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NBA Power Ranking SCS Editor List Week 10- Resolutions

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Jan 2, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives against Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (R) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives against Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (R) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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We’ve reached the New Year or 2016 and with that the NBA Power Ranking list for week 10 offers minor shifts on the ladder. The most notable change occurs at the extremities.  Phoenix is in free fall and while Golden State is still on fire, it’s the defense of San Antonio and their ability to stay out of the spotlight even when they are doing something history setting that boggles the mind!

Here’s my newest NBA Power Ranking list for week 10 of the season:

Bottom Feeders

Suns: 12-25 (0-5)

This Week: 30th – Last Week: 26th

Offensive Rank: 21st Defensive Rank: 24th Net Ranking: 24th

Imagine the worst possible week you could experience in the NBA, multiply that by 2, and you still might not have reached the depths the Suns did in week 10. First they had an unusual five game week which is extremely rare, especially with the league attempting to stop too many back to back games in a row. Phoenix lost all 5 games, three of them by 20+ points and the Suns point differential was a minus -16.8 this week.

On top of this they were dealing with the towel tossing incident of Markeiff Morris from the Nuggets December 23rd game for which he was suspended 2 games (internally).  And to make matters completely desperate the knee injury Eric Bledsoe sustained in the December 26th game versus the Sixers of all teams turned out to be a torn meniscus which would require surgery, ending his season.

With all this turmoil going on the Phoenix also decided to fire 2 assistant coaches to start the week but retained head coach Jeff Hornacek. It’s a slightly curious move, but perhaps the team didn’t want to appear to acquiesce to Morris who has had an ongoing issue with Hornacek and the Suns management which became further strained with the trade of his twin brother to Detroit. Now the team has lost these 5 in a row and 10 of their past 11 with no relief in sight. While the organization has taken a stubborn approach of hanging on to Morris to trade him when they see fit it may be time for them to just move him so he doesn’t cause further damage to the many youngsters on the squad.

Or as J.E. Skeets from NBA TV The Starters suggested perhaps the Suns winning 48 games in 2013-14 and narrowly missing the post season threw off Phoenix program. It forced them into more of a win now mode which they were never able to live up to.

Moving forward, the Suns will no doubt not finish in my 30th spot all season, but suffice to say the Suns week 10 was about as low as a franchise can go. The only thing worse – –  yeah let’s just not put that thought out into the universe.

Week 11 the Suns will play just twice playing Charlotte and Miami.

Phoenix Suns Season Preview: Project Desert Identity

Sixers: 3-33 (1-3)

This Week: 29th – Last Week: 30th 

Offensive Rank: 30th Defensive Rank: 22nd Net Ranking: 30th

The addition of Ish Smith may not propel them out of the lottery (in reality they wouldn’t want him to), but his presence is allowing the team to learn some fundamental skills and how to (occasionally) win.  And while it seems like Smith has added an offensive benefit it’s actually defensively where they are showing growth.  Week 11 Sixers face both Minnesota, Atlanta, Toronto and Cleveland.

Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview: Something Smells Hinkie

Nets: 10-23 (2-1)

This Week: 28th – Last Week: 28th

Offensive Rank: 28th Defensive Rank: 21st Net Ranking: 28th

Stop the presses two teams in the cellar had winning records this past week. Okay, okay so it’s not going to change much moving forward, but the Nets finally got to celebrate a double digit win total. Next up they’ll play division rival Celtics and Raptors prior to games vs. the Magic and Pistons.

Brooklyn Nets Season Preview: Russian Roulette With 6 Bullets

Lakers: 8-27 (3-1)

This Week: 27th – Last Week: 29th

Offensive Rank: 29th Defensive Rank: 30th Net Ranking: 29th

A week in which the Lakers almost halved their win total had to be considered a huge success. Given the organization’s desire to finish low enough to keep their lottery pick don’t expect them to replicate this week too often this season. Next up Kobe and co. play the Warriors, Kings, Thunder and Jazz so my guess is a betting person would lay down a reversal of fortune week is due for the Lakers.

Lakers Season Preview: Bryant’s Swan Song?

Nuggets 12-23 (0-4)

 This Week: 26th – Last Week: 27th

Offensive Rank: 18th Defensive Rank: 28th Net Ranking: 27th

It may seem odd to rank the Nuggets ahead of the Lakers and Nets who had far better week 10 records however Mike Malone and his team This week they face Minnesota, Memphis and Charlotte.

