|It’s the week 17 Dunking with Wolves NBA Power Rankings. JJ Glenn continues to break down every NBA team throughout the NBA season.
||The Heat are looking much like the team that looked unstoppable towards the end of last season. They’ve won their last 13 in a row, and built up a 6.5 game lead in the East. Barring any injury to their inside game, the Heat are on a collision course to meet the Pacers at some point in the Eastern conference playoff picture.
||The Spurs are going to be without Tony Parker for a good stretch. His ankle sprain is “a good one” according to Coach Popovich. Parker was playing at such a high level, the Spurs will be tested to see if they can still perform at such a high level without their floor general.
||The Thunder are still leading the NBA in EDIFF at 10. They are 6-4 in their last 10, they have fallen 3 games back from the top spot in the West. It will be interesting to see if they can make up some ground in the final push of the regular season while Parker is out for the Spurs.
||The Clippers are 8-2 over their last 10. They are 4th in EDIFF, the problem will continue to be their depth. It will be great for the remainder of the regular season. Come playoff time when the rotations need to tighten up, and VDN is leading the charge, history has proven things will not be so great.
||The Grizzlies are continuing to get better on the offensive end without Gay. They are up to 19th in OEFF. The Grizzlies are 2nd in DEFF, and if they can continue to improve in the final weeks of the regular season on the offensive end, this team could be the surprise of the post season.
||The Pacers have the best DEFF in the NBA, they are 7-3 in their last 10. With Granger back in the lineup, it adds another offensive weapon on the wing and another athletic wing on the defensive end.
||The Nuggets have cooled off a little over their last 10, going 6-4. They have won 4 straight. They are currently 5th in the West. Should they be able to make up the 1.5 game and get home court in the 1st round, they would be a tough out for whatever team in the 2nd round.
||New York Knicks
||The Knicks shots have quit falling, and so has their record. They’ve gone 5-5 in their last 10. They still have the fewest amount of turnovers, but when the outside shot isn’t falling this team doesn’t seem to have any other options.
||The Bulls continue to surprise everyone with their play while Rose is out. Noah has been playing great, and so has Deng. Jimmy Butler has been emerging as a solid 6th man. The Bulls will need to have Rose though, if they are to do anything in the playoffs.
||The Hawks have gone 7-3 in their last 10, and moved up 4th in the East. The Hawks have gone 6-4 over their last 10 on the road and home. The Hawks just keep finding a way to win. Al Horford and Josh Smith are the driving force, but Teague and Kyle Korver are major reasons this team is where they are.
||The Celtics have gone 6-4 over their last 10, they continue to struggle on the road going 10-18 on the season. The Celtics have hit a portion of their schedule that had them playing 1 game over a 7 day period. For both KG and Pierce this should give them the rest they need to make a push over their last 24 games.
||The Nets have gone 5-5 over their last 10. Joe Johnson continues to lift this team up in crunch time, but Derron Williams has not been anywhere near what they thought when they gave him his contract.
||Steph Curry can score. Problem is, a lot of the young guys seem to be hitting a wall. David Lee could use some help from Andrew Bogut. While they have had one of the toughest schedules, did it take too much out of them for the 22 games?
||the Jazz have arguably one of the best and deepest front courts in the NBA, which is why it is still so puzzling that they don’t’ run more pick and roll. They continue to miss Mo Williams, and his return should be getting very close.
||The Bucks are 4-6 over their last 10, they still average less points than their opponents. The trade for JJ Redick is still puzzling. They must be thinking they are not going to have Ellis or Jennings after this season. But it doesn’t solve the front court issues this team has.
||The Rockets can put up a lot of points. Problem is they give up a lot of points. Without any defense this team is going to struggle to keep outscoring their opponents. They have gone 5-5 over their last 10, and with the Lakers only 2.5 games back, this team will have to play better than .500.
||The Lakers have gone 6-4 over their last 10. They have shown signs of what many thought this team could do. Those signs are just very few and far between. Being consistently inconsistent is the only thing this team has been consistent at all season. This team will need to get better consistently over their last 25 games if they are going to be able to make the playoffs.
||The Blazers have one of the best starting 5 in the NBA. Hickson has turned into a double-double machine, Lillard will be the rookie of the year, Batum is showing why he got his contract over the off season and LaMarcus Aldridge is consistently delivering great performances, but the bench is next to nonexistent. Being 4 games out of the 8th spot and going 2-8 over their last 10 make it look like this team will have to work on the bench depth in the off season.
||The Mavs didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline, they seem to be content going into the off season with all of the cap room. Dwight is the player they are targeting, but Dwight and Dirk don’t make up a team. This team seems to have a lot to accomplish in the off season if they are to return to their championship glory.
||The Raptors are playing .500 ball since acquiring Rudy Gay in the trade. They are fun to watch, and have some major question marks going into this off season. Bargnani needs to go and get off the books, but how will Bryan Colangelo be able to pull that off. And after recent articles the more important question is will he and Dwane Casey be around to see the off season changes?
||The Wolves continue to fight every game. The problem is that when they go into games with only 9 active players, things typically don’t end well. The Wolves went into their game against the Blazers without 4 starters from what was envisioned when the season started. With that much firepower out, this team just isn’t able to keep up.
||The 76ers have officially heard that Bynum will miss the entire season. After such a bold off season move that saw them get rid of Iggy, the Sixers will have nothing to show for it going into next season. The serious issues will then be, where does this team go starting in the off season?
||The Pistons are building for the future, they have 2 very good big men, and they like Jose Calderon. Toss in Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler, this team has some decent pieces to grow with. They also have some terrible contracts (Charlie Villanueva) that will need to be sorted out.
||The Cavs have youth, they have talent, they have cap room and draft picks. This team is positioning itself for the future and everything is looking good for the future.
||The Wizards continue to play at a .500 level since the return of John Wall. It was too little too late for the team to make any noise this season, but it is a sign of good things to come for this team as they move forward.
||The Suns are not good. When you watch this team, it is just perplexing as to how they have 21 wins. The roster as it is assembled is a perfect example of why this organization needs to look at changing the front office.
||The Hornets are young, real young, and they have talent, but so far this season, this group has performed under expectations. Let’s not read too much into it, but Rivers has not been worth the pick, and Davis has been often injured for stretches. Maybe the Pelicans will fare better.
||The Kings are seriously in limbo, where are they going to go? If they are going to be sold, why would they make such a terrible trade? They have Cousins and Evans to build around. Is that really the combo you want to have as your corner stones? So many questions and no real answers.
||The Magic knew they were rebuilding, and let’s hope they are able to take a step a forward next season.
||The Cats have MKG, other than him, Kemba Walker is delivering good performances night after night, they just need so much that it is tough to get excited about any 2 players.