These Power Rankings were written by Alfonso DeFalco (@FonzyDeFalco) 1-15, and Alec Walt (@AlecWalt) 16-30. Let’s see where each team stands:
Biggest Riser: Charlotte Hornets +6
Biggest Faller: Denver Nuggets -5
1.)Atlanta Hawks (LW: 2)
Winners of 16 straight games the Hawks are legit contenders. Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Paul Millsap are playing like great this season and I would not be surprised if they all make the All-Star team this year. The reason why I gave the Hawks the nod over the Warriors for the top spot is because of the fact they have no lost yet in the month of January.
2.)Golden State Warriors (LW: 1)
Both Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are both averaging 22.8 points per game and they are both set to compete against each other in the three-point contest. The Warriors have been on a roll and don’t look to be slowing down. Keep February 6th marked on your calendars as the top seeds in each conference take the court against each other for the first time.
3.)Memphis Grizzlies (LW: 3)
This stacked team from top to bottom looks to be true contenders in the west. The addition of Jeff Green has really helped them averaging 13 points in the 7 games (3 starts) he’s played.
4.)Los Angeles Clippers (LW: 9)
Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan has been excellent on the boards, with Griffin averaging 7.6 a game and Jordan averaging a league best 13.4. The Clippers also won four games this week, two of them being huge blowouts (39 to the Nets and 20 to the Suns)
5.)Portland Trail Blazers (LW: 4)
Losing LaMarcus Aldridge with a thumb injury was huge, but he made a shocking decision to hold off on the surgery and continue playing. It is a very risky thing to do, in Saturdays game against the Wizards, he played extremely well scoring 26 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
6.)Houston Rockets (LW: 6)
James Harden is without a doubt in the MVP race with a scoring average of 27.6 PPG. The constant injuries to Dwight Howard will definitely hurt them in the long run if he cannot stay healthy.
7.)San Antonio Spurs (LW: 10)
Despite all the different rotations and different players being rested, Coach Popovich is still managing to pull out W’s with this veteran team. Interesting stat; the Spurs have went through 23 different starting lineups, second behind the Knicks.
8.)Dallas Mavericks (LW: 5)
This might be on the first top teams in the West to not have a player represent them in the All-Star game. The benching of Rondo in the Bulls game during the 4th Quarter, as coach Rick Carlisle says he plans to play Rondo in crunch time on a regular basis. Interesting to see if the Mavericks sign Jermaine O’Neal, as I believe in can definitely help them behind Tyson Chandler.
9.)Chicago Bulls (LW: 8)
Derrick Rose has been playing well for them as of late, which is what Chicago needs. He recently called out his team because of they way they performed recently but I think that they will get the message and they better when they play the Warriors this week.
10.)Washington Wizards (LW: 7)
Going 2-2 this week including a overtime thriller against Denver, in which John Wall had 19 points and 16 assists. Wall is currently tied for 6th in the league in double doubles with 24.
11.)Cleveland Cavaliers (LW: 16)
Winners of 6 straight games, it seems like they are taking a step in the right direction. LeBron James has been playing great, averaging 28.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists in his last 5 games. Will see how the recent acquisitions of J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov all pan out during the rest of the year.
12.)Toronto Raptors (LW: 11)
People might be saying Toronto is starting to fall from being the first seed in the East and 1st in the league in scoring to now the 3rd seed in the East to now 5th in scoring but I don’t see them as “falling off.” If they want to compete in the playoffs, they need to fix their rebounding situation because right now they are 20th in the league in rebounds.
13.)Phoenix Suns (LW: 12)
With two losses to the Clippers and Rockets, the Suns could eventually fall out of the playoff race if they keep losing like this. Eric Bledsoe did have a nice outing in their win against the Trail Blazers, going for 33 points along with 10 rebounds and 6 assists.
14.)Oklahoma City Thunder (LW: 13)
This team can literally be the most dangerous 8th seed in the playoffs (if they can make it). They are 1.5 games behind the Suns for the 8th seed and they need to be firing on all cylinders if they want to make it.
15.)New Orleans Pelicans (LW: 15)
Anthony Davis has been playing ridiculous and could be in the MVP talks if the Pelicans make the playoffs. They have a shot but it will be difficult because they do not have a second scorer behind Davis. People argue Jrue Holiday but he will be out for the next 2-4 weeks with an ankle injury. If they do not make the playoffs, I’d expect Monty Williams to be fired.
16.) Charlotte Hornets (LW 22)
It was fun for the Charlotte Hornets to finally have Lance Stephenson, Al Jefferson, and Kemba Walker healthy, which led to a nice 8-2 run in the last 10 games. Doom hit Charlotte as yesterday Kemba Walker has been ruled out with a torn meniscus. Charlotte is currently the eight seed, and Lance Stephenson will determine if they will stay in the playoffs.
17.) Miami Heat (LW 19)
ATTENTION: The Miami Heat have finally found a true center. Hassan Whiteside, in the month of January has three double-doubles and one triple-double. He averages 12.3 ppg and 8.6 rpg. The Heat are coming off a nice 96-84 win at Chicago. They have an easy week ahead of them.
18.) Milwaukee Bucks (LW 14)
The Bucks sit at a record of 22-22, 5-5 in the last ten. This young, inexperienced team works hard for new head coach Jason Kidd as they allow the third least points per game in the NBA. Kris Middleton has stepped up in the month of January scoring in double digits in eight of eleven games.
19.) Detroit Pistons (LW 18)
Just as the Detroit Pistons were gaining respect in the NBA world, Brandon Jennings tore his achilles and will be out for the rest of the season. Jeff Van Gundy now has to decide: do we tank? or buy before the trade deadline?
20.) Brooklyn Nets (LW 20)
In the last twelve games, the Brooklyn Nets have won two of them. The last two games have ended in losses of 39 and 35 points. Brook Lopez has been rumored to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Joe Johnson to the Charlotte Hornets. The Nets are horrible. The Atlanta Hawks have the right to swap picks with the Nets in the upcoming draft.
21.) Boston Celtics (LW 26)
All five games this week was against Western Conference teams all on the road. The wins in Portland and Denver resulted in two game winning three pointer. This Celtics team is not very good, but head coach Brad Stevens is working his players really hard. This team will fight until the end, and with an easy schedule ahead maybe they could sneak into the playoffs.
22.) Denver Nuggets (LW 17)
This is a week Denver will try to forget. Ty Lawson got arrested for a DUI and they didn’t win a single game. The Nuggets have Ty Lawson, Wolson Chandler, Aaron Afflalo, and Kenneth Faried, who each individually put up good numbers. This team just can’t win. Denver needs to find their new identity.
23.) Utah Jazz (LW 24)
A decent week for the Jazz, but an even better week for Gordon Hayward. Hayward averaged 22 points in the past week. Patience is the answer in Utah. The Jazz have a brutal schedule ahead, set to play the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, and Phoenix Suns.
24.) Sacramento Kings (LW 21)
What is going on in Sacramento. The Kings have not won back-to-back games since November 25, 2014. They also have only won seven games since November 25th, 2014. A true point guard is needed as they are last in the NBA in assists per game.
25.) Indiana Pacers (LW 25)
Every game this week was on the road. The only team the beat this week was the Magic which is why they are one spot ahead of them. This team has zero momentum or anything to look forward to this season, but they will play the Knicks, Kings, and Pistons in three of their next four games.
26.) Orlando Magic (LW 23)
The Magic’s record is starting to dip, and Tobias Harris hasn’t helped the cause. At first, Harris was averaging 17.4 ppg and 6.6 rpg. Since returning from injury he has averaged 11.8 ppg and 4 rpg. With Milwaukee, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio right around the corner, the losing streak may continue.
27.) Los Angeles Lakers (LW 27)
The Lakers are 1-9 in the last 10, the worst in the NBA. Kobe Bryant tore his rotator cuff and is out for the season. The Lakers are now irrelevant to the NBA. These bottom four teams are now in a race for the leagues worst record #TankForJahlil.
28.) New York Knicks (LW 30)
The Knicks have a very un-Knicks like week. These three wins in a row came after a 16 game losing streak. Langston Galloway has stepped up this week and is signed for the rest of the season. Don’t get your hopes up, the Knicks are still terrible.
29.) Philadelphia 76ers (LW 28)
The 76ers have averaged 82 points per game this week. This team looks sluggish and is counting the days for this season to end. Later this week, the 76ers battle the Timberwolves for leagues worst team.
30.) Minnesota Timberwolves (LW 29)
I have been more then impressed with 19 year old face of the franchise Andrew Wiggins. In the month of January he has averaged 19.7 points per game. Just as I said earlier with the Jazz, patience is the answer.