NBA – Rankings and What-not

Is everyone happy with the college football playoff committee selections? No? Well it won’t be the last. Let me distract you with some news of the NBA. You know, basketball, that sport that has started for over a month now, but will live in the shadow of football until February.

I plan on giving you an abbreviated power rankings and some notable things to watch for as the season continues. So let us dive right in!

The West

  1. Golden State Warriors (17-3): Are they going to break their single season record of only nine losses last year? No. Are they still a favorite to get to the finals? Yes. Color me not surprised that Kevin Durant has no problem fitting in. Don’t look now but he is the leading scorer on the team averaging 27.3 points. So far they have not been getting lots of help from their bench, but it’s all about the playoffs with these guys.
  2. San Antonio Spurs (16-4): One of the three teams to beat the Warriors. Kawhi Leonard has truly blossomed into an MVP candidate with both his excellent defense and much improved offensive game. Uncharacteristically they have lost all of their games at home this year.
  3. Los Angeles Clippers (16-5): I am tempted to have them lower just because of the recent talk how they have lost drive or have given up in games. It is December – how can they already be bored? BUT, they came out roaring to start the season and have all the pieces to win the West. We will revisit them in a few weeks.
  4. Houston Rockets (13-7): They too have beaten the Warriors – in an overtime thriller. It is safe to say they don’t miss Dwight Howard. Harden is averaging a double-double with 28 pts and 11.8 assists making a great case for an MVP.
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder (12-8): The only reason Harden isn’t running away with the MVP is because Russell Westbrook is a man-beast whose stat line is 31-10-11. A triple-double a quarter into the season. He is averaging that because his team absolutely needs him to. As soon as he is off the floor the team suffers greatly on offense.

Notable: Memphis Grizzlies (13-8) – suffered injuries early and they are aging. Utah Jazz (12-9) – young team that started slow without Gordon Hayward, but they’ve had him back and are now on the move. Portland Trailblazers (11-10).

Love-able: Los Angeles Lakers (10-12) – I know, love-able and Los Angeles seems wrong, but Luke Walton has this team playing with passion.

Questionable: New Orleans Pelicans (7-13) – someone extricate Anthony Davis from this situation.

Deplorable: Phoenix Suns (6-14) – do they have the worst record in the West? No. Are they trying to? Yes. They have the second highest opposing points per game in the league at 113.

 

The East 

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-5): They are on a bit of a losing streak (three in a row), but when it is needed LeBron will make sure they are focused. If you are a Browns fan I hope you have stopped watching football and have switched to basketball.
  2. Toronto Rapters (14-6): DeMar DeRozan has carried this team so far. He has certainly been playing to his All-Star status and they could easily sneak home court away from Cleveland.
  3. Boston Celtics (12-8): Boston truly got lucky with Brad Stevens as a coach. He has been excellent for them. Al Horford was their big off-season free agent signing and he has been a huge positive in both offense and defense. A scrappy team overall.
  4. Milwaukee Bucks (10-8): I like this team because of their length. Defensively they are a nightmare to smaller teams. Giannis Ant… (the Greek Freak) has now become the heart and soul of this team (which is a good thing). He is 21 years old and has about an 8′ wingspan. Maybe longer.
  5. Chicago Bulls (11-8): Rondo may be done as a shooter and a defender, but he can still pass the ball. Jimmy Butler is the best player on the court, but he also has the benefit of having two of the better big men in the East: Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez.

Notable: Detroit Pistons (11-10) – in Stan Van Gundy we trust. New York Knicks (10-9) – Derrick Rose has certainly benefited from a change of scenery, but the man is Kristaps Porzingis.

Love-able: Indiana Pacers (9-10) – currently they aren’t very loveable, but that is because Paul George has missed the last 6 games and he is coming back soon! So I love that news.

Questionable: Washington Wizards (6-12) – wake me up on this team when Ernie Grunfeld is no longer the general manager.

Deplorable: Philadelphia 76ers (4-16) – at least they will win 20 games? So…win? Joel Embiid looks good. Brooklyn Nets (5-14) – Boston still owns your pick – what are you doing?

 

There you go! Get ready for a long season with many shifts in the rankings to come. I suggest for everyone to watch Russell Westbrook whenever he is on the floor and to avoid the Suns/Wizards/Nets like the plague.