NBA Power Rankings: Week 4


Nov 30, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) reacts to the bench after hitting a thee point shot against the Detroit Pistons at FedEx Forum. Memphis defeated Detroit 90-78. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

Welcome to Week 4 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   WeekLast WeekTeamNotes
11MemphisJJAnother week in the NBA has   passed and the Memphis Grizzlies are once again #1 in the league. In the last   5 games the Grizz have allowed the 2nd lowest points per game and the 4th   best EDIFF. The Grizz have always been good defensively and now offensively   this team is clicking on all cylinders.
BenMemphis has a tough road test   upcoming against a *rested* San Antonio Spurs squad. As long as Mike Conley   continues his impressive season, Memphis will stay near the top of the   conference throughout
26HeatJJThe defending   champs have the 2nd best record in the NBA, have won 5 in a row and have been   getting it together defensively, but most importantly, with the new offense   pieces gathered over the off-season this team is putting up lots of points,   2nd most in the NBA at 104.79.
BenLebron James continues to shoot   the ball at an insane rate, making three pointers at a 43.5% rate thus far   while shooting over three attempts per game. He will regress at some point,   but if he has really improved his three point shot this much….
34Oklahoma   CityJJIt looks like   the Thunder needed only 3 weeks to get the new pieces incorporated and   playing together, playing very well for that matter. Over the last 5 games   the Thunder have the leagues best EDIFF & PDIFF.
BenThe Thunder are still   dominating, but certainly have a different feel without James Harden this   year. They should still win the divison fairly easily and are one of the top   three teams in the Western Conference.
47BrooklynJJThe high priced   Nets lofty expectations seemed to be out of reach with this team to start the   season. The Nets have been putting all the pieces together and are 8-2 over   their last 10 games & averaging double digit wins in the last 5 games.
BenBrooklyn has beat most of the   teams it was supposed to so far this season, leading to an 11-4 record to   this point. The test in Miami over the weekend will be a great matchup and a   good litmus test for where Brooklyn stands as December begins.
55San   AntonioJJThe   Power Rankings are to cover the last week, not the last 48 hours of sending   player’s home and paying fines. The Spurs area very solid group, coached by   one of the best and all if it brought together by one of the best front   offices in the history of the NBA. Regardless of any of the off court   problems the Spurs are and will continue to be one of the top teams in the   league.
BenThere isn’t much to say about   the Spurs anymore. They are always good, and Gregg Popovich is always   entertaining. The NBA looking over their shoulders and trying to manage   playing time won’t change the fact that they will just keep on winning.
62New   York KnicksJJThe Knicks are   now 6-4 over the last 10 games and are no longer displaying the same   perfection they had at the beginning of the season. With Amare expected back,   there are even more pieces of this puzzle that have to be put together in   order to know where the Knicks will become the end of the season.
BenIt is safe to say that watching   the Knicks slow fall back to where we are accustomed to see them in the   league pecking order will be intriguing to watch. When Stoudemire returns   around Christmas, expect the Knicks slide to quicken.
73L.A.   ClippersJJThe   Clippers had a rough go of it over the last week. They lost 4 straight and   had their EDIFF drop to a negative -6.2 and PDIFF of -5.6. While the Clips   have displayed a complete team & dominated games, they will have to show   they can do it consistently as the season continues to unfold.
BenWorking a healthy Chauncey   Billups back into the rotation for the Clippers shouldn’t be too difficult,   but the rough and tumble Western Conference won’t be easy with the Clippers’   banged up and aging roster.
813BostonJJDoc called him   team “Soft”. Rondo was suspended for 2 games, and all of it   resulted in the Boston Celtics dismantling the Portland Trail Blazers. The   C’s calling card has been defense, and with so many new pieces Docs defense   will take some time. The problem the C’s had in the past seasons was on the   Offensive end, this season that hasn’t been the problem. Give this team some   time for the D to get together and this could be one of the top teams in the   East come playoff times.
BenRajon Rondo has been fantastic   so far this year, and the Celtics will need him to to continue to play at a   superstar level in order to be true contenders in the Eastern Conference.   This year is going to be the last real shot at a title for Kevin Garnett and   Paul Pierce.
917Golden   StateJJThe Warriors   could possibly be the surprise team of the season so far.  So far is the operative word, the season is   still fresh so the NBA world will have to wait and see if the magic can   sustain. The Warriors have stepped up their Defensive and have been gutting   out wins, and they have done so without Bogut. Mark Jackson has done a great   job of getting this team to buy into his philosophy and it has been a winning   formula.
