By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
Posted Feb 3, 2014 12:17 PM
It's the first Power Rankings of the Adam Silver era. They look the same at the top, though sorting out teams 3-10 was rather difficult this week.
After Oklahoma City and Indiana, nobody's been all that consistent. The other team that's been playing really well - Memphis - has dug itself out of the deepest hole. The teams with the best records - Portland and San Antonio - have been stumbling. The Wizards, Warriors and Clippers all went 1-1 in their Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday round-robin. And so the top 10 is what it is, and we'll try again next week.
As for Silver's commissionership, we just hope he makes it a priority to repeal Lawler's Law.
* * *
• Last week: Thunder emerge from tough week as No. 1
• This time last year: Spurs stay hot despite injuries -- Russell Westbrook did this bizarre, post-game interview with Craig Sager after a mid-game tantrum, Caron Butler played a mean trick on Jonas Valanciunas, Jared Sullinger had back surgery, the Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay to Toronto, and the Heat began their 27-game winning streak.
• Plus-minus Studs: Goran Dragic (PHX) was a plus-58 in four games last week.
• Plus-minus Dud: Tristan Thompson (CLE) was a minus-55 in three games last week.
• Hero Team of the Week: Phoenix (4-0) -- The Grizzlies also went 4-0 and won in Portland, but Phoenix got their win in Indiana on the second night of a back-to-back.
• Zero Team of the Week: Cleveland (0-3) -- The Cavs lost by a combined 42 points to two teams - New Orleans and New York - who had been struggling in January. They also got stomped by the Rockets.
• High jumps of the week: Atlanta (+5), Washington (+5), Phoenix (+4)
• Free falls of the week: Brooklyn (-5), Cleveland, Denver, Portland, San Antonio (-4)
• East vs. West: The West is 169-89 (.655) against the East in inter-conference games and was 15-8 last week (Phoenix was 4-0).
• Toughest schedules through Sunday: 1. Sacramento, 2. Utah, 3. L.A. Lakers
• Easiest schedules through Sunday: 1. Miami, 2. Chicago, 3. Atlanta
Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
* * *
Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank) - Click here
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank) - Click here
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank) - Click here
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank) - Click here
The league is averaging 96.4 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 103.1 points scored per 100 possessions.
* * *
1. Oklahoma City (38-11)
Last week: 1
Pace: 97.8 (9), OffRtg: 107.6 (5), DefRtg: 99.2 (3), NetRtg: +8.4 (2)
The Thunder are the first team to repeat as No. 1 since they did it at the end of December. Their 10-game winning streak came to an end in Washington on Saturday, but included wins over Houston, Golden State, Portland, San Antonio, Atlanta, Miami and Brooklyn. Watching Kevin Durant over the last month has been a religious experience, but their success goes well beyond their star.
This week: vs. MEM, vs. MIN, @ ORL, vs. NYK
2. Indiana (36-10)
Last week: 2
Pace: 95.8 (18), OffRtg: 102.5 (19), DefRtg: 94.1 (1), NetRtg: +8.4 (1)
Why do the Pacers need Andrew Bynum? Well, maybe because Ian Mahinmi has the only negative plus-minus mark in their rotation. The Indiana defense has been terrific no matter who's been on the floor, but the offense still drops off a cliff when they go to their bench. Of 126 players 6-foot-9 or taller who have attempted at least 100 shots, Mahinmi ranks 120th in effective field goal percentage. Bynum ranks 119th.
This week: vs. ORL, @ ATL, vs. POR, @ ORL
3. Miami (33-13)
Last week: 3
Pace: 94.5 (24), OffRtg: 109.5 (2), DefRtg: 102.8 (14), NetRtg: +6.7 (4)
The Heat seemed to always have the Thunder's number, but coach Scott Brooks turned the tables by going small on Wednesday. Now, OKC isn't going to shoot 16-for-27 from 3-point range again, but the rematch on the Thursday after the All-Star break should be fascinating. Ray Allen may be having his worst shooting season since he was in Seattle, but he had one heck of a Super Bowl setup.