Denver Nuggets Season Preview: Malone’s Reformulation

Pelicans:  11-22 (1-2)

This Week: 25th  – Last Week: 24th

Offensive Rank: 15th Defensive Rank: 29th Net Ranking: 26th

The Pelicans lucked out by picking this season to have so many adjustment issues. Thankfully for Anthony Davis and co the West have struggled other than the top 3 or 4 seeds. In essence the West has interchanged with how the East has been for seasons. Could we see a last minute win streak be enough to make the post season like we have for years in the East.  If not the Pelicans will be in trouble as they continue to flounder especially on defense (another common trait out West) Week 11 the Pelicans will meet: Mavericks, Pacers and Clippers .

Pelicans Season Preview: The BROW Era

Bucks: 14-21 (2-2)

This Week: 24th – Last Week: 25th

Offensive Rank: 19th Defensive Rank: 27th Net Ranking: 25th

Slowly but surely the Bucks appear to be improving defensively. Unfortunately what they can’t teach their young bigs is years of knowledge which is what they lost when Pachulia and Ilyasova left the team.  This week and next up face the Spurs, Bulls, Mavericks and Knicks.

Milwaukee Bucks Season Preview: Team Futuristic

Timberwolves: 12-22 (1-3)

This Week: 23rd – Last Week: 21st

Offensive Rank: 24th Defensive Rank: 20th Net Ranking: 22nd

Sadly the T-Wolves aren’t winning, but despite that fact they remain absolutely compelling to watch. This team is going to be super exciting in the next few seasons and are literally one player away from vaulting up the ladder. I thought it would be this season, but apparently they want another draft pick or a swap of talent for the top pick they’ll grab this season. This week they play the Sixers, Nuggets, Cavaliers and Mavericks.

Minnesota Timberwolves Season Preview: Ascending Youth

Kings: 13-20 (1-2)

This Week: 22nd – Last Week: 20th

Offensive Rank: 14th Defensive Rank: 25th Net Ranking: 23rd

The Kings are improving offensively and slowly climbing upward. They’ve replaced the spot I was expecting (or maybe more accurately hoping) to see the T-Wolves battling the Jazz for.  They’ll still need to make some changes defensively or they’ll get knocked down by an decent team who has capabilities on both ends of the hardwood. This week they’ll play the Thunder, Magic, Lakers and Warriors.

Sacramento Kings Season Preview: Royal Turmoil

Knicks: 16-19 (2-1)

This Week: 21st – Last Week: 22nd

Offensive Rank: 22nd Defensive Rank: 18th Net Ranking: 18th

 

Just like the Rockets the Knicks tend to play in a yo-yo style of consistently being inconsistent. The difference is the Knicks weren’t expected to reach the Eastern Conference Finals! Next up the Knicks play the Hawks, Heat, Spurs and Timberwolves in week 11.

New York Knicks Season Preview: The Melo Rebuild

Middle Ground

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 one team we could see do that will be the Jazz once they get healthy just like the Hornets may never get back out of this tier now that they’ve lost momentum and suffered multiple injuries.

Blazers: 15-21 (2-1)

This Week: 2oth – Last Week: 23rd

Offensive Rank: 9th Defensive Rank: 23rd Net Ranking: 17th

Shockingly the Blazers enter week 11 with a top ten offense. More incredible is the fact Damian Lillard has had to miss his first games and is definitely playing through pain. The manner in which Lillard and McCollum have quickly brought along Portland’s offense makes me wonder if they add one or two defensive specialists how quickly they could be right back in the mix again. The Blazers  have a tough schedule in week 11 where they’ll face the  Grizzliers, Clippers, Warriors and Thunder.

Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview: Free Fall

Houston: 16-19 (0-3)

This Week: 19th – Last Week: 17th

Offensive Rank: 11th Defensive Rank: 26th Net Ranking: 19th

 

The Houston Rockets continue to be the greatest see-saw team in the Association. They beat arguably the best (Spurs) team in the NBA and then proceeded to lose every game this pastweek. Granted their competition was difficult and included the top 2 teams in the West, but it’s still frustrating they take their level of play from one extreme to the next. Week 11 they’ll play a home and home series versus the Jazz and a single game vs. the Pacers.

