Ranking the NBA from worst to first…
30. Charlotte Bobcats (16-54)
Last week: 30, –
They beat the Wizards and Raptors this week so, uh, I guess that’s a step in the right direction?
29. Orlando Magic (18-52)
Last week: 28, -1
This team is young, but they clearly have talent. If they can draft a solid point guard prospect this summer then Orlando will be well on their way to forming a great core.
28. New Orleans Hornets (24-46)
Last week: 29, +1
Impressive wins this week against the Celtics and Grizzlies show that this team is capable of not being horrible. Another year for Anthony Davis to improve and a full year of healthy Eric Gordon could make the Hornets a playoff team next year.
27. Philadelphia 76ers (27-42)
Last week: 26, – 1
It’s clear now that the Andrew Bynum trade was a mistake. But I still think that the risk Philadelphia took this summer was worth the reward of a possibly healthy Bynum.
26. Detroit Pistons (24-47)
Last week: 25, -1
The tank-train is going at full speed in Detroit and with any luck, they could tank their way into being a bottom-three team in the NBA.
25. Phoenix Suns (23-48)
Last week: 27, +2
They beat the Lakers (without Kobe) by 23 points on Monday. That’s reason alone for a move up in the rankings. Phoenix has a weird ability to beat good teams.
24. Toronto Raptors (26-44)
Last week: 20, -4
Remember when people thought that the Raptors would make the playoffs with Rudy Gay? Haha good one.
23. Sacramento Kings (25-46)
Last week: 24, +1
The Kings win against the Clippers on Monday was impressive. But DeMarcus Cousins calling out the team’s announcer after the game was another moment in the embarrassing saga that is his career.
22. Minnesota Timberwolves (24-44)
Last week: 22, –
I think I say this every week, but it would have been super neat if they could have stayed relatively healthy this year.
21. Washington Wizards (25-44)
Last week: 23, +2
It’s really cool that the Wizards are playing better with an improved John Wall. But it’s unfortunate that every win is just hurting their chances at landing a top-three pick in this summer’s draft.
20. Cleveland Cavaliers (22-47)
Last week: 21, +1
Whatever. They get a move up in the rankings just for how they played against the Heat on Wednesday without Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. I honestly don’t care that they blew the lead.
19. Utah Jazz (34-36)
Last week: 18, -1
There’s nothing like a winless week to seal the Jazz’s fate as a nine-seed in the Western Conference.
18. Milwaukee Bucks (34-35)
Last week: 16, -2
Gross. The Bucks end the week under .500 and still in the playoffs. Welcome to the Eastern Conference.
17. Dallas Mavericks (34-36)
Last week: 19, +2
They’re starting to play like they were predicted to play before the season. Too bad that this is starting with only a month left in the season.
16. Portland Trail Blazers (33-37)
Last week: 17, +1
Wins this week against the Bulls and Hawks are impressive, but the Blazers have little going for them in the final month of the season. Hopefully they can make some smart decisions this summer to build a solid core around Damian Lillard.
15. Boston Celtics (36-33)
Last week: 9, -6
Maybe the post-Rondo magic is gone? Thankfully for Boston fans, there shouldn’t be much fear of the struggling Bucks catching them and the seven-seed anytime soon.
14. L.A. Lakers (36-34)
Last week: 11, -3
They lost to the Suns and Wizards. I have nothing else to say.
13. New York Knicks (42-26)
Last week: 15, +2
The Knicks were able to feast on the Magic and Raptors (twice) this week to get out of their losing streak. But none of that will help them when they need to beat actual competition in a few weeks.
12. Chicago Bulls (37-31)
Last week: 13, +1
The goaltending call in Denver on Tuesday highlighted (lowlighted?) the Bulls week. Fortunately, the Bulls’ recent struggles have been accompanied by struggles by basically every team in the Eastern Conference not located in Miami or Brooklyn.
11. Houston Rockets (39-31)
Last week: 14, +3
The Rockets had a great week and they’ve solidified themselves as the No. 7 seed thanks to the struggles of the Lakers.
10. Golden State Warriors (40-31)
Last week: 12, +2
The Warriors are winning and holding on to the No. 6 seed. But with the way that the Nuggets are playing, Golden State may want to avoid a first-round matchup with them.
9. Atlanta Hawks (39-31)
Last week: 10, +1
They sure made it clear this week that they’re better than the Milwaukee Bucks. But that’s not that impressive.
8. Brooklyn Nets (41-29)
Last week: 8, –
The Nets are finally playing well. And maybe with a little luck they’ll be able to pass the Knicks and secure homecourt advantage in the first round.
7. Memphis Grizzlies (47-22)
Last week: 6, -1
This drop is unfair. But losing to the Hornets is something that can’t happen when the Grizzlies are in a battle for homecourt advantage in the playoffs.
6. Indiana Pacers (43-27)
Last week: 7, +1
In the final few weeks it will be a battle between the Pacers, Knicks and Nets to see which team can secure the No. 2 seed and presumably play the Celtics. My money is on the Pacers.
5. L.A. Clippers (48-22)
Last week: 5
This poor team. They just need a week to rest up and get healthy. But that won’t be possible with their playoff seed still undetermined.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (52-19)
Last week: 3, -1
They were unable to make up much ground on the Spurs during Tony Parker‘s absence. But that may prove to not be a horrible thing with the always dangerous Lakers looking like they’ll be the No. 8 seed.
3. San Antonio Spurs (53-17)
Last week: 2, -1
Tony Parker is back earlier than expected and the Spurs are playing with their usual confidence. Their goal for the last few weeks of the regular season is to just stay healthy.
2. Denver Nuggets (49-22)
Last week: 4, +2
Unfortunately for the Nuggets, their incredible 15-game winning streak has been severely overlooked because of the streak going on in Miami. But over the last month, the Nuggets proved that they’re a legit championship contender.
1. Miami Heat (55-14)
Last week: 1, –
The streak is currently at 26 games and it seems that the Heat are now just trolling inferior teams. It’s difficult to imagine any team in the Eastern Conference giving them a challenge in the playoffs.
Which Western Conference team will earn the No. 3 seed?
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