Skip to content

PBT NBA Power Rankings: New York teams rising but Pacers on top still

Jan 13, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

Toronto Raptors vs Indiana Pacers Getty Images

Here are the weekly PBT power rankings, with some improving teams out of New York. For you fans in Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Minnesota and Memphis — teams with dreams of the Western Conference playoffs — know that the pace right now is 47-48 wins just to get the 8 seed. Plan accordingly.

 
source:  1. Pacers (29-7, Last Week No. 1). They continue to win thanks to that lock-down defense, but the Pacers seem to be coasting through the middle of the season. Paul George seems off and they have an offensive rating of 95.1 (points per 100 possessions) in their last five games, six below their season average. It’s not just the Heat that drags a little.

 
source:  2. Spurs (29-8, LW No. 4). Winners of three in a row as they continue to execute like no other team in the league nightly. That said, buzz around the league is they are aggressive in the trade market, a sign management thinks they need more to really contend this season.

 
source:  3. Warriors (25-14, LW 3). If you think their run is over (9-1 in the last 10) think again — they have 14 games left before the All-Star Break and 10 are at home. Interesting test for them at Oklahoma City this week.

 
source:  4. Heat (27-10, LW 2). Miami should put together a little run through this soft part of the schedule, then they go and lose both ends of a back-to-back in the boroughs of New York. With all due respect to the improved play of those teams, this is really about a banged up (starters out) and not very focused Heat team.

 
source:  5. Trail Blazers (28-9, LW 6). In case you didn’t see his quote, reserve guard Mo Williams needs to be a Top Chef judge: “With our team, we have a makeup of individuals that do something really, really good and when we mesh together, it’s like gumbo. That’s the best example I can give you of our team. Some teams have a dish where you got your steak, potatoes and asparagus. We’re gumbo. Without one of the ingredients, the gumbo just doesn’t taste well. But when everything is in that pot, it’s just like grandma did it.”

 
source:  6. Thunder (28-9, LW 5). Oklahoma City is now 5-4 since the Westbrook injury. Kevin Durant is doing his best to hold them afloat — in those nine games he is averaging 34.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists a night — but it’s not enough. The question remains how much this hurts their seeding come the playoffs (they are currently tied with Portland for the 2/3 seed).

 
source:  7. Clippers (26-13, LW 7). They have won three in a row without Chris Paul (3-1 overall so far without him) and while those wins were all over sub .500 teams they are wins. The Clips will take it. They are home Wednesday then out for the Grammy road trip with seven in a row away from LA.

 
source:  8. Rockets (24-14, LW 8). It’s still hard to get a feel for just how good this team really is — some nights they look elite, then there are games like Friday against the Hawks. The real number that might concern me as a Rockets fan — they are just 13-11 against the West.

 
source:  9. Mavericks (22-16, LW 11). If the Dallas Mavericks — currently the eight seed in the West with a two-game cushion over Denver and Minnesota lurking — squeaks into the playoffs by a game or two, we will look back and point at the two end-of-game no calls they got (Shawn Marion fouling Kevin Love then this weekend Monta Ellis fouling Austin Rivers) and wonder.

 
source:  10. Raptors (18-17, LW 14). Apparently the Rudy Gay trade was win-win. He’s shooting lights-out since moving to Sacramento but the Raptors are now 12-5 without him. The tanking plan is off in Toronto, where they stand a legitimate shot at winning the division, hosting a playoff series and advancing to the second round.

 
source:  11. Hawks (20-18, LW 12). Just one game this week, against the Nets in London. We’ll see how they do across the pond, at home they are playing very well right now with wins over Houston and Indiana in Phillips Arena last week.

 
source:  12. Timberwolves (18-19, LW 13). Minnesota is now 0-10 in games decided by 4 or fewer points this season. Some of that is bad luck and things will even out, but some of that is late game execution issues this team needs to resolve. Fast if they have playoff dreams.

 
source:  13. Suns (21-15, LW 9). They have hit a rough patch and it’s only going to get rougher with Eric Bledsoe out for an extended period of time with a knee injury (he should be back in 4-6 weeks). They have a 2 game cushion over Denver and 3.5 over the Timberwolves.