BenWith the news that Andrew Bogut   underwent microfracture surgery last spring, the ceiling of this Warriors   team was lowered significantly. They’re playing well at this point in time,   but the roster is still thin and the whole season is riding on Steph Curry’s   brittle ankles.
1018PhiladephiaJJThe 76ers have   quietly been putting together another Doug Collins like team effort that has   gotten this team to a 10-6 record and a 3 game win streak.
BenAndrew Bynum has been shut down   indefinitely, and the Sixers are still giving over 23 minutes per game to   Nick Young. Realistically….they aren’t going anywhere.
1110AtlantaJJAtlanta has   continued to show a team first mentality, while the city of Atlanta hasn’t   seen this; the rest of the Basketball world is taking notice. Danny Ferry has   built a solid team which is displaying a great team first policy and this   team is currently 5th in the East.
BenThe core of Al Horford, Josh   Smith, and Jeff Teague is good, and surrounding it with sharpshooters like   Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow was a smart move. If the Hawks falter much at   all in the coming weeks, however, look for GM Danny Ferry to start wheeling   and dealing.
129L.A.   LakersJJThe Lakers are   now .500, this team was supposed to be much better than this. The bench has   been nonexistent. The bench has shown 1 solid outing this season, if the   bench doesn’t start playing more consistent the starting 5 will have to   shoulder a lot of the load.
BenThe Lakers spent much of the   week shooting down Pau Gasol trade speculation. Bryant is playing his best   basketball in years, and if Howard and Gasol figure out how to work together   in the low post, look out.
138MilwaukeeJJOver the last 10   games, teams haven’t exactly “fearing the deer”. Over the last 10   they have gone 4-6. The back court is solid, no questions, it is the front   court that will have to get consistent and establish themselves as a viable   part of the team game in and game out if the Bucks will want to make any   noise in the post season.
BenMilwaukee has a solid enough   roster to make the playoffs, but not do much more. The frontcourt has been a   disappointment, and Brandon Jennings’ progress combined with Monta Ellis is   the only thing keeping them afloat at this point in time.
1419UtahJJWhile the Jazz   are still undefeated at home (6-0) they are still struggling on the road 3-8.   Until the Jazz start to figure out their road woes & front court minutes   distribution the Jazz could face some problems as the season progresses.
BenThe Jazz still have major   problems on the wings, and until they are willing to part with some of their   frontcourt depth for some legitimate wing players, the Jazz will hover around   the fringes of the playoff race.
1516ChicagoJJThe Bulls are a   .500 team without Derrick Rose, and so far this season they are 7-7. The   Bulls have some nice players and great pieces, but Rose if the engine that   drives this team and they greatly miss him.
BenTom Thibideau is the main reason   the Bulls will still have a shot at the playoffs sans Derrick Rose. Carlos   Boozer has actually played well to this point, and they can only hope it   continues through Rose’s return.
1614MinnesotaJJKevin Love is   back, Ricky Rubio has been cleared to go in full practices. Alexey Shved has   been a great surprise, and is getting his shot to fall, proving he may be a   capable 2 guard, and a combo of Ricky and Shved would be a fun and exciting   backcourt.
BenMissing Chase Budinger has been   a huge blow to the Timberwolves, and Kevin Love hasn’t quite been himself   offensively since his return. If the Wolves can stay right around .500 into   2013 while Rubio, Budinger, and potentially Brandon Roy return to full strength,   they will be serious contenders.
1715DenverJJThe Nuggets had   some experts saying they could be the best team in the West. So far, this   team is struggling to find their identity and is 8-9 for a sub .500   record.
BenThe Nuggets will find their way,   provided George Karl doesn’t sabotage the team by cutting Kenneth Faried’s   minutes again. Count me as someone that thinks they will still finish in the   top four playoff spots in the West.
1811DallasJJDirk can’t get   back soon enough at this point. While the Mavs got out of the gate quickly,   they have struggled over the last 10 game going 3-7, proving once again, once   teams start getting tape on new players (OJ Mayo) winning can be a lot more   difficult.
BenThe Mavs need to stay above   water until Dirk returns, but right now it isn’t looking good. Rick Carlisle   has an uphill battle to climb in managing a mish-mash of veteran players.
1921IndianaJJThe Pacers have   won 4 of their last 5 and might be finding their own identity without Danny   Granger. More time will be needed to see if they can sustain wins and climb   over .500.
