So we’re a couple of days late, but for good reason. I wanted to spend my Veteran’s day correctly by not working. I also had other motives as well, of course. With the Clippers visiting Dallas on Wednesday and Golden State playing Minnesota last night, I wanted to use those results in this week’s rankings.
I might just make this a Friday thing from now on. We don’t normally publish on Fridays and publishing after Wednesday and Thursday (NBA’s biggest nights) seems more apporopriate.
As before, I use a pretty simple formula in determining my power rankings. I use each team’s league rankings in record, point differential per game, offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency. I average those rankings and the lower the number, the higher the ranking. Last week, Utah made a surprise appearance. Who’s the surprise leap this week?
- Golden State Warriors (1.25)
- It feels like the Warriors have 73… or maybe more on their mind. Steph Curry is playing with a particular kind of agenda, and if he scores triple digits… yes, triple… I won’t be surprised. I’ve never seen anyone more deadly with a ball in their hands. Oh, and Draymond Green is averaging 44% from three.
- San Antonio Spurs (3.25)
- This shouldn’t be a surprise, but for whatever reason it is. San Antonio is top five in all four categories, and tied with Golden State for second in defensive efficiency. Lamarcus had a calm and successful return to Portland the other night, and with few other distractions in place, their only weakness may be that team holding on to the number one spot.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (4.25)
- No Iman Shumpert. No Kyrie Irving. A quiet LeBron James. I’m already in on Cleveland coming out of the East, but how long will they sustain this success without two of their focal pieces? They haven’t played any real competition just yet, and you know that first game against Golden State is going to prove or expose this team’s worth.
- Miami Heat (5.50)
- Though they just traded away Mario Chalmers, solid back up point guard, Coach Spoelstra is proving he knows how to develop fringe players. Between Birdman, Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson… these guys show up in Miami and all of a sudden they can hang with the big fellas. Justise Winslow hardly plays like a rookie… there’s a secret in South Beach.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (6.75)
- Kevin Durant is out at least a week after straining his hamstring against the Wizards, which certainly isn’t a good thing, but if we know anything from last year, Russell Westbrook can carry this team. His statline this year so far? 25.8/10.9/7.5 – with a PER just below 30. Also, Billy Donovan is legitimate.
- Atlanta Hawks (7.00)
- I made the mistake of doubting this team before the season began. Demarre Carroll isn’t as big a loss as I thought, and the rest of the team is as efficient as ever. I don’t know that they’ll repeat 60 wins, but second seed in the East is looking all the more likely. Right now they’re missing Tiago’s defense off the bench, but as soon as he’s healthy, and Tim Hardaway’s available, this team is going to be dangerous once again.
- Toronto Raptors (8.00)
- They followed up a win against the Thunder with three straight losses to the Magic, Heat, and Knicks. This team is still trying to find some consistency in its identity (is Lowry or Derozan the number one option?) and is missing Lou Williams as their 6th man, but Valanciunas is proving to be one of the better centers in the league. Next week starts a West coast trip, we’ll see how they fair.
- Utah Jazz (8.50)
- There’s been a little bit of a regression for Utah, but they remain impressive nonetheless. Losing to a Wade-less Heat isn’t the worst thing to happen to you, but it’s definitely something you’d like to forget. If they can improve their offense, they might win some of these closer games and could easily be 6-2.
- Los Angeles Clippers (11.50)
- Losing to the Mavericks in Deandre Jordan’s “return” to Dallas was a let down, sure, but following that loss by dropping one to Phoenix doesn’t help. The Clippers still needs some serious bench help, but that starting line up is looking damn good. How about Blake Griffin? 25.8 / 9.1 / 3.8 and a PER at 30.15. He’s also shooting 47% on long two’s, contributing to a large portion of his success.
- Detroit Pistons (12.25)
- I heard we’re calling Andre Drummond “The Vision” now because he’s a guaranteed 20-20 every night. He’s putting up historic numbers and is already starting on the All-Star team as far as I’m concerned. As productive as he and Reggie Jackson have been though, they need a little more help offensively, because not every team is going to be intimidated by Drummond’s presence at the rim, or they won’t care because they can shoot the lights out.
NBA Trade Machine Gone Mad
Every week I’m going to play around with ESPN’s Trade Machine to see what kind of nonsense I can get away with. It’s actually quite a frustrating thing to do, because sometimes you find yourself being unfair to another team, but then you remember that it’s all pretend and you stop caring about hypothetical hurt feelings.
Because Boogie Cousins made some headlines, I decided to play with some centers.
It would be very “Kings” to accept Roy Hibbert and his salary. Al Jefferson would actually be a solid pick up for Los Angeles because they need some veteran leadership and Charlotte might be desperate enough to take on Cousins, which makes me even happier because I’m pretty sure Boogie would effing hate that.
My favorite part about this trade is that I quietly give Kaminsky to Toronto. I have no issue with him playing in Charlotte… I’d just love to see how he’d help Toronto. That might be the perfect place for him. He’d come in at that stretch four position, move well in the post and drop about 10 points a game in limited time. Do any of you have GM contacts? I need them to see my masterpieces!
Come by on Monday to catch House of Zards and join us on Friday to see what I cook in this crazy basketball lab.