We are halfway through the NBA season and it is time for the Fourth Edition of TFPP Power Rankings. You can check back on Edition Three – here. We look at team records and current 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, who are on the franchise leaderboard for points in the position the team currently ranks. Rankings from games Dec 21st through Jan 17th on the US NBA calendar.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – Record: 35-6 Last Time: 1st Highest: 1st
The Warriors have the best record in the league and just man-handled their closest rival, to the tune of 35 points. With Curry hitting peak form and things beginning to click as a unit, the rest of the league has a fair bit to worry about.
#1 in GSW Points – Wilt Chamberlain
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – Record: 29-11 Last Time: 2nd Highest: 2nd
The Cavs don’t feel like they are quite on the same page at the moment, yet still sit second in the league. The Korver addition is going to take some time and they need to bolster the second unit but perhaps LeBron won’t be able to coast as much as usual to finish the season.
#2 in CLE Points – Zydrunas Ilgauskas
SAN ANTONIO SPURS – Record: 32-9 Last Time: 3rd Highest: 3rd
San Antonio can’t climb any higher than 3rd at the moment but aren’t going anywhere else fast either. They may have to settle behind the Warriors but their 17-4 road record will hold them in good stead should they meet in the WCF.
#3 in SAS Points – David Robinson
HOUSTON ROCKETS- Record: 32-12 Last Time: 5th Highest: 4th
The Rockets continue to impress and therefore continue to climb up the rankings. Now sitting in a season high 4th, Harden & Co have the 3rd best offense in the league and a league average D. Houston feels a Morey move and their health away from being a potential threat.
#4 in HOU Points – Elvin Hayes
TORONTO RAPTORS – Record: 28-13 Last Time: 4th Highest: 4th
Toronto haven’t done a lot wrong so far this season but find themselves behind the lead group and just holding off the chase pack. Once again, the same holes still exist and the Raptors are being held up by their stars. Somehow they still have the best offense in the league!
#5 in TOR Points – Morris Peterson
UTAH JAZZ – Record: 27-16 Last Time: 7th Highest: 6th
7-3 in their last 10, Utah could be timing their run to perfection. Hill remains in and out of the lineup but Favors continues to find health and form, with Gobert/Hayward starring. Another recent hiccup with Hood might derail things a bit but the Jazz have shown they can hang on.
#6 in UTA Points – Andrei Kirilenko
BOSTON CELTICS – Record: 26-15 Last Time: 9th Highest: 5th
Boston basically owes their current position to one man; Isaiah Thomas. Mr 4th Qtr now has 6.2 total win shares, which is Top 10 in the league. The same question remains though, will Ainge make a move to give his coach more talent come playoff time?
#7 in BOS Points – Sam Jones
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES – Record: 25-18 Last Time: 6th Highest: 6th
Memphis is sliding (very slowly) down our rankings, as teams around them make ground in the win column. Having said that, the Grizz still have a top 5 defense and will be a scary first round matchup if healthy. They are all but guaranteed a playoff berth and teams will be wary.
#8 in MEM Points – Bryant Reeves
OKC THUNDER – Record: 25-18 Last Time: 10th Highest: 9th
The one man Russ show continues to tour the country. OKC find themselves in their highest Power Rankings position for the season and we are willing to admit we were wrong. With 50% of the season over, keep an eye on whether Russ shows any signs of slowing down.
#9 in OKC Points – Dale Ellis
ATLANTA HAWKS – Record: 24-17 Last Time: 16th Highest: 5th
As the Hawks shipped Korver out of town and had Millsap on the trade block, many thought a drop out of the playoffs was likely. Fast forward a few weeks and the Hawks have won 9 of their last 10, Millsap is staying and home court in round 1 of the playoffs is theirs to lose.
#10 in ATL Points – Zelmo Beaty
LA CLIPPERS – Record: 29-14 Last Time: 8th Highest: 1st
This team just can’t stay on the court together for a proper look at where they stand. With Blake about to return, now CP3 has taken his place on the surgeon’s table. Paul kept the Clippers afloat without Blake but can Griffin return the favour? History says no.
#11 in LAC Points – Chris Kaman
MILWAUKEE BUCKS – Record: 20-20 Last Time: 11th Highest: 11th
For a moment there, the Bucks were really coming. Giannis and Parker have the team humming but they have faltered a little recently, just 5-5 in their last 10. The Bucks have a chance to be the real fan favourite playoff team, so here’s hoping they can stay above 500.
#12 in MIL Points – Jon McGlocklin
WASHINGTON WIZARDS – Record: 21-19 Last Time: 14th Highest: 13th
Speaking of 500, Washington finds themselves above it and rising. Wall and Beal have proven to be a lethal combo with a little continuity, while Porter, Kieff & Gortat are playing their part. The bench is still the major concern and likely real hurdle this team has to overcome.
#13 in WAS Points – Jack Marin
INDIANA PACERS – Record: 21-19 Last Time: 13th Highest: 12th
For all their struggles, the Pacers also find themselves in a positive situation after 40 games. PG13 has been coasting and has 2 more gears up his sleeve in our opinion. Would not be at all surprised if he lets the extra talent get them to the playoffs and then takes over from there.
#14 in IND Points – Paul George
CHICAGO BULLS – Record: 21-22 Last Time: 18th Highest: 11th
The Bulls season is a train wreck with no real positive ending in sight. Rondo continues to be more of a hindrance than anything, Wade may only last one year in his hometown and Butler carries a team with very little other talent. #15 might be the highest they get for a while.
