Tag:NBA Power Rankings
Posted on: February 21, 2012 9:24 pm
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NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 10

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

Even with all the hype, Jeremy Lin and the Knicks aren't getting their due. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the tenth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Houston Rockets at No. 9. I want to get excited about the Rockets too. They're an intriguing bunch of over-achievers with almost-stars in Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. But no way are they top 10 material quite yet. They are good at home but haven't been able to prove themselves much on the road. A 6-10 mark away from the Toyota Center has to improve if this group is to make a good case to be mentioned among the Western elite. -- RY

2. Too Low: New York Knicks at No. 15. Gauging the Knicks is all about how you want to look at the sample. They're 1-2 in their last three and they're 16-17 on the season, but they're also 9-4 in their last thirteen. All indications are that this is an above-average team that's put its early-season woes behind it. Working Carmelo Anthony back in after injury and adding J.R. Smith to the formula won't be a completely straightforward process, but this is a team that should be at least two spots higher. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 14. We seem to go through this every week, but there's no chance that Minnesota should be this high, given that they're below .500, ranked above the Portland Trail Blazers, currently a game up on them, and still reside in last place of the Northwest Division. This week, they're not all that drastically overrated but placing them above New York, Portland, Memphis and Boston was a big with the heart, not the mind. Or maybe a pick made with googley eyes at Ricky Rubio. Whatever the reason, overrated. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Golden State Warriors at No. 23. Among the bottom ten teams in the league, Golden State seems the least awful. They're 5-5 in February, which counts as positive momentum after a slow start. Written off by many as early as mid-January, the Warriors are just four games out of the No. 8 playoff seed in the ultra-packed Western Conference, and even though they're 12th in the West, their No. 7 ranked offense provides enough reason to believe that they will land closer to the playoff fringes than the basement. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: San Antonio at No. 4. After back-to-back weeks of having the Spurs too low, it looks like they're finally in the right spot. Not quite as good as the Thunder, who own the West currently and certainly not among the Heat and Bulls. But absolutely a top five team with a look in them to make a strong push for the West's top spot before it's all said and done. They briefly got back Manu Ginobili, only to lose him again for a few weeks. No bother. The Spurs will just keep on. -- RY

6. Wild Card: Denver Nuggets at No. 11. At one point, it was nearly universally agreed upon that this team was legit contender material and a threat to the Thunder in the West. Then everyone started getting hurt and they started losing games by the bunches. What would've been a defining win against OKC Sunday was snuffed out by Kevin Durant. The Nuggets have shown they're almost good enough, but not quite there. If Danilo Gallinari can lift his game to another level when he returns, this could be a group to make a big Western push. -- RY
Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:53 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 5:00 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 6

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

memphis-grizzlies

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the sixth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 6. I was as impressed as anyone by the Grizzlies comeback over the Warriors. But not by Memphis. I was impressed at the complete unraveling the Warriors pulled off. Playing that terrible and blowing a 20-point fourth quarter lead isn't easy to do. The Grizzlies have endured injury and have stayed afloat in the West winning seven straight, but without Zach Randolph, that team is not six material. Their toughness is nice and it's a good story that they're fighting, but six of those seven wins are against sub .500 teams and the Bulls without Derrick Rose. So let's pump those brakes. -- RY

2. Too Low: Orlando Magic at No. 10. Look up the term "recency bias" in an encyclopedia and you will find this headshot of Matt Moore accompanying the explanation. Yes, the Magic were historically awful on Monday night but if we've learned one lesson over the last month, it's that there will be the occasional super-ugly shooting night where great teams look terrible. This team has posted exceptional offensive efficiency numbers through the first month of the season; their body of work on that end is beyond reproach. They clocked the Lakers, dumped the Knicks and handled the Bobcats last week too. There's no way there are nine teams in the NBA better than the Magic. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: Toronto Raptors at No. 27. OK, so they're 27th in the rankings. But that's too high. See, that's the challenge of power rankings. There has to be a hierarchy, when in reality, it might just be better to have five teams tied at 29. Because right now, the Wizards are the clear worst team with about five others stacked up right together for the honor of second worst. The Raptors have lost eight straight and look rather hopeless. To give them the credit of saying they are any better than 29, or even 28, is giving them far too much reward. -- RY

4. Most Overlooked: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 11. The No. 3 seed in the league's premier conference ranks No. 11 out of 30 teams here. That definitely makes sense. Come on, the Clippers are still benefitting from having a home-loaded schedule and a slow ramp up to the season but they were above .500 last week and within a buzzerbeater of going 4-1. They have premier wins over the likes of Los Angeles and Miami and have weathered an extended Chris Paul injury better than anyone could have reasonably expected. They could slip as the 10 home games vs. four road games disparity tightens up, but give them some credit now. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 2. Catastrophic injury or apathy seems to be the only ways OKC will drop from the top-3 spots in the Power Rankings all season. They've won at home and on the road, they've beaten good teams and bad, and they've dominated in conference play. Russell Westbrook's contract status is settled. All that's left to do is nitpick the play of the lower rotation players until the playoffs finally arrive. A postseason rematch versus Denver at some point sounds like a mighty appetizing idea, doesn't it? -- BG 

