Our weekly NBA Power Rankings, or, how the West looks better than the East right now by a long shot.
1. Spurs (11-1). Distraction? What are you talking about? Right now the Spurs are focused and playing the best basketball in the association — and the offense is really clicking with Parker dishing a little more.
2. Lakers (12-2). Los Angeles is playing well, but we need to note they have played one of the five softest schedules in the league so far. They’re beating who they are supposed to beat, though, and big wins over bad opponents are a good sign.
3. Hornets (11-1). Jarrett Jack can be a nice backup point guard and play a little two, sure, but what really matters is that Chris Paul likes him, and all that really matters for New Orleans is what makes Chris Paul happy.
4. Magic (9-3). Four wins in a row, but not against he strongest of competition (although they did beat Memphis, something the Heat couldn’t do. Monday night against the Spurs is a much better test.
5. Thunder (9-4). Big jump up the board because despite Kevin Durant having to sit a game they beat Boston, Utah and Milwaukee in one week. They are getting their swagger back.
6. Mavericks (8-4). What Dallas is doing poorly so far? Getting the ball on the offensive glass. What Dallas is doing well so far? Not fouling on defense.
7. Jazz (9-5). All credit to Jerry Sloan, I thought this team would take a step back this season and so far they are what they always are — a good, professional side.
8. Celtics (9-4). The Celtics are playing with the passion usually reserved for a road trip in February already. I suppose we should have expected that. They need Rondo back soon, mostly for his defense.
9. Heat (8-5). The long front line of Memphis pushed the Haslem-less Heat around at the end of their loss this week. Pat Riley needs to do something about that, but his options are limited.
10. Hawks (8-5). Al Horford is tearing it up this season, 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds a game, a true shooing percentage of 68.5 percent (third best in the league) and a PER of 27.8 (behind only Chris Paul).
11. Bulls (7-4). Tom Thibodeau has them running, the Bulls are playing at the fourth fastest pace in the league.
12. Nuggets (7-6). Carmelo Antony isn’t playing much defense, JR Smith and coach Karl are butting heads — despite all the rumors everything remains the same as it ever was in Denver.
13. Blazers (8-6). Brandon Roy and Greg Oden will never be quite the forces that will lead this team everyone had hoped for. Rich Cho’s job has gotten a lot harder.
14. Pacers (5-6). They are cruising along in the middle of the East, which for them is a big step forward.
15. Warriors (7-6). Hey, new owners, lots of hope. Look at that and not that Sunday night game against the Lakers. Ignore the man behind the curtain.
16. Cavaliers (5-7). Nice win against Boston this week, but suddenly it’s trendy for every middle of the road team to beat Boston. Can they play Antawn Jamison and JJ Hickson together?
17. Suns (6-7). Without Steve Nash this team is not good on offense, and they are terrible on defense either way. Nash may be back Monday night.
18. Bucks (5-8). I think they are the best 5-8 team in the league, for what that’s worth. Which isn’t much. Andrew Bogut can’t fully extend his arm on his shot release, which is why he is shooting 46.3 percent on free throws.
19. Knicks (6-8). Three wins in a row, following a week with three losses in a row to bad teams. Inconsistent. Why? Well, this goes a long way in explaining it.
20. Bobcats (5-8). Stephen Jackson with the franchise’s first triple double — that took a long time.
21. Grizzlies (5-9). OJ Mayo has not been good this season (PER of 10.4 best example). Despite that they get a quality win against the Heat, ending a five-game losing streak.
22. Raptors (5-9). Three straight wins including one over Boston. And they’re doing it with defense. Didn’t see that coming.
23. Pistons (5-8). When an opposing coach (Phil Jackson) questions your team’s effort and the response is “yea, he’s probably right” things are bad.
24. Wizards (4-8). Gilbert Arenas is racking up big, inefficient numbers. John Wall should be back this week.
25. Rockets (3-9). Kyle Lowry is no Aaron Brooks, and no Yao Ming now for a couple more weeks. They have lost three in a row.
26. Nets (4-9). The offense really needs to be more about Devin Harris.
27. Kings (4-8). If the Kings start to play defense consistently like they did against the Hornets they are going to start winning some games and moving up these rankings. But we need to see it to believe it.
28. Timberwolves (4-10). Man, Ron Artest just took Kevin Love out of his game. They could use Jonny Flynn back to provide some scoring punch.
29. Sixers (3-10). The Sixers offense has been terrible the last week or so. The defense isn’t great, but the offense is terrible.
30. Clippers (1-13). Blake Griffin’s highlights mask a bad team right now. And Baron Davis coming back soon isn’t really going to help that.