 
source:  14. Nuggets (19-17, LW 16). Is there a streakier team in the NBA? They have won five in a row after losing eight in a row, plus there was a seven game win streak earlier in the season. With this run they are two games out of the playoffs in the West.

 
source:  15. Bulls (17-18, LW 18). No Derrick Rose, no Luol Deng, and yet the Bulls have won five in a row and they are knocking on the door of .500 again — and with nothing but below .500 teams on the docket this week they could crash through that ceiling.

 
source:  16. Grizzlies (17-19, LW 17). Marc Gasol is set to return to full practice this week — and play in games not long after that — which means the 17-19 Grizzlies could be poised to make a push for the postseason (they are currently four games out of the eight seed in the West).

 
source:  17. Nets (15-22, LW 22). They have won five in a row so is the light week — one game against the Hawks in London — a blessing or a curse? On one hand, all the older bodies on this team could use the light week of rest. On the other, they had momentum and now they will be sitting around a lot this week getting cold.

 
source:  18. Knicks (14-22, LW 23). The Knicks are 5-1 in their last six, including beating the Heat, and among the many reasons (Iman Shumpert’s improved play, better ball movement from Carmelo Anthony) we need to point out that Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton are showing some chemistry together. Stoudemire had 35 points over the weekend and he and ‘Melo have played well together, thank you very much.

 
source:  19. Wizards (14-17, LW 15). They have 10 home games between now and the All-Star break, which would be awesome except they are 7-9 at the very leaky Verizon Center. Need to turn that around, but they still look like a lock playoff team in the unimpressive East.

 
source:  20. Pelicans (15-21, LW 14). The loss of both Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson to injury has taken its toll on this team. Now we will see how they deal with trade rumors as we’re going to hear a lot of Eric Gordon stuff over the next six weeks.

 
source:  21. Pistons (16-22, LW 20). That was a quality win over the Suns (thank you Josh Smith) but games like the two they have this week — Utah and Washington — are the kind they need to win if they plan to hold their playoff spot in the East. They Pistons are the seven seed, just one game up on the 9/10 seed Bobcats and Knicks.

 
source:  22. Kings (13-22, LW 26). They are 7-8 since Rudy Gay arrived and on a three game win streak. The reason is their offense: Through the first 20 games the Kings averaged 101.8 points per 100 possessions, that has jumped to 109.7 in the last 10 games (fifth best in the NBA during that stretch).

 
source:  23. Bobcats (15-23, LW 21). Charlotte has gone 2-8 in their last 10 games, which has dropped them out of a playoff spot even in the East. The once-stout defense has been the issue, but getting Michael Carter-Gilchrist back this week should be a boost on that end.

 
source:  24. Cavaliers (13-24, LW 28). They looked improved for the first two games with Luol Deng in the lineup then they suffered the worst NBA loss of the season — 44 points — at the hands of the Kings. Making the playoffs is still the goal and they are just two games out of a spot, but I wonder if Deng will be able to make enough of a difference

 
source:  25. Lakers (14-23, LW 19). Kobe Bryant could be back Jan. 28, when the Lakers return from their Grammy road trip, Mike D’Antoni said. What would be best for the Lakers franchise at this point would be for Kobe to take a lot more time off and let this ship sink a little lower (and pick up more lottery Ping-Pong balls). But who in the organization has the stones to tell Kobe that? (They wouldn’t anyway.)

 
source:  26. 76ers (12-25, LW 25). They lost four straight games, and not exactly against powerhouse teams. Sixers fans probably got more out of watching college ball this weekend, trying to figure out Julius Randle and how he might fit in the mix.

 
source:  27. Jazz (12-26, LW 27). When they put together the end-of-season highlight video for the rebuilding Jazz, last week’s win over Oklahoma with Gordon Hayward’s 37 points will get discussed plenty. Not much else to focus on.

 
source:  28. Celtics (13-25, LW 24). The fact that Rajon Rondo could be back in the next couple weeks doesn’t take much of the sting out of the recent eight-game losing streak. Be interesting to see which veterans get shipped out at the deadline.

 
source:  29. Magic (10-23, LW 29). They lost seven straight and have struggled mightily without Nikola Vucevic, who will remain out for a bit with a concussion. On the bright side, Victor Oladipo has looked better lately.

 
source:  30. Bucks (7-26, LW 30). Larry Sanders, what are you thinking? Can’t blame Bucks fans if they have tunnel vision on Giannis Antetokounmpo right now.

