NBA Power Rankings: After the Trades
It’s been a crazy week for the NBA. While Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams have been at the center of a lot of the buzz, it’s their teams that matter the most moving forward. So how does the new, post-trade deadline NBA look? Here are our ranks.
1. San Antonio Spurs (48-10) – Previous Rank, 1: The Spurs didn’t make any moves during what was a historically busy week for NBA trades. Why? With the best record in the NBA, they didn’t have to.
2. Miami Heat (43-16) – Previous Rank, 4: Like the Spurs, the Heat have yet to make any moves – although a free agent pick-up may be in store. However, they did try and fail to ship Mike Miller. We’ll see how it works out, but they could really wind up regretting not being able to get a trade made for an upgrade at the 1 or 5. Either way though, they look to be a steady contender for the rest of the way. And with last week’s trades shifting around the Top 5, the Heat have gotten a deserved boost.
3. Chicago Bulls (40-17) – Previous Rank, 7/8: Another team that didn’t really make much noise in time for the trade deadline – just missing out on a chance for nabbing Courtney Lee from the Rockets or Anthony Parker from the Cavs. But still? They took down the Heat Thursday night in pretty riveting fashion. And not to mention, their core players are finally all healthy at the same time.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (36-22) – Previous Rank, 7/8: Now here’s a team that made a whole lot of moves right before the deadline – and they really deserve this jump in the Power Rankings for it. OKC may have traded a third-option shooter in Jeff Green, but they more than made up for it with the addition of two bigs in the great Kendrick Perkins and the older but functioning Nazr Mohammad. And Nate Robinson! This’ll be a fun run for the rest of the way. And yeah, if it wasn’t for their now 3 game losing streak, this team would’ve cracked the top three.
5. Dallas Mavericks (42-16) – Previous Rank, 5: Even though it was looking like a while like the Mavs would be able to reunite with Devin Harris, Nets GM Mikhail Prokhorov wound up having different plans. But this team is still quietly dominating throughout the NBA, and looks like a lock for a top seed in the West.
6. Boston Celtics (42-15) – Previous Rank, 2: Man Boston made some risky moves. They most notably shipped off center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson for OKC’s Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. Could Green pay off big time now that he’s not fighting behind Durant and Westbrook for shots? Sure. But at the same time, the Celtics now have a HUGE hole at the 5 spot. Troy Murphy? Leon Powe? We’ll see.
7. Los Angeles Lakers (41-19) – Previous Rank, 3: The champs are struggling. And they didn’t manage to get anything done by the trade deadline to help their cause.
8. Orlando Magic (37-22) – Previous Rank, 6: There was some talk early this week that the Magic were looking to trade Jason Richardson and Brandon Bass to Memphis for Zach Randolph. That would have been ridiculous – they would have been gigantic. But alas, that fell through. As did all other searches for some more bodies to put around Dwight Howard. And now more than ever, here’s a guy that may be carefully looking ahead to 2012.
9. New York Knicks (29-27) – Previous Rank, 14: So New York did it. They now have their two super-stars, with the possibility of adding a third in a couple years. But yes, they lost to the league-worst Cavs. But that was to be expected. Just look at the start of the year in Miami. It takes a little while to build chemistry, but these guys have a real shot at getting together in time for a run for a solid playoff seed in the east. And with that, they even have a chance of getting out of the first round. May not sound like much for now, but this is a team of the future.
10. Portland Trailblazers (33-25) – Previous Rank, 13: Brandon Roy is back (sort of). But more importantly, the Blazers got Gerald Wallace from Charlotte on the serious cheap. It’s really unclear how Wallace will work in this system, but it could end up being the biggest steal of the season.
11. New Orleans Hornets (35-25) – Previous Rank, 10: They got Carl Landry in here for some size in exchange for Marcus Thornton. Will this be enough to keep Chris Paul happy in New Orleans? Remains to be seen.
12. Atlanta Hawks (35-23) – Previous Rank, 9: Sure, Kirk Heinrich is maybe an upgrade over Mike Bibby. But on the whole, there isn’t much to celebrate here. This is a team that really needed to make a bigger move to stay competitive in a rapidly stacking east.
13. Philadelphia 76ers (29-29) – Previous Rank, 15: Now is the time to really find out how good this team can be. Will they be able to keep up a playoff drive?
