Blog Entry

NBA Amatuer Power Rankings

Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:42 pm
All I know about the NBA is that the players are obnoxious and the fans are fickle. Oh, and also that this is the order of NBA teams, from strongest to weakest.

1. Chicago Bulls - It's hard to argue. They boast the League's best record, and they've done without ever really being at full strength. Losing Luol Deng will hurt, but this is by far the best defense in the NBA.

2. Philadelphia 76ers - Speaking of defense, these guys play it too. They also have the best point differential in the NBA. They may not have a superstar, but they boast eight players averaging at least 9 PPG. That's tough to defend.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder - They're 14-3, yet it somehow feels like they're not reaching their potential. That's pretty scary. It would be nice if Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka would have more impact on offense. Thabo Sefolosha is shooting 55% on his 3s.

4. Miami Heat - At some point, Dwyane Wade will come back and the Heat will resume bludgeoning people to death. LeBron is the MVP of the first three quarters, and that's usually enough for the defense to hold 'em off in the 4th. Miami v. Chicago will be a fun rematch in the Eastern Conference Finals.

5. Denver Nuggets - Their offense is explosive. Danilo Gallinari has been tremendous, and he'll start hitting his 3s soon too. Al Harrington would be the League's best 6th man if not for James Harden. The problem: Only the Kings and Bobcats give up more points per contest.

6. Atlanta Hawks - They have the 3rd best record in the NBA, and they're solid at both ends of the court. This year's 2nd round playoff exit might be even more painful than usual.

7. Portland Trail Blazers - They're 8-1 at home, but they'll need to improve on their 3-6 road mark. LaMarcus Aldridge belongs in the discussion for best power forward. Imagine this team with Greg Oden and Brandon Roy.

8. Memphis Grizzlies - Pretty frustrating team. At times, they look like omnipotent supermen capable of conquering the world. Other times, they look like they did last night in Portland. It's an immensely talented group and if Zach Randolph was healthy, I'd have them in the Western Conference Finals.

9. Orlando Magic - Another solid defensive group. Dwight Howard might be the MVP so far this season. Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson have had solid shooting years. Jameer Nelson on the other hand is under 40% from the field. They're solid on the road and that will make them dangerous in the playoffs (assuming Howard is still here by then).

10. Dallas Mavericks - Don't look now, but they've won 8 of 10. They're playing great defense, they're deep, and Dirk should be back soon. I think they'll be fine.

11. Indiana Pacers - They've fattened up on a pretty weak schedule, but they're certainly on their way to the playoffs. They have a deep rotation, they rebound, and they play solid defense. You'd like to see them score a little more.

12. Utah Jazz - I have no idea how they're playing this well. It's certainly incentive for the Nets to try the "trade Deron Williams" strategy. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are having nice seasons in the paint. I just don't see how they hang around, though.

13. Houston Rockets - Pay attention to Kyle Lowry. He's a budding superstar. They can score, but until they can play better defense on a regular basis, they won't be able to hang with the big boys. Samuel Dalembert has been a great addition.

14. Los Angelas Clippers - Blake Show, CP3, and the LA Hype Machine are off an running. DeAndre Jordan is averaging 3 blocks per game. That's pretty good. Clips are certainly capable of making the playoffs, and maybe even making a run once Chris Paul gets healthy.

15. San Antonio Spurs - They look unbeatable at home, but unfortuanately, there will be a lot more road games going forward. They don't play very well on defense and the offense isn't the same without Manu Ginobili. It sounds sacreligious, but this could be the odd team out in the West.

16. Los Angelas Lakers - In the interest of full disclosure, I hate the Lakers, and I'm happy to see them struggling. That said, they've played the NBA's toughest schedule and come out of it looking okay. Pau Gasol looks terrible. They're 1-6 on the road. Ouch. I still think they're a playoff team.

17. Boston Celtics - Through it all, they're still playing solid defense. Of course, they have by far the worst offense among the contenders. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen are too old and apart from Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass, there's really not much talent here. That's good enough for a 7-seed in the East.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves - The future is coming for this group. Kevin Love is a superstar, and Ricky Rubio and Derek Williams will join him soon enough. They've looked really good against a decent schedule. Rick Adelman has really done a nice job. They might be in the playoffs next season.

19. New York Knicks - If the season ended today, they would be in the postseason. That's how bad the East is. Melo strikes me as the type that would rather go for 40 in a loss than go for 1 in a win. Has there been a bigger disappointment this season than Amar'e Stoudemire?

20. Milwaukee Bucks - They've shown some signs of life lately on the road. They've struggles mightily shooting the ball this year. If they can correct that, I think they get in the playoffs. Someone needs to tell Stephen Jackson to stop shooting.

21. Golden State Warriors - Question: What's the record for 4th-quarter turnovers in a season? Follow-up question: Can the Warriors challenge that record in 66 games? Hey, they've had a tough schedule, and they've looked really strong at times. Their defense is still embarassing, but with guys like Monta Ellis, David Lee, and Steph Curry, they can sure score it.

22. Phoenix Suns - They're not only bad, they're old too. Only two players are in double figures, and the defense is average. Only Steve Nash stands between them and the bottom 5.

23. Cleveland Caveliers - They are no longer a pushover, and Kyrie Irving looks like a star in the making. Still, they're missing several pieces and they've lost 4 in a row. They're moving in the right direction. Another lottery pick next year could land them in the back end of the East Playoffs in 2012-2013.

24. Toronto Raptors - With Andrea Bargnani, they can be competitive. DeMar DeRozan looked like he was on the verge of a breakout last season, but he's gone ice cold so far this year. If that is corrected, and Bargnani stays healthy, they could have meaningful games ahead.

25. New Jersey Nets - Proof that you don't have to play solid defense to have a terrible offense. You know who's enjoying this? Jerry Sloan. The focus now is on getting Dwight Howard and beating Vladmir Putin.

26. New Orleans Hornets - Yes, I know the record is horrible, but they've been competitive against an absolutely brutal schedule without Eric Gordon. There's enough talent here to avoid being the worst in the West. Guys like Trevor Ariza, Carl Landry, and Emeka Okafor have too much pride to let that happen.

27. Sacramento Kings - I can't figure out how this team has 6 wins. It seems like they get crushed every night. Nice job stubbornly holding on the DeMarcus Cousins. I'm sure that's going to work out for the better. Jimmer is shooting 35%. Fear that.

28. Detroit Pistons - Watching a Pistons game is like watching Drake take on Evansville in the Missouri Valley Conference. They can play some defense, but there's no offense anywhere. It's brutal.

29. Charlotte Bobcats - Guess it wasn't Larry Brown's fault after all.

30. Washington Wizards - John Wall is playing better lately. Flip Saunders is out. It's a team full of stupid punks so 2-15 is about what you'd expect.
Category: NBA
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or