With NBA in full swing and the trade deadline over, some teams have put together a roster of contenders and other remain as pretenders. We’ve seen scoring, defense, injuries and surprising starts. MVP candidates have emerged and preseason picks have not been what they seemed. Here are my NBA Power Rankings for the Week of March 24.
1. Golden State Warriors 57-13
Last Week 1
The Warriors are the best team in the NBA hands down right now. They have an impressive 33-2 home record and recently took down Atlanta in a battle of the best versus the best. They are beating teams by an average of 15.3 ppg. I don’t see who any other team can be considered.
2. Memphis Grizzlies 50-21
Last Week: 3
Despite their very intimidating upcoming schedule, the Grizzlies seem to be handling things well. Mike Conley and Zach Randolph continue to keep Memphis the second best in the west. But murmurs of a possible departure from Marc Gasol in the offseason must have some worrying.
3. Atlanta Hawks 53-17
Last Week 2
It appears the loss of Kyle Korver is a little bit more serious than everyone thought and the Hawks have dropped some very important games because they failed to make up his production. But the Hawks still rank in the top 10 for offensive and defensive efficiency. And Thabo Sefolosha is returning in the near future. I expect Atlanta to get their groove back.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers 46-26
Last Week: 5
LeBron James has the Cavs soaring right now. The Cavs are 27-7 since James returned to their lineup after missing a few with some nagging injuries. And the loss of his headband has seemed to refocus James, making him and Kyrie Irving one of the most threatening tandems in the NBA.
5. Los Angeles Clippers 46-25
Last Week: 7
Blake Griffin is back, and it is as if he never left. Although many do not believe the Clips can get it done this year, the play of Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan have to get one thinking that the team has the talent to win the big prize.
6. Houston Rockets 47-23
Last Week: 4
Houston is a very interesting team. On paper they seem like they are very good, but watching them play, it becomes apparent that they rely very heavily on the play of James Harden. The likely MVP candidate is playing out of his mind, but can he keep that up in a playoff environment. And how will the return of Dwight Howard change the way the Rockets play.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder 40-30
Last Week: 6
Russell Westbrook is a triple double machine. Despite bad injury news for Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Enes Kanter, Westbrook is the feul that keeps the fire going as he hit 10 triple doubles on the season.
8. San Antonio Spurs 44-25
Last Week: 8
Death, taxes, and the Spurs winning in March. these are the three certainties of life. After an embarrassing loss to the Knicks, the Spurs opened a clinic on the Hawks for one of their most impressive wins of the season. Can never count this team out.
9. Portland Trailblazers 44-24
Last Week: 9
The injury bug is plaguing Portland, and moving a contender into the shadows. Unfortunately for the Trailblazers, bad luck has derailed their hopes of a championship this season.
10. Dallas Mavericks 44-27
Last Week: 10
The Mavs seem to be having effort issues, a disjointed locker room, and Monta Ellis attitude problems. But the talented team in Dallas is still win games and playing well. They better fix these issues before the playoffs roll in.
11. Toronto Raptors 42-28
Last Week: 13
The Raptors appear to be holding onto that 3 seed for the moment, but after a strong start, it would take an 8-4 finish for the Raptors to reach 50 wins for the first time in franchise history. That may be huge when it comes to who the Raptors will play in the first round of the playoffs.
12. New Orleans Pelicans 37-33
Last Week: 11
New Orleans has a real shot to grab the final west playoff spot, despite the poor injury luck the Pelicans have dealt with all season. But in order for the team to win, they need to feed Anthony Davis.
13. Chicago Bulls 43-29
Last Week: 14
The return of Jimmy Butler is music in the ears of Bulls fans everywhere. Derrick Rose may also be looking to return soon, making the Bulls a team that could compete with the Hawks or the Cavs come playoffs.
14. Milwaukee Bucks 34-36
Last Week: 12
The Bucks are floundering badly, collecting losses and injuries. This team was 31-23 at a point but it now seems it is all going wrong at the worst time for this year’s cinderella team.
15. Utah Jazz 31-39
Last Week: 22
Rudy Gobert makes the loss of Enes Kanter seem like a win in Utah. He has become the leading force in the NBA’s stingiest defense.
16. Phoenix Suns 38-33
Last Week: 15
The Jazz have experienced a 12-4 surge since the All-Star break, including very impressive wins against likely playoff contenders. It may be a little too late this season, but definitely is something to be optimistic about in the future.
17. Washington Wizards 40-31
Last Week: 16
Raptors vs. Wizards in the first round could be a great gift given by the NBA. John Wall is trying single handedly to return the Wizards to the form they were when they held the best record in the East, and seeing him matchup against Toronto’s Kyle Lowry certainly would be exciting.
18. Indiana Pacers 30-40
Last Week: 17
When the Pacers had a chance to sneak into the playoffs, a return of Paul George made so much sense. Now, with their prospects not looking to great, why rush the shooting guard back?
19. Miami Heat 32-37
Last Week: 20
Dwayne Wade is showing everyone that he has flair left in his tank. The shooting guard is taking control of this team in the absence of fellow star Chris Bosh and his recent play has the Heat surging.
20. Boston Celtics 31-39
Last Week: 18
When your team is sitting so close to the playoffs, you can’t go and throw punches. Marcus Smart made a huge rookie mistake when he swung at Matt Bonner and it may cost Boston a postseason bid.
21. Brooklyn Nets 29-40
Last Week: 21
Brook Lopez is actually playing well again for the Nets. In fact his play has the Nets now back in the hunt for that last Eastern playoff spot.
22. Charlotte Hornets 30-39
Last Week: 19
A plethora of locker room issues, along with a poor defensive showing against James Harden, when he dropped 50 points on them, are why the Hornets have fallen so low. But, miraculously, they are only a half game behind Boston for that last playoff spot.
23. Detroit Pistons 26-44
Last Week: 23
Andre Drummond has been a lone bright spot on the Pistons season. He tied DeAndre Jordan with 10 games with at least 20 rebounds. Unfortunately though for Drummond, Detroit will not be making the playoffs this season.
24. Sacramento Kings 24-45
Last Week: 24
Same story for the Kings, who can’t seem to get any real help for DeMarcus Cousins this season. Someone has to fix this or the Kings need to clean out their front office.
25. Orlando Magic 22-50
Last Week: 25
Elfrid Payton may have made the Rookie of the Year battle a little bit more interesting. He is only the seventh rookie to have consecutive games with triple-doubles.
26. Denver Nuggets 27-44
Last Week: 26
After a recent surge, the Nuggets came back down with a tough road trip. Danielle Gallinari has been playing well, however, hitting 40 points against Orlando the other night.
27. Philadelphia 76ers 17-53
Last Week: 28
Just when some began to say Nerlens Noel was a bust, Noel shows he can play, grabbing boards, scoring, and send shots away. He became the youngest player in the history of the league to post a game with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves 16-54
Last Week: 27
Without Kevin Garnett playing, why watch the Wolves at this point. The only thing I can say is that the Wolves are looking like they pulled off the greatest steal in NBA trade history in the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins swap.
29. New York Knicks 14-57
Last Week: 30
They beat the Spurs. The Knicks actually beat someone who was good. Alright!
30. Los Angeles Lakers 18-50
Last Week: 29
How bad has it been in LA? Carlos Boozer, just this week, passed Kobe Bryant as the team’s leading points scorer. That bad…