Skip to content

PBT NBA Power Rankings: Injuries start to shape the rankings

Nov 25, 2013, 6:18 PM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Getty Images

The top of our rankings remain solid this week, but after a bad weekend of injuries there were a few shakeups farther down with more to come.

source:  1. Spurs (12-1, Last Week No. 1). They are the winners of 10 in a row and are doing it with great defense, good offense, not much Tim Duncan (still shooting less than 40 percent this season) and the machine-like efficiency we have all come to know and love. Fun showdown Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.

 
source:  2. Pacers (12-1, LW 2). They hold on to their spot but really didn’t impress against the Knicks, a game they could/should have lost. Things get interesting Sunday when then start on a tough West Coast road swing that includes the Clippers and Trail Blazers back-to-back.

 
source:  3. Heat (10-3, LW 3). Winners of six in a row (and it could be 10 if Jeff Green doesn’t hit a ridiculous three) lad by their defense, which has cranked up the pressure the past five games (not to postseason levels but improved).

 
source:  4. Trail Blazers (12-2, LW 4). Stan Van Gundy is impressed — he told us on the PBT podcast that he really likes the job Terry Stotts is doing in Portland, particularly with their Top 5 offense. He also isn’t sold they can sustain this pace (neither am I) but this is a nice cushion built up against future slumps.

 
source:  5. Thunder (9-3, LW 7). How long before Kendrick Perkins comes off the bench and Steven Adams starts? Of course, we’ve been asking the Perkins question for years. Tough schedule this week with the Spurs, Warriors and Timberwolves.

 
source:  6. Clippers (10-5, LW 6). Great note by Kevin Arnovitz this week over at ESPN: When the Clippers starters are on the floor, they have a top-10 NBA defense. The deeper they go into the bench the worse it gets. You know Doc Rivers is working on that, but come the playoffs he can shorten his rotation and the Clippers look more dangerous.

 
source:  7. Mavericks (9-5, LW 11). Fourth best offense in the NBA so far and Monta Ellis is the key reason — 23.6 points on 49.4 percent shooting, plus 5.6 assists per game. It was his assists to Shawn Marion that got the Mavs the win over the Rockets this week.

 
source:
8. Rockets (9-5, LW 9). Terrence Jones has shown he deserves to be the starting power forward on this team — he has averaged 15 points on 59 percent shooting as a starter. The Rockets the fourth best point differential in the NBA, +6.2 per 100 possessions. That’s a good sign they are for real.

 
source:  9. Warriors (8-6, LW 5). The Andre Iguodala injury hurts — the Warriors will still be good and win a lot of games without him, but they are not as good. And in a West with 13 teams at .500 or better (as of Sunday night) just losing a couple more games can cost a team several slots in the playoffs.

 
source:
10. Timberwolves (8-7, LW 8). They have struggled the past week (1-3) and it is their defense that has been the issue. Particularly transition defense. Things don’t get easier this week with the Pacers, Mavericks and Thunder on the docket.

 
source:  11. Hawks (8-6, LW 12). Go ahead and say “these are the same old Hawks” if you want (their defense has improved) but the fact is they are above .500 and a solid team and in the East right now that could mean a top 4 playoff seed.

 
source:  12. Grizzlies (7-6, LW 13). The Marc Gasol injury really hurts them because he is the anchor of their fantastic defense. Like with the Warriors, even if this injury just costs the Grizzlies a few games, that is going to mean a lower playoff seeding and a much tougher road back to the conference finals.

 
source:  13. Bulls (6-6, LW 10). I don’t want to drop them down the rankings too far based just on the Derrick Rose injury and a rough game against a good Clippers team. Tom Thibodeau’s squads have been resilient. I just wonder what this squad will look like after the trade deadline.

 
source:  14. Bobcats (7-7, LW 15). Charlotte is a top 5 NBA defense so far, but Stan Van Gundy had a great line about their offense and the lack of shooters — everything they do looks good until the shot goes up.

 
source:  15. Pelicans (6-6, LW 17). They have won three in a row since Ryan Anderson returned from his toe injury, that is not a coincidence. While a lot of people seem to want to trade him to Houston for Omer Asik, the Pelicans front office is not among them.

 
source:  16. Nuggets (6-6, LW 19). Their wins last week were over good Dallas and Chicago teams, the Nuggets are looking better. However that will be tested with 8-of-9 on the road including an East Coast swing.

 
source:  17. Lakers (7-7, LW 18). In their last six games, since inserting Jordan Hill into the starting lineup, the Lakers have had a Top 5 offense in the NBA. Mike D’Antoni is winning with defense. Lakers are on the road for three games in four nights this week, don’t bet on Kobe coming back during that stretch.

 
source:  18. Suns (6-6, LW 14). Just like for Jerry Seinfeld in “The Opposite” things just even out for Phoenix. First Markieff Morris is hot and Marcus Morris is cold, then when Markieff goes cold Marcus gets hot. “Even Steven.” They have the Heat and Blazers this week, but then a home-and-home with Utah.

 
source:  19. Raptors (6-7, LW 26). That would be your Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors, thank you very much. Somebody is going to win this division and get the No. 4 seed, and it could be Toronto.

 
source:  20. Pistons (5-8, LW 22). Still not sold that Josh Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe can play together, but when Smith came off the bench he was a mess (although Kyle Singler got hot). Bit home stand coming up, a chance to pick up a few wins against iffy competition.

 
source:  21. 76ers (6-9, LW 16). Spencer Hawes is playing very well, which makes you think that as we slowly start to crawl toward the trade season what will the Sixers do when teams call about him? They are rebuilding, they will move him at the right price, but much will they want back?