This week: vs. DET, @ LAC, @ UTA
4. L.A. Clippers (34-16)
Last week: 5
Pace: 97.6 (10), OffRtg: 108.0 (3), DefRtg: 101.7 (8), NetRtg: +6.3 (5)
From the start of the season, it's seemed like the Clippers needed one more veteran big man. But the vets that they've signed have been Stephen Jackson and Hedo Turkoglu, with Sasha Vujacic reportedly on the way this week. They have been really good offensively playing small (with Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan as the only big on the floor), but in less than 500 minutes of total playing time.
This week: @ DEN, vs. MIA, vs. TOR, vs. PHI
5. Memphis (26-20)
Last week: 8
Pace: 92.2 (30), OffRtg: 103.1 (17), DefRtg: 102.8 (15), NetRtg: +0.3 (15)
Just like that, the Grizzlies are a playoff team again, having won 11 of their last 12 games (and six straight on the road), with the league's best defense since Marc Gasol's return. But they're without Mike Conley (who sprained his left ankle on Friday) for a week, with a big game against the Mavs on Wednesday. Before that, that defense gets tested against Durant and company in Oklahoma City.
This week: @ OKC, vs. DAL, @ ATL, @ CLE
6. Phoenix (29-18)
Last week: 10
Pace: 98.0 (6), OffRtg: 106.8 (8), DefRtg: 102.6 (12), NetRtg: +4.2 (8)
About three weeks ago, the Suns had lost three straight, were 5-8 without Eric Bledsoe, and looked to be sinking into Lottery territory. Since then, they're 8-2 with the league's second best offense. Goran Dragic has averaged 22.3 points (in only 31.2 minutes) on an incredible 57 percent shooting in that stretch. Of course, they're still only 2 1/2 games out of the Lottery, with some tough games this week.
This week: vs. CHI, @ HOU, vs. GSW
7. Houston (32-17)
Last week: 9
Pace: 97.9 (7), OffRtg: 107.4 (7), DefRtg: 102.2 (10), NetRtg: +5.2 (6)
Dwight Howard looks like a Defensive Player of the Year winner again. The Rockets have ranked fifth defensively over the last four weeks, allowing 96.5 points per 100 possessions with Howard on the floor and 109.6 with him on the bench. If Omer Asik gets healthy to help that second number, we might see some consistency from a team that hasn't won more than three straight games since November.
This week: vs. PHX, @ MIL
8. San Antonio (34-13)
Last week: 4
Pace: 96.4 (15), OffRtg: 107.7 (4), DefRtg: 100.0 (5), NetRtg: +7.7 (3)
The Spurs embark on their annual rodeo trip with exactly one healthy, NBA-quality wing. They've shot 29 percent from 3-point range over their last four games and would have a four-game losing streak if Rudy Gay's potential game-winner went in on Saturday. Tiago Splitter is back, but at this point, they're just trying to survive the next few weeks. You can only plug so many lesser talents into the system.
This week: @ NOP, @ WAS, @ BKN, @ CHA
9. Golden State (29-19)
Last week: 7
Pace: 99.0 (5), OffRtg: 103.9 (14), DefRtg: 99.3 (4), NetRtg: +4.6 (7)
The Warriors needed 44 points from Stephen Curry and a couple of costly Jazz turnovers to win in Utah on Friday, but their defense has been at its best over the last four games, allowing their opponents to score just 91 points per 100 possessions. And those opponents have included the Blazers (who rank No. 1 offensively overall) and the Clippers (who ranked No. 1 offensively in January).
This week: vs. CHA, vs. CHI, @ PHX
10. Portland (34-13)
Last week: 6
Pace: 97.8 (8), OffRtg: 109.5 (1), DefRtg: 105.4 (22), NetRtg: +4.1 (9)
The Blazers got a few days off and a big win over the Raptors last week, but finish their pre-break schedule with another tough stretch. They play two back-to-backs and five of their six games are on the road (where they've lost three straight), with the only home game being a visit from the Thunder. They have to hope that Damian Lillard's game-winner against Toronto helps him break out of his slump.
