A full week into 2016 and trends are formulating. Teams are fitting into 3 specific tiers with very little movement. The top 5 – 7 teams are firmly cemented. The bottom 5 to 7 teams are lottery bound (save for Brooklyn who’ll be giving their pick to Boston). And the middle 15 to 20 teams are jostling for their position.
This past week saw the firing of Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins which is likely to be the first of many. Though the teams aren’t shifting much let’s look to see my week 11 NBA power ranking:
Suns: 13-26 (1-1)
This Week: 30th – Last Week: 30th
Offensive Rank: 22nd Defensive Rank: 24th Net Ranking: 24th
Coming off their worst week of the season the Suns improved slightly and registered a win. Week 12 the Suns play the Pacers, Celtics and Timberwolves.
Phoenix Suns Season Preview: Project Desert Identity
Sixers: 4-36 (1-3)
This Week: 29th – Last Week: 29th
Offensive Rank: 30th Defensive Rank: 23rd Net Ranking: 30th
Ish Smith is leading the Sixers to a victory each week he’s with the team. Hey it’s not earth shattering, but at least Philly fans don’t think every game is a loss before the tip-off any longer. . Week 12 the Sixers play Chicago and Portland.
Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview: Something Smells Hinkie
Nets: 10-27 (0-4)
This Week: 28th – Last Week: 28th
Offensive Rank: 28th Defensive Rank: 21st Net Ranking: 28th
Absolutely brutal performance by the Nets this past week as they go O-fer and their coach got fired with assistant Tony Brown taking over the interim duties. General Manager Billy King gets reassigned which in essence was Prokhorov admitting King just did what he was told. Ironically the reason the Nets are in trouble is because the owner wanted to buy a championship and now the coach and GM are paying the price for that greed. I’ve highlighted repeatedly the Celtics have the Nets draft pick (unprotected) this year as well as 2 years from now. Good luck finding a coach and GM who even want to make a long term commitment. Apparently the Nets have spent big money scouting internationally and will attempt to buy talent via the free agent market. Bottom line things look extremely bleak in Brooklyn! Week 12 the Nets play the Spurs, Knicks, Blazers and Hawks.
Brooklyn Nets Season Preview: Russian Roulette With 6 Bullets
Lakers: 8-31 (0-4)
This Week: 27th – Last Week: 27th
Offensive Rank: 29th Defensive Rank: 30th Net Ranking: 29th
Lakers also had an O-fer week and don’t look like they are invested in anything other than the Mamba’s farewell tour and making sure they remain low enough to capture the best draft pick (and don’t win too much to put themselves in jeopardy of losing their protected pick). This week they’ll play the Pelicans, Warriors, Jazz and Rockets.
Lakers Season Preview: Bryant’s Swan Song?
Pelicans: 11-25 (0-3)
This Week: 26th – Last Week: 25th
Offensive Rank: 18th Defensive Rank: 28th Net Ranking: 26th
With players returning to the line-up and the team still sucking big time defensively I wonder if anyone will actually listen when I point out Anthony Davis may be posting huge offensive numbers, but I’m not buying the MVP hype anymore. If he was that impressive of a talent he’d be spearheading the Pelicans defense which is so bad they aren’t even an enjoyable League Pass watch. That’s saying a lot as I can stomach watching the Lakers and Philly more than the Pelicans. In fairness perhaps it’s because I expect more from this team. Week 12 the Pelicans play: the Lakers, Kings and Hornerts .
Pelicans Season Preview: The BROW Era
Nuggets 14-24 (2-1)
This Week: 25th – Last Week: 26th
Offensive Rank: 24th Defensive Rank: 26th Net Ranking: 25th
The Nuggets have taken on their coach’s personality which is a scrappy, intelligent and no quit. Denver had a winning week and will look to replicate it again in week 12 as they face a tough test versus the Warriors, Heat and Pacers.
Denver Nuggets Season Preview: Malone’s Reformulation
Bucks: 15-24 (1-3)
This Week: 24th – Last Week: 24th
Offensive Rank: 19th Defensive Rank: 29th Net Ranking: 27th
I keep thinking the Bucks just can’t be this bad coupled with recurring thoughts of how much Ilyasova and Pachulia did for them last season is mind boggling. It just doesn’t seem fathomable losing those 2 bigs and Brendon Knight would have resulted in their spiral downward. This week they face Chicago, Washington,, Atlanta and Charlotte.
Milwaukee Bucks Season Preview: Team Futuristic
Timberwolves: 12-22 (0-4)
This Week: 23rd – Last Week: 23rd
Offensive Rank: 26th Defensive Rank: 20th Net Ranking: 23rd
Sadly the T-Wolves aren’t winning, but despite that fact they remain absolutely compelling to watch. This team will be the next youthful squad to rise up the power ranks (like OKC and Golden State before them). Speaking of the Thunder week 12 finds the T-Wolves playing a home and home series with them as well as games versus the Rockets and Suns.