#15 in CHI Points – Orlando Woolridge
CHARLOTTE HORNETS – Record: 20-21 Last Time: 12th Highest: 10th
Charlotte have been the real surprise of the last month, for all the wrong reasons. They have lost 7 of the last 10 on the back of the D slipping outside it’s usual top 10 position. They lack real star talent (sorry Kemba) and that can make things hard in today’s NBA.
#16 in CHA Points – Kenny Gattison
PORTLAND BLAZERS – Record: 18-25 Last Time: 19th Highest: 7th
To be honest, #17 is pretty generous for this team. They are 7 games behind level pegging and can count themselves lucky for being the best looking team of a mediocre bottom half of the league. Someone has take the 8th spot in the West and our money is still on the Blazers.
#17 in POR Points – Calvin Natt
DETROIT PISTONS – Record: 19-24 Last Time: 17th Highest: 14th
After a decent start to the season without Reggie, Detroit have really struggled since his return. This team suffers perhaps from unrealistic expectations but are still a little disappointing. They still have a chance at the Playoffs but would need to turn it around pretty fast.
#18 in DET Points – Larry Foust
NEW YORK KNICKS – Record: 18-24 Last Time: 15th Highest: 14th
Kristaps is injured, Lee benched, Rose went AWOL and the Melo/Phil relationship is the worst it’s ever been. Did we not all see this coming? Well maybe not even the best of us could predict this much drama but this Knicks team that was built for now has come crashing down.
#19 in NYK Points – Ray Williams
DENVER NUGGETS – Record: 17-23 Last Time: 2oth Highest: 20th
All you have to do in the West right now is win as many games as you lose and you find yourself in 8th. The Nuggets are 5-5 and currently hold onto the last playoff spot. The team still feels like it’s a bit of a mess but Jokic is enough of a reason to cheer them on right now.
#20 in DEN Points – Dikembe Mutombo
N’ORLEANS PELICANS – Record: 16-26 Last Time: 27th Highest: 18th
Even the Pelicans found themselves in 8th for a hot minute. Davis continues to shine (when he plays) and the team continues to get healthier around him. They could be primed for a late challenge if Davis, Evans and Holiday can all play 35 of the last 40 games.
#21 in NOP Points – Jason Smith
ORLANDO MAGIC – Record: 17-26 Last Time: 22nd Highest: 22nd
The Magic likely still have aspirations of making the playoffs but the 2-8 recent run has just about killed those off. They could look to make a move before it’s too late (Dragic has been linked) but it’s unlikely one move will be enough to turn the team’s fortunes around.
#22 in ORL Points – Evan Fournier
SACRAMENTO KINGS – Record: 16-24 Last Time: 21st Highest: 20th
Boogie is having yet another exceptional season and the Kings remain bad overall. What’s changed hey? The Kings are yet another team who’s chance at the final playoff spot makes their season look a little better in theory than practice. Things could fall apart soon, right on cue.
#23 in SAC Points – Lionel Simmons
MINNESOTA WOLVES – Record: 14-28 Last Time: 26th Highest: 16th
Minny remain a decent team on one end and a pretty poor one on the other. No doubt Thibs would love to bring in some vets to help on D and begin to mould this young core. Perhaps they will finally trade Rubio, give up on this season and really focus on the next?
#24 in MIN Points – Kevin Martin
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – Record: 13-26 Last Time: 30th Highest: 25th
Don’t be alarmed but the Sixers are 25th out of 30 teams, which could be the first time they have appeared this high in anything for a long time. They are 6-4 in their last 10, Embiid is a serious factor when playing and even Simmons could be about to return!
#25 in PHI Points – Wali Jones
LA LAKERS – Record: 15-31 Last Time: 23rd Highest: 15th
After such a promising start, the Lakers are now much better off continuing their losing ways and making sure they keep their pick (top 3 protected). Walton should really start leaning on Russell & Randle while allowing Ingram to take on a much larger role.
#26 in LAL Points – Clyde Lovellette
DALLAS MAVERICKS – Record: 14-27 Last Time: 24th Highest: 17th
Dallas are possibly the most beige team of the season. They will continue to win games on the back of one-off performances from Williams, Dirk or Wes (how good is Wes!?) but will lose plenty of others. Especially when it comes down to getting their first top pick in a while.
#27 in DAL Points – Doug Smith
PHOENIX SUNS – Record: 13-28 Last Time: 28th Highest: 26th
The last month of Phoenix basketball has been a microcosm of the last few years. They picked up the odd impressive win (or competitive loss) and followed it up with plenty more disappointing outings. If we haven’t made it clear enough already, it’s time to play the kids!
#28 in PHX Points – Markieff Morris
MIAMI HEAT – Record: 12–30 Last Time: 25th Highest: 23rd
This Heat team is pretty hard to watch. The next month of games will be more about certain guys boosting their trade value while others continue to play hard for their next contract. In the middle of all of that, hopefully T.Johnson and Richardson can develop for next season.
#29 in MIA Points – Keith Askins
BROOKLYN NETS – Record: 8-23 Last Time: 29th Highest: 28th
On a 11 game losing streak, the Nets are just about gifting the Celtics the number 1 pick. And the Hawks the #31 pick for that matter. They don’t have either of their picks for the ’17 Draft and have just 8 wins for the season. Can Sean Marks find some assets to work with?
#30 in BKN Points – Walter Simon