Second Half Power Rankings

Feel free to hate on me. I’m know that I’m not even close to my ideal once per month output. Hopefully I can pick it up here at the end of the season. Sometimes ya just get busy though. No excuse, I know… This update will be similar to my beginning of the season Power Rankings. While the All-Star break is not technically the middle of the season game-wise, it’s considered the half-way point. I know, doesn’t make sense.

The number in parenthesis’s () is the ranking of the team from the previous update. I was going to leave the Over/Under Win Total analysis up, but that seems like a bit much. If you want to go back and review my picks, feel free to check out the “NBA Preview and Vegas Lines” analysis under the FEATURED POSTS section on the bottom right side of the blog. You can check out how smart (or wrong, most likely) I was at the beginning of the season.

Without further ado, here are the updated rankings for 2.23.07:

This update’s High Riser: Raptors – 14 spots

This update’s Biggest Loser: T-Wolves – 15 spots

[image] Can the Mavs Take Home the Hardware?
Can Dirk and the Mavs continue their sizzling play and take home a ring? [image2]

The Contenders:

1. (3) Mavericks: 45-9

This was pretty easy. Some would say they have been the hottest (and best) team in the league since Nash went down with injury. I say they’ve been the best team in the league long before that. 10-0 in the last ten games and winners of something like 31 out of the last 33. Sick. They show no signs of slowing down. They didn’t mess with their chemistry at the trade deadline, which was a very good thing.

2 (1) Spurs: 37-18

The Suns have been struggling and Nash is iffy because of his shoulder. This veteran team will turn it on during the stretch run. This is where their wily ol’ vets earn their paydays, the last few weeks and in the playoffs. They won’t have the best record, but they’ll be up around the top when its all said and done.

3. (3) Suns: 41-13

 A lot of shuffling by the teams at the top. The loss of Nash hurts, he is the engine that makes this team go. Barbosa is a good replacement, but they need Nash back completely healthy if they want to seriously contend. They have been a pedestrian 5-5 during their last ten games. Attribute that to Nash’s shoulder.

4. (6) Pistons: 34-19

They get the nod over the Jazz because they play in the East and that will lead to a substantially easier path to the Finals. With the Wade injury, little stands in their way in terms of competition from the Leastern Conference.

5. (4) Jazz: 35-18

I didn’t think they would keep their torrid pace up. Looks like I was wrong. With Boozer coming back soon they should be good to go for the playoffs. They are 7-3 in the last ten and poised to secure the division, by barely grasping it from the second place Nuggets. Ok I was kidding, we all know the Nuggets suck.

6. (10) Rockets: 34-19

An incredibly hot team, thanks to the leadership and stellar play of T-Mac, in the great YAO’s absence. With YAO returning shortly, no one is going to want to face the Rocket in the playoffs. If T-Mac’s back holds up they’ve got a legit chance to get to the WCF.

 

The Pretenders:

7. (20) Washington: 31-21

They play in the East. They should take their incredibly weak division (even more so with DWade possibly out for the year.) Any team that makes the playoffs in the East has a chance to get to the ECF… ok, I lied.  The Raptors don’t have a chance.

8. (12) Cavaliers: 32-23

Get a boost because the East = Suxx. Lebron looks tired out there, which is probably attributed to playing for the United States this summer.  He is definitely playing well below his output from last year. If they would have acquired Bibby at the trade deadline, they would have instantly vaulted to one of the top two teams in the East. Not only did they NOT get Bibby, like most teams, they did absolutely nothing. Well played.

9. (9) Bulls: 31-25

Pau Gasol would have looked good in Red. Ok, so nothing can make that dog look good, but he would have been exactly what that team needs – some All-Star quality low post scoring. Like Cleveland, that trade would have vaulted them to one of the top teams in the East. Word on the street is that they didn’t want to give up Deng. Tough call. If it was just Deng, filler, and a draft pick I don’t see how you pass that up. If it was Deng and other contributing players, well that’s a different story. Plus, they play in the East. Lucky for them.

10. (24) Raptors: 29-25

TENTH you ask?!?! Well, they are leading the worst division in the history of professional sports. That has to count for something. If the playoffs started today, they would play Chicago… and would lose horribly.

11. (5) Lakers: 30-25

What happened? Who knows. They are in a free fall lately. It can’t because Rad Vlad went down to injury, can it? Was he the glue holding this team together? Perhaps… Oh, and they’ve lost six in a row and are 3-7 in the last ten.

