Here are this week’s NBA Power Rankings from the Thunder Guys. Let us know what you think, and whether we got it right or wrong.
- Golden State Warriors (33-8):The Warriors locked up their spot at number one for awhile after beating the Cavs once again. I’ve said this before, but I don’t see anyone beating this team in the playoffs.
- Boston Celtics (33-10): Boston has had a really intriguing season. After such a historic start, they kinda fell off the map a bit. Now here they are at the top once again.
- Minnesota Timberwolves (29-16): The Timberwolves are playing like the second best team in the West, and they just might be.
Toronto Raptors (29-13): Toronto has been kinda flying under the radar lately. They took a tough loss last week, but they have the chance to bounce back this week against a solid Pistons team.
Miami Heat (25-18): The Miami Heat is the most surprising team in my top 10. Not only are they top 10, but they have a top 5 spot. I’m interested to see where they will end up.
San Antonio Spurs (29-16): The Spurs seem to be hanging around in the middle of the pack every week. I’m beginning to wonder if this team will ever be fully healthy.
Houston Rockets (30-12): Despite having one of the best records in the NBA, the Rockets have not been playing well lately. Mental toughness is an area this team must improve on.
Cleveland Cavaliers (26-17): The Cavs have been underwhelming lately. They’ve lost some tough ones and some easy ones. But we all know LeBron will have this team ready by the playoffs.
Washington Wizards (25-19): The Wizards have been pretty impressive this year. Bradley Beal and John Wall aren’t just fun to watch, but they’re pretty good too.
Oklahoma City Thunder (24-20): The Thunder come in last but not least in my top 10. This team still isn’t playing to their potential, but they are certainly improving.
- Golden State Warriors (36-9): A bump in the road to the Clippers aside, the Warriors continue to look unstoppable. They’re not going to win 73 games, and they may not even match last season’s 67, but I’m not sure any team can beat them in a seven-game playoff series.
- Boston Celtics (34-10): After trailing by 22, the Celtics came back to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers in London by 11. Due to travel, that’s the only game Boston had all week, so they stay locked in at their position riding a seven-game win streak.
- Houston Rockets (30-12): James Harden is still out, but he’s expected to return soon. Even with his absence, the Rockets have done enough to stay in the top-tier of teams.
- Minnesota Timberwolves (29-16): A five-game win streak which includes two wins over divisional opponents has the Timberwolves moving up in the rankings. I’m not sure they can maintain based on the high volume of play time that guys are getting, but right now, they look like they could be a threat in the West.
- San Antonio Spurs (29-16): It’s really hard to get a gauge on how good this team is simply because of the injury issues they have dealt with all season long. If they’re able to get healthy, they could be extremely dangerous, but if key players continue to miss games, things could go south eventually.
- Toronto Raptors (29-13): The Raptors were cruising for a while, but they seem to be descending back to their typical place in the Eastern Conference. They are still a very good team, but they aren’t really that scary to opponents.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (26-17): What is going on in Cleveland? The Cavs have lost eight of their last 10, and granted, the four-game losing streak they’re on has come against teams that are all in a decent spot in the playoff standings, but this is almost unprecedented for Lebron James.
- Miami Heat (25-18): The Heat seem to be the inverse of the Cavs right now, as Miami has won eight of their last 10. Of those wins, half have come against playoff-caliber teams, but their backcourt is running thin right now due to injury, so it will be interesting to see how they hold up moving forward.
- Washington Wizards (25-19): The Wizards have won six of their last 10, but the Heat has managed to pass them in the Southeast Division. Also, two recent losses to Milwaukee has Washington on the brink of tumbling down the standings. They do play three of the league’s worst teams (Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks) in the next 11 days.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (24-20): What a weird week. The Thunder got killed by the Portland Trail Blazers at home, annihilated by the Timberwolves in Minnesota the following night, and then struggled to get wins against the Hornets in Charlotte and the Sacramento Kings at home last night. After all of this, the Thunder are still a fringe Top 10 team, and they could go either way at this point.
3 To Watch
Los Angeles Clippers (22-21): The Clippers have been in my 3 To Watch for about three weeks now. Keep an eye on this team as they’ve beaten both the Rockets and the Warriors in the last week.
Philadelphia 76ers (20-20): The 76ers have had a pretty decent season by their standards. However, I think playoffs is the ultimate goal. Keep an eye as this team is on the border of making or breaking their season.
- New Orleans Pelicans (22-20): The Pelicans have been a rather quiet team this season. Despite not having the normal buzz around New Orleans, they are quietly climbing the NBA standings.
- Milwaukee Bucks (23-20): Two wins over the Washington Wizards in the last 10 days means a lot, but in January, the Bucks have lost to the Toronto Raptors twice, the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat, and the Golden State Warriors. They have some work to do if they want to be a real threat in the East.
- Indiana Pacers (24-20): Victor Oladipo is all but a lock for NBA’s Most Improved Player, and some people think he’s even worth of some Most Valuable Player votes. Regardless of what you think, he’s doing a solid job as the main man in Indiana, and the Pacers are only 2.5 games back of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Central Division.
- Los Angeles Clippers (22-21): Is this real life? The Clippers have somehow stormed to break .500 for the first time since November 5th. Since losing 9 straight and sitting at 5-11, Los Angeles has gone 17-10, which isn’t fantastic, but it’s pretty good considering the number of injuries they have dealt with. Oh, and they just beat the Houston Rockets in Chris Paul’s return to Staples Center.
- Orlando Magic (12-31): The Magic can now officially be claimed as the worst team in the NBA. Maybe over the next few weeks they will try to double their wins from the previous 10 games. Which will give them with 2 wins.
Atlanta Hawks (12-31): The Hawks aren’t the worst anymore, but they’re dangerously close to moving back into that spot.
Sacramento Kings (13-30): The Kings have a habit of jumping out with an early lead and then letting it slip away. Perhaps a little more experience will do this team some good.
Memphis Grizzlies (14-28): It’s still crazy to think about the horrible season that Memphis is having. From roster problems, to coaching, to the front office, this organization has a lot of issues to fix.
Dallas Mavericks (15-29): The Mavs say Dirk is able to stick around as long as he wants to. At what point do you start wondering if he is holding this team back?
- Orlando Magic (12-31): Losing seven games in a row is bad, but dropping 16 of the last 17 is just abysmal. It’s looking less and less like they’re going to be able to improve upon their 29-53 record from a season ago.
- Atlanta Hawks (12-31): The Hawks picked up two wins in the last week, but they’re still really terrible. The most recent one came at home against the Spurs, so at least fans had something to cheer about in person.
- Sacramento Kings (13-30): The Kings are not good. They held a 15-point lead over the Thunder last night, but it fizzled quickly. That looks worse for Oklahoma City than it does Sacramento, but considering the Kings have lost eight of their last 10 games and six of those losses have been by double digits, it’s probably not going to get much better.
- Memphis Grizzlies (14-28): The Grizzlies might finally be making some progress as they have gone 5-5 in their last 10, but they’re still a long ways away from anything that can be called success. This may be a long season for Memphis fans.
- Dallas Mavericks (15-29): Dallas is in a slightly better spot than Memphis, winning six of their last 10, but they seem to have a brighter future than the Grizzlies. They’re not going to make the playoffs or anything like that, but who knows how much they can improve by season’s end.