Monday, February 17, 2014

NBA Power Rankings #10/NBA Playoff Picture

Power Rankings 
1. Oklahoma City Thunder 43-12
Kevin Durant is the NBA's leading MVP candidate, but as with Lebron James in Cleveland, the Thunder are not legitimate title contenders until we see significant improvement in Russell Westbrook's knees. 
Last Ranking: 1
2. Indiana Pacers 40-12
Even though he didn't win the Slam Dunk Contest, Paul George still proved he belongs with the NBA's elite. 
Last Ranking: 2
3. Miami Heat 37-14 
As good as Chris Bosh has been, Miami will need Dwayne Wade to be a factor in the playoffs in order to three-peat as champions. 
Last Ranking: 4
4. San Antonio Spurs 38-15
The Spurs have been the Spurs this year. Without many national headlines, San Antonio is quietly seeking its fifth championship of the Greg Poppovich era. 
Last Ranking: 3
5. Los Angeles Clippers 
Witt Chris Paul back, the Clippers have finally hit their stride. 
Last Ranking: 5
6. Houston Rockets 36-17
The Rockets moved up to #3 in the West, and Dwight Howard/James Harden is proving to be quite a dynamic duo. 
Last Ranking: 7
7. Portland Trailblazers 36-17
Down to #5 in the West, the Blazers are not looking as good as they did to start the season. 
Last Ranking: 6
8. Dallas Mavericks 32-22
Monta Ellis has propelled Dallas back to playoff contention in one of Dirk Nowvitszki's final years.
Last Ranking: 9
9. Phoenix Suns 30-21
Even without Eric Bledsoe, the Suns appear poised to make the playoffs, led by All-Star snub Goran Dragic. 
Last Ranking: 8
10. Golden State Warriors 31-22
The Warriors appear slightly overrated but are still deadly when their shooters are hot. 
Last Ranking: 10
11. Memphis Grizzlies 29-23
Without Marc Gasol for the first chunk of the year, Memphis will struggle to make the playoffs. 
Last Ranking: 11
12. Toronto Raptors 28-24
All-Star snub Kyle Lowry has quietly been the NBA's third-best PG (this season) and the Raptors are the third-best team in the East because of it. 
Last Ranking: 12
13. Chicago Bulls 27-25
This team is astounding. No matter what happens, they always find a way to win. They are #4 in the East despite losing Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. 
Last Ranking: 15
14. Brooklyn Nets 24-27
Moving up in the standings, the #7 in the East Nets are starting to look like the team we all expected them to be after acquiring Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in the offseason. 
Last Ranking: 16
15. Atlanta Hawks 25-26
After finally losing their grip on the East's #4 seed, the Hawks are reeling. 
Last Ranking: 14
16. Washington Wizards 25-27
John Wall has finally developed into the franchise player Washington expected him to be when they drafted him. 
Last Ranking: 13
17. Minnesota Timberwolves 25-28
Even with the team fully healthy (finally,) the T-Wolves are still not (currently) a playoff team.
Last Ranking: 17
18. Charlotte Bobcats 23-30 
Al Jefferson continues to impress in his first season with the Bobcats, who he has headed for the playoffs. 
Last Ranking: 19
19. New Orleans Pelicans 23-29
If the team could stay fully-healthy for a full season, they would make the playoffs. Alas, they have not been healthy this year. 
Last Ranking: 18
20. Denver Nuggets 24-27
Perhaps the most injury-riddled team so far this year, Denver has been a major disappointment in Year 1 of Brian Shaw's first stint as a Head Coach. 
Last Ranking: 21
21. New York Knicks 20-32
It's become evident that Coach Mike Woodson has to go, but the teams real problem is the front office. 
Last Ranking: 20
22. Detroit Pistons 22-30
Any team that starts three big men that can't shoot (Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond,) is not likely to be a playoff team. 
Last Ranking: 22
23. Utah Jazz 19-33
Utah has been relevant since Trey Burke came back from injury, but will not be a playoff team for a few more years. 
Last Ranking: 24
24. Cleveland Cavaliers 
Congratulations to Kyrie Irving on winning the All-Star game MVP. Now back to reality and a terrible season with the Cavs.
Last Ranking: 28
25. Sacramento Kings 18-35
Demarcus Cousins is still developing, but he if he becomes elite it could elevate Sacramento into the playoffs in a few years. 
Last Ranking: 26
26. Boston Celtics 19-35
Even with Rajon Rondo's return, Boston is still mediocre. 
Last Ranking: 25
27. Orlando Magic 16-38
Orlando is a strong draft away from the playoffs. That said, they're worse-than-mediocre this year. 
Last Ranking: 23
28. Los Angeles Lakers 18-35
Perhaps 40 games without an injury was too steep of a hope. He didn't even get to 5 before going back down. 
Last Ranking: 27
29. Philadelphia 76ers 15-39
We're finally seeing the 76ers we expected when the season started.
Last Ranking: 29
30. Milwaukee Bucks 9-43
Last Ranking: 30

Playoff Picture 
1. Indiana Pacers (Last Week: 1)
2. Miami Heat (2) 
3. Toronto Raptors (5) 
4. Brooklyn Nets (7) 
5. Chicago Bulls (5)
6. Washington Wizards (4)
7. Atlanta Hawks (7) 
8. Charlotte Bobcats (8) 

Playoff Picture
1. Indiana Pacers (Last Week: 1)
2. Miami Heat (2)
3. Toronto Raptors (5)
4. Brooklyn Nets (3)
5. Chicago Bulls (6) 
6. Washington Wizards (4) 
7. Atlanta Hawks (7)
8. Charlotte Bobcats (N/A) 

(1) Indiana over (8) Charlotte 4-1
(2) Miami over (7) Atlanta 4-0
(6) Washington over (3) Toronto 4-2
(4) Chicago over (5) Brooklyn 4-3

(1) Indiana over (4) Chicago 4-1
(2) Miami over (6) Washington 4-1

(1) Indiana over (2) Miami 4-3

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (Last Week: 1) 
2. San Antonio Spurs (2)
3. Los Angeles Clippers (4)
4. Houston Rockets (5)
5. Portland Trailblazers (3)
6. Dallas Mavericks (8)
7. Phoenix Suns (6)
8. Golden State Warriors (7) 

(1) Oklahoma City over (8) Golden State 4-2
(2) San Antonio over (7) Phoenix  4-1 
(3) Los Angeles over (6) Dallas 4-0
(4) Houston over (5) Portland 4-3 

(1) Oklahoma City over (4) Houston 4-1
(3) Los Angeles over (2) San Antonio 4-2

(1) Oklahoma City over (3) Los Angeles 4-2 

NBA Finals  
Game 1: Pacers 
Game 2: Thunder 
Game 3: Thunder 
Game 4: Pacers 
Game 5: Pacers 
Game 6: Thunder 
Game 7: Thunder 
Oklahoma City over Indiana 4-3
Finals MVP: OKC SF Kevin Durant 

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