nba_rankings_945

Rankings are updated every Monday of the NBA season.

Rank   Team Record   Change   Comment
1 San Antonio Spurs San Antonio Spurs 62-20
The Spurs have the coach, the experience and the hunger. But let’s see how they fare against younger legs in a seven-game series. The Spurs went 0-8 against the Thunder and Rockets this season.
2 Oklahoma City Thunder Oklahoma City Thunder 59-23
Kevin Durant is your MVP, but can he lead the Thunder back to the Finals after a one-year absence? If not, then this season was a disappointment.
3 Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Clippers 57-25
The Clippers were the top-scoring team in the league this season, but Doc Rivers is defense-first. Los Angeles, which finished 14th in that department, must be better to get where it wants to go.
4 Indiana Pacers Indiana Pacers 56-26
After all that drama, the Pacers got what they wanted all along – the No. 1 seed in the East. Now they just have to do something about it.
5 Miami Heat Miami Heat 54-28
The Heat are the team to beat until someone beats them, but this doesn’t feel like the slam dunk it was last year. And Miami struggled even then.
6 Houston Rockets Houston Rockets 54-28
With James Harden and Dwight Howard, the Rockets can beat any team in basketball, but that defense – 23rd in the league – must improve if they hope to get past (potentially) the Spurs and Thunder.
7 Chicago Bulls Chicago Bulls 48-34
Has there ever been a team with less talent that nobody wanted to play? The Bulls will get past Washington on grit alone – and yes, they will challenge the Pacers.
8 Golden State Warriors Golden State Warriors 51-31
With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, anything is possible. But losing Andrew Bogut means a first-round exit is likely.
9 Brooklyn Nets Brooklyn Nets 44-38
Once 10-21, Brooklyn is 34-17 since New Year’s and should “upset” Toronto. As for the Heat, the Nets went 4-0 against Miami during the regular season. Win or lose, they won’t be afraid.
10 Portland Trail Blazers Portland Trail Blazers 54-28
Portland had a better season than anybody could have expected. Even better? The Trail Blazers won nine of 10 to close the season.
11 Memphis Grizzlies Memphis Grizzlies 50-32
▲ 2
Last year, the Grizzlies made the Western Conference Finals as a 5-seed. Now, let’s see what they can do as a 7.
12 Dallas Mavericks Dallas Mavericks 49-33
▼ 1
Losing the regular-season finale to Memphis really hurts. Why? Because the Mavs have lost nine straight games to San Antonio, their first-round foe.
13 Toronto Raptors Toronto Raptors 48-34
▼ 1
If Kyle Lowry isn’t the most under-appreciated player in basketball, he’s a close second to Al Jefferson. Winning a playoff series would be the icing on the cake for what has been a truly phenomenal season.
14 Washington Wizards Washington Wizards 44-38
▲ 1
With identical home and road records – 22-19 – Washington can win, or lose, anywhere.
15 Charlotte Hornets Charlotte Hornets 43-39
▲ 1
The Bobcats, which finished fourth in the league in scoring defense, won eight of nine to close the season. Charlotte is a poor man’s Chicago. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a prayer against Miami.
16 Atlanta Hawks Atlanta Hawks 38-44
▲ 2
One of the least impressive teams to ever make the playoffs, Atlanta went 13-23 down the stretch.
17 Phoenix Suns Phoenix Suns 48-34
▼ 3
No NBA team had a more surprising season than Phoenix, which missed the playoffs by one game. Just imagine what Jeff Hornacek will do with actual talent.
18 Minnesota Timberwolves Minnesota Timberwolves 40-42
▼ 1
At 40-39, the Timberwolves had a great chance to finish with a winning record for the first since 2004-05. Three losses later, the streak of consecutive losing seasons reached nine. Next year, it’s playoffs or bust.
19 New York Knicks New York Knicks 37-45
▲ 1
New York missed the playoffs by one game, but either way, this is not a contender. Phil is going to have his hands full.
20 Denver Nuggets Denver Nuggets 36-46
▼ 1
From 3-seed to the lottery. Ouch.
21 New Orleans Pelicans New Orleans Pelicans 34-48
Anthony Davis (20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.8 blocks) looks like a star; now he just needs more pieces around him.
22 Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland Cavaliers 33-49
Sadly, this was far and away the Cavs’ best year in the post-LeBron era, during which they are 97-215 (.311).
23 Detroit Pistons Detroit Pistons 29-53
Forget .500. The Pistons haven’t won more than 30 games in five years.
24 Sacramento Kings Sacramento Kings 28-54
Seven straight losing seasons. The saddest thing of all? This was Sacramento’s best year since 2007-08.
25 Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles Lakers 27-55
With Kobe, next year’s team has a chance – yes, a chance – of making the playoffs. Without any (noteworthy) free agents, however, this team is destined for a one-and-done playoff exit.
26 Boston Celtics Boston Celtics 25-57
Boston got off to a shaky 12-14 start – and then the wheels really fell off, as the Celtics went 13-43 the rest of the way. But have faith in Brad Stevens. I know I do.
27 Utah Jazz Utah Jazz 25-57
The 25 wins were the franchise’s fewest since 1981-82.
28 Orlando Magic Orlando Magic 23-59
It’s mind-boggling how a team goes 19-22 at home and 4-37 on the road. Everyone – from the owner right on down to the ball boys – deserves blame for that. (Okay, maybe not the ball boys).
29 Philadelphia 76ers Philadelphia 76ers 19-63
▲ 1
If things go the 76ers’ way, their worst season since 1995-96 will result in the No. 1 pick in the draft. Anybody remember who the Sixers took first overall that year? That would be Allen Iverson.
30 Milwaukee Bucks Milwaukee Bucks 15-67
▼ 1
When a team with a 26-game losing streak still finishes ahead than you, that’s when you know you’re bad. In fact, you should probably consider folding.

 

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