The NBA is a rollercoaster ride this season as in very few teams are playing consistently. Only a handful have looked pretty good every night and there have been about as many teams that have looked really bad every night. For the most part the majority of teams are up one night and down the next. It is almost as if the basketball Gods are just rolling dice before each game to determine the outcomes. Teams that we all thought would be contenders look like bottom feeders and teams we thought might be okay suddenly look elite. All this makes putting together a Power Ranking all the more difficult, but I am up for the challenge, so let us take a look at the Top 10 teams thus far in the NBA.
1. OKC Thunder (16-3) +1
Sure I could talk about the great season that Kevin Durant is having and why I think he should win the MVP, or I could ramble on about how this team has won nine of their last ten and that in their last nine wins they have won by an average of 11 points, but I would rather talk about the best beard in the NBA. Yes, I am talking about James Harden and his glorious beard. Not only is he the clear front runner for the 6th man award with his nearly 17 points per game off the bench, but I cannot stop thinking about his beard and how he reminds me of the gritty days of 1970′s NBA lore. If the Thunder win it all this season Harden’s Beard will make it into the HOF.
2. Miami Heat (14-5) +3
I understand that the Bulls have the better record and the better stats up to this point, but the Heat have Dwyane Wade back in the fold and I see them going on a tear. Infact the Bulls and Heat face eachother Sunday night in Miami and I am not holding my breath for a Bulls win. I may be one of the biggest Bulls fans around but I can see the writing on the wall. Without Luol Deng in the lineup and with Noah, Rose, Rip, and Taj all dealing with their own injuries I just do not see the Bulls winning this one on the road. Even “if” Deng does decide to play he will not be as effective as he has been all season. My prediction… Heat 101 Bulls 90.
3. Chicago Bulls (17-4) -2
The Bulls have been doing a fine job dealing with all the injuries, but their slip in the Rankings has more to do with the fact that I think the Thunder and Heat are simply better right now. If somehow the Bulls win in Miami then they will prove me wrong and will likely find themselves back in the #1 slot, but I do not think that will be the case. Without Deng the Bulls are still pretty darn good, but Deng does so many things for this team that without him or even with an injured version of him, the Bulls cannot win it all. I am not simply putting down the ground works for an excuse for the Bulls not winning a Title this season, I am stating the facts. Deng is the second best player on the Bulls and their best perimeter defender. Without him the Bulls drop down a tier in this league. Prove me wrong Bulls!
4. Denver Nuggets (14-5) +5
What a story the Denver Nuggets are. Even though the have the same record as the Miami Heat, I do not think they should be mentioned in the same sentence quite yet as Ty Lawson eluded to after Denver’s win over Raptors. Sure the Nuggets are a hard team to gameplan against, because they have a number of scoring options to contain, but the Heat have two players that can get to the basket whenever they darn well please. With that being said I still am a fan of this team and I love the way they are making the whole Melodrama crap from last season look like a joke. With six players averaging over 10 points a game and with the west being so open, I could see the Nuggets finishing top 3 in the west and few would have predicted that one.
5. San Antonio Spurs (12-8) +2
Has the Spurs’ ship sailed? Nope. Even without Manu, this team continues to play solid ball on both ends. Sure they cannot win on the road, but they are bound to get better in that regard. What I like it the caliber of the teams that they are winning against. January wins aginst the Mavs, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Magic, and Hawks are pretty impressive. They have also had one of the hardest schedules early on this season when compared to the teams ahead of them on this list. If and when Manu returns to the lineup, the Spurs have a chance at making a run in the playoffs.
6. Atlanta Hawks (14-6) n/a
One week the Hawks are in my Top 10 and the next they are not. Right now they are feeding on the weaker teams in the NBA and their record is reflecting this. However, they have already one against the Bulls and Heat this season and look like one of the few teams that could last to a game 6 against either of those two come playoff time. Even without Al Horford this team is rolling and a lot of that has to do with the play of Josh Smith who is averaging 16+ ppg, 9+ rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.4 spg, 1.85 bpg, while shooting .474 from the field. That is a great line and he is going to have to carry this team as long as Horford is out.
7. Portland Trail Blazers (12-8) n/a
LaMarcus Aldridge is an Allstar right? He darn well should be. He is leading a team that many felt would be average to a possible home court advantage seeding in the Playoffs. Sure having Gerald Wallace, Wesley Mathews, and Raymon Felton does not hurt. Infact, when one takes the time to really look at this roster, it is hard to find that many holes. They have Crawford and Batum coming off the bench and they have the aged but still good Camby and Thomas in the paint causing trouble. They are well rounded on both ends and I really like their chances in the west.
8. Philadelphia 76ers (13-6) -2
I understand that the Sixers are the big story early on this season and I think they are a pretty good team, but I am not sold. Infact, I really want to put the Pacers ahead of them, but I decided to give this team a nod because they do have a nice record and their team statistics are great. However, let us look at all of these wins of theirs shall we? Only 2 of their wins have come agaist teams with a winning record and 3 of their victories have come against the Wizards. Infact, the combined record of all the teams that the 76ers have beaten is 77-170. Sorry, but I am not impressed. Nice record, shallow victories.
9. Indiana Pacers (12-6) -1
A nice victory over the Bulls in Chicago was followed by a loss to the Celtics. This team plays so hard from start to finish that you would think that Scott Skiles was their Head Coach. The Pacers’ players really seem to have bought into this defense thing as they are leading the league in opponents field goal percentage and rank second in rebounds per game. They are a hustle and effort team and they are playing with confidence. This makes them a very dangerous team on any given night, but they still lack the overall talent to knock out an elite team in a seven game series.
10. Dallas Mavericks (12-8) even
Quietly the Mavs are rounding into form. They are still far from looking like a contender but they are slowly and methodically climbing the standings. They have some nice tests coming up in their schedule starting with a Sunday game against the Spurs. In the next couple of weeks they will also be tested against the Thunder, Pacers, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers. If they can gather some wins against some of those teams then they will start moving up in my rankings.
L.A. Clippers. Not sure what to think of this team. Only one win on the road and they are being outrebounded by their opponents. They just need a bit more time and they will start to really shine.
Houston Rockets. Winners of 8 of their last 10, the Rockets are hot. Sure those victories were against mostly crap teams, but they did beat the Spurs and Trail Blazers during this run.
L.A. Lakers. No L.A. team in my Top 10 this week. The Lakers are very hit or miss all season long with no end in sight. Maybe if Artest was not so bored???
Orlando Magic. Am I the only one waiting for this team to implode? Dwight Howard is now calling out his “teammates” hours after saying he would consider moving to the Celtics. Not sure if his “teammates” are going to listen or not.
Memphis Grizzlies. This team has no real strengths and no real weaknesses. They simply seem to be a bit above average and nothing more.