NBA Power Rankings for Jan. 10th, 2013

In our last power rankings, we discussed how the Los Angeles Clippers have been on a pretty torrid pace. They won 17 straight games at one point and have ascended to the league’s top record. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs aren’t far behind the Clippers since they’ve both been playing some pretty good ball too. But have any of these teams passed the Heat for our number one ranking? Here’s a look at the answer…

1. L.A. Clippers (28-7) – At the beginning of the season, most people thought the other Los Angeles team might be in this spot. However, the Clippers are not only the best team in L.A., but they’re playing better than anybody in the NBA right now. Chris Paul has upped his assists over the past month and is averaging 9.5 APG on the season (second best in the NBA).

2. Miami Heat (23-10) – The Heat drop a spot in our rankings after losing three out of their past seven games. This certainly doesn’t bode well for the team either because they’re now departing for a five-game, West Coast road trip. While Miami is still our favorite to win the title in June, other players besides LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh (scoring 60% of team’s points) are going to have to step up.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (27-8) – The next couple of weeks will be extremely challenging for the Thunder since they go on the road for 9 out of their next 10 games. But at the moment, they’re only a half game behind the Clippers’ league-best record. Serge Ibaka (2.86 BPG), Kevin Durant (1.31 BPG) and Kendrick Perkins (1.03 BPG) are definitely making it difficult for opponents to shoot over this team.

4. San Antonio Spurs (28-10) – San Antonio continues to play really well after winning 9 out of their last 11 games. The Spurs are currently scoring the third most points in the league with 104.95 PPG. That said, it’s no wonder why seven Spurs are averaging at least 9.0 PPG or better. Tony Parker (19.2 PPG) and Tim Duncan (17.4 PPG) lead this charge.

5. New York Knicks (23-11) – The Knicks opened the year hot and quickly grabbed the NBA’s top record. However, it’s been rough sailing for New York lately after dropping 6 out of the past 11 contests. They’ll be without superstar Carmelo Anthony for tonight’s road game against the Pacers. He’s been suspended for waiting outside the Celtics’ locker room for Kevin Garnett following heated in-game exchanges between the two.

6. Indiana Pacers (21-14) – Just a few weeks ago, Indiana was struggling and looking nothing like the team that went 42-24 last season. However, things have changed in a hurry and the Pacers are coming off a win against the Heat. What’s interesting is that Indiana is second-to-last in team scoring with 91.23 PPG; however, they’re also holding opponents to just 89.46 PPG, which easily counteracts the lack of scoring.

7. Memphis Grizzlies (23-10) – Memphis climbs one spot from last week after winning their past three games – all of which were on the road. Backup PF Marreese Speights (10.8 PPG in January) has been a nice spark off the bench this month for the Grizzlies, which have previously lacked much bench production.

8. Golden State Warriors (22-12) – Having dropped their past two games, the Warriors fall one spot in our rankings. However, it should be
mentioned that one of these losses was on the road to the Clippers, which they’d previously beaten the game before at home. Golden State definitely has a nice bench led by PG Jarrett Jack (11.9 PPG, 5.0 APG) and PF Carl Landry (12.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG).

9. Houston Rockets (21-15) – Houston continues to climb the standings on the strength of James Harden’s scoring (26.5 PPG). He’s not the only one tallying points either because this team leads the NBA with 106.0 PPG, and eight players are averaging 8.9 PPG or better. If they can keep this up, Houston will definitely be in the postseason come May.

10. ¬†Denver Nuggets (21-16) – Denver marks the seventh Western Conference team to appear in our top 10 this week. They’ve gotten here by winning 6 out of the past 8 contests – including one game against the Clippers. This has truly been a team effort since six Nuggets are averaging double figures in scoring. Danilo Gallinari leads the team with 16.2 PPG while Ty Lawson is chipping in 14.1 PPG.

NBA Power Rankings for December 19th, 2012

Throughout the year, we’ve ranked the Oklahoma City Thunder lower than most power rankings put out by other sites. The reason why is because they hadn’t really beaten any top-notch competition on the way to the NBA’s best record. However, they recently grabbed a big win over a great team and have shot up our rankings. If you’re interested in seeing how far they’ve moved up, keep on reading…

1. Miami Heat (16-6) – The Heat may not have the league’s top record, but they are the defending champion and perhaps the most talented team too. This being said, we’ve had the Heat at number one or two from the very beginning of the season. Don’t be surprised if Miami is hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy again in June.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-4) – After winning their last 11 games – including a comfortable victory over the Spurs – Oklahoma has moved up two spots from last week. Could the NBA Finals be a rematch of Miami and the Thunder? Maybe with the way that Serge Ibaka has stepped up his scoring production this year (from 9.1 to 14.6 PPG).

3. New York Knicks (18-6) – It may seem illogical to drop the Knicks two spots in the power rankings since they went 2-1 last week and are playing without Amare Stoudemire. But the Thunder are on fire lately and we can’t get off our original pick for the Heat to win the title yet. Knicks PG Raymond Felton has been steadily improving over the year and he’s now averaging 16.2 PPG and 6.7 APG.

4. L.A. Clippers (18-6) – Besides Oklahoma City, another team that’s streaking lately is the Clippers. They’ve rebounded nicely from a four-game losing streak in November to win 10 straight games now. The scoring has been pretty balanced on this team since seven players are averaging 9.6 PPG or more.

5. Memphis Grizzlies (16-6) – Memphis checks in at number five for the second straight week following two wins last week. The jury is out on whether Memphis is a true threat to dethrone Oklahoma City as the Western Conference champion, but they are definitely playing well so far.

6. Atlanta Hawks (15-7) – The Hawks recently lost to the Golden State Warriors, but they still move up a spot based on another team’s demise. Al Horford continues to provide solid, all-around play for this club since he’s averaging 15.3 PPG and 10.0 RPG.

7. San Antonio Spurs (19-8) – San Antonio represents the biggest drop in our rankings after falling from number three to number seven. They’ve lost four out of the past five games and have vacated the West’s top spot. If there’s anything good to come out of the downturn, all of the losses came against quality teams on the road.

8. Golden State Warriors (17-8) – Few people predicted the Warriors to be among the league’s best teams. But here we are a quarter of the way through the season and Golden State is keeping pace with the elite ballclubs. Two of their past three victories have come on the road against Miami and Atlanta, which is definitely a good sign.

9. Chicago Bulls (14-10) – Chicago could definitely be higher if Derrick Rose weren’t out for most of the season. But he is and the Bulls are dealing with it the best they can. Joakim Noah came up big against the Celtics last night after putting up a triple-double (11PTS, 13REB, 10AST).

10. Milwaukee Bucks (13-10) – The Bucks have bounced in and out of the top 10 this year, and at the moment, they’re back in. Winning four out of the past five games has propelled the Bucks into the thick of things. C Larry Sanders is providing some outstanding defensive play (3.1 BPG) for Milwaukee this season.