NBA Power Rankings – Week 6


Dec 12, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts against the New Orleans Hornets during the second half at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 6 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
12Oklahoma CityJJThe Thunder have won 10 straight games, and hold the best record in the NBA at 19-4. The Thunder have the best point differential in the NBA over this win streak at +14.40.
BenTurns out, the Thunder are still the class of the NBA. Of course, they’ve played a very easy schedule and have remained healthy yet again, so it likely won’t be all smooth sailing moving forward.
23New York KnicksJJThe Knicks are still undefeated at home, and the best record in the East. Melo is really playing at an MVP level right now. If there is any 1 question, will the Knicks be able to sustain this level of play all season and the playoffs?
BenI’ll be honest: the Knicks have already greatly exceeded my pre-season expectiations for them. I am still waiting for age and potential injuries to sidetrack them, but in the Eastern Conference, this team will remain a serious contender.
34San AntonioJJAs everyone expects, the Spurs are one of the top teams in the NBA. The Spurs have the 3rd best overall winning percentage in the league.
BenAs long as Ginobili doesn’t miss significant time after getting kneed in the thigh on Saturday night, the Spurs should continue to slowly and methodically bowl over the competition in the regular season.
45MiamiJJLeBron and company are averaging positives in the every statistical category EXCEPT rebounds per game & Free Throw percentages.
BenThe Heat has been mailing it in on defense all year, and it hasn’t really cost them. As long as they can dial it back up down the stretch, they’ll be impossible to beat in a seven game series for anyone in the East.
56L.A. ClippersJJThe Clippers have the 4th best FG% in the NBA, and the 6th best defense in the League. If you have points being scored in an efficient manner and points being limited, it equals wins.
BenThe Clippers have impressed so far this year, and Blake Griffin has elevated his play yet again. As long as they stay healthy, they should maintain a top four slot (and home court advantage) in the West come playoff time.
61MemphisJJMemphis’s offensive game has slowed down. Most specifically their FG% & 3PT%’s. The thing that’s remained the same is solid defense. 2nd best points allowed in the NBA. Every team goes through slumps and right now Memphis has lost 3 straight.
BenMemphis was due for a regression, and although they managed to win a an always-tough road game in Utah on Saturday night, their offensive efficiency has slowed down significantly.
77AtlantaJJDon’t look now; the Hawks are tied for the 2nd best winning percentage in the East. The Hawks have the 5th best defense in the league, and the 6th best eFG%. This team has been one of the best assist percentages in the NBA, the Hawks are playing great unselfish basketball and it is producing wins through the first quarter of the season.
BenThe Hawks roster of expiring contracts and potential cap space has been impressive in carving through the soft, buttery competition in the Eastern Conference. They look to be a legitimate playoff team at this point.
88BrooklynJJThe Nets have the slowest pace in the NBA, and when they can get their pace established they have shown to be very effective and efficient. The Nets aren’t turning the ball over and still getting all of the pieces on the same page. These are all signs for a team that is only a quarter of the way through the season.
BenDespite their 13-10 record, the Nets have been somewhat of a disappointment thus far. Joe Johnson hasn’t played great, and the pleasant surprise of Andray Blatche is one of the main reason they have a small lead on Boston for the #2 spot in the division
99Golden StateJJThe Golden State Warriors are currently 5th in the Western Conference, and have done all of this without Andrew Bogut. The Warriors are playing half-court offense, and doing it without their true center. Mark Jackson has this team playing well.
BenThe Warriors have been impressive, finishing their recent road trip with a 6-1 record, including wins at Miami, Brooklyn, and Atlanta. Count me as someone who thinks they may sneak into the playoffs in the spring, but they aren’t this good.
1011ChicagoJJIf someone told you the Bulls would be 6th in the East and 3 games over .500, without Derrick Rose would you have believed them? Well they are, and if the Bulls play at this same level until Rose gets back, this team would pretty much being going into the playoffs miss-seeded.