12. (15) Pacers: 29-24

They got a spot in the playoffs right. At first I really thought they got screwed in the big 8 player trade that went down. Maybe not though, they seem to be playing fine and have won 3 in a row. J. O’Neil has been playing great lately and looks real good out there.  Should I just start putting an asterisk by the teams that play in the Eastern Conference?

 

Not Quite Over the Hump:

13. (13) Nuggets: 26-26

Unfortunately, by virtue of actually having a spot in the playoffs as of now, I have to put them here. It hurts.

14. (8) Magic: 27-28

Another playoff “Bubble Team.” They are one spot ahead of the Warriors and Hornets due to being in the East. Life’s not always fair.

15. (17) Hornets: 26-29

I think they’ll pass up the Warriors and the other lifeless teams in the West for the eight and final playoff spot. Everyone is getting healthy, and they might even get Peja back by the middle to end of March. This isn’t like last year where they slowly lost out on the eight spot at the end of the year due to injuries. This time around they are just getting healthy and starting to peak at this key time. CP3 got robbed not getting into the All-Star game.

16. (18) Warriors: 26-29

Thanks to the eight player trade, they are currently eight in the West. I don’t see that holding up though. See above comment about the Hornets.

 

The Outside Looking In:

17. (11). Clippers: 25-29

Did anyone see this happening? I, for one, sure didn’t. They are returning nearly the exact same team last year (albeit with a whinier Sam Cassell.) They are really going to have to turn things around to grab that eight spot in the West. I don’t see it happening. Plus, Kaman got a haircut. What the heck? Did he Samson-ize this team?

18. (16) Heat: 26-28

Goodbye DWade. Goodbye season.

19. (22) New Jersey: 25-30

They lost their lead on the division and actually moved up in my rankings… Hmmm…

20. (26) Knicks: 24-31

What’s going on here? Has hell frozen over? Does Isiah Thomas actually have these guys playing decent basketball? 5-5 in their last 10 games, that’s like… really good for this team.

21. (19) Kings: 23-30

6-4 in their last ten games has them one spot in the power rankings above a team that shall remain nameless.

22. (7) T-Wolves: 25-29

The Wolves didn’t play Thursday night. The good news is that means they didn’t lose a game! Four games coming up against four division leaders: Phoenix, Washington, Dallas, and Utah. The way we are playing, it looks like four solid losses to me.  None of those should even be in question. At least it iproves our chances of finishing in the bottom ten teams in the league and keeping our pick. Like the Mavericks they didn’t mess with their chemistry at the trade deadline.  However, that was a very bad thing.

 

Better Order NBA League Pass:

23. (14) Seattle: 21-32

Ray Allen is back and they have won three in a row. There is still plenty of time for them to pass the Wolves in the standings.

24. (21) Trailblazers: 24-32

5-5 in the last ten games and they’ve even won two in a row. Hey, they could still pass the Wolves too!

25. (29) Bobcats: 21-33

Adam Morris… I mean, their team just beat the Wolves in Minnesota coming off a back to back. Three straight wins? .500 ball over the last ten? What the heck is going on here? Oh… maybe they have a competent Front Office that knows how to build a team? Sounds plausible to me. They’ve got a young, pure PG (Felton); the requisite spot-up shooters (Morrison & Carroll); the bangers down low that will do the dirty work (May and Okafur); and the jack of all trades (Gerald Wallace.) Hey… I kinda like this team. They are gonna be real good in about three years or so. I should start rooting for them. Anybody think Adam Morrison will be the MVP of the NBA Finals someday? No…? Yeah, I thought that was stupid too.

26. (24) Hawks: 21-33

They’ve only lost two in a row. The funny thing is the Bucks really wish they could say that!

 

The Oden-Durant Sweepstakes:

27. (30) 76ers: 18-36

They were in last place in the previous rankings.  Yawn.

28. (23) Bucks: 19-36

Man, you have to Really suck to be in the true Oden-Durant sweepstakes huh? I mean, the Bucks have lost six in a row and like 18 out of the last 21. That’s a testament to the consistant sucktitude of the Grizzlies and Celtics!

29. (28) Grizzlies: 14-42

They have a full, healthy lineup and one more win than the Celtics… therefore, this one is easy.

30. (27) Celtics: 13-40

Dangit, they beat the hapless Bucks. I was hoping they would go for the all-time record of most consecutive losses (24, good work Cavs.) Let’s see, they have still only won one game out of the last 21. Just jockeying for position, the way I see it. The thing is with Doc Rivers, you don’t have to actually tank. You just let him go out and coach.

CW

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