The PnR NBA Power Rankings Week 22 has a different look for this go-around. We’re presenting you the Association’s landscape from a different lens. The Golden State Warriors have been the best team in the Association from the beginning of the season and they will be when the regular season is over. Teams like the Rockets and Cavaliers are starting to live up to preseason expectations, even if the path taken wasn’t the one shown on the map.
The teams that are winning streaks of three games or more: Warriors (9), Clippers (7), Rockets (4), Blazers (4), Spurs (3), Bulls (3), Nets (3)
The teams that are losing streaks of three games or more: Knicks (7), Timberwolves (4), Suns (4), Magic (3), Sixers (3)
NBA Power Rankings 2014/15 Week 22
This group of teams is built for a championship. (Last week’s record)
1. Golden State (4-0)
2. San Antonio (3-1)
3. Cleveland (2-1)
4. Atlanta (1-2)
5. LA Clippers (3-0)
6. Houston (4-0)
7. Memphis (1-3)
The Spurs imposed their will upon opponents last week; the only blemish was a road loss in Dallas which they avenged by putting the clamps on the Mavericks – holding them to 76 points in the process. They look ready to defend their NBA title. Are the Hawks making a mistake by giving their starters so many days off? By doing so, they’ve conceded home court to Golden State should they meet up in the playoffs. By dominating the Eastern Conference for much of the season, they could possibly turn a positive into a detriment if they face a team that enters the playoffs hungrier than they are. Dwight Howard has returned from injury for Houston to play Robin to potential MVP James Harden’s Batman but he’s on a minutes restriction leading up to the playoffs. His presence on the defensive end makes the Rockets a prime candidate to crash the party.
They are going to be a problem for the top group but something is missing for a championship run.
8. Portland (3-1)
9. Chicago (3-0)
10. Oklahoma City (2-2)
The Bulls have proven over the years that if you don’t show them some respect, they will make you earn it. Their style of play is geared for the post season. With or without Derrick Rose, they have the goods to make it to the Eastern Conference finals and maybe beyond. The Thunder won’t make as much noise without Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka, so it’s a good thing for them Sam Presti loaded the roster with reinforcements at the trade deadline. A potential Oklahoma City vs. Golden State presentation for the first round is must-see TV.
We’re under achievers that will be happy to make it out of the first round.
11. Dallas (1-2)
12. Toronto (1-2)
13. Washington (1-3)
The Wizards appear to be a team that is uninterested in playing basketball right now. Randy Wittman needs to figure out how to motivate this team before the playoffs begin because few teams have the ability to flip the switch. The same thing can be said about the Raptors; they were the best team in the weaker conference for the opening third of the season. It appears Toronto forgot about the work it took to reach that level of success.
Will miss the playoffs and are exhibits A and B for the NBA realignment argument.
14. New Orleans (2-1)
15. Phoenix (0-3)
Both of these teams have played well enough to be the sixth seed in the East. But since they aren’t, the Suns likely squandered their post season hopes by going winless last week; inconsistency has been their downfall all year. Phoenix needs to look no further than their front office for blowing up the team when things were going well. The Pelicans on the other hand, have been plagued by injuries, yet they have an outside chance of extending their season if they can get hot and hope that the Thunder folds under the pressure.
Fighting for a playoff position in the East but really don’t deserve to play more than 82 games.
16. Milwaukee (2-1)
17. Brooklyn (3-1)
18. Miami (2-2)
19. Boston (2-2)
20. Indiana (2-2)
21. Charlotte (1-3)
All of these little fish are just swimming around in the water but will eventually get gobbled up by a bigger one in the first round. The Bucks, on the strength of their pre all-star break performance, will be in the playoffs. The Heat seems to have a solid hold on a position for now but is just a Dwyane Wade ding away from losing its grip. That eight seed rotates day by day; if I were to handicap the remaining teams in this group, I would place the best odds with the Nets because they have seven of the final 10 games to be played in the Barclays Center.
Have already made reservations for that island resort.
22. Utah (1-3)
23. Detroit (2-1)
24. Sacramento (2-1)
25. Denver (1-2)
26. LA Lakers (1-3)
27. Orlando (0-2)
28. Philadelphia (1-3)
29. Minnesota (1-3)
30. New York (0-4)
Highlight reels like the Andrew Wiggins clip above are the types of things that provides solace for a struggling organization. It is the reason why a fan base of a storied and historically successful franchise like the Lakers are on board with its team losing as many games as possible. The sentiment is that if you’re going to be bad, don’t just be less than mediocre, be very bad in order to have a chance of being good again. The Knicks have been very successful at being unsuccessful and that is completely okay with everyone associated with that team. This ideology will continue to be embraced until the league restructures the draft process.