  1. johngalt1783 - Jan 13, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    The Suns

    A perfect example of why the WC keeps beating the EC during the regular season but doesn’t dominate in the Finals.

    The WC is a conference where a premium is put on run and gun and run and gun some more. The EC is a bump and grind division. During the regular season officials call games a lot closer signficantly reducing the srength of EC teams vs WC teams since running is not an EC strength. However in the playoffs things change.

    I would love to see the top 16 teams seeded by their win and loss record within their respective conferences.. My guess is when they got to the final four at least three of the teams would be from the EC almost every season.

    On the other hand in the all-star game where no one plays defense except maybe a bit in the 4th qtr the WC triumphs

    • johngalt1783 - Jan 13, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      corr: EC is a bump and grind conference

    • abchome - Jan 13, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      The West won 10 of last 15 NBA championships, ie after Jordan’s Bulls era.

  2. nflcrimerankingscom - Jan 13, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    The updated Algorithmic Rankings have the Spurs in 1st place with a momentum adjusted True Win % of 68.84 %, followed by Indiana (67.94%), OKC (65.22%), Golden State (64.09%), and the Clippers (63.17%). They recursively adjust each team’s weighting until they balance out when accounting for each opponents weighting and the point differential of each game (large differences tapered to dampen effects of blowouts).

    http://nbapowerranking.blogspot.com/p/2013.html

    In addition, efficiency-based algorithm rankings have been added. These are based on the per-possession rating metric from Basketball Reference.com that again are recursively weighted by opponents to get more accurate ratings. These are similar (but perhaps more advanced in the weight) to Hollinger’s Rankings.

    In this case, OKC takes the top spot and the Blazers crack the top 5.

    http://nbapowerranking.blogspot.com/p/efficiency-based-rankings.html

  3. antistratfordian - Jan 13, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Indiana is not allowed to be ranked that high with that offense. They should be capped at 4th until the issue is addressed.

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 13, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      They have the best record in the NBA

      • antistratfordian - Jan 13, 2014 at 6:30 PM

        Well then just post the standings for your power rankings then…

        Having the “best” record, by itself, is not enough of a reason. I’m sure the ranker here would talk about point differential and all of that, etc – and that is all well and good – but I also think their 20th rank in offensive efficiency is a huge red flag. Capped at 4th until further notice.

  4. raiderdan69 - Jan 13, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Did I just read that? Eastern conference stronger? the EC has two elite teams and then a load of average and garbage teams. Half of the playoff teams in the EC have sub .500 records and are just going to be fodder for miami and indiana.
    Every team competing for a playoff spot in the west is fundamentally a good team and are just missing that star power to become elite. Which teams would you rather play in a series houston/clippers/golden state or toronto/chicago/atlanta?

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 13, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      Better to be fodder than garbage like the Knicks.

  5. dinofrank60 - Jan 13, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    The Lakers need more help than just a lottery pick. There isn’t a Kareem or Shaq in this draft; they’re better off getting players who can play. I think they will get a good player in this draft, even if they don’t get a high lottery pick.

    Of course, if the bartender is still helping out in scouting, then there might be a slight problem.

  6. savvybynature - Jan 13, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    “buzz around the league is they are aggressive in the trade market, a sign management thinks they need more to really contend this season.”

    That’s one interpretation, but could also just be that they think there might be some good players available for relatively little, especially considering the unprecedented amount of tanking going on league-wide.

  7. jimeejohnson - Jan 13, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    Can’t wait till the next Nets-Knicks game. It’s going to be glorious.

Leave Comment

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

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (3679)
  2. D. Cousins (2577)
  3. L. James (2506)
  4. P. George (2333)
  5. R. Allen (2261)
  1. K. Bryant (2253)
  2. S. Marion (2194)
  3. A. Davis (2082)
  4. C. Anthony (1931)
  5. K. Love (1813)