14. Denver Nuggets (34-26) – Previous Rank, 11: Yeah, they lost Melo and Billups. And obviously that’s a cause for a serious downgrade. But Danilo Gallinari (who played a season-best game the other night against the Blazers), Wilson Chandler, and Ray Felton are nothing to scoff at. This team’s been winning without Melo, and they are now one of the deepest teams in the league. Should be seriously fun and interesting to watch how this team grows.
15. Phoenix Suns (30-27) – Previous Rank, 18: The Suns landed Aaron Brooks in exchange for Goran Dragic and a pick. Brooks is definitely an immediate upgrade over the young Dragic, but I’m not too sure that he’ll really be their point-guard of the future with Nash on his way out. All this as Vince Carter continues his stride towards irrelevancy.
16. Houston Rockets (29-31) – Previous Rank, 19: Houston didn’t manage to get done some of the bigger deals that were looking possible for a bit there, and failed to snag a solid big man. But with a lot of shakeups in the West, they can still make some noise. Not to mention, with the trade of Shane Battier for Hasheem Thabeet, they have taken on yet another potentially promising player project. Oh, and Chase Budinger is killing it.
17. Indiana Pacers (26-32) – Previous Rank, 17: Along with Memphis, these guys really messed up big time at the deadline. This team could have gotten OJ Mayo for a backup big. But what happened? They missed the damn deadline. Still a strong team though, and should continue a run in the east.
18. Golden State Warriors (26-31) – Previous Rank, 20: The Warriors didn’t get much out of the last week aside from some cap flexibility. But they know there’s not much of a chance they’re making the playoffs. Better for them to keep working their core and looking towards the future.
19. Memphis Grizzlies (33-27) – Previous Rank, 16: Memphis’ big trade was a swap with Houston for Shane Battier. He’ll definitely help some. But the real bad news here is that Rudy Gay may be out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. If so, Grizzlies are really going to have trouble staying in the playoff race.
20. Milwaukee Bucks (22-36) – Previous Rank, 22: Jennings is back and healthy. Bogut is mostly healthy. That’s about all I got. Could still hit the eighth seed.
21. Los Angeles Clippers (21-39) – Previous Rank, 23: It may not seem much, but this is a big bump from the last rankings. Why? Baron Davis was a broken man with nothing left in him. Mo Williams? He may be broken, but put him next to Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon and he sure has a chance to bounce back. It’s a big upgrade, and one that has some serious cap benefits moving forward.
22. Utah Jazz (32-28) – Previous Rank, 12: Their run pre-deadline may have given them enough cushion to make it into the playoffs. But without Deron Williams, this is a very different team. And Devin Harris just isn’t going to cut it.
23. New Jersey Nets (17-42) – Previous Rank, 27: Yeah, they got Deron Williams. And yeah, Deron Williams is easily one of the best point-guards in the game. But look what he’s surrounded with. Deron’s as unsure about this team moving forward as we are.
24. Charlotte Bobcats (26-32) – Previous Rank, 21: The team’s down Gerald Wallace, and was boring before hand. Even more boring now.
25. Sacramento Kings(14-43) – Previous Rank, 25: Tyreke Evans is really hurting and could be out for the remainder of the season. Their trade for the potential-ridden Marcus Thornton can definitely help that. But still, many problems here.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-46) – Previous Rank, 26: Hopefully these guys can make use of Anthony Randolph – who they just got as a footnote to the Knicks-Melo megatrade. Also, Kevin Love still can’t not get a double-double.
27. Toronto Raptors (16-43) – Previous Rank, 29: Chris Bosh was on this team once. They beat the Bulls Wednesday, but consider it an anomaly.
28. Washington Wizards (15-43) – Previous Rank, 28: Mike Bibby. Great.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers (11-47) – Previous Rank, 30: Only surprise here is that we aren’t ranking them dead last. They did play a solid offensive game on Friday against the Knicks, and had a couple solid wins before the All-Star break. But Baron Davis? Could just be a long-term disaster.
30. Detroit Pistons (22-39) – Previous Rank, 24: Yeah, their record is way better than some of these bottom feeders. And yeah, they have some very strong talent here in people like Greg Monroe. So why last place? Look no further than the player protest that started last week against Pistons coach John Kuester. This is embarrassing for the Pistons, embarrassing for Detroit, and embarrassing for the NBA. Let’s hope that it somehow get’s resolved, and quick.
Agree with our ranks? Disagree? Sound off in comments.
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