NBA Power Rankings: Week 5


It’s that time of the week where I look around the NBA and dive into my latest power rankings.

Who has moved up and who is sinking like the Titanic? Can the Memphis Grizzlies hold on to the No. 1 spot for the second week in a row?

Nov 27, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao (17) grabs a rebound in the second quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Let’s not waste any time and answer all of those question in my latest NBA Power Rankings.

30. Washington Wizards (0-12): The guys on TNT started calling the Wizards the Washington Generals. That is incorrect. The Generals would beat the Wizards by 20. Last Week’s Ranking- 30.

29. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-12): The Cavs have lost 10 of 11 and their coach Byron Scott said everyone on the team except Anderson Varejao stunk after a recent loss. Pretty accurate assessment. Last Week’s Ranking-29

28. Toronto Raptors (3-12): The Raptors have lost five in a row and get seven of their next eight on the road. Last Week’s Ranking-25

27. New Orleans Hornets (4-9): This team could be surprisingly good with Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis in the lineup but Gordon has missed the entire season an Davis has played in only six of 12 games. Without them the Hornets don’t have a chance. Last Week’s Ranking-22

26. Detroit Pistons (4-11): The Pistons have won three of five and Greg Monroe is putting together a good season. How long though until Lawrence Frank turns the team over to the youngsters? Andre Drummond is averaging only 16 minutes per game. Last Week’s Ranking-27

25. Sacramento Kings (4-10): Tyreke Evans has been on a tear, averaging 21 points during the last five games, in which the Kings have wins over the Jazz and Lakers. Last Week’s Ranking-28

November 26, 2012; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) is defended by Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Knight (7) in the fourth quarter at The Palace. Detroit won 108-101. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

24. Orlando Magic (5-8): The Magic face a tough stretch of games against San Antonio, Brooklyn and the big one in Los Angeles vs. Dwight Howard and the Lakers. While they are likely rejoicing in the fact they didn’t trade for Andrew Bynum, is there any chance they aren’t kicking themselves for not taking Brook Lopez? That lottery pick that Brooklyn traded to Portland also turned out to be Damian Lillard. Last Week’s Ranking-26

23. Portland Trail Blazers (6-8): Portland has lost three of four, but their trio of Lillard, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge are having good seasons, even though Aldridge is only shooting 44 percent from the floor. Last Week’s Ranking-18

22. Phoenix Suns (7-8): The Suns have won three of four and have winnable games against Detroit and Toronto upcoming. That’s a good way to build momentum. Phoenix is seventh in the NBA in scoring at 99.9 points per game. Last Week’s Ranking-23

21. Dallas Mavericks (7-8): That 4-1 start to the season is a thing of the past as the Mavs have lost seven of 10 since. They badly miss Dirk Nowitzki as after O.J. Mayo’s 20.8 points per game, no one else is averaging more than 14.2 (Chris Kaman). The news doesn’t get any better as 10 of their next 14 are on the road. Last Week’s Ranking-16

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (6-7): The ‘Wolves lost five in a row before Kevin Love’s monster game helped break that skid Tuesday against Sacramento. More performances like that and Minnesota should get back on track. Last Week’s Ranking-17

19. Houston Rockets (7-7): The Rockets drilled the Knicks and have won three straight. James Harden has been big, but the youngest team in the NBA is getting contributions from everyone, most notably guys like Patrick Patterson and Chandler Parsons have turned in huge performances this week. Last Week’s Ranking-24

18.  Chicago Bulls (6-7): The Bulls have lost four of five and blew a 27-point lead Monday against the Bucks. The struggles shouldn’t come as a surprise.  The Bulls still have talent but you just can’t replace an MVP like Derrick Rose. Last Week’s Ranking-12

November 27, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) and shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) during a stoppage in play against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

17. Charlotte Bobcats (7-6): The Bobcats have already matched last season’s win total, but showed how far they really have to come still in Monday’s 45-point loss to the Thunder. Last Week’s Ranking-19

16. Los Angeles Lakers (7-8): So let me get this straight. Kobe Bryant scores 40 points and the rest of the Lakers’ team scores 37? In Mike D’Antoni’s offense? No point guard hurts badly as does the lack of depth, as the Lakers get very little production from their second unit. They look lost at the defensive end and have lost three of four. Last Week’s Ranking-8

