Here’s my latest crack at ranking the NBA clubs in a season of pure madness (and huge profits for the men who made it madness).
1. Chicago Bulls (46-14): Sure look good with less Rose and more frontcourt and reserves.
2. San Antonio Spurs (42-16): Overpowered by LA’s bigs – problem in playoffs?
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (44-16): Hoping to miss LAL and Memphis in 1st 2 rounds.
4. Boston Celtics (36-25): Hottest team right now. Don’t count out KG factor.
5. Miami Heat (42-17): Will their fastbreak return for post-season? If so, East = dead.
6. Los Angeles Lakers (39-22): No Kobe: offense has improved and they’re coming from behind to win.
7. Los Angeles Clippers (37-23): Could still catch Lakers based on remaining schedules.
8. Memphis Grizzlies (35-25): Everybody’s choice for 1st round upset bully. Who’s the victim?
9. Indiana Pacers (38-22): Are coasting to finish. Could wreck Heat’s party in 2nd round.
10. Dallas Mavericks (34-27): The club that just won’t die.
11. New York Knicks (31-29): For 10th consecutive year, Amar’e’s team unaffected by his injuries/presence.
12. Denver Nuggets (33-27): Obviously didn’t appreciate loss in Golden State.
13. Phoenix Suns (31-29): Won’t get in without Nash.
14. Orlando Magic (35-25): Self-imploding and in terrible position to draft decent center-of-the-future.
15. Houston Rockets (32-28): Will Lowry/Camby be healthy enough for First Round scare?
16. Atlanta Hawks (35-25): None of their recent wins inspire confidence.
17. Milwaukee Bucks (29-31): Picked the wrong time to lose close games.
18. Philadelphia 76ers (31-28): Behind-the-scenes complaining ruined what could have been.
19. Utah Jazz (31-30): Need to sweep to make it in. Don’t expect it.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (28-33): J.J. Hickson playing like worthy Aldridge replacement.
21. New Jersey Nets (22-39): Decades of futility in NJ ending soon.
22. Toronto Raptors (22-39): Bargnani the Barometer is out again, so they suck again.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (25-36): Twins and Wild offering no relief.
24. Golden State Warriors (22-37): Mark Jackson sucks – don't pretend record is bad because of tanking.
25. Detroit Pistons (22-38): Try to out-tank NJ, Tor, and GSW, or have dignity?
26. Sacramento Kings (20-41): Congrats – your Win% is slightly better than last year’s (.328 vs. .293).
27. New Orleans Hornets (18-42): Got new owner, the ’14 ASG, and great off-season to come.
28. Cleveland Cavaliers (20-39): Did beat Charlotte and Washington to confirm 28th place.
29. Washington Wizards (14-46): Won both games in back-to-back. Improving? (jk)
30. Charlotte Bobcats (7-52): I’m praying they don’t land #1 pick just to watch MJ make things worse.