Week 13 NBA Power Rankings and Midterm Report Card

Another week, another power rankings.  In fact, now we are at the true halfway point of the regular season.  So, the midterm report card:

Rank Team W L Off Def Road SOS Rating
1 Cavaliers 35 11 103.917 (4) 96.738 (6) 1.978 3.331 (20) 12.489
2 Celtics 29 13 101.769 (10) 94.865 (1) 1.833 2.663 (29) 11.4
3 Lakers 33 11 101.371 (13) 95.51 (3) 1.432 3.462 (19) 10.754
4 Magic 29 16 101.884 (9) 96.556 (5) 1.944 3.08 (27) 10.352
5 Hawks 29 14 104.621 (3) 99.654 (15) 1.628 3.483 (18) 10.077
6 Nuggets 30 14 104.678 (2) 99.078 (13) 1.591 2.613 (30) 9.804
7 Spurs 25 18 102.931 (7) 97.71 (9) 1.384 3.197 (24) 9.802
8 Mavericks 29 15 101.586 (11) 97.57 (7) 1.909 3.763 (12) 9.688
9 Thunder 24 20 99.12 (20) 96.293 (4) 1.83 3.957 (6) 8.613
10 Suns 26 20 106.653 (1) 103.603 (28) 1.826 3.541 (16) 8.416
11 Blazers 27 19 103.64 (6) 100.276 (18) 1.674 3.316 (21) 8.354
12 Jazz 26 18 101.467 (12) 98.944 (12) 1.591 3.953 (7) 8.066
13 Heat 23 21 100.656 (14) 98.706 (11) 1.591 4.127 (3) 7.668
14 Bobcats 21 22 96.121 (25) 95.093 (2) 1.628 3.914 (8) 6.57
15 Rockets 24 20 99.776 (16) 99.817 (16) 1.909 4.412 (1) 6.281
16 Raptors 23 22 103.889 (5) 104.79 (30) 1.867 4.128 (2) 5.094
17 Grizzlies 24 19 102.326 (8) 103.128 (27) 1.709 3.83 (11) 4.737
18 Bucks 18 24 96.389 (24) 97.576 (8) 1.833 3.16 (26) 3.806
19 Clippers 20 24 97.953 (22) 99.369 (14) 1.67 3.51 (17) 3.764
20 Hornets 24 20 100.284 (15) 101.793 (20) 1.909 3.177 (25) 3.578
21 Knicks 17 26 99.163 (19) 101.411 (19) 1.628 3.274 (22) 2.655
22 Bulls 21 22 95.099 (28) 98.318 (10) 1.791 3.876 (10) 2.448
23 Sixers 15 29 99.431 (17) 102.383 (23) 1.75 3.206 (23) 2.004
24 Kings 15 28 99.092 (21) 102.873 (24) 1.791 3.876 (9) 1.886
25 Warriors 13 29 99.289 (18) 102.958 (25) 1.833 3.548 (15) 1.712
26 Wizards 14 29 97.89 (23) 102.226 (22) 1.709 3.662 (14) 1.036
27 Pacers 16 29 95.211 (27) 100.086 (17) 1.867 2.932 (28) -0.076
28 Pistons 15 28 96.057 (26) 101.874 (21) 1.709 4.017 (5) -0.091
29 Timberwolves 9 36 93.347 (29) 102.996 (26) 1.711 3.757 (13) -4.181
30 Nets 3 40 91.154 (30) 104.483 (29) 1.953 4.024 (4) -7.351

So Cleveland, the consensus #1 team of a year ago is #1 at the halfway point.  The letter grades:

Cavaliers (35-11) – LeBron has been magnificent, so much so that it feels like he is the MVP emeritus like Michael Jordan and Shaq have been in the past.  Surviving injuries to guards, a sometimes effective Shaq – and still the only 60 win team on paper.  Grade: A

Celtics (29-13) – Injuries and effort level have flagged from time to time.  Lot of wins, but a lot of pacing themselves too.  Rasheed Wallace has sucked out loud. Grade: B

Lakers (33-11) – Hard not to see them as the best in the West.  Already swept by Cleveland though, and 13th ranked offense needs to step up as schedule gets more road heavy.  Grade: B

Magic (29-16) – Carter has been a tough fit so far.  Defense behind last year’s pace.  But the best 1-12 roster in the game has kept them afloat, as have all those threes (#1 in the league in % of FGs made being 3s – even with only the 7th highest rate).  Grade: B-

Hawks (29-14) – Did not see the leap coming from a team that looked to be stuck in 44-38 land.  Jamal Crawford big off the bench, Josh Smith has reigned in his shot selection.  Best possession maximization team in the league (9th fewest TOs, best offensive rebounding). Grade: A+

Nuggets (30-14) – See last year.  Thought last year everything went well at once.  This year, injuries have been there but they have fought through them.  This is an excellent team when healthy, but the depth is a problem.  More size needed.  Grade: A-

Spurs (25-18) – Something seems to be missing.  Defensive tenacity no longer an issue (pedestrian 9th).  Duncan having great year, and minutes being managed.  But I am not sold yet.  Popovich knows it too.  Grade: B-

Mavericks (29-15) – Nowitzki can carry this team.  Not great at anything but good at both offense and defense (11th and 7th respectively).  Do a good job not fouling to obscure a not great one on one defensive side.  Grade: B+

Thunder (24-20) – Have flourished against a daunting schedule (6th overall).  Have done it with defense (4th overall) and Kevin Durant’s scary scoring ability.  The future is amazing, the present surprisingly good.