Minnesota Timberwolves Season Preview: Ascending Youth
Blazers: 16-24 (1-3)
This Week: 22nd – Last Week: 20th
Offensive Rank: 10th Defensive Rank: 25th Net Ranking: 20th
The Blazers will roll as their backcourt does. On nights they are shooting lights out they’ll excel and nights they are cold and/or can’t get any defensive effort out of their others they won’t. Despite all of that Portland actually may be able to attract some decent free agents this summer given their impressive starting backcourt. After a tough week the Blazers have a bit easier schedule in week 12 facing Utah, Brooklyn and Philly.
Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview: Free Fall
Hornets: 17-20 (0-4)
This Week: 21st – Last Week: 13th
Offensive Rank: 13th Defensive Rank: 14th Net Ranking: 14th
Injuries killed the Hornets and the team who once was top ten on both ends is suddenly not in either top ten. They also struggle on the road and have a heavy dose of road games about to hit them. They’ll play Atlanta, New Orleans and Milwaukee.
Charlotte Hornets Season Preview: Buzzkill
The teams who continue to hover in the middle generally remain in this middling area. Occasionally a team will drop down a level or up a level but none have experienced a streak that will keep them up or down. The team who fell off drastically was the Hornets who’ve spent the majority of the season in the upper tier until injuries decimated their squad. The Kings and Knicks are moving up as they continue to win games and stay competitive however they remain in the middle tier.
Magic: 20-18 (1-3)
This Week: 20th – Last Week: 16th
Offensive Rank: 17th Defensive Rank: 13th Net Ranking: 15th
Like Toronto the Magic travel to London England for a single game in week 12. Skiles will likely be using the down time to try to get his young squad focused on defense again as they’ve fallen out of the top ten.
Orlando Magic Season Preview: Identity Crisis
Wizards: 16-19 (1-2)
This Week: 19th – Last Week: 18th
Offensive Rank: 2oth Defensive Rank: 19th Net Ranking: 21st
Wall has been amazing carrying his squad, but his shot ranges from exceptional to literally frighteningly bad (so much so that opponents should always force him to shoot). This week the Wizards play the Chicago, Milwaukee, Indiana and Boston.
Washington Wizards Season Preview: Wittman Gets Hip
Knicks: 19-20 (3-1)
This Week: 18th – Last Week: 21st
Offensive Rank: 15th Defensive Rank: 18th Net Ranking: 17th
This past week the Knicks gave their fans some belief they aren’t a fluke and could actually make the playoffs. Next up the Knicks play the Celtics, Nets and Grizzlies in week 12.
New York Knicks Season Preview: The Melo Rebuild
Jazz: 17-20 (2-3 )
This Week: 17th – Last Week: 15th
Offensive Rank: 14th Defensive Rank: 17th Net Ranking: 16th
This week Utah play the Blazers, Kings and Lakers.
Utah Jazz Season Preview: Return To Old School Jazz
Kings: 15-22 (2-2)
This Week: 16th – Last Week: 22nd
Offensive Rank: 12th Defensive Rank: 27th Net Ranking: 22nd
The Kings continue to improve offensively and slowly climb upward. They’ve replaced the spot I was expecting (or maybe more accurately hoping) to see the T-Wolves battling the Jazz for. In each of the past 2 weeks the Kings have climbed offensively and regressed defensively which isn’t that shocking given the personnel involved. This week they’ll play the Pelicans, Jazz and Clippers .
Grizzlies: 21-18 (3-1)
This Week: 15th – Last Week: 17th
Offensive Rank: 27th Defensive Rank: 16th Net Ranking: 19th
This week they’ll play the Rockets, Pistons and Knicks.
Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview: The Constant Grind
Celtics: 19-18 (1-3)
This Week: 14th – Last Week: 11th
Offensive Rank: 25th Defensive Rank: 2nd Net Ranking: 10th
Stevens youngsters are playing awesome defense, but their offense continues to suffer, and now the lack of offense is why they are losing games. This week they play the Knicks, Pacers, Suns and Wizards.
Boston Celtics Season Preview: The Win -Win Season
Houston: 19-19 (3-0)
This Week: 13th – Last Week: 19th
Offensive Rank: 9th Defensive Rank: 22nd Net Ranking: 18th
The Houston Rockets continue to be inconsistent except for Dwight Howard who has looked like he’s recalling his Orlando Magic days. Week 12 the Rockets play Memphis, Minnesota, Cleveland and the Lakers.
Houston Rockets Season Preview: The “Hard”en Pursuit
Pacers: 21-16 (2-2)
This Week: 12th – Last Week: 12th
Offensive Rank: 16th Defensive Rank: 3rd Net Ranking: 8th
This week they play the Phoenix, Boston, Washington and Denver.
Indiana Pacers Season Preview: Experimenting Warp Speed
Heat: 22-15 (2-2)
This Week: 11th – Last Week: 8th
Offensive Rank: 11th Defensive Rank: 6th Net Ranking: 6th
While teams like Toronto and Detroit have played a bunch of road games out West the Heat finally make their first trip to the opposite coast to face the Warriors, Clippers, Nuggets and Thunder. Miami haven’t fared well on the road, so this trip should be very telling.
