What I love about the NBA is how week-to-week, the dynamics of a team can change drastically. This season is so good that despite the Warriors’ and Spurs’ dominance at the top, there is very little room for error if you’re trying to claim a playoff spot. We’re a quarter of the way through the season, and much has changed in our power rankings.
*does not include Friday’s results*
- Golden State (2.00)
- 23-0, and breaking all kinds of history. No Klay Thompson and no Harrison Barnes means they’ll be vulnerable, but what does it matter? Until I see them play San Antonio, I can only assume they’re going to run the table.
- San Antonio (2.25)
- Quietly (as always) dominating the competition. They’re building a team in spite of Golden State rather than trying to mirror them, as the rest of the league is trying to do. Kawhi is shooting 50% from three and should receive some MVP consideration.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (4.75)
- Russ and KD both topped 10+ assists the other night, proving that this team may not be as star oriented as we thought. I don’t think Billy Donovan has proven to be great or terrible, but a hot streak from their big three might be enough to get them through the West.
- Charlotte Hornets (6.00)
- I mean.. what? They were one of my preseason bubble teams, but many of the NBA completely disregarded this team. I still think they need to move on from Kemba for a different type of point guard, but Batum and Lin are proving to be awesome aquisitions. Big Al just received a five game suspension… so here comes the real test.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (6.50)
- Word is Iman and Kyrie are traveling with the team and could play as early as tonight (Friday). It would be nice to see Kyrie back with Mo backing him up, and Iman brings a passion that the team is currently missing. LeBron needs helpd, and he’ll get it soon.
- Indiana Pacers (7.00)
- PAUL GEORGE IS BACK BACK. Think about the state of the NBA when Kevin Durant is the FOURTH best small forward in the league. That’s a damn good league right? Well thanks to Kawhi and Paul George, that may be the truth. Indiana’s small ball transformation didn’t negate their defense like it did Washington… and they may be a sneak ECF pick.
- Toronto Raptors (7.75)
- They were so close to knocking off Golden State on Saturday, and have managed to maintain some regular success throughout the season. I’m really enjoying slimmer Kyle Lowry, but I’m hoping to see a Demarre Carrol breakout game soon.
- Miami Heat (7.75)
- They’ve seen some slippage recently in consistent play, and Hassan Whiteside blew the game against Washington (four rebounds??), but the role players are finding their groove. The defense hasn’t missed a beat, now the ball just needs to find the net.
- Boston Celtics (7.75)
- Brad Stevens + scrappy play and a lot of minutes with Iasiah on the court = a very fun team. This team is still very young and their perimeter defense is no joke. I’d like to see one more move (trade for Boogie!) before I’m really in, but they are a very good team.
- Los Angeles Clippers (10.75)
- After a slow start, the Clippers are only two games behind the Thunder and 8-2 in their last 10. Blake Griffin has continued to play well, Deandre Jordan murdered Greg Monroe and Lance Stephenson is shooting 41% from three after shooting 17% last year. Things are falling into place.
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 today’s trade started off as “mad,” but now I think it might actually be a solid idea…
I figured I’d continue with the 76ers trying to quit “the process,” especially now that they’ve symbolically hired Jerry Colangelo. In this instance, the Jazz and the Grizzlies decided that winning in the West now is out of their reach, and try to do away with some of their commitments. The Hawks decide that Tiago has absolutely no fit on their team, and prefer a four with good foot work, so they essentially trade straight up for Zach Randolph. The Jazz decide they don’t want to pay Hayward and take Splitter because they don’t want to necessarily tank, and also take on Embiid and Covington (with the expectation that they’ll waive them). The Grizzlies decide to start fresh with Noel and Exum and believe pairing them with guys like Conley and Gasol will give them the guidance they need. The 76ers receive Hayward and Hardaway Jr and begin their new winning ways.