The NBA has really been fascinating this season, and the more I watch, the more I learn about some of these teams. Especially the young teams! I decided I’m going to try and give a weekly NBA Power Rankings. Here’s my first edition 8 weeks in.
1. Toronto Raptors (23-7)
The Raptors are incredibly surprising this season. I honestly thought they would struggle this year after letting their Head Coach of the Year in Dwane Casey go as well as trading away DeMar DeRozan. I initially thought the Spurs won that trade, as I didn’t expect much from Kawhi. I was wrong there, as Leonard has been having an outstanding season.
2. Milwaukee Bucks (18-9)
Our Bucks have seemed to have struggled as of late going roughly .500 over their last handful of games after starting the season off by winning their first 7 games and 10 of their first 13. Near the end of November and here in the beginning of December, they haven’t been able to string any wins together. Win here, loss here, win, loss, win, loss, you get the point. They just made a trade for George Hill who is posting a career best in 3-point percentage which will only help the Bucks. Giannis is having an MVP season. I look for the Bucks to get out of this slump and finish December strong.
3. Denver Nuggets (18-9)
I’ve watched this Nuggets team play twice this season, and they’re fun to watch! Jokic and Millsap are their foundation inside while still having two great guards in the backcourt in Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. I would love to see Denver keep this going and maintain control of the West!
4. Golden State Warriors (19-10)
The Warriors started slow and struggled at times early this season. But, pump the brakes. The Warriors are finally getting everyone healthy again and I can definitely see one of those signature 18-20 game win streaks coming.
5.Memphis Grizzlies (16-11)
J.B. Bickerstaff. Have you ever heard of this guy? Me neither…until NOW! The Grizzlies are in first place in what I consider one of the, if not the, toughest division in basketball. They are in first place in the Southwest Division ahead of teams such as the star studded yet pitiful Rockets, the uncharacteristic .500 Spurs, and the Anthony Davis led Pelicans. They have lost 6 of their last 10, but I’m not worried as they are led by none other than the veteran duo of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, which will only benefit them and help this young team improve week in and week out.
6. Boston Celtics (17-10)
The Celtics are finally back to normal. They’ve won 7 in a row and 8 out of their last 9. Kyrie and Jayson Tatum might be the second best one-two punch behind Westbrook and George. Kyrie and Tatum are averaging a combined 38 points per game and lead the Celtics in points, rebounds, and assists. They have a great bench and I predict them to slide up my power rankings and into the top-3 by the end of the month.
7. LA Clippers (17-10)
This is the best team in LA. Doc Rivers is doing MORE with LESS than just about any other team in the NBA. The Clippers are 12-6 in the Western Conference and there have been 3 instances this season where they’ve won 4 or more in a row. Doc Rivers is my Coach of the Year right now. LeBron who?
8. Oklahoma City Thunder (17-9)
The Thunder have won 5 of their last 7 and should’ve won last night making it six, but couldn’t finish. I watched that game and the Westbrook/George duo might be the best two-man game in the NBA which could get dangerous! I like this Thunder team a lot moving forward and they’re a ton of fun to watch!
9.Indiana Pacers (18-10)
The Pacers might be the sneakiest team in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers have been playing good ball, and with Oladipo coming back from injury, look for it to only get better. They gave a nice whooping to our Bucks last night, but the Bucks didn’t have one of their better nights. Nate McMillan is one of my favorite coaches in the league and will have this team improving every single week.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (19-10)
I guess I’ll throw the ‘Sixers in my top-10 this week. They’re sitting at 3rd in the Eastern Conference but not by much as the Pacers and Celtics are right there with them. They are basically a Pacers and Celtics win and a loss of their own away from dropping all the way down to the 5th spot, potentially even the 6 if Charlotte keeps winning. The addition of Jimmy Butler has helped this team, but I don’t see it lasting too long as Embiid has already expressed to the media that he thinks he needs more touches, Markelle Fultz’s time in Philly seems to be all but over (time to start calling him a bust?), and Ben Simmons looks to be struggling thus far. Personally, I think the 76ers are a ticking time bomb and could blow at any point. I don’t see them ever gaining control of the East this season.
30. Chicago Bulls (6-22)
I just had to throw this out there because the entire state of the Chicago Bulls’ organization is mind boggling to me. I listen to Chicago sports talk radio every single day (because I’m a Bears fan) and when they talk about the Bulls it’s like I just tuned into Comedy Central’s Celebrity Roast show. People are just ripping this team from management all the way down to the waterboys to shreds. The Bulls weren’t supposed to win games this year. They were supposed to be pedal to the metal in the race for the Zion Williamson sweepstakes. However, they fired coach Fred Hoiberg 24-games in and then hire Jim Boylen NOT as an interim, but as their NEXT Head Coach. This makes no sense to me. This team had no expectations for this season. They weren’t going to win games and no one expected anything less than a lottery pick in June. So, why didn’t they fire Hoiberg before the season or just let him play this year out? Did firing him now really make a difference? Personally, I think it set the Bulls back another 3 years. Instead, they make a change 24-games in and enter Boylen who after a week on the job has pissed off every single player on the roster. So much so they boycotted a practice! The Bulls are in a dark place right now, and they are in for a long few years.
MY OUTSIDERS LOOKING IN
Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans.