Our NBA Power Rankings are back and I’m not nearly as excited as I should be. Truthfully, this is actually a really interesting process, and I love seeing which teams rise and fall this week, but every week now my Wizards have gotten worse and worse and there’s a serious cultural element missing from the locker room currently (Paul Pierce?). But we’ll save that for Monday’s column.
As a reminder, power rankings are based on each team’s league standing in overall record, point differential per game, offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency. Each team is given a numerical value for their standing (so 1-30 with 1 being the best), and then I average the four. The teams with the ten lowest numbers make the top ten.
So, week 5!
- Golden State Warriors (2.00)
- What else is there to really say? Steph Curry scored 40 points in three quarters on a night that was meant to honor his father. Also, Draymond is playing significant minutes at center and still shooting 38% from three. I hate them because I ain’t them.
- San Antonio Spurs (3.75)
- Quietly dominating defensively and they don’t face Golden State until JANUARY 25th. This is absurd. Who scheduled this? Kawhi is averaging 22 points a game, and Tony Parker of all people is shooting close to 60%. Are they the Warrior antidote?
- Cleveland Cavaliers (4.75)
- No Kyrie Irving. No Iman Shumpert. They did just suffer their first home loss to my lowly Wizards, but the stuff they’re doing without those two is really impressive. Can you imagine when Kyrie is healthy and they don’t have to give Delly minutes? Maybe go really small with Irving – Mo – J.R. – Iman – LeBron. Is that possible?
- Indiana Pacers (5.25)
- Eastern Conference player of the month, Paul George, actually had a November comparable to that of Steph Curry. He averaged 29.5 pts, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists (Curry averaged 30.1 pts, 5.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists) – I mean, is it too early to be considering all NBA?
- Miami Heat (7.25)
- Hassan Whiteside has 77 blocks this season by himself. That’s more than Cleveland, Phoenix, Dallas, Washington, and Detroit (WHO HAS ANDRE DRUMMOND). Mark Eaton had 456 blocks in the 84-85 season. Right now Hassan is only on pace for 372.
- Toronto Raptors (7.25)
- The Raptors to me are the Clippers of the East. All the talent is there. The bench may not be exactly what you want, but you worry about them come playoff time. I envision Toronto finishing in the top four again, but will it matter if they can’t get out of the first round?
- Oklahoma City Thunder (7.50)
- Tom Haberstroh enlightened me to this fun stat the other day. The single season record for PER is 31.82 by Wilt Chamberlain. Russell Westbrook (31.45) and Kevin Durant (30.56) are right there currently… AND THEY’RE TEAMMATES! To mean that much to your team, and have two guys doing it, is unheard of. Be wary of Oklahoma City this postseason.
- Boston Celtics (8.00)
- They continue to quietly dispose of their conference opponents and defend like a machine. Brad Stevens is no joke, and people need to start discussing this team as a dark horse for a first round upset. Going back to Toronto… they do NOT want to face this team in the first round. Home court advantage or not.
- Charlotte Hornets (9.00)
- YAY FOR CHARLOTTE. This franchise, especially now that they are the Hornets again, deserves success. I hate them for beating the Wizards, but they are a competent and decent basketball team. Guys like Jeremy Lin and Spencer Hawes have found homes here, and it makes me happy to see a coach use them right. They are gunning for the playoffs, and seeing this improved conference is making me nervous for Washington.
- Atlanta Hawks (10.50)
- They’re winning games. Their offense is on point, but they aren’t defending all that well. I may need to dedicate a STRETCH SIX column to this team because I’m not sure what’s happening to drop them this low. They haven’t won back-to-back games since defeating the Wizards a month ago.
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.
So, let’s assume the 76ers are tired of “the process” and decide they need to win now. Let’s assume Paul George’s reemergence has him thinking he might want to test the market. Let’s assume Miami is always in the mix for a big play.
Oh, God. I’m so sorry.
This is an absolutely awful trade. It’s a win now for Miami, which won’t work because they lose some key depth. It’s a pretty decent trade for Philly, because Hassan is far and above better than Okafor right now and is still young. Plus they get a decent player in McBob. The Pacers think.. “we can rebuild around Okafor as a stretch five, use Luol as veteran leadership, and shed some salary because we are a small market team.”
Okay, none of that would happen because PAUL GEORGE IS ONLY TWENTY-FIVE! He is their corner piece. I just wanted to f*** with some Pacer fans.