By: Scott Brock-Wilson
During the midst of holiday season, and near the dawn of a new year, the new Power Rankings is here.
There are nine teams in the standings within 2.5 games of each other in the East (slots 2-10) and seven teams within 2.5 games of each other in the West (slots 8-14). However, the West tend to be more spaced out in the upper tiers. Also shoutout to the East for having a total of 10 teams over .500, nearly doubling the West’s measly six teams over .500.
30. Philadelphia 76ers -- (2-30)
They now have two wins, congratulations?
29. Los Angeles Lakers -- (5-26)
28. Brooklyn Nets -- (8-22)
27. Phoenix Suns -6 (12-20)
They were bad before and now with Bledsoe’s torn meniscus
26. Denver Nuggets -- (12-19)
25. Milwaukee Bucks -- (12-19)
24. Minnesota Timberwolves -7 (11-19)
23. New Orleans Pelicans +6 (10-20)
The Pelicans are a team that will continue to play up (or down) to their opponents.
22. Portland Trail Blazers +1 (13-20)
The Blazers had struggled as of late, but pulled off a huge 30 point victory against the Cavs followed by a good win over Sacramento, both without Lillard. Allen Crabbe has come out of nowhere for this team. His December average of 13.9 ppg is over five ppg better than his November average. McCollum (35/11/9 against the Kings) and Lillard are obviously still the stars, but Crabbe has now made his presence felt, breaking through the door with his career-best 26 point outbreak against the Cavs.
21. New York Knicks +1 (14-17)
20. Sacramento Kings +4 (12-18)
19. Utah Jazz -7 (12-16)
18. Memphis Grizzlies -4 (17-16)
17. Washington Wizards +3 (14-14)
The Wizards, winners of four straight, are surprisingly 6th in eFG%. The Wizards have performed well in the eight game stretch without Beal so far going 5-3, but if they expect to make the playoffs, the Wizards still must improve on their defensive efficiency (104.2) as they are in the bottom third in the league.
16. Charlotte Hornets +2 (16-13)
15. Orlando Magic +4 (17-13)
14. Chicago Bulls -6 (16-12)
13. Detroit Pistons +3 (17-14)
12. Dallas Mavericks -2 (17-13)
11. Boston Celtics -- (17-13)
The Celtics followed up a three game losing streak with their current four game winning streak. They saw the return of Marcus Smart from injury who struggled in only 13 minutes. But the Celtics’ defense is tied for second in defensive rating allowing 97.4 points, only behind San Antonio. The Celtics expect to stretch this win streak to seven playing their next three games against teams in the bottom three of the league with one versus the Lakers and two against the Nets.
10. Indiana Pacers -5 (17-12)
9. Atlanta Hawks +4 (20-12)
8. Houston Rockets +7 (16-16)
The Rockets are a tough team to figure out. They had an impressive Christmas day victory over the Spurs, but that was sandwiched in between losses to the Magic and Pelicans. The Rockets are tied for the second worst in turnover ratio (16.5) only behind the lowly 76ers. They do not appear to be getting over their consistency issues anytime soon.
7. Toronto Raptors +2 (19-12)
6. Miami Heat -- (18-11)
5. Los Angeles Clippers +2 (18-13)
The top four teams are leaps and bounds better than the rest. They have separated themselves and are the true contenders.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder -- (20-10)
3. Cleveland Cavaliers -- (19-9)
Don’t get caught up in their bad loss to the Blazers.
2. San Antonio Spurs -- (26-6)
1. Golden State Warriors -- (28-1)