by: alex golden
The NBA Power Rankings were written Thursday, 11-15-2018
1). Toronto Raptors - The Raptors have been beyond impressive this season, and Pascal Siakim’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week highlights how talented this roster is.
Read More: https://www.upandunder.net/nba/the-toronto-raptors-are-the-second-best-team-in-the-nba
2). Portland Trailblazers - the Blazers have been outstanding at home going 7-2, but they’ve played the majority of their games there. Portland has always been one of the toughest arenas to win a game in, so once these Blazers are battle tested on the road, it’s hard to predict where they’ll land. Overall, they’re off to as good of a start as they could’ve hoped for.
3). Golden State Warriors - Ah, are you not entertained? Draymond and Durant’s fight was probably bigger than I made it out to be, but overall we will only resource this if the team has issues in the playoffs. They’ve lost a couple here of late, but this team hasn’t had their best player Steph Curry to keep everything together.
Read More: https://www.upandunder.net/nba/the-unstoppable-warriors
4). Oklahoma City Thunder - OKC has been on fire winning 9 of their last 10 games. Even without Russ this team seems to have found a solution to their slow 1-4 start. Defensively, this is one of the best units in the
5). Milwaukee Bucks - with Brook Lopez spreading the floor and hitting threes the way he has, this Bucks team is going to be even more scary than teams predicted. Water always finds it’s level, but with Giannis, you can throw that cliche saying under the bridge.
6). Boston Celtics - it’s been a tough stretch for the Celtics early on, but I wouldn’t be too concerned. Brad Stevens is one of the young bright minds in the NBA and this team is too talented to continue to play inconsistent.
Read More: https://www.upandunder.net/nba/the-pulse-boston-celtics
7). Houston Rockets - The Carmelo Anthony experiment was short lived in Houston and so is their cold start. The Rockets have been playing a high level of basketball the last couple of weeks and are poised to make a jump in the standings.
Read More: https://www.upandunder.net/nba/why-are-the-rockets-waiting-to-put-melo-on-waivers
8). Denver Nuggets - 4 straight losses concerns me, yes, but I’m not going to overreact. They’re still 10-5 but they’ve played a heavy home schedule. This is a team to keep monitoring as the season prolongs.
9). Los Angeles Lakers - the Lakers are starting to string together some wins lately and the addition of Tyson Chandler as helped their defensive. LeBron still hasn’t been playing at his best and that has to be worrisome for other teams.
10). Indiana Pacers - Indiana has struggled recently losing 3 of their last 4, but two of those losses came to the rising Rockets. The Pacers haven’t had consistency from their role players and the offensive burden for Oladipo has been huge. McMillan’s offense has been stagnant and the shooters on this team are desperate for plays and looks.
11). Los Angeles Clippers - Lou Williams has been fantastic off the bench for this team but overall, this is one of the deepest teams in the league. They’re not going to wow you on paper, but their talent is so deep that they can play spoiler on any given night.
12). Memphis Grizzlies - Unfortunately Chandler Parsons hasn’t been able to stay healthy, but this team has found something recently. Who knows what this team will he in a few months, but if Shelvin Mack and Jaren Jackson Jr continue to play well with Gasol and Conley, they’re going to be contending seriously for a playoff spot.
13). Philadelphia 76ers - Adding Jimmy Butler for Saric and Covington looks amazing on paper. However, the chemistry on this team will be one to monitor. Butler, Simmons and Embiid are all really good players but this team only has one consistent three point shooter in Redick. Shamet has been an early season surprise, but rookie’s usually hit a wall. Overall, this team got a piece that makes them a Finals contender, but I’m not sure it will.
14). Sacramento Kings - Everyone loves the Kings play of late but it’s hard to see it lasting. De’Aaron Fox has been lights out, but Willie Cauley-Stein has been the guy I’ve enjoyed watching the most. His play as of late makes him a must resign for the Kings this off-season.
15). San Antonio Spurs - This team is really hard to figure out. All I can say is this team takes a lot of mid range jumpers and they have the best coach in the NBA. Derrick White returning to run point is a plus, but it still isn’t Murray. They’ll continue to be competitive in the Western Conference, but you have to wonder if their lack of talent will come back to bite them.
16). Charlotte Hornets - The Hornets have been playing pretty solid basketball despite their loss to the Cavaliers this past Tuesday. Going 8/41 from three is going to result in a loss 10/10 times and it is why I think being too three-point heavy can hurt them in the long haul. Remember, the Rockets missed 27 straight threes in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. You live by three, you’ll die by the three. Positive note though, Kemba Walker has been so good this season and Hornets fans better hope that they resign him.
