The NBA rarely sleeps. And when it does, it wakes up early.
It was a little after 7 a.m. ET on Monday when ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news that Anthony Davis is ready to leave New Orleans after 6 1/2 years with the Pelicans. During that time frame, his team has won a single playoff series.
The timing of the news is seemingly about getting Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, because the team with the best collection of trade assets is the Boston Celtics. They can't trade have both Davis and Kyrie Irving on the same roster until Irving is done with his current contract (which he can opt out of on July 1).
Of course, the Pelicans have no obligation to deal Davis in the 10 days before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, because he's under contract until July of 2020. Waiting until July, when Boston can enter the bidding, would seemingly be the best play. But the Lakers will surely make an effort to get a deal done now, and other teams will put some interesting assets on the table.
Buckle up. It's going to a wild run to the deadline.
- Last week: One star returns, but another goes down
- This time last year: Season-ending injuries shake up West -- DeMarcus Cousins (torn Achilles) and Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) were lost for the season. LeBron James eclipsed the 30,000-point mark and selected Kevin Durant with the No. 1 pick in the All-Star draft. The Bucks fired Jason Kidd and Marcus Smart lacerated his hand by punching a picture frame in his hotel room. Stephen Curry dropped 49 on the Celtics in one of the best games of the season, Joel Embiid dunked all over Russell Westbrook, Ricky Rubio hit a game-winning three in Toronto, and De'Aaron Fox had a game-winning tip dunk in Miami.
Plus-Minus Players of the Week
- Mr. Plus: Paul George (OKC) was a plus-53 in four games last week.
- Mr. Minus: Josh Jackson (PHX) was a minus-93 in four games last week.
Teams of the Week
- Make It Last Forever: Oklahoma City (4-0) -- The Thunder's five-game winning streak includes wins over three other teams - Philadelphia, Portland and Milwaukee - in our top 10.
- Something Just Ain't Right: Phoenix (0-4) -- The Suns ran their current losing streak to eight games with four losses (three of them to teams missing key players) by an average of 23 points.
East vs. West
- The West is 154-113 (.577) against the East in interconference games after going 14-8 last week.
Schedule strength through Week 15
- Toughest: 1. New York, 2. Phoenix, 3. Utah
- Easiest: 1. Indiana, 2. Miami, 3. Oklahoma City
- Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
Movement in the Rankings
- High jumps of the week: Oklahoma City (+7), Philadelphia (+5), Boston (+2)
- Free falls of the week: Toronto (-6), Indiana (-4), Three teams (-2)
Week 16 Team to Watch
- L.A. Lakers -- With news of Davis' desire to leave New Orleans, the Lakers are obviously back at the center of the NBA universe. They're also likely to get LeBron James back from a month-long absence this week. And they have three great games on the slate, hosting the Sixers on Tuesday, playing the Clippers on Thursday, and visiting the Warriors on Saturday.
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Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
The league has averaged 100.7 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 109.0 points scored per 100 possessions this season.
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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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