NBA Power Rankings, Vol. 4: No One Can Touch The Miami Heat

Ranking the NBA from worst to first…

30. Charlotte Bobcats (13-50)
Last week: 30, –
The Bobcats had five games last week and they went 0-5. They lost by an average of 22 points in the stretch that included games against Sacramento, Portland and Washington. Well done, Charlotte. You keep getting worse.

29. Orlando Magic (18-46)
Last week: 29, –
The Tobias Harris love-fest has toned down a little bit after his last four games. He’s still putting up decent numbers, but it’s becoming clear that he’s not yet skilled enough to produce when the offense isn’t being run directly through him.

28. New Orleans Hornets (22-42)
Last week: 26, -2
It was a disappointing week for the Hornets. They lost to the equally-bad Magic to begin the week and then on Wednesday lost a lead against the Lakers. They have some really nice pieces, but they’re dependent on the quick development of Anthony Davis.

27. Washington Wizards (20-41)
Last week: 27, –
The Wizards offense struggled mightily this week, with an average output of only 88 points. I’m never sure what to expect from this team.

26. Philadelphia 76ers (23-39)
Last week: 23, -3
Keep Sixers fans in your prayers. They aren’t doing well.

25. Minnesota Timberwolves (21-39)
Last week: 25, –
Ricky Rubio not being able to shoot is a problem, and it has definitely played a part in the Timberwolves 3-12 record over their last 15 games. All I want to see is one full, healthy season of Rubio and Kevin Love together. Just one. That’s all I want.

24. Sacramento Kings (22-43)
Last week: 28, +4
Unlike the Wizards, the Kings offense has been great over the last few games. On the season, they’re 10th in the NBA in scoring at 98.8 points per game and over the last eight games, they’re averaging 107.8 points. If only they knew how to play defense…

23. Phoenix Suns (22-41)
Last week: 24, +1
The Suns are a very bad team and like most very bad teams, that means they’re super inconsistent. That inconsistency showed again this week as they lost to the lowly Raptors and Kings but then beat the Rockets. They’re just trying to confuse us.

22. Detroit Pistons (23-42)
Last week: 22, –
Back injuries worry me. Back injuries to big men scare me. Back injuries to Andre Drummond terrify me. The world deserves to see a healthy Drummond/Greg Monroe frontcourt for an extended period of time.

21. Toronto Raptors (25-39)
Last week: 21, –
The Raptors playoff dreams seem to be done and now they will have the duty of trying to build a winning roster around the contracts of Rudy Gay, Andrea Bargnani, Landry Fields and DeMar DeRozan. Good luck.

20. Cleveland Cavaliers (21-42)
Last week: 20, –
Dion Waiters is making shots! He’s a lot better when he’s making shots! I hope he keeps making shots!

19. Dallas Mavericks (29-33)
Last week: 19, –
I become sad every time I think about the Mavs. What’s their future? While unpopular, I think the best plan would be to move Dirk Nowitzki this offseason while he can still garner a good return of young assets.

18. Portland Trail Blazers (29-33)
Last week: 18, –
Guess who scored 136 points in San Antonio on Friday? It was Portland. Duh. This is the Portland blurb. How did you not guess that?

17. Utah Jazz (32-31)
Last week: 13, -4
It seems like the Jazz, Rockets and Warriors are fighting to see who can be the team that lets the Lakers into the playoffs. So far the Jazz are winning.

16. Golden State Warriors (35-29)
Last week: 12, -4
This is probably an unfairly large drop for the Warriors. But they seem to have lost the edge they played with earlier in the season and the return of Andrew Bogut has been disappointing to say the least.

15. L.A. Lakers (33-31)
Last week: 16, +1
Oh by oh boy oh boy. They’re tied for a playoff spot and with the way the Jazz, Rockets and Warriors are playing, it seems like a top-8 seed is readily available for L.A. But with the Spurs hurting and the Thunder looking like the eventual No. 1 seed, the Lakers will need to keep fighting to avoid a first round matchup with them.

14. Atlanta Hawks (34-28)
Last week: 14, –
Before their 1-4 week, the removal of trade rumors looked to have calmed the Hawks. Now with the improved play of the Bucks and Celtics, they are in danger of falling in to the No. 8 seed.

13. Milwaukee Bucks (32-29)
Last week: 17, +4
I honestly don’t know what’s going on. Brandon Jennings is playing at an All-NBA level, Monta Ellis can’t miss and that duo along with J.J. Redick is proving to be extremely difficult for teams to defend. If the Bucks can climb out of the No. 8 seed, then they’ll definitely be a team to watch in the playoffs.

12. Houston Rockets (34-30)
Last week: 11, -1
The Rockets score the second-most points in the league and give up the fifth most. This is a recipe for inconsistency and it showed during their 2-2 week. Houston would be in a ton of trouble if it weren’t for the stellar play of Chandler Parsons.

11. New York Knicks (38-22)
Last week: 6, -5
This team just keeps getting older. With Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire out with knee injuries, it’s hard to distinguish the Knicks lineup from an average lottery team. If the injuries continue, they may be in danger of losing homecourt in the playoffs.

10. Chicago Bulls (35-28)
Last week: 9, -1
Marco Belinelli buzzer-beaters are a thing that I very much enjoy. But until Kirk Hinrich comes back from his foot injury, the Bulls will have a difficult time holding on to their fifth seed.

9. Boston Celtics (34-28)
Last week: 15, +6
The Thunder showed the Celtics on Sunday that while they are playing well, they just don’t have the firepower to compete for a title without Rajon Rondo. However, I still expect Boston to climb over Atlanta to the sixth seed and probably advance past the Knicks to the second round.

8. Brooklyn Nets (37-26)
Last week: 10, +2
A good week for the Nets allows them to sit comfortably in the fourth seed. And with an easy schedule coming up in March, it seems like that may be the position the Nets stay.

7. Denver Nuggets (42-22)
Last week: 7, –
The Nuggets are beating everyone and they’re doing it easily. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that they reached their peak too soon.

6. Indiana Pacers (39-24)
Last week: 5, -1
BREAKING: The Pacers aren’t as good as the Heat.

5. Memphis Grizzlies (42-19)
Last week: 8, +3
The Grizzlies have one loss in their last 13 games and it was against the Heat. They’re rolling right now and making people quickly forget about the Rudy Gay era.

4. L.A. Clippers (45-20)
Last week: 4, –
The Clippers keep beating the teams that they should beat, but they are still struggling against high-caliber teams like the Thunder and Nuggets. Some quality wins would do a lot for their confidence as the playoffs approach.

3. San Antonio Spurs (48-15)
Last week: 2, -1
Losing Tony Parker is for sure going to drop the Spurs out of the one spot in the West. But that may be for the better if the eighth seed ends up being the Lakers.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-16)
Last week: 3, +1
Another big week for the Thunder with wins against the Clippers, Lakers, Knicks and Celtics. Besides the Spurs, I don’t think any teams outside of the Heat are capable of challenging them in the playoffs.

1. Miami Heat (47-14)
Last week: 1, –
Do I really have to explain this?

Will Boston advance further than New York in the playoffs?

Follow Jon on Twitter at @jhartzell2.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.