Culture of Hoops

Week 16 NBA power rankings from the Bassline – trade deadline edition

It’s been a much quieter deadline than anyone has expected, possibly due to the huge deals that have already taken place earlier this season. With such a disproportion between the good and bad teams in addition to a talented draft, not many deals will be taking place, and the ones that do will be player swaps with limited picks.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-12 and first in the Western Conference). OKC is eyeing Chicago Bulls guard Mike Dunleavy and Orlando Magic’s Aaron Afflalo. If they pull either off in addition to getting Russell Westbrook back from injury on Thursday, it’ll be lights out for the rest of the league.

2. Indiana Pacers (40-12 and first in the Eastern Conference). GM Larry Bird added Andrew Bynum weeks ago and he’s yet to suit up and play. That signing most likely took all of their deal energy heading towards the deadline. The Pacers will be standing still.

3. Miami Heat (37-14 and second in the Eastern Conference). Names floating around for the Heat are Ben Gordon, Caron Butler and Gary Neal. None of which Miami will deal for.

4. Los Angeles Clippers (37-18 and fourth in the Western Conference). The Clippers let Sasha Vujacic go, and are looking to fill that last roster spot with a capable big man. Omer Asik anyone?

5. San Antonio Spurs (38-15 and second in the Western Conference). With a core that’s won four championships and almost a fifth, the Spurs will stand pat at the deadline. It seems they do most of their wheeling and dealing in the off-season.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (36-17 and third in the Western Conference). If Portland has a deal up their sleeves it’s going to include multiple players, and given their surprising success – it’s doubtful Neil Olshey wants to lose the strong core he has.

7. Houston Rockets (36-17 and third in the Western Conference). We all wondered if Rockets GM Daryl Morey would make a deal for Omer Asik during the first half of the season. As things intensify heading towards Thursday’s deadline, Morey will either use this time to field calls for a deal with Asik and point guard Jeremy Lin or simply gauge their value on the market.

8. Phoenix Suns (30-21 and seventh in the Western Conference). The Suns are satisfied with their success in the first half of the season. They’ll entertain calls for Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract, but are not in the market for a blockbuster deal. One possible suitor is the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol.

9. Memphis Grizzlies (29-23 and ninth in the Western Conference). Word is the Grizzlies are looking to swap Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince for J.J. Barea and Chase Budinger. Barea would be a great fit in Memphis, but the Grizz would miss Allen’s defensive grit.

10. Dallas Mavericks (32-22 and sixth in the Western Conference). The Mav’s have been quiet up to now, possibly from being content. The bench combination of Vince Carter, Devin Harris and big-man Brandan Wright are averaging 30 points per game, and their playoff stock is rising higher by the week.

11. Golden State Warriors (31-22 and eighth in the Western Conference). The Warriors most likely won’t be making any moves before the deadline. Head coach Mark Jackson will have to fix their sub par offense with the roster already in place.

12. Toronto Raptors (28-24 and third in the Eastern Conference). Raptors GM Masai Ujiri is openly shopping point guard Kyle Lowry, keeping his eyes on New York Knicks guards Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway. As cautious as Ujiri has been with the Raptors roster, it’s doubtful he’ll make any changes unless there’s clear benefit.

13. Atlanta Hawks (25-26 and fifth in the Eastern Conference). Atlanta will look to end a five-game losing skid, while paving the way to acquire Boston Celtic’s Jeff Green via trade. They’ll most likely have the same roster by Friday.

14. Washington Wizards (25-27 and sixth in the Eastern Conference). With the Wizards sitting in fourth place and two games under .500, they have the talent to cause an upset in the post-season. GM Ernie Grunfeld will be looking to upgrade the roster this week for a deep run with Trevor Ariza being a trade casualty of Grunfeld’s ambition.

15. Chicago Bulls (27-25 and fourth in the Eastern Conference). The Bulls look to be standing firm at the deadline, rightfully so after winning three straight.

16. Brooklyn Nets (24-27 and seventh in the Eastern Conference). The Nets are in search of bench help, and are looking to use the disabled player exception granted to them after losing Brook Lopez for the season. They’ll make a few moves by Thursday’s deadline.

17. Denver Nuggets (24-27 and 11th in the Western Conference). The Nuggets have lost four in a row, and after losing Nate Robinson to injury they’ve expressed interest in having Andre Miller rejoin the club, however Miller couldn’t be more disinterested.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves (25-28 and 10th in the Western Conference). The Timberwolves are waiting for Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin to return in a week or two. For now, they’ll try not to rock the boat too much before the trade deadline.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (23-30 and eighth in the Eastern Conference). The Bobcats went 28-120 their previous two seasons combined, and are now 23-30. It seems the tide is turning in Charlotte. If they can land Evan Turner and Brandon Bass as expected, they’ll be kicking things up a notch.

20. Detroit Pistons (22-30 and ninth in the Eastern Conference). It looks like Joe Dumars is on the hot seat and the only thing that might get him off is successfully trading for Rajon Rondo. That’s not going to happen at all, so he’ll most likely send Greg Monroe packing, as the Pistons can’t afford his extension after Josh Smith’s contract.

21. New York Knicks (20-32 and 10th in the Eastern Conference). The Knicks have won four in a row, and now James Dolan is refusing to move Carmelo Anthony before the deadline. Smart man. Word is Jeff Teague is on Dolan’s radar. Good luck trading Raymond Felton.

22. Philadelphia 76ers (15-39 and 14th in the Eastern Conference). The 76ers are losers of eight in a row, but remain in good spirits as they try to find forward Thaddeus Young a new address.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers (20-33 and 11th in the Eastern Conference). There are many trade rumors swirling in Cleveland, meanwhile the All-Star game MVP and his supporting cast are currently on a four-game win streak. Names that ring out are Jimmer Fredette and Jason Terry. Neither of which will make Cavs’ fans raise an eyebrow.

24. Boston Celtics (19-35 and 13th in the Eastern Conference). Danny Ainge has stated numerous times that Rajon Rondo is unavailable, but it feels as if Boston has something up their sleeve. Stay tuned.

25. Orlando Magic (16-38 and 13th in the Eastern Conference). Orlando’s keeping a poker face on heading towards the deadline, or maybe that’s their response to three road wins on the year.

26. New Orleans Pelicans (23-29 and 12th in the Western Conference). The Pelicans are eager to add a big man to play alongside Anthony Davis, looks like guard Eric Gordon is the odd man out.

27. Utah Jazz (19-33 and 13th in the Western Conference). The Jazz have the worst defensive efficiency in the NBA, giving up 107 points per 100 possessions. With some doubt that the Jazz might secure Gordon Hayward’s services in the long run, GM’s might be fielding calls from Dennis Lindsey if they haven’t already.

28. Los Angeles Lakers (18-35 and 14th in the Western Conference). The Lakers are clearing house, offering Jordan Hill to the Nets, and reportedly preparing trades for Pau Gasol, Steve Blake and a few others. The Lakers brass seems to be more focused on shedding contracts this week.

29. Sacramento Kings (18-35 and 15th in the Western Conference). The Celtics turned down Sacramento’s offer of Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore and two picks for Rajon Rondo, rightfully so. That awkward moment when Shaquille O’Neal just crowned McLemore king a few days ago during the All-Star Sprite Slam…

30. Milwaukee Bucks (9-43 and the 15th in the Eastern Conference). Word is Ersan Ilyasova wants out of Milwaukee. Can you blame him? The Bucks are the only team to remain out of the double-digit win column.

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