17). Detroit Pistons - Zach Lowe brought up an interesting piece of information on his latest podcast. Surprisingly enough, the Pistons are forcing teams into shooting the most midrange jumpers. That’s a really good defensive statistic for a team that wants to be in the Eastern Conference Playoff mix. Their win against the Raptors in Toronto was huge for Coach Casey and the teams confidence, but I still don’t fear this team on a night to night basis.
18). Utah Jazz - Everyone is talking about their 50-point loss to the Mavericks, and rightfully so. This team hasn’t been the defensive juggernaut they were a season ago. Sure there is still plenty of time to get things turned around, and hopefully the 50-point loss is a wake up call for this talented team.
19). New Orleans Pelicans - New Orleans hasn’t been playing well lately but their hot early start has them at a .500 record. E’Twaun Moore has been such a good role player for this team averaging 16 points per game and shooting 49% from the three. It’s bench depth for me that hurts this team going forward.
20). Washington Wizards - Well the Wizards have won 3-games in a row and although it’s been against subpar teams, wins are confidence boosters for this struggling team. Their are rumors going around that Beal might be on the trade block. Hopefully this doesn’t become another distraction for this already oddly constructed team.
21). Dallas Mavericks - I love the way the Mavericks have been playing of late. Their last three wins have been a reflection of the growth of Luka Doncic. Many people are curious if DSJ and Doncic can play together but I believe they can. It will just take some adjusting for Smith Jr not playing with the ball in his hands. Carlisle is a great coach and he always gets his guards to play well (ignore the Rajon Rondo era).
22). Miami Heat - The Heat have been a bit disappointing this season and I wish Bam Adebayo were playing more minutes. Dragic is such a good player but with this young core I don’t like the fit. If Miami were smart, they’d try and upgrade that position and look at going with a unit that’s all around the same age. Give me a trio of Adebayo, Winslow and Richardson and I will watch this team on league pass more often than I do.
23). Orlando Magic - Orlando has actually been decent this season despite the glaring holes in their roster. Terrance Ross played great in the Magic’s win over Philadelphia but I just don’t believe in (the) Magic.
Read More: https://www.upandunder.net/nba/the-orlando-magic-are-coming-for-your-wins
24). Minnesota Timberwolves - The Wolves waited too long to deal Jimmy Butler and they might have missed out on a better deal had they made the trade earlier. With that being said, adding Saric and Covington them gives them outside shooting. I’m not sure this is the type of roster you want being coached by Thibs, but this team will be exciting to watch nonetheless.
25). Chicago Bulls - Zach LaVine has been so good this season. With his play of late, I wonder if the Timberwolves would rather have LaVine or Wiggins right now. Regardless, the Bulls are lucky to have him and once Lauri Markkenan returns, this could be a fun up and coming duo.
Read More: https://www.upandunder.net/nba/zach-lavine-money-well-spent
26). New York Knicks - outside of Tim Hardaway Jr, the development of Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox are the biggest points of emphasis this season. We’ve seen Trier and Vonleh continue to play well, too.
Read More: https://www.upandunder.net/nba/courtney-lee-trade-scenarios
27). Brooklyn Nets - Caris LeVert’s dislocated ankle really hurts the depth of this team. They’re not a well constructed roster but they do have some nice pieces. Spencer Dinwiddie has played solid recently and Joe Harris continues to be one of the better shooters in the league.
28). Phoenix Suns - what on earth has happened to last years Draft Pick Josh Jackson? Mikal Bridges, TJ Warren and Trevor Ariza are all getting minutes over him and he is completely regressing. When you’re a young asset on a tanking team and not getting minutes, that has to be a cause for concern.
29). Atlanta Hawks - The Trae Young Show has been fun this season but how has Taurean Prince been playing? Prince has averaged 15.8 ppg and 4.9 rpg. He has been battling an Achilles injury, but he has looked solid in games he has played. Thankfully, John Collins will return to action against the Pacers this weekend.
30). Cleveland Cavaliers - it’s funny to see how things can change so drastically. The Cavaliers were the top team in the East the last 4 seasons and now that LeBron has left they’re the worst team in the NBA. I feel bad for the never ending “cycle of suck” for Cavs fans, but the 2016 NBA Finals should hold them over for the next couple of decades...right!?
Alex Golden is the creator and founder of UpAndUnder.net. Throughout the season, Alex Golden will breakdown what's going on in the association. Make sure to checkout his weekly Power Rankings (in the Power Rankings page) during the season as well.