Week 9 - NBA Power Rankings

Welcome   to Week 9 of the 2012-13 Dunking with Wolves Power Rankings. JJ Glenn &   Ben Beecken break down every NBA team with their insight throughout the   entire  NBA season.
This Week Last Week Team Notes
1 2 Oklahoma City JJ The Thunder have the best Win% in the NBA, They have the best eDIFF (efficiency differential) in the NBA and they a scoring the 2nd highest points per game. Also having the second highest SAR (Schedule Adjusted Rating) and that makes for one tough team.
Ben Kevin Durant has been absolutely ridiculous this season, and Serge   Ibaka has played about as well as OKC needs him to play. It’ll be interesting to see if they make a deadline move.
2 1 L.A. Clippers JJ After a great December, the Clips have the 2nd best record in the NBA. Over their last 10 games they are 8-2, the most noticeable things the Clips will have to work on is Defense. The Clips are 5-6 when an opp scores +100 & right now they are 14-6 against teams with winning records.
Ben I’ll admit that the Clippers are better than I thought they were, but I’m not too excited over them just yet. Chris Paul Hero Ball may have worked down the stretch against an aging Steve Nash, but let’s see how they look in the playoffs.
3 3 San Antonio JJ The Spurs are 12-8 vs. teams with +.500 records. They have won more games when an opponent scores +100 than any team in the NBA. There’s no doubt the Spurs were going to be good, and at the top of the heap throughout the regular season, the real question will be what happens when they get into the post season this year.
Ben The Spurs are probably the best and are certainly the most consistent team in the NBA. It’s a matter of getting to the playoffs with relative health and staying fresh.
4 4 Heat JJ If you look at winning percentage the Heat would be 4th in the West. Lucky for them they aren’t. They are 1st in the East. The defending champs are winning close games and are 6th in eDIFF. They will be just fine.
Ben The Heat players simply don’t care right now, and it clearly drive Coach Spoelstra crazy. They’re basically a shoe-in for the Finals, barring a major injury.
5 7 Memphis JJ If defense win championships, then the Grizzlies are fine, because they are #1 in points allowed. Problem is, in order to win games you need to score points and the Grizzlies are 24th in scoring. The Grizz are also 0’fer in games decided by 3 points or less this season.
Ben Memphis is currently has the fifth best record in the Western Conference, but would be the second-best team in the East, record-wise and in reality.
6 5 New York Knicks JJ The Knicks are 5-5 over their last 10 games. S.T.A.T. is back and Melo has been playing through a boo-boo. The Knicks are solid when scoring +100 (12-6), but they are just 6-8 when the opp scores over +100. Amare’s “Ole” defense will not help on this front.
Ben The Knicks have finally started struggling a little bit, and expect them to slide a little more before the end of the season. Being in the Eastern Conference has helped a ton, as they are 14-3 in against the East and just 9-7 versus the West.
7 8 Golden State JJ The Warriors have had great starts in the past and faded as the competition got tougher, this year the Warriors are 15-4 against teams that are +.500. The Warriors only issue maybe defense, they are 21st in points allowed. Should Bogut ever return, that would help shore up the defense.
Ben Golden State is better than anyone thought they would be, especially without Andrew Bogut. But let’s not kid ourselves: they’re due for some statistical regression. They should make the playoffs, but they won’t remain in the top four in the West.
8 6 Atlanta JJ The Hawks are currently 3rd in the East and playing solid ball. The Hawks are 9-7 against teams +.500, they will need to show they can close out games against winning opponents to ensure they would be able to make noise the rest of the season and possibly the playoffs.
Ben Atlanta continues to surprise, and it will be very interesting to see what they do at the deadline. Originally thought to be sellers, they will likely do something similar to standing pat in February.
9 12 Houston JJ The Rockets are 6th in the West, and 7th in eDIFF. They’ve won their last 4, and The Rockets have been relying on a high powered offense. The real problem is their defense, it’s allowing the 2nd most points in the NBA. They will need to shore that up come playoff time, should they make the playoffs.
Ben James Harden has been fantastic, and yet there are some that aren’t convinced that he’s a superstar. He is, and Chandler Parsons has emerged as a worthy sidekick. Unfortunately, the rest of the roster will be hard-pressed to sustain their current success (20-14).
