The Utah Jazz end Lakers streak at 11, and the Celtics are still rolling by winning their 10th straight game. If the Lakers had beat Utah, they would without a doubt be #1 in The Laker Nation’s first ever Power Rankings. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, that Jazz loss drops them to 2nd behind the 2008 NBA Champions, the Boston Celtics.
The Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks are slowly creeping up there, so the Celtics and Lakers spots are definitely not safe…
1. Boston Celtics (Record 19-4) – Celtics are currently the hottest team in the league, having beaten the likes of Milwaukee, Washington, and Chicago in the past week to extend their streak to 10. With a schedule of Grizzlies, 76ers and T-Wolves coming up this week – look for them to extend it to 13.
2. Los Angeles Lakers (Record 18-4) – The Lakers were the hottest team in the league, but that loss vs. the Jazz has set them back. The streak is over, Kobe has a broken finger and Pau is asking for more shots – not a good week for the Lakers.
3. Atlanta Hawks (Record 17-6) – Joe Johnson is still underrated although he is putting up MVP type numbers on a winning team. Josh Smith is the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year and Mike Woodson is coach of the year thus far. Can Atlanta ask for more?
4. Orlando Magic (Record 17-6) – Not a very good week for the Magic, losing to both the Jazz and Suns. They are now tied with the Hawks in the division. Maybe Rashard Lewis should step up and earn that paycheck instead of worrying about how Ryan Anderson is doing out there. Hedo’s return this coming up week should be very interesting.
5. Denver Nuggets (Record 17-7) – Melo is still looking like an MVP candidate but losing to the Bobcats and the Pistons this past week really dropped them behind the Magic. For a Championship team, they are really giving up a lot of points at 101.6. If they are looking to move up in the standings, they need to do something about that.
6. Dallas Mavericks (Record 17-7) – Life is good in Dallas. They have won 5 of their last 7 games, Dirk is looking like an MVP candidate. Mark Cuban should check his team out more often and worry less about being put through tables by Randy Orton.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (Record 17-7) – Were we just expecting way too much out of this team or is the east that much stronger? If it wasn’t for their weak division, and a 4-1 record vs. that division, the Cavaliers would be much lower in these rankings and maybe even out of the top 10. Maybe LeBron should stop dancing now?
8. Phoenix Suns (Record 16-8) – With the Hawks, they are probably the 2nd most surprising team in the league. Suns have stood toe to toe with the Lakers in the Pacific Division until recently. Steve Nash is back to his MVP-type form and Jason Richardson is playing great basketball right now.
9. Utah Jazz (Record 14-9) – Wins vs. the Spurs, Magic and the Lakers in one week is really impressive. Carlos Boozer is the only player other than Chris Bosh to be averaging 20/10. With all that said, that 6 point 4th quarter vs. the Lakers is unforgettable.
10. Portland Trailblazers (Record 14-11) – Another season, another injury for Mr. Glass Oden. Is it safe to label him injury prone? Andre Miller is not playing his best ball right now, and to add to all the issues – Jerryd Bayless now wants out and is on the trade block.
11. Houston Rockets (Record 13-10) – Rockets beat the Cavaliers one day, then squeeze out a win vs. the struggling 76ers and then lose to the Raptors. This is probably the most inconsistent teams in the league. Already without Yao and McGrady, and lose Ariza for a one game for that swing at Derozan’s head.
12. San Antonio Spurs (Record 12-9) – This team is finally rolling, winning their past 3 games. Injuries to their top 3 players is the reason this team does not have a better record. Just as they seem to be healthy again, Dejuan Blair could miss some time with that back injury.
13. Oklahoma City Thunder (Record 12-10) – Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant. This guy is just great and should be making his first All-Star game this season. Also, Jeff Green is still one of the most underrated players in the league.
14. Miami Heat (Record 11-11) – The Heat right now are in a very bad position. They are not good enough to contend and are not bad enough to get a good draft pick. Just the more reason why the Heat management should pursue King James or Bosh to pair up with Wade.