6. Wild Card: Houston Rockets at No. 14. I hate it when people do this, but if the playoffs started today (why would they, it's January?) the Rockets would be the eight-seed. That's right, the Rockets, who everyone thought was terrible and underachieving to start the year. Now that they've moved past a killer start to their schedule, they've won games they should and are two games up on .500. It's hard to know if they're good or if this is just a product of beating teams you should, but the Rockets likely will figure into the Western playoff race down the stretch in some regard. -- RY
Posted on: January 3, 2012 2:37 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 3

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

durant-pull-up

The 2011-2012 NBA season has officially entered 2012. With that comes the third installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 1. This week's Power Rankings made it through exactly zero spots before being completely wrong. Both Oklahoma City and Miami have one loss. OKC's loss is to the four-loss Dallas Mavericks, ranked No. 19 this week (No. 29 last week, don't think we forgot about that). Miami's loss was to one-loss Atlanta, ranked No. 4 this week. Sure, Miami lost to the Hawks at home, but they also did exactly what OKC couldn't: beat Dallas in Dallas, thumping the Mavericks on Christmas Day. OKC is dealing with reports of teammate-on-teammate verbal violence while Miami is humming along like a group of really, really athletic Boy Scouts. This one is indefensible. -- BG

2. Too Low: Miami Heat at No. 2. Let's be clear: the Heat are not infallible. A Dwyane Wade foot injury and an awful 4-for-17 shooting night against the Hawks provide some consternation. But the body of work is absolutely there. The Heat are No. 4 in offensive efficiency and No. 9 in defensive efficiency, a ranking sure to rise. As it stands, both rankings are better than the Thunder. Pick an advanced statistic -- rebounding rate, true shooting percentage, turnover percentage and assist rate -- and Miami is better than Oklahoma City. South Florida, stand up. For the first time in years I have your back. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: Atlanta Hawks at No. 4. They beat the Heat. Good for them. No seriously, good for them. But are the Hawks really a top four team? The same Hawks team that did virtually nothing except add Tracy McGrady and lose Jamal Crawford in the offseason. Let's keep our heads here on the Hawks. They're the same old Hawks that are just good enough to keep our attention but not quite good enough to actually be in the conversation. -- RY

4. Most Overlooked: Chicago Bulls at No. 3. The lively debate over the No. 1 spot didn't include Chicago, and it probably should have. It's hard to be overlooked at No. 3 but I'd argue that's the case. Derrrick Rose had about as good of a game as you can have last Friday against Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers, and it barely made waves, lost in the New Year's celebration. Chicago has been winning ugly and they didn't drop jaws throughout their Christmas Day victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the same manner that Miami and Oklahoma City did. They're still smarting from that first impression a bit. With a 3-1 West coast road trip, they had the toughest schedule of the top-3 teams and they handled it in typically professional style. Look for Chicago to remain at No. 3 or higher for the foreseeable future. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: Washington Wizards at No. 30. Holy crap, they are so bad. Monday's game in Boston was finally somewhat competitive, but it's simple: John Wall has to be excellent if the Wizards are going to compete. Right now, he's playing average basketball. With Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and whoever else running with Wall, that roster isn't good enough to win unless Wall takes them to a higher level. They are the NBA's worst and there isn't a doubt about it. -- RY

6. Wild Card: San Antonio Spurs at No. 10. The Spurs came out of the gates working people over like their old selves. They looked to be well on their way to another year of everyone doubting them while they just owned the West. Except after a dominant 2-0 start, the Spurs have dropped games to Houston and the Wolves, while not being all that competitive in either games. Plus, Manu Ginobili broke his hands. The Spurs could be a top five team, but they could also fall way past that. -- RY
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Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:39 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 1:52 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 2

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

denver-nuggets-pr

The 2011-2012 NBA season is a few days old, and with that comes the second installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Denver Nuggets at No. 2
. I realize it's easy to get excited about the Nuggets. They whipped the defending champs in their opener. But after one game we're moving them all the way to No. 2? After one game, they jump 12 spots? I think it's probably more overrating the Mavs than it is the Nuggets, because Denver's win over Dallas wasn't that impressive. The Mavs are uninterested, unmotivated and unhungry (is that a word?) right now. They're coasting. And they probably aren't even as good as they were last year. Yeah the Nuggets looked good in their takedown of the Dirks, but geez, I think we're getting a little ahead of ourselves here in having Denver jump Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the Clippers. -- RY

