NBA Power Rankings, Week 11

Let’s ring in the New Year with a new batch of the NBA’s rankings!!!

#30 Cleveland Cavaliers (8-32, -10.5, LW:  30)

#29 Phoenix Suns (9-32, -8.8, LW:  28)

#28 Chicago Bulls (10-30, -9.5, LW:  27)

#27 New York Knicks (10-30, -8, LW:  29)

#26 Atlanta Hawks (12-27, -8.4, LW:  26)

#25 Orlando Magic (17-23, -4.1, LW:  23)

#24 Memphis Grizzlies (18-22, -1.9, LW:  20)

#23 Detroit Pistons (17-21, -2.5, LW:  23)

#22 Washington Wizards (16-24, -3.8, LW:  25)

#21 Dallas Mavericks (18-22, +0.2, LW:  22)

#20 Sacramento Kings (20-20, -1.4, LW:  21)

#19 Brooklyn Nets (20-22, -0.8, LW:  18)

#18 Charlotte Hornets (19-20, +1.3, LW:  15)

#17 Los Angeles Lakers (22-19, +1.1, LW:  13)

The most amazing thing about LeBron James’ career is not that he has maintained a high level of play for such a long time.  It has been that he has never suffered a major injury in 15+ seasons.  Until perhaps now.  On Christmas night I was watching the Lakers/Warriors game when he appeared to say two words that are never good.

He appeared to say “It popped.”  He’s currently expected to miss “several games” with the groin injury, but those two words are sticking with me right now.  He is now 34 years old, and nothing gets easier with age, especially healing and recovering from injuries.  As amazing as he’s been, basketball fans have to start realizing that the beginning of the end of a wonderful career is nearing.  That doesn’t mean his career is over or that he has nothing left.  But one has to seriously start to wonder how much longer he can go.

#16 Minnesota Timberwolves (19-21, +0.6, LW:  17)

#15 Miami Heat (19-19, +0.7, LW:  12)

#14 New Orleans Pelicans (19-22, +2, LW:  19)

#13 Utah Jazz (20-21, +2, LW:  13)

#12 Los Angeles Clippers (23-16, +1.4, LW:  16)

#11 Portland Trail Blazers (24-17, +1.2, LW:  11)

#10 Houston Rockets (23-16, +1.5, LW:  7)

#9 Philadelphia 76ers (26-14, +2.2, LW:  10)

#8 Golden State Warriors (26-14, +4.4, LW:  5)

Remember at the beginning of the year when just about everyone said the Warriors were going to win it all going away?  That obviously is not happening.  Teams in both conferences are nipping at the heels of the defending champs.  Maybe there are some chemistry issues, there have been injury issues, and some of it has been just simply poor play.  In any event, here’s their scoring margins in each of the last five seasons:

2014-15:  10.1 (1st, 3.5 ahead of second)

2015-16:  10.8 (1st, 0.2 ahead of second)

2016-17:  11.6 (1st, 4.4 ahead of second)

2017-18:  6.0 (3rd, 2.5 behind first)

2018-19:  4.4 (7th, 5.1 behind first)

It has been an amazing run for the Warriors, but the end is a lot closer than everyone thought.

#7 Denver Nuggets (26-12, +4.9, LW:  4)

#6 Oklahoma City Thunder (25-14, +5.8, LW:  3)

#5 San Antonio Spurs (24-17, +3.3, LW:  8)

#4 Toronto Raptors (30-12, +5.4, LW:  6)

Their win on Sunday wrapped up a tough 8-7 finish to the final month of 2018.  After averaging 117.6 points per game through the end of November, the Raptors put up just 105.6 in December.  Kyle Lowry has missed half of the month with quad and back injuries and Toronto needs him to be healthy for the Raptors to be a serious threat in the now pretty tough Eastern Conference.

#3 Indiana Pacers (26-13, +5.8, LW:  2)

#2 Boston Celtics (24-15, +6.6, LW:  9)

This team remains an enigma this season.  After winning eight in a row by an average of about 20 points per game, they have lost four of seven.  Considered a big favorite to win the East, they still sit fifth in the conference standings.  Not sure what’s happening in Beantown, but they need to figure out how get out of whatever funk they’re in, because several teams in the East have decided they want a shot at the title,too.

#1 Milwaukee Bucks (28-11, +9.6, LW:  1)

This season has watched the standings move with insane regularity.  The talent throughout the league is deep and it is showing up every night on the court.  Teams are jumping from ninth to sixth to eighth and so on every day.  And the best part is that we haven’t even reached the All-Star game!!  Keep tuning in, because this season should only get better.