NBA Power Rankings: Spurs still atop rankings, Knicks making a push

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Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

20. Denver Nuggets (18, -2): The Nuggets’ season is in the tank, but they received even more bad news on Saturday when it was revealed that J.J. Hickson has a torn ACL.  Hickson becomes the third Denver player, along with Danilo Gallinari and Nate Robinson, to suffer that particular injury over the last 14 months.

21. Sacramento Kings (23, +2): Putting the Kings at 21st really exposes the bottom of the NBA for what it is — a filthy mess.  They can be fun to watch, and have a good young nucleus, but their 24-45 records guarantees them another lottery pick in this summer’s draft.  Let’s just hope they don’t screw things up like they did the past two years (i.e. Thomas Robinson, Ben McLemore).

22. New Orleans Hornets (24, +2): Anthony Davis is making a case for many future MVP Awards with his play this season.  The 20-year-old is averaging 21.6 points and 10.4 rebounds on the year, but an even more incredible 33.3 points and 13.7 boards over his last seven.  With 40 points and 21 rebounds vs. the Celtics on Sunday, Davis became the first player in franchise history with at least 40 and 20, and also became the third-youngest player to do so in NBA history.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers (19, -4): The Cavs’ playoff hopes were hanging on by a thread, but losing Kyrie Irving to a torn biceps muscle seals their fate.  Luol Deng is now dealing with an ankle injury and the biggest players at the trade deadline are now looking ahead to this summer’s draft.

24. Detroit Pistons (21, -3): Things just aren’t right in Detroit.  Mo Cheeks was a bad coach, but apparently Brandon Jennings doesn’t think so.  There are rumors circulating that the Pistons’ point guard has been playing poorly in protest of Cheeks’ firing.  How else can you explain his 9.4 points and 34.8 percent shooting over his last 14 games?  Oh right, he’s just not that good.  In all, the Jennings trade and Josh Smith signing were two ill-advised moves made by team president Joe Dumars and he should lose his job over it.

25. Boston Celtics (25, NC): Who doesn’t love to watch Rajon Rondo work his magic on a basketball court?  Sure, the Celtics are still pretty bad, but Rondo is back to his old tricks, averaging 11.1 points, 11.0 assists, and 1.2 steals in March.  And yes, his 33.3 percent shooting this month also qualifies as the “old” Rondo, as well.

26. Los Angeles Lakers (27, +1): Hey look, Nick Young and Steve Nash are back, and just in time to replace the injured Xavier Henry and Jordan Farmar!  Aaaaand 48 minutes later, Steve Nash is hurt again.

27. Orlando Magic (26, -1): At what point do the Magic decide to shut down Nikola Vucevic?  The talented center has missed 19 games this season with various injuries, including a sprained ankle and a concussion.  He aggravated his ankle injury last week and is still playing on it, but with the team looking to the future, they’d be smart to let their young star sit out the rest of the 2013-14 season.

28. Utah Jazz (28, NC): The Jazz have one lone victory in March and are getting outscored by 12.9 points during that span.  A shiny new lottery pick would look very nice next to Derrick Favors, Trey Burke, Enes Kanter (and possibly Gordon Hayward, if he re-signs).

29. Milwaukee Bucks (29, NC): They are destined for a top pick in the upcoming draft, but the question is: will it really matter?  This franchise seems to be in flux and unlike the team below them (the Sixers), they haven’t been stockpiling draft picks.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (30, NC): Philly as now run off 23 consecutive losses, the longest losing streak in franchise history.  That my friends, gets you to No. 30 in my power rankings.

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