Miami Heat Season Preview: Heating Up
The Top of my ladder remains relatively unchanged specifically in terms of the 5 teams who seldom fall below 7 on my list (Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Cavaliers and Raptors) while the remaining teams who make up my top 10 has new entries (Pistons) as well as exits (Heat) as predicted .
Hawks: 23-15 (2-1)
This Week: 10th – Last Week: 9th
Offensive Rank: 6th Defensive Rank: 12th Net Ranking: 9th
Next up they’ll play Charlotte, Milwaukee and Brooklyn.
Atlanta Hawks Season Preview: Soaring in Unity
Mavericks: 22-16 (3-1)
This Week: 9th – Last Week: 10th
Offensive Rank: 8th Defensive Rank: 15th Net Ranking: 12th
This week offers stiff competition as the Mavericks face the Cavaliers, Thunder Bulls and Spurs.
Dallas Mavericks Team Preview: Recovery From the Shaft
This Week: 8th – Last Week: 14th
Offensive Rank: 21st Defensive Rank: 8th Net Ranking: 13th
Detroit jumps 5 spots offensively while continuing to play top ten defense. This week they’ll get tested facing the top 2 West teams (Spurs and Warriors) as well as the Grizzlies.
Detroit Pistons Season Preview: Forming a Wall
Bulls: 22-13 (2-1)
This Week: 7th – Last Week: 5th
Offensive Rank: 23rd Defensive Rank: 5th Net Ranking: 11th
Week 12 finds the Bulls playing the Wizards, Bucks, Sixers and Mavericks
Chicago Bulls Season Preview: Culture Change
13th – Clippers: 25-13 (3-0)
This Week: 6th – Last Week: 7th
Offensive Rank: 5th Defensive Rank: 10th Net Ranking: 5th
Griffin remains out and the Clippers continue to win albeit against teams who are in the bottom defensively.
In week 12 the Clippers play Miami and Sacramento.
Los Angeles Clippers Season Preview: Dance Lessons With Ballmer
Raptors: 24-15 (3-1)
This Week: 5th – Last Week: 6th
Offensive Rank: 7th Defensive Rank: 9th Net Ranking: 7th
Despite losing in Cleveland the Raptors remain the one team in the East who win on the road, beat top teams and continue to win even when core players (Valanciunas and now Carroll again) are out injured. They remain a top ten team on both ends of the court. This week the early road heavy, multiple games they played results in a single game in London England versus the Orlando Magic.
Toronto Raptors Season Preview: Northern Rising
Cavaliers: 26-9 (4-0)
This Week: 4th – Last Week: 4th
Offensive Rank: 4th Defensive Rank: 7th Net Ranking: 4th
Although the Cavaliers are on a winning roll they are regressing defensively which may be cause for concern. That and the team isn’t as dominant as the 3 teams above them. Still, they remain the best in the East with a slew of teams chasing them. Week 12 they hit Texas for a three state tour facing Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.
Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview: Long Live the King
Thunder: 26-12 (2-2)
This Week: 3rd – Last Week: 3rd
Offensive Rank: 2nd Defensive Rank: 11th Net Ranking: 3rd
The Clippers are hot on the Thunder’s heels (not to mention playing a very easy schedule), but Oklahoma City continue to score with abandon. Now if only they could improve defensively they could enter the conversation for the third side of the Western powers. This week they play a home and home against the Timberwolves, the Mavericks and Heat.
Oklahoma City Thunder Season Preview: The Revenge Tour
Warriors: 35-2 (4-0)
This Week: 2nd – Last Week: 2nd
Offensive Rank: 1st Defensive Rank: 4th Net Ranking: 2nd
Still firmly entrenched in the second spot or maybe I should call it 1B to the Spurs 1A. The game between the Spurs and Warriors on January 25th grows more enticing especially if the Warriors and Spurs remain unbeaten at home. If their pattern holds true it will be the Warriors who strike first and jump back to the top of the ladder (since the first meeting is at Oracle). This week the Dubs play Miami, Denver, the Lakers and Detroit.
Golden State Warriors Season Preview: All Hail the Champs
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Spurs: 32-6 (3-0)
This Week: 1st – Last Week: 1st
Offensive Rank: 3rd Defensive Rank: 1st Net Ranking: 1st
The Spurs remain atop the ladder based on their top ranked defense and differential. Week 12 the Spurs play Brooklyn, Detroit, Cleveland and Dallas.
San Antonio Spurs Season Preview: Master Class
So there you have it, my week 10 NBA Power Ranking list. Let me know your thoughts on whether you agree, disagree or have some stats that might influence my decision next week.
Archived Weekly Power Ranking Lists
Week 1 – Shock and Awe
Week 2 – Power Shift
Week 3 – Preseason Favorites Lose Ground
Week 4 – Parity, Coaches and Western Turmoil
Week 5 – Holy Parity Ballman
Week 6 – Southwest Adjustment
Week 7 – Quarter Mark
Week 8 – West Confusion
Week 9: Holiday Ball
Week 10: Resolutions
Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.