NBA Power Rankings, Week 16

A crazy week after the trade deadline.  Here are the rankings. . .

#30 Phoenix Suns (11-47, -9.9, LW:  30)

#29 New York Knicks (10-46, -9, LW:  29)

The Cavaliers lost the best player in the league, their other All-Star has played a total of 142 minutes this season, have lost 14 games by 20+ points, their first round draft choice has been up and down – mostly down – and are the focal point of many fans’ disdain for the draft lottery.  And you know what?  The Knicks have a worse record than the Cavaliers.  New York was once a Basketball Mecca, and their fans are passionate, and the arena is iconic.  But the team has mostly been a plane crash. They haven’t been over .500 in six seasons, and because of ownership and management there is no real belief that anything will change anytime soon.

#28 Cleveland Cavaliers (12-45, -10.6, LW:  28)

#27 Chicago Bulls (13-44, -8.8, LW:  27)

#26 Atlanta Hawks (18-38, -7.6, LW:  26)

#25 Washington Wizards (24-33, -2.9, LW:  24)

#24 Memphis Grizzlies (23-34, -3.1, LW:  25)

#23 Los Angeles Lakers (28-28, -1.1, LW:  19)

#22 Miami Heat (25-30, -0.8, LW:  22)

#21 Brooklyn Nets (29-29, -0.6, LW:  18)

#20 Minnesota Timberwolves (26-30, 0, LW:  17)

#19 New Orleans Pelicans (25-32, +1.2, LW:  20)

#18 Orlando Magic (25-32, -2.3, LW:  23)

#17 San Antonio Spurs (32-26, +1, LW:  9)

#16 Charlotte Hornets (27-29, +0.2, LW:  13)

#15 Dallas Mavericks (26-30, +0.2, LW:  14)

#14 Los Angeles Clippers (31-27, 0, LW:  15)

#13 Detroit Pistons (26-29, -1.4, LW:  21)

#12 Sacramento Kings (30-26, -1.2, LW:  16)

#11 Portland Trail Blazers (33-23, +2.7, LW:  7)

#10 Utah Jazz (32-24, +3.4, LW:  12)

#9 Philadelphia 76ers (36-20, +3.6, LW:  8)

The moves made right before the deadline tell us that the Sixers plan to contend for the NBA title NOW.  Some may think that it’s too early to give up on Markelle Fultz, but windows don’t stay open that long.  At the beginning of 2019 their schedule became a focal point because of the number of quality teams coming up.  They are currently 13-6 since the calendar turned from 2018 and look to be a tough draw for anyone come April.  This year’s playoffs are going to be a lot more interesting than people want to believe and not just because of what’s going on out west.  The East should be a lot of fun, too.

#8 Houston Rockets (33-23, +2.3, LW:  11)

#7 Denver Nuggets (38-18, +4.9, LW:  4)

The Nuggets are still hanging on to the second seed out West behind a strong offense that ranks in the top ten in three of the offensive four factors.  They are seventh in effective field goal percentage, fifth in turnover percentage, and first in offensive rebounding percentage.  Their offensive rating is second in the league (114.7 points/100 possessions).  With Nikola Jokic putting up a 20/10/8 every night, Jamal Murray adding in 19 per and Malik Beasley shooting 50% from the floor and you’ve got a nice under-25 nucleus for some years to come.

#6 Boston Celtics (35-21, +6.4, LW:  3)

#5 Oklahoma City Thunder (37-19, +5.5, LW:  6)

#4 Indiana Pacers (38-19, +5.5, LW:  10)

#3 Toronto Raptors (42-16, +5.6, LW:  5)

#2 Golden State Warriors (40-15, +7.6, LW:  2)

#1 Milwaukee Bucks (42-14, +9.8, LW:  1)

The NBA trading deadline created a lot of talk – both positive and negative – about the league.  It seems appropriate, actually.  We are in a society of massive unrest and believe or not our sports reflect that. Young people want more, old people don’t’ want to give more.  Old people shouldn’t give more, younger people believe they should.  It’s the same disconnect that has always been around; it’s just that we all forget because we’ve forgotten that we’ve already jumped the previous ship.

At the same time, the league is creating a media market for themselves and as the saying goes, “there is no such thing as bad publicity.”*  The league has been a massive discussion and many on the good and the bad.

*-for those who question me, just look at the league and team you worship. Then just shut up.

The NBA is in an interesting time, where management is smart, but so are the players.

Wait, that does not come out right.  What I really mean is that BOTH LABOR AND MANAGEMENT KNOW WHAT EACH ARE WORTH AND BOTH KNOW WHAT THEY WANT.

That’s a bad combination with stubborn people.  Because stubborn is not a synonym for bright.

At least they will get a lesson from a “greater” league. . .