Houston Rockets Season Preview: The “Hard”en Pursuit

Wizards: 15-17 (1-3)

This Week: 18th – Last Week: 15th

Offensive Rank: 23rd Defensive Rank: 19th Net Ranking: 20th

 

This week the Wizards play the Cavaliers,  Raptors and Magic.

Washington Wizards Season Preview: Wittman Gets Hip

 

Grizzlies: 18-17 (1-1)

This Week: 17th – Last Week: 18h

Offensive Rank: 27th Defensive Rank: 16th Net Ranking: 21st

 

This week they’ll play the Blazers, Thunder, Nuggets and Celtics.

Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview: The Constant Grind

 

Magic: 19-15 (2-2)

This Week: 16th – Last Week: 16th

Offensive Rank: 17th Defensive Rank: 10th Net Ranking: 14th

This week they’ll play the Pistons, Pacers, Nets and Wizards.

Orlando Magic Season Preview: Identity Crisis

Jazz: 15-17 (3-1 )

This Week: 15th – Last Week: 19th

Offensive Rank: 16th Defensive Rank: 17th Net Ranking: 16th

Next up Utah get the rare 5 game week with a home and home series against the Rockets as well as games versus the Spurs, Heat and Lakers.

Utah Jazz Season Preview: Return To Old School Jazz

Pistons: 18-16 (1-2)

This Week: 14th – Last Week: 14th

Offensive Rank: 26th Defensive Rank: 8th Net Ranking: 15th

Despite losing more than they won I’m holding them steady. They continue to play well defensively and though they rank in the bottom 5 offensively the addition of Brandon Jennings back to the line-up should help offer more versatility. Van Gundy has been reticent to use his bench so Jennings offers someone he trusts to play multiple minutes. This week they’ll face the Magic, Celtics and Nets.

Detroit Pistons Season Preview: Forming a Wall

Hornets: 17-16 (1-3)

This Week: 13th – Last Week: 13th

Offensive Rank: 8th Defensive Rank: 12th Net Ranking: 10th

The losing is catching up to the Hornets as is the loss of Al Jefferson since teams have fewer things to worry about defensively without Charlotte having options. The losing is also effecting their rank as they fall out of the top ten defensive teams for the first time since they lost Jefferson. They’ll play the Warriors, Suns, Clippers and Nuggets in week 11.

Charlotte Hornets Season Preview: Buzzkill

Pacers: 19-14 (2-2)

This Week: 12th – Last Week: 11th

Offensive Rank: 13th Defensive Rank: 6th Net Ranking: 7th

Teams have begun to figure them out offensively, but Vogel still has them rolling on the defensive end. This week they play the Heat, Magic, Pelicans and Rockets.

Indiana Pacers Season Preview: Experimenting Warp Speed

Celtics: 18-15 (0-2)

This Week: 11th – Last Week: 7th

Offensive Rank: 20th Defensive Rank: 2nd Net Ranking: 9th

This week they play Brooklyn, Detroit, Chicago and Memphis.

Boston Celtics Season Preview: The Win -Win Season

Masters

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 finds some shifts as predicted .

Mavericks: 19-15 (2-2)

This Week: 10th – Last Week: 9th

Offensive Rank: 10th Defensive Rank: 15th Net Ranking: 13th

This week they play the Kings, Pelicans, T-Wolves and Bucks.

Dallas Mavericks Team Preview: Recovery From the Shaft

Hawks: 21-14 (1-2)

This Week: 9th – Last Week: 5th

Offensive Rank: 6th Defensive Rank:  13th Net Ranking: 11th

Next up they’ll play New York again, Philly and Chicago.

Atlanta Hawks Season Preview: Soaring in Unity

Heat: 20-13 (2-2)

This Week: 8th – Last Week: 8th

Offensive Rank: 12th Defensive Rank: 5th Net Ranking: 5th

Will the Heat ever go on a Western road trip? Stay tuned as it’s coming soon. This week they have games against Pacers, Knicks, Suns and Jazz.