BenWhile the Bulls have benefited somewhat from a very weak division, but have some nice wins against the Knicks and Nets in the past eight days. They need stay a little above .500 until Rose returns, and they could make some noise.
1112BostonJJThe Celtics are 3 games over .500, and have looked at times like a team still getting to know each other, and with so many new faces it will take some time for this team to get the defensive chemistry they have been use to in the past.
BenThe Celtics will remain competitive all year, but the uneven performance of their newcomers combined with their collective age as a team will likely keep Boston from sticking around as true competitors.
1215MilwaukeeJJThe Bucks have rattled off 4 straight wins and continue to be in the play-off hunt. The Bucks have used defense up to this point, but will need the offense if they are to take the next step.
BenThe Bucks’ early season success may prove to be fleeting. Brandon Jennings has regressed back to what we all thought he was, and Monta Ellis has continued to struggle. Larry Sanders has been the Deer’s best player.
1316MinnesotaJJThe Wolves have the 4th best defense in the NBA, they are scoring more than they are allowing. The Wolves are still the lowest shooting 3PT% team in the NBA, but with Ricky back that should improve open looks for wide open 3’s.
BenIf the Wolves manage to salvage two or three games in the next week against a murderer’s row including games at Miami, at home against OKC, and at the Knicks, they’ll rise considerably in the rankings. Especially with the help of one Ricky Rubio back in the fold.
1413UtahJJThe Jazz are allowing almost 100 points a game, luckily they are averaging just a bit more than they are allowing. The Jazz will need to shore up the defense if they want to be in the play-offs.
BenDeMarre Carroll has been a pleasant surprise for the Jazz. Of course, that means that the team’s 4 best players are all members of the frontcourt. Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Randy Foye, and Earl Watson have all been disappointing thus far.
1510PhiladelphiaJJDoug Collins’s team got out to a great start, but without Andrew Bynum and Andre, this team doesn’t even seem to have a #2 option at times, and with Jrue possibly going to miss time, this team could be in trouble.
BenThe predictable fall of the Sixers had begun, with Philly losing five of their last seven games. They should continue their slide and settle comfortably somewhere in the middle of the pack in the East, right around the fringes of the playoff picture.
1617IndianaJJThe Pacers are still allowing a low number of points (1st best) in the NBA, the problem is the Pacers’ scoring, Right now the Pacers are only averaging +.17. Should the Pacers get more consistent offense; the Pacers will be in the playoffs.
BenThe Pacers have somehow managed to keep their head above the water in the East, despite missing Danny Granger for the entire season. They might be able to stick around the .500 mark long enough to grab a low-seed in the playoffs.
1719DallasJJThe Mavs need to get Dirk back, and it should happen around Christmas, the issue will be how Dirk will fit in with a team that has already played so much together. The West is crowded and it is going to be very tough for the Mavs to make it back.
BenThe old guard (Derek Fisher, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion) is somehow holding their own, and O.J. Mayo is playing some of his best basketball of his career. Dirk needs to come back soon, or they’re in trouble.
1814DenverJJThe Nuggets are still not seeing the defense they were hoping for. They are allowing almost 101 points a game. They are barely scoring over that, it’s a typical George Karl team but the defense will have to be better if they are to move up the standings of the Western Conference.
BenCount me as someone who thinks the Nuggets will still be just fine in the long run. They’ve played just 7 home games, compared to 17 on the road, and have still managed a 12-12 record. They shouldn’t be too upset about where they’re sitting right now.
1918HoustonJJHouston is allowing more points a game than any team in the NBA, and unless they are going to start playing defense, it will continually be a challenge to outscore opponents.
BenHouston is the worst defensive team in the NBA, and other than James Harden and Chandler Parsons, they simply don’t have very many decent playes. Can GM Morey do something prior to the trade deadline?
2021PortlandJJThe surprising play of Damian Lillard looks to have finally solved the point guard issues for the future, the real problem will be the bench. Every time that unit hits the floor, any lead (if any) is all but gone. The Blazers are currently in 11th in the West, and it is going to be a tough task if they are to move up into the playoff picture.
