Kevin Durant has been torching the league and has pushed the Oklahoma City Thunder to the top of this weeks NBA power rankings. The Indiana Pacers are in a close second, but with the addition of Andrew Bynum, will they slip or keep climbing? The Los Angeles Clippers have won 11 of 15 without Chris Paul, and the Spurs are starting to fatigue without young guns Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard. What a league!
1. Oklahoma City Thunder (38-11 and first in the Western Conference). OKC took an unexpected loss to the Wizards on their last game of the week, but have gone 9-1 in their last 10 games and have compiled the most road wins in the NBA, currently at 18. Oh, and Kevin Durant is murdering all opposition lately.
2. Indiana Pacers (36-10 and first in the Eastern Conference). It took $1 million to secure Andrew Bynum’s services for the remainder of the season. Fans are wondering if the Pacers locker room has enough veteran leadership to settle the big man, if and when drama ensues.
3. Los Angeles Clippers (34-16 and fourth in the Western Conference). The Clippers had their best Grammys trip in franchise history, and despite losses to the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Bobcats head coach Doc Rivers should be very satisfied in going 7-3 for their last 10 games, all played within 15 days.
4. Portland Trail Blazers (34-13 and third in the Western Conference). Portland has the third most road wins in the league, and with key losses to the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies, Terry Stotts’ crew might be losing their pizzazz.
5. Miami Heat (33-13 and second in the Eastern Conference). The Heat stepped up and beat the San Antonio Spurs in a rematch of last year’s finals. They finished January with an 8-6 record, finishing with at least a .500-plus winning percentage for 25 straight months.
6. San Antonio Spurs (34-13 and second in the Western Conference). With guard Danny Green and forward Kawhi Leonard out due to injury, the Spurs backcourt defense has taken a hit, as seen in their loss to Miami. The Spurs have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and, without full health, might be falling down the Western Conference ladder, as two other teams have also compiled 34 wins (Clippers and Blazers).
7. Phoenix Suns (29-18 and sixth in the Western Conference). The Suns had a great week, which included a big win against Indiana. In their last 10 games, they’ve scored over 120 points four times and are starting to turn heads for their top-ranked 19 fast break points per game.
8. Memphis Grizzlies (26-20 and eighth in the Western Conference). The Grizz have gone 9-1 in their last 10 games including winning six in a row, but will go without their leading scorer Mike Conley for a week due to an ankle injury. That’s a tough loss for Memphis, who has flourished after defeating the injury bug.
9. Golden State Warriors (29-19 and seventh in the Western Conference). The Warriors went 3-1 on the week, including a home thrashing of the Clippers. They’ve shown flashes of Western Conference elite, but after a 10-game win streak, the Dubs finished the rest of January with a 5-6 record with seven of those games at home and six against opponents playing below .500.
10. Houston Rockets (32-17 and fifth in the Western Conference). The Rockets have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games, but with James Harden shooting a career-low 32.1 percent behind the arc, Francisco Garcia only hitting 34 percent of his three balls, and Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverly hitting below 33 percent from deep, the Rockets aren’t much of a threat for any Western Conference team with a little depth.
11. Brooklyn Nets (20-25 and seventh in the Eastern Conference). Despite setting an NBA record for fewest rebounds in a game, the Nets closed out January with a 10-2 record and seem to be growing stronger by the week.
12. Atlanta Hawks (25-21 and third in the Eastern Conference). Jeff Teague is back in the lineup, and Paul Millsap was named as an Eastern Conference All-Star, but until the Hawks start holding opponents to less than 100 points (currently averaging 102), they’ll ride the middle pack of the league.
13. Toronto Raptors (25-21 and fourth in the Eastern Conference). It looks like newly appointed GM Masai Ujiri’s experiment in Toronto is working. They currently have the sixth-best defense, but are only scoring 99 points per game.
14. Chicago Bulls (23-23 and sixth in the Eastern Conference). It’s been a mystery as to how the Bulls are still winning games, but out of 15 games played in January, only seven were against teams with winning records.
15. Dallas Mavericks (27-21 and ninth in the Western Conference). The Mavs front office is trying to find a star to pair with Dirk Nowitzki and time is running short. Meanwhile the current Mavs roster sits right at .500 for inter-conference play.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (23-24 and 10th in the Western Conference). The T’Wolves have only one victory all season decided by four points or fewer. With rumors that Kevin Love wants to wear purple and gold, the Minnesota landscape could be changing very soon.
17. Denver Nuggets (22-21 and 10th in the Western Conference). Losing Nate Robinson to an ACL injury was a tough blow for Brian Shaw’s Nuggets. Will point guard Ty Lawson be able to pick up the slack?
18. Washington Wizards (23-23 and fifth in the Eastern Conference). The Wizards put an end to the Thunder’s 10-game winning streak, and they’re the only team in the league to currently have at least six players averaging double-figures in points.
19. New York Knicks (19-28 and 10th in the Eastern Conference). The Knicks lost 28 regular season games last year. That sums up their current season.
20. Charlotte Bobcats (20-25 and eighth in the Eastern Conference). The Bobcats are only 1-7 in division play and have split their last 10 games even. They’ll continue to struggle without guard Kemba Walker in the lineup.
21. Detroit Pistons (19-27 and ninth in the Eastern Conference). The Pistons season isn’t much better than last year’s. Word is the Pistons will try to move Greg Monroe close to the deadline, but what they really need to do is decide on whether to keep Brandon Jennings or Josh Smith.
22. Philadelphia 76ers (15-33 and 12th in the Eastern Conference). The Sixers stink so bad they’re starting to direct their focus to off-the-court issues. Head coach Brett Brown was unaware the Wells Fargo Center could hold 20,000 people and guard Lorenzo Brown tweeted that he was watching the Heat-Thunder game instead of Sixers-Celtics. I don’t blame you Zo.
23. Boston Celtics (15-33 and 13th in the Eastern Conference). Boston has gone 1-7 with Rajon Rondo back in the lineup, and reports are that Danny Ainge is eager to trade Jeff Green. At this point they need all the help they can get.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (16-31 and 11th in the Eastern Conference). The Cavs have lost four straight and while there’s rumblings of moving Dion Waiters, point guard Kyrie Irving’s future loyalty is starting to be questioned.
25. Orlando Magic (13-35 and 14th in the Eastern Conference). Orlando has three road wins on the season. They’re looking good in this season’s lottery race.
26. New Orleans Pelicans (20-26 and 12th in the Western Conference). Anthony Davis’ All-Star snub won’t be enough motivation to pull New Orleans out of the Western Conference cellar.
27. Utah Jazz (16-31 and 15th in the Western Conference). The stench of losing was momentarily masked with the Jerry Sloan celebration. Moments afterwards the Jazz lost to Golden State at home.
28. Milwaukee Bucks (8-35 and the 15th in the Eastern Conference). The Bucks are 1-9 in their last 10 and 4-21 on the road. Do you think they’re tanking?
29. Los Angeles Lakers (16-31 and 13th in the Western Conference). The Lakers are once again attempting to push Pau Gasol out of the door to clear cap in lieu of Kobe’s extension. Moving Gasol will signal the Lakers throwing in the towel.
30. Sacramento Kings (15-32 and 15th in the Western Conference). The Kings are losers of seven in the row and tied for last in field-goal percentage at 46.9 percent. Did you really expect head coach Mike Malone to fix the defense first?
Featured image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.