15. New Orleans Hornets (Record 10-12) – The Hornets management fired Byron Scott thinking that was the issue – it wasn’t. Chris Paul is playing phenomenal, as usual, averaging 21 and 10 but that’s it. David West needs to step it up. Another good note is Emeka Okafor is a double double machine right now.
16. Milwaukee Bucks (Record 11-11) – Could we really consider Young Buck a top 10 player right now? That double nickel he put up earlier in the season should put him up as rookie of the year – without a doubt. With Redd’s return, look for this team to move up in the standings.
17. Detroit Pistons (Record 11-12) – Pistons are currently 7th in the Playoffs without Tayshaun Prince. Ben Wallace is playing like the old Ben Wallace, putting up 9.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. They are currently on a roll, winning their past 6 of their past 7 games. Look for them to win more games now that Richard Hamilton is back.
18. Toronto Raptors (Record 11-15) – Chris Bosh is currently playing phenomenal, Bargnani is playing better than expected but Hedo really needs to step it up if they want to be contenders. 14 points per game while getting paid 9 million is just not going to cut it.
19. Memphis Grizzlies (Record 10-13) – This team has a really great future. Rudy Gay will not resign, and that could be an issue. Only problem with this team is Zach Randolph – the black hole of basketball. Ill advised shots and atrocious defense really makes him a liability for this team.
20. Charlotte Bobcats (Record 9-13) – Gerald Wallace is still doing his thing without anyone talking about him, and that Stephen Jackson pick up has really paid dividends for this team. Against the good teams, they play great and against the bad teams, they play like the real Bobcats.
21. Sacramento Kings (Record 10-12) – Kevin Martin has not played since November 4th, but the guy is averaging 30.6 ppg. If he has been still healthy – we can see a remake of Kobe’s 2006 season. Outside of Tyreke Evans, who can really score on this team?
22. Los Angeles Clippers (Record 9-13) – The Clippers are the Clippers and have not changed. Can’t wait for Blake Griffin to come back and see what he can do. NBA fans, players, coaches and management are all waiting to see what this guy can do but the bad news is he won’t be back ’til January.
23. Chicago Bulls (Record 8-14) – Luol Deng is back to his usual self, Derrick Rose is playing great again. Joakim Noah is rebounding the ball really well, he just needs to keep his temper in check. If this team makes the playoffs, they can really make some noise.
24. Indiana Pacers (Record 8-13) – The team is already struggling and now Danny Granger is gone, you would expect them to keep struggling right? Wrong. Without their top scorer, they have won consecutive games vs. the Nets and Wizards. Bad news: Orlando is next.
25. Washington Wizards (Record 7-14) – The Wizards are healthy right now, but Jamison’s injury really hurt this team. Gilbert Arenas seems to have lost a step since the surgeries. If this team wants to move up in the standings, Arenas needs to go on the hibachi mode.
26. Golden State Warriors (Record 7-16) – Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry are the only bright spots for this squad. Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf should be back soon and will surely help this squad out.
27. New York Knicks (Record 8-15) – Nate Robinson is acting childish and being benched, but Gallinari is playing very good ball right now. They are struggling, and they refuse to sign Allen Iverson but decide to sign Jonathan Bender?
28. Philadelphia 76ers (Record 5-18) – Although they are on an 12 game losing streak, expect them to be in the top 15 really soon with Iverson’s return. Iverson can average atleast 20 points per game for this team and expect him to put those kind of numbers by season’s end.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (Record 3-21) – Look for the T-Wolves to move up in the standings with Kevin Love’s return. Al Jefferson has really been doing his thing the whole season and Jonny Flynn has been a very pleasant surprise.
30. New Jersey Nets (Record 2-22) – Brook Lopez is playing great right now, but this team has 3 words for everyone: John Wall Baby!