BenThe Blazers’ bench is awful. It’s too bad, because their starting five has been surprisingly solid, and the fact that Portland’s record stands at 10-12 is actually quite impressive.
2120L.A. LakersJJThis is the team that was supposed to dominate the West, granted there were some injuries, but defensively this team has been a mess, and if anyone is thinking Steve Nash is going to make it any better is delusional. This team needs defense and a bench, with salary cap issues I don’t know if either of those will be able to happen.
BenMan, there isn’t a lot to say at this point. Kobe actually has some grounds to complain, as he as easily been the best player on the court for the Lakers this year. His defense has noticeably slipped, but that isn’t the biggest problem the Lakers have.
2224OrlandoJJOrlando is in a rebuilding project, and we all know that. The biggest questions with this group will be what will happen now that they can start trading some of the newly acquired pieces.
BenOrlando has outplayed expectations, and rookie head coach Jacque Vaughn deserves a ton of credit for the Magic’s 10-13 start. They won’t crack .500 for the season, but they have been a pleasant surprise, all things considered.
2323PhoenixJJPhoenix is 1 game behind the Lakers in the Western Conference standings, so that counts for something right? Let’s all be honest with ourselves, there wasn’t a lot of things we the fan were expecting from the Suns this year, and well they haven’t disappointed.
BenFrankly, a 9-15 record is better than what I expected out of this terrible roster of Wolves alumni. Michael Beasley has been one of the worst players in the entire NBA this year, with a WS/48 of -0.058. I cannot even begin to explain how awful that is.
2422CharlotteJJThe Bobcats have lost 10 straight and have been plummeting in the standings. While the Bobcats have equaled their entire win total of the 11-12 season that is victory enough for this team.
BenFeel free to go back and read previous Power Rankings on DWW, as I have been consistently (and correctly) predicting the Bobcats current slide. Turns out, luck only goes so far. Good luck getting the players to continue playing hard, Coach Dunlap.
2527ClevelandJJKyrie Irving is back, and is already making his presence known, it has been a rough start for the Cavs, but with him back it is a pretty safe bet they will start winning some more games.
BenWill the Cavs traded the fantastic Anderson Varajeo? The asking price is understandably high, as Varajeo has been unbelievable so far this season.
2625DetroitJJDetroit just got taking the Nets to double overtime. So there is that. The Pistons are being outscored by almost 3 points a game. Joe Dumars better make something happen with this roster or he may not have much more time left to make any other moves.
BenThe Pistons continue to refuse to give the rookie Andre Drummond any minutes, and it’s costing them. Greg Monroe has been somewhat disappointing, and the rest of the team has simply been bad.
2726SacramentoJJSome of the real questions with this team are what is going to happen first. Will the Kings get a new GM, Coach or relocate first.
BenWill Tyreke Evans be traded? The Kings continue to be an embarassment, and they’ll be fortunate to win 25 games in the rough and tumble Western Conference.
2828New OrleansJJThe Hornets are the youngest team in the NBA, and they show it at times. The Hornets need time. They have some talent, and now it is just time to wait and let it get grow together.
BenAnthony Davis, Ryan Anderson and (sometimes) Robin Lopez are good players. Most of the rest of the roster is well below average. And then there is Austin Rivers. He is awful.
2929TorontoJJLowry is out again, and this team really can’t afford to lose him. Things are going to get worse with him out, and this team is already at the bottom. The question will be when the team decides to quit and throw in the towel. Bryan Colangelo should really be shown the door.
BenWill Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon be traded? Bargnani has not been good thus far, but Calderon has played well in a number of starts in place of the oft-injured Kyle Lowry.
3030Washington D.CJJOh the Wizards, what is there to say about the Wizards? Well, there is this, John Wall and Trevor Booker should be back in the line-up at some point, and that point needs to get here sooner is this team is going to move off of this spot in the Power Rankings.
BenUnwatchable. Martell Webster has been their best player, although Nene’s return *should* cause that to change moving forward.