NBA Power Rankings Update
Without Steph Curry in the game, the Golden State Warriors appear to be in big, big trouble. Already with three key players out (Harrison Barnes, Leandro Barbosa and Festus Ezeli) on the shelf, the Warriors are still the league’s best team, but they suddenly got a lot closer to the other 29, as they lost by 21 to Dallas in their first game without the reigning MVP. He is only expected to miss one more game, as Golden State wraps up a quick Dallas-Houston road trip Thursday night. Let’s see how teams 2-30 stack up as the 2015 NBA betting season comes to a close.
NBA Power Rankings Update
# 2 San Antonio Spurs (26-6)
Tim Duncan has a career record of 974-386 in his regular season career, 588 games above .500. That times him for the best differential in NBA history, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar…who needed 200 more games to get there.
# 3 Oklahoma City Thunder (21-10)
Strangely, the Thunder are only 6-8 against the East. However, the Thunder are 10-2 in their previous 12, outscoring the opposition by 12.7 points per game over that time.
# 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (19-9)
The Cavaliers are the top seed in the East — and it took them 39 games to win their 19th last season. However, they score about 10 fewer points per 100 possessions when they are on the road.
# 5 Atlanta Hawks (20-12)
The Hawks have the NBA’s longest winning streak at six games. They are also #5 in the NBA in offensive efficiency.
# 6 Toronto Raptors (19-12)
The Raptors have DeMarre Carroll back from his knee injury, as well as Jonas Valanciunas. Kyle Lowry seems to be over that 18-for-60 shooting morass that lasted three games.
# 7 Boston Celtics (18-13)
The Celtics went 4-0 last week and is #2 in the league for defensive efficiency behind San Antonio. The Celtics are favored to win 28 of their next 32 tilts.
# 8 Dallas Mavericks (18-13)
J.J. Barea seems to be finding his hot shooting touch, torching Golden State for 23, and Dirk just moved past Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list.
# 9 Miami Heat (18-11)
Will Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic mesh in time for the Heat to become a contender?
# 10 Indiana Pacers (17-12)
Frank Vogel has worked wonders in giving the Pacers a new identity in less than half of a season. The Pacers could become a real threat if Monta Ellis could find his offensive game.
# 11 Charlotte Hornets (16-13)
Nicolas Batum already has six double-doubles this season; last year, he had five all year. Steve Clifford is getting more than the sum of parts out of this crew, for sure.
# 12 Chicago Bulls (16-12)
Just when Chicago seemed set to turn into a dumpster fire, they beat the Thunder on Christmas Day. Of course, they then turned around and coughed up what looked like a sure win in Dallas.
# 13 Detroit Pistons (17-14)
Andre Drummond has a free throw percentage of .380 for his career. Other than that, of course, he looks like Moses Malone this season. But that’s a huge problem.
# 14 Orlando Magic (17-13)
Since Thanksgiving, the Magic have gone 10-5. It’s time for them to replicate those wins against some of the better teams in the Association.
# 15 Memphis Grizzlies (17-16)
The Grizzlies have dominated contenders and been drubbed by the dregs of the league. They need to find a persona and stick to it.
# 16 Los Angeles Clippers (18-13)
The Clippers have won 2 games in 10 tries against teams in the top eight slots in the Western Conference. And Blake Griffin is on the shelf.
# 17 Houston Rockets (16-16)
Yes, they beat the Clippers and the Spurs. then they lost to New Orleans and Dwight Howard found himself benched. It’s still a tilt-a-whirl in Houston.
# 18 Washington Wizards (14-14)
John Wall has dished out 12 or more assists in eight of the last ten games. Garrett Temple has scored 20 or more in three straight games. Could the Wiz finally be waking up?
# 19 New York Knicks (14-18)
Thankfully, the X-rays on Kristaps Porzingis’ right index finger were negative. That’s about all, though, as the Knicks have dropped four against teams ahead of them in the East right now, and they face six more teams with records at or above .500.
# 20 Milwaukee Bucks (12-19)
Head coach Jason Kidd is likely out until February with hip surgery recovery, and the Bucks have 11 of 15 on the road coming up. Not the best time to make a huge comeback.
# 21 Utah Jazz (12-16)
Usually, a team four games below .500 would be around #12 in the West standings. This year, the Jazz are still in the #8 position, even without Rudy Gobert.
# 22 Portland Trail Blazers (13-20)
Portland has won 14 of 17 games on Christmas Day, best in the Association. They enjoyed their December 26 tilt against Cleveland even more, with Allen Crabbe dropping 26 on King James.
# 23 New Orleans Pelicans (10-20)
Somehow, a team with a .333 winning percentage is just 3.5 games out of the #8 position in the West.
# 24 Sacramento Kings (12-19)
The Kings became the Philadelphia 76ers’ third victims of the season. Draymond Green is still having a terrific season, though, as he is the only player in the league averaging at least 17 points, 10 boards and 5 helpers per game.
# 25 Denver Nuggets (12-19)
Did you know that the Spurs have already rested Manu Ginobili in three different games against Denver this season?
# 26 Phoenix Suns (12-20)
The team fired two of Jeff Hornacek’s assistants — and he could be next. However, the front office may be the real culprit, as they assembled a real pu pu platter of a roster.
# 27 Minnesota Timberwolves (11-19)
Yes, Minnesota started 8-8…and then went 3-11. It’s time to develop the kids, so Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are playing a lot more than KG.
# 28 Brooklyn Nets (8-22)
Joe Johnson is shooting .324 from the field in his last nine games and is a -54 in his 303 minutes on the court. They now have eight games against teams at .500 or better.
# 29 Los Angeles Lakers (5-26)
Can you believe that Kobe Bryant ranks more than 200,000 votes ahead of Steph Curry in the All-Star balloting? Neither can I.
# 30 Philadelphia 76ers (3-31)
With recent wins at Phoenix and at home against Sacramento, the Sixers may be on their way out of the cellar in these rankings, if not the East.