10 11 Indiana JJ Don’t look now, but Indiana is the top team in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference. Good news for the Pacers, after such a terrible stretch after Granger went down, this team is playing well together and finding their own identity. The Pacers are still only 8-11 against +.500 teams and 2-5 in games decided by 3 points or less.
Ben Another team that is thanking it’s lucky stars that they play in the Eastern Conference. They have done more than stay above water without Danny Granger in the lineup, managing a 20-14 record to this point.
11 10 Chicago JJ Da Bulls are 6-4 in their last 10, they are scoring more than they are giving up, and they are 13-9 against teams over .500. They have won their last 2 games and word is Drose is getting closer to returning to the court.
Ben Chicago is doing more than remaining afloat in Derrick Rose’s absence. In the weak East, they might be able to make some noise in spring, depending on how Rose looks when he returns.
12 14 Brooklyn JJ Brooklyn has a new coach; they are now 6-4 in their last 10. They are now 6th in the Eastern conference. Joe Johnson has been coming into his own, problem is, Dwill is still nonexistentso far this season.
Ben Brooklyn has continued their up-an-down season after firing head coach Avery Johnson, getting crushed at San Antonio, winning an impressive game in OKC and then barely beating the Wizards in overtime.
13 16 Portland JJ The Blazers have been getting great play from Hickson and Lillard. They have no support from their bench (30th in the NBA). The starters are playing a lot of minutes and the real question will be, how much of a toll will all these minutes take on them as the season wears on?
Ben Damian Lillard is fantstic. The rest of the starting lineup is servicable, but their bench is atrocious. I still don’t think they make the playoffs, but they have been a pleasant surprise thus far.
14 9 Milwaukee JJ Over the last 10 games no one has really been fearing the Deer, they are 4-6 over their last 10 and have dropped all the way to 7th in the East. The Bucks are sub .500 against teams with winning records. The Bucks are also -1.31 in point diff, making them one of just a couple +.500 teams who give up more than they score so far this season.
Ben The Bucks should be fine moving forward as far as reaching the playoffs, but beyond Larry Sanders’ emergence, they have been very disappointing overall.
15 13 Denver JJ Denver is 6-4 over the last 10; they are hitting their part of the schedule that has them playing more games at home, where they are 11-2 for the season. The Nuggets are 8th in point diff at +2.52 in the entire NBA.
Ben The Nuggets should slowly climb the standings and probably even challenge the likes of the Grizzlies and Clippers for one of the final home court slots come playoff time.
16 18 Boston JJ The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games at home, while they are 2-8 in their last 10 games on the road. The C’s are also on a 2 game winning streak. The Celtics defense is now only allowing 96 points a game which is 12th best defense in the NBA. That is 3 points lower than a few weeks ago.
Ben Boston has fallen under .500 at 16-17, and the Garnett & Pierce era is quickly fading. Will they sell any pieces off at the deadline and try to get some young players in return?
17 15 Minnesota JJ The Wolves are still hovering around .500, and are still trying to battle the injury bug. Love has re-broke his right hand, Ricky is trying to overcome his back spasms, Lazar Hayward will be the first of many players to be used in the revolving 10 day contract door.
Ben Welp….Kevin Love broke his hand again. Rubio is still missing games. And of course, Roy and Budinger are both still out. Here’s to staying around .500 (again) until Love returns (hopefully in mid-late February).
18 19 Utah JJ The Jazz really struggle when opponents score over 100 points (4-12), and since the Jazz are allowing 99 points a game that is not a good sign.
Ben Utah has finally regressed a little bit, and they’ll have a tough time sneaking into the playoffs again with the emergence of Golden State and Portland and the threats of Denver, Houston, and Minnesota.
19 17 L.A. Lakers JJ They are still sub .500 and its seeming more and more like there is friction in the locker room. Dwight has made no mention of wanting to stay there long term. Pau is a nonfactor. On the plus side, Kobe is playing a great level.
Ben The Lakers continue to disappoint, and coach Mike D’Antoni continues to appal basketball purists with his refusal to adjust his system to one of the best post players of this generation in Pau Gasol. It’s been hard to watch, and Gasol should be traded soon. I hope he is, for his sake.
