DimeMag

NBA Power Rankings: A Top 10 Takes Shape

Ranking the NBA from worst to first…

30. Charlotte Bobcats (19-61)
Last week: 30, –
Maybe this is the year that they finally win the lottery. Unfortunately there doesn’t look to be any superstar prospects coming out. Classic Bobcats.

29. Phoenix Suns (24-56)
Last week: 29, –
No matter how bad Phoenix plays, the Suns’ Gorilla always brings his best to the arena and that’s incredibly important.

28. Detroit Pistons (28-52)
Last week: 28, –
Brandon Knight has been publically embarrassed more times this year than most players are in their entire career. We should start a Knight charity. He needs our help. Band together!

27. Philadelphia 76ers (33-47)
Last week: 25, -2
Andrew Bynum missed the Sixers team pictures this week. That makes perfect sense.

26. New Orleans Hornets (27-54)
Last week: 26, –
We are so close to being able to call them the New Orleans Pelicans and I can hardly wait. I hope they have live pelicans flying around the arena at all times. It’s the right thing to do.

25. Orlando Magic (20-60)
Last week: 27, +2
Rob Hennigan worked with the Spurs and Thunder before becoming the GM of the Magic. He learned from the best and now after just one season in Orlando, he’s made their young core one of the best in the league. I believe in Bobby (I also call him Bobby) (we’re very good friends).

24. Toronto Raptors (32-48)
Last week: 24, –
I didn’t like the Rudy Gay trade when it happened and I still don’t like it. The next four years will be incredibly average in Toronto.

23. Portland Trail Blazers (33-47)
Last week: 22, -1
Cool 11-game losing streak, Portland! Finish strong!

22. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-56)
Last week: 23, +1
Kyrie Irving is great and fun and a joy to watch. But it would be super neat if he could develop at least some defensive instincts this summer. It’s the major weakness in his game.

21. Sacramento Kings (28-52)
Last week: 21, –
The Kings have been competitive over the past few weeks. They just lack the consistency needed to win close games.

20. Washington Wizards (29-51)
Last week: 20, –
This will be a playoff team next year if they are able to stay healthy. Not a great playoff team, but a playoff team nonetheless.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves (30-50)
Last week: 19, –
Nikola Pekovic bullied Brandon Knight earlier this week. He should pick on someone his own size. Or at least someone that isn’t constantly embarrassed already.

18. Milwaukee Bucks (37-43)
Last week: 17, –
There’s nothing like losses to the Magic and Bobcats to help the Bucks get ready for a first-round matchup with the Heat. I have a feeling that will be a quick series.

17. Dallas Mavericks (40-40)
Last week: 18, –
The playoffs won’t be happening this year for the Mavericks and they need to figure out what their plan is going forward. It seems like goal number one is to land Dwight Howard this offseason.

16. L.A. Lakers (44-37)
Last week: 15, -1
The season-ending injury to Kobe Bryant earlier this week is another unlucky event for a franchise that is so used to everything going their way.

15. Utah Jazz (42-38)
Last week: 14, -1
The injury to Bryant has to have the Jazz much more optimistic about their playoff chances, even if everything has to go right for them the rest of the way. They’re only one and a half games out of the eighth-seed and they hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers.

14. Boston Celtics (41-39)
Last week: 16, +2
They avoided the eighth-seed and a matchup with the Heat. Now we all get to look forward to a Celtics-Knicks first round battle. Rivalries! Cheerios! Yay!

13. Atlanta Hawks (44-36)
Last week: 11, -2
I think that the Nets are a good first-round matchup for the Hawks. Their strength and size will be a challenge for Brooklyn to control.

12. Houston Rockets (45-35)
Last week: 13, +1
The Rockets may want to consider trying to stay in the seventh seed to face the Spurs instead of passing the Warriors and having to deal with the surging Nuggets in the first round.

11. Golden State Warriors (45-35)
Last week: 12, +1
Stephen Curry is not human. This we now know.

10. Chicago Bulls (43-37)
Last week: 10, –
I’m fully expecting a miraculous, Disney movie-style comeback from Derrick Rose once the playoffs start.

9. Brooklyn Nets (47-33)
Last week: 8, -1
I don’t like the Bulls as a first-round matchup for the Nets because I don’t think they’ll be able to handle the physicality of Chicago for seven games. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, that matchup seems inevitable unless Chicago severely falters down the stretch.

8. Indiana Pacers (49-31)
Last week: 9, +1
A Pacers-Bulls first-round matchup would result in at least one fatality. That’s a fact. My guess is Nate Robinson.

7. Memphis Grizzlies (54-26)
Last week: 7, –
The Grizzlies are the fifth-seed in the West. They would be the second-seed in the East. Times like this are when I think the playoffs should ignore conference and just be the top-16 teams.

6. L.A. Clippers (54-26)
Last week: 6, –
There will be a lot of pressure on this team to advance to the conference finals. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ll even advance past the Grizzlies if that ends up being their first round opponent.

5. New York Knicks (53-27)
Last week: 5, –
Although the winning streak was snapped by the Bulls on Thursday, the Knicks are still playing at an extremely high level. Boston will be a grueling first-round matchup, though.

4. Denver Nuggets (55-25)
Last week: 4, –
Hopefully the injury to Kenneth Faried on Sunday is not too serious and he’ll be ready for the playoffs. The Nuggets are a completely different team without his inside presence.

3. San Antonio Spurs (58-22)
Last week: 2, -1
They have lost control of the No. 1 seed and are now positioned to play the Rockets in the first round. They have to figure out their defensive identity before the playoffs start or they’ll be in a lot of trouble.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (59-21)
Last week: 3, +1
Gaining control of the No. 1 seed is even more important now that Kobe is injured. A first-round series with the Lakers would be like a bye for the Thunder.

1. Miami Heat (64-16)
Last week: 1, –
There’s part of me that believes the Heat have not played at their top level yet… and that’s terrifying.

Did we get it right?

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