This week: @ WAS, @ NYK, @ IND, @ MIN
11. Toronto (25-22)
Last week: 12
Pace: 94.9 (22), OffRtg: 103.9 (15), DefRtg: 100.6 (6), NetRtg: +3.2 (10)
Patrick Patterson made the big play, but Kyle Lowry absolutely willed the Raptors to Monday's big win in Brooklyn. He's been the best point guard in the East, but somehow, he's not an All-Star. He's hit at least three 3-pointers in 12 of his last 14 games. Inside, the Raps are getting more consistent production from Jonas Valanciunas, who has averaged 16.4 points and 10.4 points in his last five.
This week: @ UTA, @ SAC, @ LAC
12. Atlanta (25-21)
Last week: 17
Pace: 97.6 (11), OffRtg: 104.5 (11), DefRtg: 102.8 (13), NetRtg: +1.7 (12)
Five days before the Thunder's winning streak came to an end, the Hawks almost knocked 'em off at home, but shot 1-for-6 with a turnover down the stretch. Kyle Korver (24 points) was big in Saturday's win over the Wolves and his 3-point streak is now at 115 games, but he's just one of five Hawks who have shot better than 35 percent on 25 or more 3-point attempts over the last 10.
This week: vs. IND, @ NOP, vs. MEM
13. Washington (23-23)
Last week: 18
Pace: 95.9 (17), OffRtg: 100.9 (22), DefRtg: 102.0 (9), NetRtg: -1.0 (17)
The Wiz still haven't had a winning record in over four years and still have issues with their bench, but they put an end to the Thunder's winning streak on Saturday and have also beat the Suns and Warriors in the last 10 days, holding the three Western Conference playoff teams to less than 90 points per 100 possessions. They've risen from 18th to ninth in defensive efficiency in four weeks.
This week: vs. POR, vs. SAS, vs. CLE, vs. SAC
14. Dallas (27-21)
Last week: 13
Pace: 96.8 (14), OffRtg: 107.5 (6), DefRtg: 105.9 (24), NetRtg: +1.6 (13)
The Mavs have been a top-10 3-point shooting team, but shot 7-for-38 from three in their two games last week, with Jose Calderon missing two threes to win in the closing seconds of Wednesday's loss to Houston. Through his first eight seasons, 29 percent of Calderon's shots had been 3-pointers. He's doubled that ratio this season. Only 17 percent of his 3-point attempts have been off the dribble.
This week: vs. CLE, @ MEM, vs. UTA, @ BOS
15. Minnesota (23-24)
Last week: 15
Pace: 99.7 (2), OffRtg: 104.9 (9), DefRtg: 102.3 (11), NetRtg: +2.6 (11)
The Wolves' journey to the land above .500 was short-lived, as they dropped two straight after finally breaking through. Their second most used lineup is the one that started the last three games with Nikola Pekovic out, but the offensive drop-off between the Pekovic lineup and the Ronny Turiaf lineup is almost 16 points per 100 possessions. Defense was the problem in Atlanta on Saturday, though.
This week: vs. LAL, @ OKC, @ NOP, vs. POR
16. Brooklyn (20-25)
Last week: 11
Pace: 93.7 (27), OffRtg: 103.0 (18), DefRtg: 105.4 (21), NetRtg: -2.4 (20)
The Nets' small, long and skilled lineup looked pretty good until it ran into OKC's small, long and skilled lineup on Friday. Their charge toward the No. 3 spot in the East has hit a roadblock with a three-game losing streak, though they would probably have beat the Raptors without Deron Williams' turnover, came close to being just the third team to win in Indiana, and have a soft schedule coming up.
This week: vs. PHI, vs. SAS, @ DET, vs. NOP
17. Chicago (23-23)
Last week: 16
Pace: 92.8 (28), OffRtg: 97.8 (28), DefRtg: 98.1 (2), NetRtg: -0.2 (16)
The Bulls are reportedly getting calls about Taj Gibson, with the idea that trading him and waiving Carlos Boozer (via the amnesty clause this summer) would give them enough cap space to sign Carmelo Anthony to a max contract. But Anthony isn't necessarily worth it, especially if there wouldn't be money left over to bring over Nikola Mirotic. Of course, if there was a chance to sign LeBron James ...
This week: @ SAC, @ PHX, @ GSW, @ LAL
18. Denver (22-23)
Last week: 14
Pace: 99.4 (4), OffRtg: 104.4 (12), DefRtg: 103.5 (17), NetRtg: +0.9 (14)
With Nate Robinson out for the season and Ty Lawson dealing with a shoulder injury, it would be nice if the Nuggets had Andre Miller to fall back on, or at least a trade in the works to get them another point guard. Not surprisingly, with only six minutes from Robinson and none from Lawson, their offense hit the skids -- barely scoring 90 points per 100 possessions -- in losses to Charlotte and Toronto.
This week: vs. LAC, vs. MIL, @ NYK, @ DET
19. New York (19-28)
Last week: 19
Pace: 92.6 (29), OffRtg: 103.7 (16), DefRtg: 105.8 (23), NetRtg: -2.1 (19)
Saturday's loss to the Heat seemed to paint the Knicks' four-game winning streak (easily their best stretch of the season in terms of offensive efficiency and point differential) as a schedule-aided mirage. But if they can knock off one or two of the Western Conference teams they face this week, things are still looking up ... as long as Andrea Bargnani isn't coming back any time soon.
This week: @ MIL, vs. POR, vs. DEN, @ OKC
20. Charlotte (21-28)
Last week: 20
Pace: 95.3 (21), OffRtg: 98.3 (25), DefRtg: 101.3 (7), NetRtg: -3.1 (22)
Carmelo Anthony's 62 points notwithstanding, the Bobcats' defense has been better since they got back Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who saved Wednesday's win in Denver by making an incredible block on Timofey Mozgov in the closing seconds. Two nights later, Al Jefferson punished the Lakers in the post, shooting 13-for-15 in the restricted area and tying his career high with 40 points.
This week: @ GSW, vs. SAS
21. New Orleans (20-26)
Last week: 23
Pace: 94.7 (23), OffRtg: 104.8 (10), DefRtg: 106.2 (26), NetRtg: -1.4 (18)
Before Jan. 26, the Pelicans had gone 15 straight games without holding an opponent under a point per possession. Now, they've done it in four straight. Anthony Davis missed Wednesday's loss in Minnesota, but blocked 21 shots in the other three games. Davis' gaudy numbers may be hard for Silver to ignore when he picks a replacement for Kobe Bryant on the West All-Stars.
This week: vs. SAS, vs. ATL, vs. MIN, @ BKN
22. Utah (16-31)
Last week: 21
Pace: 94.0 (26), OffRtg: 99.7 (23), DefRtg: 107.6 (30), NetRtg: -7.9 (28)
With young players, you get inconsistency. And that's been the word out of Utah, where Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward have combined to shoot 27 percent over the last four games, where Alec Burks went from 26 points on 9-for-14 shooting on Friday to four points on 1-for-8 shooting on Saturday, and where they still can't win when Enes Kanter starts, even though he's been relatively consistent.
This week: vs. TOR, @ DAL, vs. MIA
23. Detroit (19-27)
Last week: 25
Pace: 97.3 (12), OffRtg: 101.9 (20), DefRtg: 104.9 (20), NetRtg: -2.9 (21)
The trade deadline is just 17 days away and the Pistons are a team to watch. They reportedly want to trade Josh Smith, but would obviously have an easier time unloading Greg Monroe. They've got to do something, because they don't get to play 82 games against the Magic and Sixers and because Smith keeps shooting threes. He's now 5-for-38 (13 percent!) from beyond the arc since Christmas.