20 20 Philadelphia JJ The Sixers are now 3-7 in their last 10 games, and they have lost 3 straight. The Sixers are allowing almost 4 more points a game then they are scoring. The circus known as Andrew Bynum is still an unsolved mystery as to when he will return.
Ben I’m going to start linking to my pre-season evisceration of Doug Collins and the Sixers front office every single week, I think. An awful off-season leads to an awful regular season (15-20). Who would have thunk it….
21 21 Dallas JJ The Mavs are 2-8 in their last 10, and they have lost their last 2. The Mavs are almost a negative in every statistical category both offensive and defensive. All of that mixed in together, that makes for a sub .500 record and a team that is going down not up.
Ben The Mavs are toast, and while adding an aging, hobbled Dirk Nowitzki should help, the fact that Brandon Wright has been their best player thus far doesn’t speak well to their playoff chances.
22 26 Sacramento JJ The Kings have gone 6-4 over their last 10 games, so there is that. DeMarcus Cousins has been a machine. The question is will they keep him, or are the minute’s he’s playing just an audition to the rest of the league?
Ben DeMarcus Cousins is an absolute monster. Tyreke Evans continues to disappoint with injuries and lack of production. Both should be traded in short order, but the market will be thinner than the Kings would like it to be.
23 25 Detroit JJ Who would have guessed, the Pistons are 6-4 in their last 10 games, and have won 4 straight. The Pistons have shown some great signs of life. The only issue is the veterans they have are taking up cap space and they aren’t the veterans you want to have dollars committed to.
Ben Well, the awful Detroit Pistons are 13-22 and yet remain in tenth place in the Eastern Conference standings. This is still somehow only four games out of the playoff race. In related news, the East is terrible.
24 23 Toronto JJ The Raptors are 8-2 in their last 10, and Andrea Barngnani is available to anyone who wants him. Ed Davis has been playing great, and Jose Calderon has been the engine that is driving this team.
Ben Toronto at 12-21 is a much better team than Detroit at 13-22. Count me as someone who thinks that the Raptors have as good a shot at the playoffs as any of the bad teams in the East. Especially if they trade Andrea Bargnani. He’s bad.
25 22 Orlando JJ The Magic have currently lost 8 straight games, and they are now 2-8 in their last 10. It may be time to start guessing who is going in the fire sale that is about to happen. One thing is for sure, GM Rob Hennigan wants draft picks for this rebuilding project.
Ben Orlando should remain firmly in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. Rumor has it that 5-8 teams are hot on J.J. Redick’s trail, and the Magic are asking for a ton in return.
26 24 Phoenix JJ The Suns are now 2nd to last in the Western Conference. They tried numerous line ups, and to no avail nothing has been successful. One thing is for sure, they will be sitting in good shape when the lottery happens.
Ben Phoenix isn’t very good, but does that surprise anyone? I mean, re-creating the past few versions of the Wolves out West sounded like a great idea, right?
27 27 New Orleans JJ Eric Gordon is back, yet the Hornets record is 3-7 in the last 10 games. The Hornets are young and talented. The team will be fine, just not this year.
Ben Anthony Davis’ early injury problems really hurt this team. Davis has been solid when healthy, along with Robin Lopez and a very good Ryan Anderson. But the rest of the roster is beyond hopeless.
28 28 Cleveland JJ The Cavs have a great nucleus of talent. They are looking at trading Anderson Varejao which would give them more picks to help build this young stable of talent for future years.
Ben Cleveland should be better than this, with the fantastic Anderson Varejao and the very good Kyrie Irving. On the other hand, the rest of the roster is simply hot garbage. So never mind.
29 29 Charlotte JJ The ‘Cats are 1-9 over their last 10, and this feel good story at the beginning of the year, is now settling back into where everyone expected them to be. Closer to the bottom.
Ben Charlotte finally ended their awful streak, but there isn’t much hope on the horizon. They were very lucky early on, and that has shown itself in full effect in recent weeks.
30 30 Washington D.C JJ Nene is playing very well, his PER is top 20 in the league, and John Wall could be back soon. That could be enough to get the Wiz out last place.
Ben The Wizards are 4-27. John Wall should be back in the next couple of weeks. They’ll still be unwatchable, if only slightly less unwatchable…does that make sense?

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