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> NBA Power Rankings: January 15th
NBA Power Rankings: January 15th
Throughout the rest of the NBA Season, Mike Aurigemma will give his weekly NBA Power Rankings every Tuesday…
- Oklahoma City Thunder – With the best point differential in the NBA it does not look like the Thunder are missing a beat without Harden. There still as to be some concern with the way they execute down the stretch, but when you have Kevin Durant on your team they can get away with that more often than not.
- Los Angeles Clippers - The improvement that Blake Griffin has shown this year for the Clippers is a huge reason why they have really closed the gap between them and the Thunder. With all the bench power they have it will help them keep everyone fresh come playoff time, but I would still like to see them add another big man. Did I mention that Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups will be returning soon to add even more firepower to an already explosive team?
- Miami Heat – The lack of a big man presence has got to worry a lot of Heat fans, but I would be more concerned with their 8-9 record on the road so far throughout this season. Still there is no team in the Eastern Conference that I can see beating them in a seven game series. With the lack of competition in their conference they should not be as beat up as worn down as whoever they meet in the Finals.
- San Antonio Spurs - The Spurs always seem to have a great regular season mainly due to their great depth as well as Gregg Popovich. The problem with this team is that come playoff time their superstars just do not match up with the likes of the Thunder or Clippers.
- Memphis Grizzlies – If they keep this team together they can compete with the top teams in the Western Conference, but it looks like this small market team may have to cut some salary. Their defensive mindset is one of the best things about this team and having multiple players to throw at Kevin Durant will be huge if they meet come playoff time. I am a big time Grizzlies supporter and I love what both Zach Randolph and Tony Allen bring to this team, but if they trade away Rudy Gay and do not get much in return that may be the end to their season.
- Brooklyn Nets – Maybe I am putting the Nets a little high, but you cannot question how hot they have been since firing Avery Johnson. He may not have been the only problem for this team, but the new lineups they have been putting out there seem to really be working. I still think this team is kind of soft defensively as no one on that team comes across as a lockdown defender.
- New York Knicks - The Knicks have hit a little skid recently, but you have to love when they play both Marcus Camby and Tyson Chandler on the court at the same time as that is not only a great offensive rebounding duo, but pretty good at protecting the paint as well. I still think Jason Kidd might have been one of the best pickups in the offseason as he has finally given this team some veteran leadership that will be needed come playoff time.
- Chicago Bulls – I have never seen a team give playoff basketball effort throughout the regular season as often as the Bulls have. It just seems like every possession is a grind both offensively and defensively, but this team will need Derrick Rose back for the playoffs if they want to make any noise at all.
- Golden State Warriors – One of the funnest teams to watch in the NBA, the Warriors have shown they are capable of hanging around in the West. The coaching and leadership that Mark Jackson has brought to this team will continue to be instrumental throughout the rest of the season.
- Denver Nuggets – The addition of Andre Iguodala has not really helped them so far defensively, but come playoff time he will be needed to hold Durant and possibly Kobe Bryant under wraps. The lone concern will continue to be this teams awful play on the road as they are 9-14 so far on the season.
- Boston Celtics – Is Avery Bradley in the running for MVP? Just kidding, but his impact on this Celtics team has been nothing short of miraculous. Everyone has started to raise their play since his return with even Jeff Green starting to show some intensity.
- Atlanta Hawks – It is amazing to see the Hawks still playing top basketball after trading away their star, Joe Johnson in the offseason. Josh Smith has continued to raise his game, but one has to wonder if the Hawks will dump him at some point in the season with fear of him leaving through free agency.
Kobe Bryant cannot miss the playoffs, can he?
- Los Angeles Lakers - Listen, the Lakers have clearly struggled so far this season, but have also barely been healthy. They will make a move at some point in the season to shake things up, then go on a run and find themselves in the playoffs. I know I would not want to see a team with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in the first round come playoff time.
- Indiana Pacers - I am a hater of the Pacers I guess, but with Granger done for the year this team just does not have the firepower. A team with the second fewest points in the NBA ahead of only the Washington Wizards will have some serious droughts that will cost them some games.
- Portland Trail Blazers - LaMarcus Aldridge has to be the most underrated player in the NBA as he is just a force to be reckoned with all over the court. But the play of Damian Lillard has to have everyone in the Northwest excited for the future. The bench play will end up killing this team as they do not have one reliable scorer coming off of the bench and eventually their starters will hit a wall.
- Utah Jazz – The Jazz will continue to be a great home team, but their struggles on the road may be what keeps them on the outside of the playoffs. Much like with the Hawks there is a real possibility that Al Jefferson or one of their big men gets shipped out at the trade deadline.
- Houston Rockets – Just an awful defensive team, I am not sure this team will be able to give anyone a tough time if they get in the playoffs. You also have to be worried about James Harden and Jeremy Lin and the amount of turnovers they have, but you cannot take anything away from this team offensively.
- Milwaukee Bucks - With the recent resignation of Scott Skiles you have to wonder where everyone is mentally on this team. That coupled with the fact that this team still has no true identity as an uptempo team or a defensive-minded team may lead this team to struggle.
- Philadelphia 76ers - You have to worry if they 76ers are starting to regret trading for Andrew Bynum. Not only is he a serious health risk, but you just do not know where his head is at times. Maybe Metta World Peace rubbed off on him too much in LA.
- Dallas Mavericks - The return of Dirk Nowitzki has not been all that they had hoped for, but this team still has some talent. The question is will this team have just enough talent to keep them just outside the playoffs, while also hurting their pick in he draft.
- Minnesota Timberwolves - The Timberwolves just cannot seem to get everyone healthy at once. It is too bad because they would be a really exciting team to watch and now everyone has to wonder if Kevin Love will follow the same path as Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.
- Detroit Pistons – Yes the Pistons still have not fully recovered from some really bad decisions, but they have to be encouraged of a twin tower combination with rookie Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.
- Toronto Raptors – Unlike the Pistons there is not too much I can get excited for in the future in Toronto as it looks like they may be stuck in lottery land until they get a real game changer through the draft. We all know they will be unable to get that kind of player through free agency.
- Orlando Magic – You have to give a lot of credit to the Magic as they have really continued to fight all season long. One has to wonder if they would be better off going into full tank mode, but there is no way they will be catching the Wizards or Bobcats in that race.
- Phoenix Suns - The Suns will be going into full rebuild mode soon enough and trading Gortat may be what brings them to that territory. It really is amazing to watch how far this team has fallen off without having Nash around to lead them any more.
- New Orleans Hornets – One good thing for this young team is that they are consistent whether it is on the road or at home. With only one more win in one more game at home. Not bad for a team with a really young roster.
- Sacramento Kings – This team is just in complete disarray from top to bottom and now there are talks about moving this team to Seattle. Who knows who will be on this roster after the deadline and where this team will be playing in a few years.
- Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving
- Charlotte Bobcats - There was that time early in the season where it looked like we were going to see the Bobcats take some kind of step forward. That now looks like a very long, long time ago.
- Washington Wizards - I do not think this team is nearly as bad as their record and the return of John Wall should prove that.
Categories: All Things Sports, NBA
Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, NBA, New York Knicks