Suns (26-20) – Road games taking their toll.  The defense also sucks in a way it never did under the previous regime.  The great story of the early season might be fizzling out soon.  Nash has been wonderful.  Still this is better than I expected.  Grade: B

Blazers (27-19) – All the injuries, including their coach!  But somehow have moved forward and are winning games.  Offense is slow but efficient.  If they get some big help, this could be special.  Grade: A-

Jazz (26-18) – Have played well lately, and Deron Williams has been dynamic.  Still not sure they have staying power, but chemistry feels much better than it did a year ago.  Grade: B+

Heat (23-21) – The perfect record for a completely average team.  Wade is excellent, but they are waiting for the 2010 bonanza.  Grade: B

Bobcats (21-22) – Larry Brown strikes again.  A team with no player who would be picked in the first round of any NBA pickup league, winning with suffocating low risk defense and an offense that cures insomnia.  On paper, this shouldn’t be happening.  Grade: A+

Rockets (24-20) – Their good players injured, the underrated Carl Landry and a ragtag bunch of complementary parts are keeping things alive.  Not sure how much longer they can hang though.  Rick Adelman can coach.  Grade: A

Raptors (23-22) – A team that can shoot the lights out but plays defense like the ball has a grenade inside of it.  Record exactly where it should be.  Grade: B-

Grizzlies (24-19) – Absolutely shocking.  A team with no winning tradition has become tough at home.  A player with no winning tradition (Zach Randolph) has become a warrior.  The team has a good chance to get into the playoffs.  Sure there is talent, but did anybody expect this?  Grade: A+

Bucks (18-24) – Brandon Jennings double nickel raised some eyebrows and the team is fun.  Considering the money problems and their status in high lottery oblivion, some entertainment counts.  More upside than anyone could have expected.  Grade: B+

Clippers (20-24) – A lot of difficulty with Blake Griffin.  Team has persisted.  Chris Kaman has been wonderful, and Baron Davis looks like he gives a crap.  Sometimes.  Grade: B-

Hornets (24-20) – Have survived injury nicely.  Coaching change has been invaluable as youngsters are playing now.  Chris Paul is the 2nd best player in the NBA.  Grade: B+

Knicks (17-26) – D’Antoni gets credit for slowing a team down that needed to.  Veterans are mad at short rotation, but screw them.  Not like Larry Hughes has earned anything.  D’Antoni has been admirably pragmatic but a 50 point loss is a 50 point loss.  Grade: B-

Bulls (21-22) – Record hiding systemic flaws.  Ultimately no outside shooting and Derrick Rose has been hurt for half the season.  Grade: C+

Sixers (15-29) – Brand has been terrible, and Eddie Jordan still cannot coach defense.  Grade: C

Kings (15-28) – Tyreke Evans is the real thing.  Their fliration with .500 is over, but really look at how little talent they actually have.  I thought they’d be the worst team in the league.  Westphal has done great.  Grade: B+

Warriors (13-29) – Selfishness.  Streetball (in its most perjorative sense).  Defense as a theoretical construct.  Don Nelson coaching with his scrotum hanging out?  Just all sorts of wrong here – and that does not include the attempts to ruin Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright’s careers.  Grade: F

Wizards (14-29) – Poor chemistry.  No offense (23rd).  No defense (22nd).  Guns?  Love it.  Grade: F

Pacers (16-29) – Not sure this team had any more wins in them.  Lot of second banana types.  Dante Jones for 4 years??  WTF??  Grade: C

Pistons (15-28) – Surprised how bad they are.  The free agent signings of Gordon and Villanueva were mistakes.  Neither has been bad, but neither should have been expected to carry a team.  Not sure what Dumars’ vision is here – especially with Hamilton’s ghastly contract.  Grade: D

Timberwolves (9-36) – Not tons of talent, but feels misdeployed.  Kevin Love could be excellent though.  Rambis seems like a poor fit here.  Grade: D

Nets (3-40) – The talent is bad, but come on.  3-40?  That requires a ton of luck, and the competitiveness has been flagging lately.  Frank should have had a chance to pull the car out of the ditch.  Grade: F

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s