Here is the Third Edition of Power Rankings with exactly a Third of the NBA season complete. You can check back on Edition Two – here. We look at team records and form whilst using league pass watchability and the overall feel of the franchise, in tie breaker situations. Included this time are various past and present players, drafted at the position the team sits in the rankings. Rankings from games Nov 25th through Dec 20th.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – Record: 24-4 Last Time: 2nd Highest: 1st
Dear Warriors, we are sorry for the disrespect of putting the Clippers above you. Regards, TFPP. Seriously though, GSW have the 2nd best offense in the league and the best net rating overall. They may not go lower than 1st for the remainder of the season.
Pick #1 in ’95 Draft – Joe Smith
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – Record: 20-6 Last Time: 3rd Highest: 2nd
The Cavaliers have enjoyed possibly their smoothest start to the season since the King’s return. Injuries to Love and Smith are starting to show the cracks though. Can they do enough to cruise through again in the East and be ready come playoff time? LBJ all the way!
Pick #2 in ’73 Draft – Jim Brewer
SAN ANTONIO SPURS – Record: 23-5 Last Time: 4th Highest: 3rd
How this team is 23-5 is beyond us! There have been serious problems with the rotation at times and some of their better/more experienced players don’t have their usual output. Pop still has this team humming and if they can just get a few things right, look out!
Pick #3 in ’89 Draft – Sean Elliott
TORONTO RAPTORS – Record: 20-8 Last Time: 7th Highest: 4th
The Raptors have the best O in the league right now but that is simply down to Lowry, DeRozan and Ross all posting incredible numbers and it can’t last. Their D is only good for 20th in the league, so when things cool off the same problems may exist for this team.
Pick #4 in ’03 Draft – Chris Bosh
HOUSTON ROCKETS – Record: 21-8 Last Time: 8th Highest: 5th
If you said the Rockets were 5th in your rankings pre-Christmas, you lied. Whenever you have a top 5 O, all you need is a league average D to be in the hunt. And the Rockets are doing that right now. Although both sides of the ball are going to be tested with the loss of Capela.
Pick #5 in ’74 Draft – Bobby Jones
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES – Record: 18-12 Last Time: 6th Highest: 6th
The Grizzlies have done their job, holding ground at 6 and Mike Conley is now back in the fold. A mini losing streak (3 in a row) threatens to hurt their overall record but Gasol deserves to be in early MVP talk for getting this team to where they are with a sever lack of top end talent.
Pick #6 in ’95 Draft – Bryant Reeves
UTAH JAZZ – Record: 18-11 Last Time: 12th Highest: 7th
Utah are coming! It seems unlikely we will ever see a 100% healthy Jazz team but perhaps that won’t matter. Gobert is having a huge month and Jingles is enjoying life at the top of the 3P% tree. They are 7-3 in the last 10 and if Favors can return properly soon, they may keep climbing.
Pick #7 in ’83 Draft – Thurl Bailey
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – Record: 21-8 Last Time: 1st Highest: 1st
What a fall from grace after coming in at number 1 last time around. The Clippers have had some terrible losses and are now facing an extended period of time without Griffin. Can CP3, DJ & JJ do enough to keep LAC in the home court hunt before Blake returns? Looks dicey!
Pick #8 in ’10 Draft – Al-Farouq Aminu
BOSTON CELTICS – Record: 16-12 Last Time: 9th Highest: 5th
The Celtics seem to be flying under the radar a little this season compared to previous years’ hype. It could work out well for Boston as they slowly integrate new pieces and perhaps look to add 1 or 2 more. Any team with a healthy Horford late in the year could cause an upset.
Pick #9 in ’69 Draft – Jo Jo White
OKC THUNDER – Record: 16-12 Last Time: 13th Highest: 10th
Is there anything Russ can’t do? This OKC team without him is really just a mixed bag of NBA talent. The triple doubles keep coming and Westbrook is set to smash (41.7%) the previous usage rate % held by MJ. Not sure if it can hold up but we are almost certain to get to find out.
Pick #10 in ’06 Draft – Mouhamed Sene
MILWAUKEE BUCKS – Record: 13-13 Last Time: 19th Highest: 11th
Milwaukee’s rise up the rankings is perhaps a little premature given their record. But they have looked a different team recently and not so reliant on Giannis. They have had a schedule light on games so far and could make a serious push in the Standings over the New Year schedule.
Pick #11 in ’95 Draft – Gary Trent
CHARLOTTE HORNETS – Record: 16-13 Last Time: 10th Highest: 10th
The Hornets haven’t done a lot wrong but are 5-5 in more recent times. The D is once again in the NBA’s elite, which is currently making up for the below league average O. If they could hold onto that home court spot, that would be a great campaign for this Hornets team.
Pick #12 in ’09 Draft – Gerald Henderson
INDIANA PACERS – Record: 15-15 Last Time: 20th Highest: 12th
There seems to be a lot of noise around for a Pacers team that is still managing to stay at 500. Perhaps that’s because an even record no longer has you comfortably in the playoffs in the East. The Pacers currently sit 9th and that is largely due to a terrible away record (4-11).
Pick #13 in ’91 Draft – Dale Davis
WASHINGTON WIZARDS – Record: 12-15 Last Time: 23rd Highest: 14th
WAS are a form team in the East (6-4 over last 10) as things begin to click. The overall roster is still underwhelming but thanks to great play from their starting backcourt they are in the playoff conversation. They need to lift their defensive effort if they want to keep climbing.
Pick #14 in ’80 Draft – Wes Matthews
NEW YORK KNICKS – Record: 15-13 Last Time: 14th Highest: 14th
Perhaps we are too hard on this Knicks team or don’t give it enough credit. What they have achieved so far is solid and has them in 5th spot, mainly on the back of beating the teams below them. The failures to the better teams consistently are why it’s hard to have any faith long term.