Miami Heat Season Preview: Heating Up

13th – Clippers: 22-13 (4-0)

This Week: 7th – Last Week: 12th

Offensive Rank: 4th Defensive Rank: 14th Net Ranking: 6th

While Griffin has been out and the Clippers have been winning 3 facts are undeniable:

  • Part of the reason the offense is so greatly improved and wins are flowing is CP3 and JJ Redick are literally running the team’s offense. In an odd way not having to worry about getting Griffin his touches is helping the squad.
  • Doc is utilizing players other than additions Stephenson or Smith. Will he be looking to shop them (or is he already)
  • It amazes me how some teams luck out in terms of their scheduling, however we do know eventually the teams who get off easy will pay the piper in the end. Case in point since December 5th when the Clippers beat Orlando who are the 13th ranked defense they have accumulated a record of 12-4. And while that sounds astounding only one win of those 12 was to a top ten team (Detroit – 8th) the rest (aside from the Magic) are all 15th or lower defensively. All their other wins are vs. teams ranked

In week 11 the Clippers will continue their matches versus non defensive squads facing Portland, Charlotte, New Orleans

Los Angeles Clippers Season Preview: Dance Lessons With Ballmer

 

Raptors: 19-12 (2-2)

This Week: 6th – Last Week: 4th

Offensive Rank: 5th Defensive Rank: 11th Net Ranking: 8th

Though I drop them a few spots this week it’s more about the Raptors two losses to the Bulls that finds them falling 2 spots. Of note prior to Jimmy Butler going off for a 40 point second half in Toronto the Raps had held him to 7 points through 6 quarters. Notably the day after Butler’s outbreak at the ACC DeMarre Carroll had a laser procedure on his knee that will keep him out for a significant stretch (possible til mid March).  Regardless of the Bulls seemingly having their number the Raptors are the polar opposite of the Rockets – – consistent! Week 11 they’ll play Cleveland, Brooklyn, Washington and Philly.

Toronto Raptors Season Preview: Northern Rising

Bulls: 20-12 (4-0)

This Week: 5th – Last Week: 10th

Offensive Rank: 24th Defensive Rank: 7th Net Ranking: 12th

The Bulls have looked extremely strong lately including their shooting guard who had his Air Butler moment this past week. So, why is it I’m concerned about this team? Some of the things I read seem to indicate Butler may not exactly be the most popular guy on his team which kind of makes sense. Also of note this squad just isn’t getting better offensively and still have a glut of bigs either not playing or getting very little playing time. The most interesting fact about this squad is they play their best games against top competition and their worst on the road. Next up the Bulls play home matches versus Milwaukee and Boston then travel to Atlanta for their lone road game of week 11.

Chicago Bulls Season Preview: Culture Change

Cavaliers: 22-9 (3-0)

This Week: 4th – Last Week: 6th

Offensive Rank: 7th Defensive Rank: 3rd Net Ranking: 4th

 

Looks like the Cavs have started to get into a groove though they don’t seem as convincingly scary as their Western counterparts. Week 11 they play the Raptors, Wizards, T-Wolves and Sixers.

Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview: Long Live the King

Thunder: 24-10 (3-0)

This Week: 3rd – Last Week: 3rd

Offensive Rank: 2nd Defensive Rank: 9th Net Ranking: 3rd

Sometimes the Thunder fall back into their iso-ball offense, but it’s difficult to fault them when they have Westbrook and Durant who can orchestrate the play. The real concern for the Thunder is two-fold:

  • ONE: Can they get their defense as strong as their offense. (if yes I doubt even the Spurs could beat them)
  • TWO: Can Durant let go of his anger over being ignored and under estimated and use it to fuel the improvement of the team defensively?

The answer to those two questions is huge!

In week 11 they’ll face Kings, Grizzlies, Lakers and Blazers.

Oklahoma City Thunder Season Preview: The Revenge Tour

Warriors: 31-2 (3-1)

This Week: 2nd – Last Week: 2nd

Offensive Rank: 1st Defensive Rank: 4th  Net Ranking: 2nd

Time to fix whatever is ailing them defensively. As good as Steph Curry has been I continue to feel Draymond Green is the true MVP of the Warriors. The fall off 2 ranking spots defensively in one week which is pretty difficult to do.

This week the Dubs play the Hornets, Lakers, Blazers and Kings.

Golden State Warriors Season Preview: All Hail the Champs

More from Space City Scoop

Spurs: 29-6 (3-0)

This Week: 1st – Last Week: 1st

Offensive Rank: 3rd Defensive Rank: 1st Net Ranking: 1st

For the second consecutive week the Spurs grab the top spot. Suffice to say their top ranked defense and differential combined with their third ranked offense is paying off.  The divide between the Spurs and Warriors is growing with San Antonio improving on offense and Golden State slipping defensively.

Week 11 finds the Spurs facing the Bucks, Jazz and Knicks. 

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

Next: Join Space City Scoop Writing Team

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.

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