maybe they'll actually be good.
#23. Indiana Pacers (15-25): Paul George is dunking again. Great news. He still probably won't be back this season.
#24. Orlando Magic (15-27): Aaron Gordon returns tonight. This team needs a lift.
#25. Boston Celtics (13-24): To say this team is undergoing a makeover is an understatement. With Jeff Green gone, this whole team is undergoing a radical transformation.
#26. Utah Jazz (13-26): They actually played pretty well against the Warriors. The problem was that the Warriors were playing at a whole different level.
#27. Los Angeles Lakers (12-28): Kobe Bryant is ok with the idea of shutting down for the year come March. My question is, does he really think he has more time to win another ring?
#28. Philadelphia 76ers (7-31): If they actually trade Michael Carter-Williams, they will no longer be able to deny that they are tanking.
#29. Minnesota Timberwolves (6-31): Mo Williams' 52 points was a bright spot in what has been a very dark and gloomy season.
#30. New York Knicks (5-36): This team is stinking it up like we've never seen before. This is impressive.
---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord