Another week in the NBA which means another weekly review. As usual myself (@FonzyDeFalco) and Alec Walt (@AlecWalt) did our power rankings for this past week, which consisted of a lot of different trades and few surprise wins (Detroit beating the reigning champs at San Antonio is an example). Alec took care of the top 15 for the week, while I did the bottom 15 this time around.
- Golden State Warriors (LWR 1: 3-0 last week): The Warriors have won each game this week and are currently on a six game winning streak. Each game was won by an average of 19 points. Most notably Klay Thompson exploded for 40 points Wednesday night against the Indiana Pacers. The Warriors just keep on rolling.
- Atlanta Hawks (LWR 2: 4-0 last week): This season’s surprise team just keeps on surprising. This was not an easy week for the Hawks. They played the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, a hot Detroit Pistons team, and the Washington Wizards. They hold the league’s longest winning streak at 8 games and play Philadelphia and Boston the next two games.
- Portland Trail Blazers (LWR 3: 3-0 last week): In the last 15 games the Portland Trail Blazers have lost two games; to the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets. They’ll have an easy week this week playing the Los Angeles Lakers twice along with the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic. If Portland continues to give up the least amount of points in the league the Blazers are in good shape, I have been told defense wins championships.
- Houston Rockets (LWR 7: 3-1 last week): After a minor bump in the road, the Rockets have re-kicked into gear. They received a lot of help playing weak teams like the Cavaliers, Knicks, and Jazz. Their only loss was to the Chicago Bulls while playing very tough basketball. A healthy Dwight Howard, who is currently day-to-day, is key to the Rockets making a push in the playoffs.
- Memphis Grizzlies (LWR 4: 2-2 last week): The Grizzlies had an average week, but just got Zach Randolph back from injury. Randolph has averaged 19 points and 14 rebounds in the two games he has played. All week they were involved in trade rumors and have just recently acquired forward Jeff Green from the Boston Celtics. Jeff Green will allow them to stretch the floor adding another scary dimension to a very good team.
- Dallas Mavericks (LWR 6: 1-2 last week): Every team will hit a slump in the season and that is how this week was for the Mavericks. They beat the Brooklyn Nets in OT then lost to a surging Detroit Pistons team and fairly consistent Los Angeles Clippers team. Dirk Nowitzki’s 18.6 points per game will keep this team alive.
- Washington Wizards (LWR 11: 3-1 last week): The Wizards needed to re-focus after losing to three very good team in the West. They beat two weaker teams in the New Orleans Pelicans and New York Knicks then demolished the Chicago Bulls by 31. The Atlanta Hawks then clobbered the Wizards two days later. This team needs to keep focus because their schedule looks tough.
- Chicago Bulls (LWR 5: 2-2 last week): Pau Gasol has been much better then everyone expected this season. This week he dropped three double-doubles including his 46 points, 18 rebound thrashing of the Milwaukee Bucks. Derrick Rose healthy determines how far this team will go.
- Los Angeles Clippers (LWR 8: 2-2 last week): Since Doc Rivers has been the head coach of the Clippers, their offense has been lob city great but the defense looks clueless. Hassan Whiteside showed if you can stop DeAndre Jordan, who is the Clippers difference maker, this offense tends to struggle. When they have to rely on shooting, they have struggled. Chris Paul will always make them a threat. The Clippers will make a move before the trade deadline.
- Toronto Raptors (LWR 9: 1-1 last week): The Raptors are getting tired. This high powered offense run by Kyle Lowry is still a threat, but it is clear they desperately need DeMar DeRozan back. DeRozan is out and may be back sometime next week. The win vs he Boston Celtics to end the week should help the Raptors get on track again.
- San Antonio Spurs (LWR 10: 2-1 last week): History has told me to never doubt the Spurs even if you or I were starting on the roster. This team lost to a point by a surging Detroit Pistons team and beat the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves. Consistency is they key to this team. What scares me is the bench is capable of beating starting lineups, then when playoffs come all of their actual starters will be back. They look weak now, but expect the usual when its playoff time.
- Phoenix Suns (LWR 12: 2-2 last week): Phoenix Suns score the fourth most points in the league and is fun to watch. They are the eight seed in the West and have a comfortable two game lead on New Orleans. The Suns struggle against the best in the West…but who doesn’t. To end the week they lost to the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies. To stay in the playoffs they can’t have a roller coaster ride of winning and losing streaks.
13. New Orleans Pelicans (LWR 16: 1-2 last week): I feel bad for the Pelicans. With a .500, they are in last place in the division and ninth in the West. They lose to teams like as poor as the Charlotte Hornets but beat the Memphis Grizzlies. If the Pelicans can continue to play well against the best of the West and beat teams they should beat, they could sneak into the 8 seed come playoff time.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (LWR 13: 1-2 last week): If someone were to have told me the Oklahoma City Thunder would be 14 in the power rankings this late into the season I would’ve thought you were crazy. The Thunder’s offense has cooled down scoring less then 100 points in each game this week. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook need to play like stars to seed higher then 10 and make the playoffs.
- Denver Nuggets (LWR 20: 3-0 last week): The biggest jump in this weeks standings is in the city with the highest elevation. The Nuggets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, and Sacramento Kings this week, but before that beat the Memphis Grizzlies. The Nuggets have been worst then I expected but the West is stacked. We will see how good they really are when they play a home-at-home with the Dallas Mavericks.
16. Milwaukee Bucks (LWR 14: 2-2 last week): This team is still fun to watch with the different amount of rotations Coach Jason Kidd does. You never know what lineup they’ll have in the closing minutes in the 4th quarter. I believe that they can still compete in the East for a playoff spot despite not having Jabari Parker.
17. Detroit Pistons (LWR 21: 3-1 last week): What a difference one player makes. Ever since letting go of Josh Smith. They have only lost one game in the span since he was released. They look ten times better and they had a nice win in San Antonio thanks to Brandon Jennings game winning layup.
18. Indiana Pacers (LWR 18: 2-2 last week): To me since they have no Paul George, this team is just average. I really do not expect this team to make any sort of playoff push but then again it is the East, you never know.
19. Miami Heat (LWR 19: 1-1 last week): Not really a busy week for the Heat only playing two games. They had a nice game against the Clippers, led by former 2nd round pick in 2010 and NBA D-League journeyman Hassan Whiteside with 23 points and 16 rebounds. It may be to early to call but the Heat may have finally found their true center that they have been looking for.
20. Cleveland Cavaliers (LWR 15: 0-4 last week): This team is really a mess right now while LeBron has been in Miami rehabbing his sore Back. The team made some questionable moves this week, trading away Dion Waiters in a three-team deal in which they received J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert and in a separate trade getting Timofey Mozgov from Denver in return sending two future first round picks. With those trades happening and Kevin Love most likely opting out of his deal to become a free agent, The window for a championship run is this season or bust.
21. Brooklyn Nets (LWR 17: 0-4 last week): Deron Williams is hurt yet again and Jarrett Jack took his starting job. We do not know what to expect out of this team and it is going to be interesting to see what this team does when it gets closer to the trade deadline.
22. Sacramento Kings (LWR 23: 2-1 last week): DeMarcus Cousins is still playing great despite what happened in Boston. I think that they can compete in the West right now, however they need to find a quality big man that can play alongside Cousins and Darren Collison continues to play well, which by the way he is averaging career highs across the board.
23. Utah Jazz (LWR 22: 1-3 last week): Losing Alec Burks to the season from a shoulder injury really hurts their development. However I think it is a perfect time now for Dante Exum and Rodney Hood to step up and show their skill sets.
24. Los Angeles Lakers (LWR 24: 1-3 last week): Not really a good week for the Lakers as they got destroyed by their same arena rivals, the Clippers. Kobe Bryant is 6th in the league in scoring but you never know if he is going to play with Coach Byron Scott resting him night in and night out.
25. Charlotte Hornets (LWR 27: 4-0 last week): They did go and have a streak last week winning four straight. They have been playing without without Lance Stephenson, who is out with a pelvis injury. We should see if this winning streak is for real with this team.
26. Philadelphia 76ers (LWR 28: 3-1 last week): Wasn’t this team suppose to tank? They officially do not have the worse record right now. All the guys on the roster go into the game giving it 100% every night and that is fun to watch.
27. Boston Celtics (LWR 25: 1-3 last week): Wheeling and dealing has been the motto for this year so far, just recently trading away Brandon Wright to the Suns and Jeff Green to the Grizzlies. In exchange they got future draft picks in both of the deals. Like I said earlier in the season, everyone is tradable in Boston.
28. Orlando Magic (LWR 26: 0-3 last week): Very ugly losses this week for the Magic, losing by 17 against the Kobe-less Lakers. Despite all that, Nikola Vucevic is having yet another solid season, averaging 18 PPG and 11 RPG.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (LWR 30: 0-4 last week): This was a hard choice as to who should be ranked last, but the reason I put them above New York was the fact that Andrew Wiggins has been playing very well and maybe finally found his niche in the NBA.
30. New York Knicks (LWR 29: 0-4 last week): They have not won a game since December 12th and they just look terrible this year. I am glad that they traded away Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith because clearly neither of them are the answer to the future. It also shows that they are committed to developing Tim Hardaway Jr. The only way they can go is up.