The NBA’s Profits>Product season has devolved into endless injuries and some complete nonsense results, making the Power Rankings very fluid and difficult to pinpoint. Here's my best stab at it this week.
1. Miami Heat (28-9): Two recent losses without Bosh in which Miami got badly outrebounded leads us to believe he’s more valuable than originally believed (at least to a club with a thin frontcourt).
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (29-8): Won 7 in a row before losing to a severely depleted Hawks club. The loss doesn’t seem that damning for a contender, but Dallas will let us know tonight.
3. Chicago Bulls (31-8): Finally picking up some W’s over winning clubs, granted those clubs are playing without really important starters, but at least they’re finally getting those wins.
4. San Antonio Spurs (25-12): Ginobili’s continued injuries got the Spurs spinning their wheels right now.
5. Los Angeles Lakers (23-14): Now that the Clippers are faltering without Billups, the Lakers once again will make big advances by playing in the league’s easiest division.
6. Orlando Magic (24-14): Haven’t exactly beaten anyone of note recently. Not much being said about Dwight Howard as the trade deadline approaches.
7. Dallas Mavericks (22-16): Not only are they losing recently, but to the Nets and Hornets!
8. Los Angeles Clippers (22-13): Are 7-6 without Billups since his injury (and 1-1 earlier in the year without him).
9. Philadelphia 76ers (22-16): It’s amazing they’re hanging with the Thunder and Bulls as well as they are while their center position remains unsettled.
10. Houston Rockets (21-17): Facing Boston, Toronto, New Jersey, and Cleveland should be more than enough to end and turn around their recent skid.
11. Memphis Grizzlies (22-15): The case against Zach Randolph’s fans and his defense continues.
12. Atlanta Hawks (22-15): Of course they lost to Golden State and then beat Oklahoma City. They’re that type of team, and it’s that type of season.
13. Indiana Pacers (23-12): 6-game win streak comes against the Nets, Hornets (twice), Bobcats (twice), and Warriors. Hello Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Orlando on two back-to-backs this week.
14. Denver Nuggets (21-17): Playing one hell of a schedule in the absence of Galinari and Nene, but still hanging in there against some tough squads, even pulling out a few nice W’s.
15. Boston Celtics (19-17): Hanging around that 7/8 seed so they can get embarrassed in the first round…or will Danny Ainge finally pull the trigger on a deal with an eye toward the future?
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (19-19): Looking at their future schedule, they have a very good chance to make the playoffs.
17. New York Knicks (18-19): Anyone shocked the Knicks are 2-3 with Carmelo right after going 6-1 without?
18. Portland Trail Blazers (18-19): Bring your hardhats because this club is imploding.
19. Phoenix Suns (17-20): Up a little, down a little. Up a little, down a little.
20. Utah Jazz (17-19): Exhibit A for why you don’t sign a 1-6 coach to a multi-year deal like the Jazz did last March 2; they’re 7-14 after starting 10-5. Utah fans already know this, but their collection of front office and ownership personnel is really bad.
21. Golden State Warriors (14-20): Apparently Mark Jackson’s coaching completely offsets Jerry West’s influence in the front office (GSW was 13-21 at this point last year).
22. New Jersey Nets (12-26): Even Lopez’s 38 points in a nice win in Dallas got overshadowed by DWilliams’ 57 a few days later. Oh yeah, Lopez is hurt again.
23. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-22): Are 3-8 without Anderson Varejao, including Saturday’s embarrassing L in Washington.
24. Toronto Raptors (12-25): Their offense has gotten so bad, it’s now actually worse than the Wizards’ (98.7 Offensive Rating vs. Washington’s 99.0).
25. Detroit Pistons (12-26): Back-to-back losses to Cleveland and Toronto before the ASG ended their mini-winning stretch.
26. Milwaukee Bucks (14-23): Andrew Bogut: the new Greg Oden.
27. Sacramento Kings (12-25): The Kings’ defense keeps looking worse and worse.
28. New Orleans Hornets (9-28): Continue to occasionally surprise: 4-point loss in Chicago and 5-point win over Dallas this past week. Still no Gordon, Landry, or Okafor.
29. Washington Wizards (8-28): They got their shot in the higher reading group (Looking Bad), but they couldn’t hack it, so here they are again.
30. Charlotte Bobcats (4-31): I’m sure you saw that Charlotte gave up 57 points to Deron Williams on Sunday, but did you know he only took 29 shots? They may have actually won if Biyombo wasn’t injured.