This week: @ MIA, @ ORL, vs. BKN, vs. DEN
24. Sacramento (15-32)
Last week: 22
Pace: 96.8 (13), OffRtg: 104.0 (13), DefRtg: 107.2 (29), NetRtg: -3.2 (23)
The Kings weren't that great with DeMarcus Cousins, but apparently, they can't win a game without him. Including the game in which he was injured in the first quarter, Sacramento is 0-8 without Cousins (against mostly tough opponents), having allowed almost 112 points per 100 possessions in the eight games. They have nothing but Eastern Conference opponents between now and the break.
This week: vs. CHI, vs. TOR, @ BOS, @ WAS
25. Philadelphia (15-33)
Last week: 26
Pace: 102.3 (1), OffRtg: 97.1 (29), DefRtg: 106.0 (25), NetRtg: -8.9 (29)
Another week, another last-second victory for the Sixers, who won in Boston on Evan Turner's second buzzer-beating game-winner of the season. They're now 12-8 in games that were within five points in the least five minutes, 11-4 with Michael Carter-Williams in the lineup. He ranks second in clutch-time assists, with 18 of those 23 dimes going to Thaddeus Young (11) or Spencer Hawes (7).
This week: @ BKN, vs. BOS, vs. LAL, @ LAC
26. Boston (16-33)
Last week: 27
Pace: 95.7 (19), OffRtg: 98.2 (26), DefRtg: 103.3 (16), NetRtg: -5.1 (24)
Rajon Rondo's on-court numbers had been pretty terrible until Sunday, when he put up 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the Celtics' first win with him in uniform. He hit all eight of his shots from inside the arc, got to the line six times, and even knocked down a corner three. He missed last Wednesday's game against the Sixers, but will face Michael Carter-Williams for the first time this week.
This week: @ PHI, vs. SAC, vs. DAL
27. Orlando (13-36)
Last week: 28
Pace: 96.3 (16), OffRtg: 98.5 (24), DefRtg: 104.3 (18), NetRtg: -5.8 (26)
The Magic made it clear where they stand in the Eastern Conference lower-archy last week, handling the Bucks at home and losing to the Celitcs on the road. They actually haven't won a road game since Dec. 16, an 11-game losing streak that promises to reach 12 in Indianapolis on Monday. Nikola Vucevic put up double-doubles in two of his first three games back from a 12-game absence.
This week: @ IND, vs. DET, vs. OKC, vs. IND
28. Cleveland (16-31)
Last week: 24
Pace: 95.7 (20), OffRtg: 98.1 (27), DefRtg: 104.6 (19), NetRtg: -6.5 (27)
The Cavs are a complete mess, both on the floor and, reportedly, in the locker room. And as we wonder if Kyrie Irving wants to stay in Cleveland, we should also wonder if he's worth all the trouble. A talented guy that you give a max contract and build a team around should either play defense or be a leader, hopefully both. Irving's only 21, but at this point, he hasn't shown a willingness to do either.
This week: @ DAL, vs. LAL, @ WAS, vs. MEM
29. L.A. Lakers (16-31)
Last week: 29
Pace: 99.5 (3), OffRtg: 101.1 (21), DefRtg: 106.3 (27), NetRtg: -5.3 (25)
The Lakers were actually 13-13 at one point this season. Since then, they've lost 18 of 21, with the league's worst defense over that time. Now, Pau Gasol is out at least a week and this team becomes even more painful to watch. They could have the worst record in the West by the All-Star break. Still, it would be one of the best moments of the season if Steve Nash could take the floor one of these days.
This week: @ MIN, @ CLE, @ PHI, vs. CHI
30. Milwaukee (8-39)
Last week: 30
Pace: 94.1 (25), OffRtg: 96.1 (30), DefRtg: 106.4 (28), NetRtg: -10.3 (30)
Ersan Ilyasova had a big game (27 points) in Wednesday's loss to the Suns and has scored in double-figures in five straight games for the first time this season. But his effective field goal percentage has still dropped from 53.7 percent last season to 39.0 percent this year. That drop-off of 14.8 percent is, by far, the largest of anybody with at least 150 field goal attempts each season.
This week: vs. NYK, @ DEN, vs. HOU
NBA.com's Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man's opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via twitter.
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