Pick #15 in ’91 Draft – Greg Anthony
ATLANTA HAWKS – Record: 14-14 Last Time: 5th Highest: 5th
Like the Pacers, Atlanta seems to have been at crisis point a few times yet sit at 14-14. They have been tinkering the lineup consistently lately in the hope of getting the balance right with enough time to spare. We still believe they could do some damage if it all comes together.
Pick #16 in ’95 Draft – Alan Henderson
DETROIT PISTONS – Record: 14-16 Last Time: 17th Highest: 14th
So the Pistons were doing a good job of keeping a good record while they waited for Jackson to return. The problem? He is back and so far, making them a worse product on the court. They need to break their losing streak soon and more importantly, find their old form.
Pick #17 in ’80 Draft – Larry Drew
CHICAGO BULLS – Record: 14-13 Last Time: 11th Highest: 11th
Not sure if the Bulls will be as high as 11th again this season. They earned the right to be that high early but things have regressed as expected. The shooting dried up and the O has halted as a result. Still, the Bulls will be thereabouts for the remainder of the season.
Pick #18 in ’89 Draft – BJ Armstrong
PORTLAND BLAZERS – Record: 13-17 Last Time: 16th Highest: 7th
Portland are in danger of missing the Playoffs and would be even more nervous if there was a decent chase pack. The West resembles the East of old right now, where below 500 has you comfortably in 8th. Don’t let that fool you on the Blazers though, they are bad!
Pick #19 in ’01 Draft – Zach Randolph
DENVER NUGGETS – Record: 12-17 Last Time: 21st Highest: 20th
Denver IS the chase pack for 8th right now and that’s why POR isn’t THAT nervous. The rotation is starting to work itself out with Harris back from injury and Jokic starting at C. Will the Nuggets go for continuity to claim 8th or make a trade for a serious bump?
Pick #20 in ’12 Draft – Evan Fournier
SACRAMENTO KINGS – Record: 11-17 Last Time: 22nd Highest: 20th
Ahh the Kings. It’s strange seeing a gold championship tag on the SAC uniforms, as this franchise has been bad for so long. ’51 was a long time ago and we can’t see the Kings moving from the 20’s in our rankings any time soon. Is it time to trade Boogie? Does anyone even want him?
Pick #21 in ’71 Draft – John Mengelt
ORLANDO MAGIC – Record: 13-17 Last Time: 25th Highest: 22nd
The Magic continue their up and down season and have risen in the rankings, so that’s a plus! They have looked much better at times but the offense is still terrible (28th) while the defense isn’t much better (18th). This roster still needs a serious shake up to make ’17 a success.
Pick #22 in ’08 Draft – Courtney Lee
LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Record: 11-20 Last Time: 15th Highest: 15th
LA’s spiral is here and the rest of the NBA are as excited as George. To be fair, injuries have been the main cause but anytime you push 10 losses in a row things aren’t great! A sniff of the playoffs is still there but they are more likely to keep their pick than make playoffs it seems.
Pick #23 in ’99 Draft – Devean George
DALLAS MAVERICKS – Record: 7-21 Last Time: 30th Highest: 17th
Dallas still have the worst record in the league but have looked substantially better recently. 4 of their 7 wins have come in the last 10 and they deserve to be above the 6 teams below on effort alone. A rise any further would be detrimental to the Mavs lottery odds though.
Pick #24 in ’09 Draft – Byron Mullens
MIAMI HEAT – Record: 9-20 Last Time: 27th Highest: 23rd
Whiteside and Dragic have been handy lately but Miami is still bad. They could blame injuries partly but this team isn’t doing any damage soon, especially when their 2 best players can’t move the needle on their own. Perhaps they are simply boosting their own trade value?
Pick #25 in ’99 Draft – Tim James
MINNESOTA WOLVES – Record: 8-19 Last Time: 24th Highest: 16th
The Wolves are the most disappointing story in the NBA so far this season. There is no doubt the hype was too high pre-season but we didn’t think it could be this bad. Keep an eye on the remainder of the season; Will the kids make strides or will Thibs panic trade?
Pick #26 in ’03 Draft – Ndudi Ebi
N’ORLEANS PELICANS – Record: 10-20 Last Time: 18th Highest: 18th
The Pelicans made a short lived run up the rankings but things have returned to bad ever since. They are 3-7 in their last 10 with little to hang their hat on. Perhaps Evans’ return will give a boost like Jrue’s did but we wouldn’t expect any jump back up the rankings again.
Pick #27 in ’08 Draft – Darrell Arthur
PHOENIX SUNS – Record: 8-20 Last Time: 26th Highest: 26th
Not only do Phoenix deserve to be in the bottom 3, they aren’t even doing it the right way. Veterans are still taking rookie minutes and the losses continue to pile up. If the Suns are still 28th next month but not due to more rookie minutes, then the season has ZERO positives.
Pick #28 in ’88 Draft – Andrew Lang
BROOKLYN NETS – Record: 7-20 Last Time: 29th Highest: 28th
BKN continue to lose whilst escaping any major criticism. This roster has a lack of talent but are playing hard for Atkinson. The remainder of the season will be about pouncing on any trades, getting minutes into their youth and making the gap to the Celtics pick as small as they can.
Pick #29 in ’93 Draft – PJ Brown
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – Record: 7-21 Last Time: 29th Highest: 29th
Riding Embiid’s coattails only gets you so far. The losses are still piling up and now they old Front Office rumblings are now effecting the new FO. The big man situation has been handled poorly and there is little outside of Embiid to be excited about. When’s Ben back?
Pick #30 in ’07 Draft – Petteri Koponen