15.  Indiana Pacers (7-8): A big win over the Lakers makes it three of four for the Pacers, but two of the wins came against Washington and New Orleans. They have to find offense somewhere. Roy Hibbert has been a disappointment, averaging only 9.5 points per game while shooting 38.8 percent from the floor. Shooting is a problem for the Pacers as they are shooting only 41 percent as a team. Last Week’s Ranking-21

14. Milwaukee Bucks (7-5): The Bucks ended a three-game skid with a big comeback win against Chicago, but every time you show faith in this team they make you pay for it. They are still a talented team though and should be a handful for the Knicks on Wednesday.  Last Week’s Ranking-7

November 24, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) dunks the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the fourth quarter at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors defeated the Timberwolves 96-85. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

13. Philadelphia 76ers (9-6): Trading for Bynum looks like a mistake. Giving Jrue Holiday an extension was not. The Sixers are winning with defense, allowing only 93.7 points per game, but they are 26th in the league in scoring and not having Bynum should catch up with them. Last Week’s Ranking-13

12. Golden State Warriors (8-6): They have played eight of their first 14 on the road and are getting Andrew Bogut back soon. Rookie Harrison Barnes, along with having the dunk of the year, is starting to come along nicely. Last Week’s Ranking-15

11. Denver Nuggets (8-7): The Nuggets could be the streakiest team in the NBA. The followed up three straight losses with four straight wins before losing to Utah on Monday. They will need to get hot again with eight of their next 10 on the road. Last Week’s Ranking-14

10. Utah Jazz (8-7): The Jazz are 6-0 at home and only 2-7 on the road with a three game road trip coming up against the Hornets, Thunder and Rockets. They are talented, young and deep and have won four of their past five games. Last Week’s Ranking-11

9. Los Angeles Clippers (8-6): It’s funny how things can change in a week. Just a week ago you could make the case that the Clippers were the best team in the league, but that is no longer the case after four straight losses. No excuse for losing to the Hornets without Anthony Davis in the lineup. Last Week’s Ranking-3

8. Boston Celtics (8-6): Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are still playing at a high level and what Rajon Rondo has been doing is amazing. However this team is allowing over 100 points per game which is concerning. Last Week’s Ranking-10

7. Atlanta Hawks (8-4): Atlanta has won five straight victories and wins in six of their past seven. The defensive-minded Hawks are allowing only 92.1 points per game while scoring 95.2 and are the No. 1 team in terms of defensive efficiency. They’ve had a pretty soft schedule, but do have wins over both the Thunder and Clippers. Last Week’s Ranking-20

Nov. 26, 2012; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) drives to the basket as New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (6) defends during the second half at the Barclays Center. Nets won in overtime 96-89. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

6. New York Knicks (9-4): After and NBA-best 8-1 start, the Knicks have dropped three of their last four. Not having Jason Kidd against the Nets hurt and not having Amar’e Stoudemire is starting to show up as the Knicks could use his scoring and rebounding. Last Week’s Ranking-2

5. Brooklyn Nets (9-4): The Nets made a statement by beating the Knicks. They haven’t had a meaningful win all season, but have won three in a row two of which have been against the Clippers and Knicks. Lopez is off to a great start, averaging 19.2 points per game. Last Week’s Ranking-9

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (11-4): The Thunder have won eight of 10 and prepare for Harden’s first trip into town wearing a Houston Rockets jersey. Serge Ibaka has been a surprise on the offensive end, chipping in 14.5 points per game. Last Week’s Ranking-6

3. Miami Heat (10-3): The Heat have won four in a row and are 6-0 at home, which is good news for them considering the fact that they play only two road games between now and Christmas. Last Week’s Ranking-4

2. San Antonio Spurs (12-3): The Spurs are the first team to reach 12 wins and even without Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson they should keep on winning. What’s impressive is how good they are on the road, winning 27 of their last 31 away from home. Last Week’s Ranking-5

1. Memphis Grizzlies (10-2): After seeing the winning streak ended with a home loss to the Nuggets, the Griz rebounded nicely with a win against the Lakers. They didn’t look great against the Cavs, but have Detroit and Toronto coming up before a showdown with the Spurs. With Rudy Gay (among others) playing at an All-Star level, the Grizzlies will keep on winning. Last Week’s Ranking-1

Biggest Climb-Atlanta Hawks (+13)

Biggest Drop-Los Angeles Lakers (-8)