2. Too Low: Los Angeles Lakers at No. 23 
Just when Royce got done scolding for over-correcting on the Nuggets, there's the Lakers, who dropped 18 spots by virtue of losing a tight one to No. 6 ranked Chicago on Christmas under bizarre late-game circumstances and getting picked off by a hungry Kings team on the second night of the back-to-back. That places Kobe/Pau/company six spots behind the Toronto Raptors and seven spots behind the Charlotte Bobcats. Come on. Maybe the last five years or so should have a touch more bearing than the last 48 hours in weighing the relative merits of these organizations. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: New York Knicks at No. 5. The Knicks took down a wounded Celtics team at home on opening day. They looked solid at times, sure. But is this New York team truly in the class of the NBA? Is it really top five material, with point guards named Toney Douglas and... Toney Douglas? (OK, so I know Mike Bibby is on the team too, but he doesn't count.) The Knicks are a quality squad but there's a burning desire in many to crown them a contender, but I think that's premature. -- RY

4. Most Overlooked: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 26
. I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself here, but after watching the Wolves compete  against the top-notch Thunder, I came away impressed. Rick Adelman has made a difference, Ricky Rubio is fun and between Derrick Williams and Kevin Love, there's some real talent there. Minnesota hasn't necessarily done anything to deserve being higher than 26 because you need to actually win to move up. Moral victories don't count. But fourth to last? This Wolves team won't be in the bottom five for long. -- RY

5. Sure Thing: Miami Heat at No. 1.
 Miami looked so good in routing the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day that the general reaction around the league seemed to be to just pretend it didn't happen. Outside of the Oklahoma City Thunder, it's difficult to imagine any NBA team being able to keep pace in a 7-game series, Bulls, Celtics, Clippers and Lakers included. Here's hoping Miami keeps its foot on the gas all season long. The Hated Ones can do some amazing things. -- BG

6. Wild Card: Houston Rockets at No. 25
. The middle-of-the-pack Western Conference teams are likely headed for a rollercoaster ride on this year's power rankings, and Houston probably gets to be the first poster boy for that phenomenon here. They start near the gutter but still have enough talent to work their way into the top-15 in fairly short order. But would you bet your money on it happening? -- BG
Posted on: December 21, 2011 1:39 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 1:39 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

los-angeles-clippers

The 2011-2012 NBA season starts on Sunday, and with that comes the inaugural batch of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 7
Let's pump the brakes just a bit on the Grizzlies bandwagon right now. They look good and they made a lot of noise in the postseason, but how much of that was overachievement? How much of that was because of favorable matchups? The Grizzlies could be a really nice team, but a top eight power? I'm not ready to go there until they show they're actually something to be taken seriously. -- RY

2. Too Low: Portland Trail Blazers at No. 17 The Blazers had about as sucky an offseason as you could have. And we're talking about the Blazers here, a team that's had their fair share of sucky things. Greg Oden had his annual setback, Brandon Roy retired and the team still doesn't have a general manager. That said, Jamal Crawford is a perfect signing, LaMarcus Aldridge may be the West's best power forward and Nate McMillan seems to keep winning despite all the crap that falls down around him. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Boston Celtics at No. 6 The roster is worse at virtually every position, injuries are mounting and Father Time is grasping to claim this group with both hands. The Celtics were dropkicked out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat, and the gap between the two teams has transformed into a canyon. The Big 4 can still get it done but they aren't scaring teams like they once did. It's possible to show the veterans too much respect, and that's what happened here. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Indiana Pacers at No. 12
The small-market Pacers have the best roster that no one is talking about. With talent at all five positions, a former All-Star added to the mix in David West plus expected growth from Paul George, Indiana could wind up being a top-5 team in the East. Their frontcourt has sneaky depth thanks to Jeff Foster, Jeff Pendergraph, Lou Amundson and Tyler Hansbrough, four guys who will do the dirty work and make life easier for West and franchise guy Danny Granger. More credit due! -- BG

5. Sure Thing: Toronto Raptors at No. 30 They stink. There's no way around it. I like DeMar DeRozan. I like Andrea Bargnani. I like Dwane Casey. I want to like the Raptors. But they aren't going to be good. -- RY

6. Wild Card: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 9 Take one look at the highlights from their preseason opening win over the Lakers and it's tempting to think the Clippers should be much higher than the No. 9 spot. Is No. 3 or No. 4 really out of the question for the league's latest and greatest flavor of the month? Of course, it's one thing to fill up highlight tapes and it's another to stack up wins. Where the Clippers settle in the West's hiearchy will be one of the biggest NBA questions to watch in January. -- BG
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com