|It’s the week 22 Dunking with Wolves NBA Power Rankings. JJ Glenn continues to break down every NBA team throughout the NBA season.
||The Heat are the first team in the NBA to 60 wins and even without most of “the super friends” playing over the last week, the Heat have proven they have players that can step up when it is needed. Matchups will be the only thing that could be an issue for the Heat in the post season.
||The Thunder are now the top seed in the West. Due to the depth in the West the 1st seed will get you a matchup against the Lakers. That’s a better matchup for the Thunder than the 2nd seed, which would be a matchup with Houston. The Thunder are aiming for a title and anything less will be a failure.
||The Spurs are a different team when Manu Ginobili doesn’t play. It has been very obvious in his absence and their 6-4 record over their last 10 would indicate that. They should have him back for the 1st round. In a battle against the Lakers they won’t need him, against the Rockets they could need him.
||The Nuggets took a huge blow with the announcement that Danilo Gallinari will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury. He is a huge loss for a team that was really starting to hit their stride. Without Gallinari the Nuggets will still be able to finish high in the West, and will have their work cut out for them to get out of the 1st round.
||New York Knicks
||The Knicks 11-0 is a great sign as they get ready for the post season. This is the type of play they thought they were going to get all season. Melo seems to be feeling it right now, but like many times before, will it last for an entire post season? Probably not, and that is why the Knicks can last longer in the post season being a 2 seed rather than a 3 seed.
||The Pacers continue to play at a very high clip, 8-2 over their last 10. The way the Pacers fate is unfolding they will have a 2nd round date with the Miami Heat. If that is the case, that could be the biggest hurdle for the Heat to repeat.
||The Grizzlies have cooled off a little bit. They are still 1 game behind the Clippers and at the current rate they have been playing compared to the Clips they should be able to overtake them before the playoffs start. Either way, right now they will be playing the Clippers in the opening round, and either the Spurs of Thunder in the 2nd round.
||The Clippers were built to accomplish so much this season. They had a terrific win streak early in the season. At the time this was the team that according to “experts” could win the West and push the Heat for a title. Well 5-5 over their last 10 and playing uninspired basketball under VDN, the Clips will again live up their history and let their fan base down
||The Nets broke the bank going into this season, and it has gotten them a 4th seed and a 43-32 record. The Nets have an immense amount of talent, yet it seems as if they were assembled by some guy who is a casual fan playing fantasy basketball and stock piled any recognizable name he could. Great on paper, hasn’t produced on the floor.
||The Rockets have to be pleasantly surprised with how this season turned out. After some major off season acquisitions, they are back in the playoffs for another 1st round exit. Which raises the question, would you rather miss the playoffs to get a good pick to get better, or continuously go to the playoffs and get bounded in the first round every year?
||The Warriors seem to be clicking again. They have gone 7-3 over their last 10, and they are positioned for a first round meeting with Denver, and without Gallinari things look a little better if you’re a “dubs” fan. Since the sale of the team and the placement of the current front office, this is a team that has been doing almost everything right. This will be the first of many good seasons to come for Golden State.
||The Hawks continue to play .500 ball. After the Joe Johnson trade, this was supposed to be the first year in a rebuilding project. Well Danny Ferry has made sure this team gets right back into the playoffs. The major questions will come this offseason and what they decide to do.
||The Bulls continue to play above what was expected of them without Derrick Rose. This was to be the year they “phoned it in” and wouldn’t have much expected of them. That’s not the case. Defense has been winning games, but this current roster won’t do anything but get in the playoffs without Rose.
||The Celtics are officially in the playoffs. They seem to be ready to go in as a 7th seed, which would get them a first round date with the New York Knicks. The Celtics have shown they can play with anyone, but can Doc get this team to do it for a full series?
||The Lakers look to be the 8th seed and will make the playoffs. If that was the headline then Lakers fans should feel good about it, but as the 8th seed the Lakers will get a 1st round date with either OKC or the Spurs. It won’t matter what team it is, the Lakers won’t make it past the 1st round.
||The Bucks are still averaging -1.5 points less per game. They have gone 3-7 over their last 10 games. This team will make the playoffs only because they seem to be the best worst team in the East. Be honest Bucks fans, would you rather get a good draft pick or get bounced in the 1st round of the playoffs?
||The Jazz seem like they just don’t want to go to the playoffs. The post season was theirs to lose, and they have lost it. They are only a .5 games behind the Lakers, but they have been playing like they are trying to stay out of the playoffs. They are still trying different lines and it still seems like they don’t have any continuity going on at all down the stretch. Couple that with big questions about what they are going to do this off season, things are really interesting for Jazz fans.
||The Mavs have been trying to take a distance runners kick at this season, it just seems like it is too little too late. 3 games out of the 8th spot seems just too much to overcome for the Mavs this late in the season. The Mavs and their 1 year contract crew will have the chance to build another roster going into next season.
||The Blazers have 4 pretty good starting players. They are missing a 5, They will have all off season to try and land one. They will also need to build some depth, as that was a huge issue with them all season long.
||The Raptors made some real interesting moves during this season. Will they be enough for their GM to keep his job? It shouldn’t be, and the sooner they get their new GM in place they can start building this team all over again.
||The Wolves are going to be very interesting over this next off season. Will Kahn be around to try and see this injury plagued roster together for a full season? If he doesn’t what changes will be made and how much would be changed going into next season. If he stays can he get that 1 wing player this team really needs to make some noise next year?
||The Sixers are playing .500 over their last 10. This team might have been a real contender should they of had a healthy Bynum all season. Instead that move is more than likely going to be the doom of this team for at least a couple of years to come.
||The Wizards have a nice team and have come a long way since John Wall returned to the line-up. Give this squad another year together and another off season to put a couple more pieces in place and this time next year the Wizards will be a different story.
||The Cavs are built for the future, and they have some holes. They also have a lot of cap space and a lot of draft picks. Another year together, and the Cavs are moving in the right direction.
||The Kings are a team with no home. Literally. They have an ownership group that wants to sell them and with that, they don’t know where they will be playing next season. On the plus side, there are 2 cities that want them, even if the Maloofs don’t.
||The Hornets are young. They are building for the future and have some real nice pieces to do it. If they are to start moving up, they will need to stay healthy and see some real progress from their young stable of players.
||The Pistons will have close to 20 million in cap space this offseason. They have 2 real nice players in Drummond and Monroe. The want Jose back bad, and they have Knight and Stuckey. Toss in Singler and Jerebko and there is a whole lot this team is going to need, and 20 million isn’t enough.
||The Suns could possibly be the team that is this low on the power rankings that really doesn’t have any sort of plan to build this team, and if they do it is not clear to anyone who follows the game.
||The Magic are in full blown rebuilding mode. It is going to be so much fun to see what they do to try and turn this team back into a contender in the East, and how long it is going to take for it to happen, if it is going to happen.
||There was an interesting question I saw recently, it asked if you’re a Bobcats fan, what do you have to be excited about? The most common answer was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and cap space. Ask yourself, is that enough to really make you excited?