 
source:  22. Wizards (5-8, LW 27). It’s fair to say that as John Wall goes, so goes the Wizards, so when he got hot over the weekend with two 30 point games (both on efficient shooting) they suddenly won. Can he keep it up is the question.

 
source:  23. Celtics (5-10, LW 24). The schedule lightens up for the Celtics, which is the good news. The bad news is Kelly Olynyk will be out a couple weeks with a sprained ankle and when he is out they really miss him.

 
source:  24. Magic (4-9, LW 21). Big Baby Glen Davis was back on court this weekend and looked pretty good — he will provide a nice boost for Orlando. Until they trade him.

 
source:  25. Kings (4-9, LW 28). Sunday night the Lakers threw waves of bodies at DeMarcus Cousins, trying to get the ball out his hands. Cousins had 7 assists because of it but the plan worked, it disrupted the Kings offense. DMC needs some consistent help.

 
source:  26. Knicks (3-9, LW 25). Mike Woodson thinks the Knicks just need to get healthy, and that certainly is part of it. Their defense is a mess without Chandler and the offense isn’t good enough to overcome it. Tough week on the road against the Blazers and Clippers.

 
source:  27. Nets (3-10, LW 20). The Nets actually play their opponents almost even in the first half (-0.4 per game) but get thumped by -5.2 in the third quarter. It’s been an issue all season.

 
source:  28. Cavaliers (4-10, LW 23). They land here in part because they have the third worst point differential per 100 possessions in the league, -8.3. Mostly because their offense is so bad. The only bright spot is Matthew Dellavedova.

 
source:  29. Bucks (2-10, LW 29). Congratulations, you have the worst offense in the NBA so far. Still, a few more healthy bodies and a softer schedule and they maybe can pick up a win or two the next couple weeks.

 
source:
30. Jazz (1-14, LW 30). This team is worse than I imagined. At least Trey Burke is back even if he’s on a minute restriction.

  1. whoisrdymlz - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Stan Van Gundy is spot on about Charlotte. If they could shoot they might be good enough for a four seed in weakening East.

  2. antistratfordian - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Why would you put the Blazers below the Heat but the Pacers and the Spurs above the Heat? The thinking that puts the Pacers above the Heat should also have the Blazers above the Heat – especially since the Blazers have beaten better teams than the Pacers.

    So if you have the Heat above the Blazers you should also have the Heat above everybody, I would think.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:48 PM

      Two reasons. One, this is the order they were in last week and all four teams won every game so nobody jumps anyone else. Thanks just kind of how polls work. Second, I thought about it but I break ties with point differential per 100 possessions and right now the Spurs lead in that, Pacers second, Heat third and the Trail Blazers are seventh. Small sample size and all, but that’s how I decided.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 25, 2013 at 7:02 PM

        You should only be considering point differential in tandem with strength of schedule, or else it’s just plain deceiving. Consider that the Blazers beating the Spurs by 10 points and Golden State by 12 – that sort of thing.

        The Pacers have only beaten one winning team – the 7-6 Grizzlies. But, sure, they have a +9.5 overall point differential against the losing/.500 teams they have faced. I guess it makes sense to rank them higher….?

        I think perhaps their placement here has a little more to do with your preseason prediction for them.

      • jimsjam33 - Nov 25, 2013 at 9:46 PM

        I’d say you did a pretty good job . Good work !

      • eventhorizon04 - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:17 AM

        “The Pacers have only beaten one winning team – the 7-6 Grizzlies. But, sure, they have a +9.5 overall point differential against the losing/.500 teams they have faced. I guess it makes sense to rank them higher….?”

        Well, the Heat have lost to 3 “losing” teams – Philly, Brooklyn, and Boston.
        The Pacers have lost to just 1 “losing” team – Chicago.

        So while the Heat have beaten a couple of more “winning” teams than the Pacers, but they’ve also lost to more “losing” teams than the Pacers.

        Therefore, the case for Heat vs. Pacers is a judgement call. Kurt chose the team that has won more games this year, which isn’t crazy at all.

      • unxpexted1 - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM

        Anti sounds like that kid in high school that’s always trying to correct the teacher. its not that serious bro.

  3. davidly - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    Apropos of next to nothing, but I’m keeping track for poops and snickers:

    2013-14 Lineal Championship tally
    2013 Finals Champion Miami

    Oct 30 – Philadelphia 114, Miami 110
    Nov 01 – Philadelphia 109, Washington 102
    Nov 02 – Philadelphia 107, Chicago 104

    Nov 04 – Golden State 110, Philadelphia 90
    Nov 06 – Golden State 106, Minnesota 93

    Nov 08 – San Antonio 76, Golden State 74
    Nov 10 – San Antonio 120, New York 89
    Nov 11 – San Antonio 109, Philadelphia 85
    Nov 13 – San Antonio 92, Washington 79
    Nov 15 – San Antonio 91, Utah 82
    Nov 20 – San Antonio 104, Boston 93
    Nov 22 – San Antonio 102, Memphis 86
    Nov 23 – San Antonio 126, Cleveland 96
    Nov 25 – San Antonio 112, New Orleans 93

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Why can't Lakers have a player-coach?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. James (3900)
  2. K. Love (3822)
  3. D. Rose (3599)
  4. K. Bryant (2540)
  5. R. Allen (2260)
  1. C. Anthony (2133)
  2. K. Durant (2017)
  3. B. Griffin (1922)
  4. E. Bledsoe (1886)
  5. D. Wade (1818)