BenThe Pacers are nowhere near the   same team they were a year ago, and they should be thankful they are playing   in the Eastern Conference. Danny Granger isn’t walking through that door just   yet.
2021HoustonJJThe Rockets are   hovering around .500 for the season and have been .500 over the last 10   games. Let’s repeat it again, as teams get more tape on the Rockets and the   new pieces it will continue to be more difficult for them to get wins.
BenThe Rockets will still have a   shot at the middle of the pack in the West, but their team is essentially   just James Harden, the impressive Chandler Parsons, and the disappointing   Jeremy Lin. The rest of the team is either unproven or simply bad.
2120CharlotteJJWhile the   Bobcats had a lot to celebrate about to start the season, over the last 5   games they are 30th in the NBA in PDIFF and EDIFF. Everyone thought it might   have been too good to be true for the Bobcats and now it might be looking   like they’re coming back to earth.
BenNobody can deny the job that   Mike Dunlap has done to this point as coach of the Bobcats, but one look at   their margin of victory hints at a rude awakening over the coming weeks.
2222PortlandJJPortland is 1-4   in their last 5. Over that span they are -6.4 in PDIFF and EDIFF. Lillard has   been fun, but the team hasn’t. The Blazers will need to get some bench help   if they want to right this ship quickly.
BenThis team is embarassingly   shallow, and the Blazers will need much more consistency out of Nic Batum,   who has seen his stretches of up and down play continue so far this season.   He has the potential (and has shown flashes) of being a true star, but has been   unable to sustain his play.
2324PhoenixJJThe Suns have   been better than most thought. While they are 7-10 on the season, they are   2-3 over their last 5. Defense is proving to be the biggest problem, until   they start stopping teams they will struggle to put up wins.
BenThe Suns will continue to slip,   and Michael Beasley has already seen his minutes cut dramatically. Luis Scola   has been a disappointment, but the play of Markieff Morris has been a   pleasant surprise.
2427ClevelandJJAndy Varejao is   good. He has been the best player of the Cavs roster. The team is young and   should only get better. It is a rebuilding project in Cleveland and one has   to wonder if Andy might be around very long to see the complete rebuild.
BenVarejao continues to play very   well, and it will be interesting to see if the Cavs end up trading him near   the February trade deadline. Kyrie Irving continues to impress as well, but   the rest of the roster leaves something to be desired.
2528DetroitJJYou might find   this hard to believe, but the Pistons are 3-2 over their last 5 games and   over that span have been a +3 in PDIFF and +3.2 in EDIFF. The Pistons are   getting some things figured out and winning games.
BenThe Pistons are somehow winning   a few games, but it’s still hard to not feel bad for Lawrence Frank and Greg   Monroe. The rest of the organization has been an embarassment in recent years   and it doesn’t look to be changing much anytime soon.
2626OrlandoJJOrlando   has many glaring roster needs, no questions from anyone on that. They have an   ambitious young GM and a solid Coach. The Magic will need some time to   complete this rebuild
BenArron Afflalo has been   disappointing, and there just aren’t many difference-makers on the roster in   Orlando. J.J. Redick continues to play well, and continues to be one of the   hot names on the trade market.
2725TorontoJJWhat a   difference Kyle Lowry makes. This team will only go as far the point guard   can take them. He is the engine that makes this team go, and when he is out,   the team doesn’t go.
BenThe Raptors are still a   confounding team. Jose Calderon played very well in Lowry’s absence, but they   will need Lowry to play at an All-Star level to make the playoffs in the   East.
2823New   OrleansJJAnthony Davis   has some skills, but his health has been a problem early on. For the team in   general, they have battled health; it is fair to gauge what this team can   accomplish because the team in its entirety hasn’t been on the floor   together. Until that happens the Hornets have struggled and their record   reflects that.
BenWithout a healthy Anthony Davis,   the Hornets don’t stand much of a chance to win on most nights.  Austin Rivers continues to struggle in his   rookie season.
2929SacramentoJJThe   Kings have shown some life over the last 5 games going 2-3 and posting   positives in the PDIFF and EDIFF, things may be turning around; it is just   more difficult in an extremely tough Western Conference.
BenDeMarcus   Cousins continues to disappoint with his poor shot selection and uneven   effot. There is definitely a chance that he and/or Tyreke Evans will be on   the move as we move closer to the trade deadline.
3030Washington   D.CJJThe   Wizards finally won a Game.
BenThe Wizards do   not have good players, good management, or a good coach. But hey, they   finally won a game, so there’s that.