Tuesday, April 6, 2010

NBA Power Rankings-The Playoff Push Is On

1. CLV (61-17)-The Cavs are in cruise control after locking up home court and after LeBron locked up his second straight MVP.

2. ORL (55-23)-Boston's struggles and Atlanta's inexperience lead many to believe it will be a rematch between the Cavs and Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals.

3. LAL (55-22)-I'm still not sold. They lose 3 of 4 then they get a must win at home against a very good Utah team but then follow that up with a 19 point loss at home to the Spurs. Kobe and Pau have been great, it's time for Odom and Artest to step up.

4. PHO (51-27)-They won 10 straight then lost at Milwaukee on Saturday but rebounded with a good win Wednesday against the Spurs. Since the all-star break Amare has been the best big man in the NBA without question. This could be Nash's last chance at a ring if Amare leaves this off-season.

5. Utah (51-28)-They are one of four 51 win teams battling for that #2 seed in the West. Their remaining schedule is favorable, they play 2 sub .500 teams on the road and have the Suns at home to close the season.

6. DEN (51-27)-Even without Kenyon Martin, the Nuggets are in prime position to get that #2 seed in the West and win the Northwest Division. They have gone 11-6 without him as Melo and Billups are still one of the best duo's in the league.

7. OKC (48-28)-They win 4 straight, including road wins over Boston and Dallas. Then they lose two games by a total of 5 points to Utah (In OT due to a last second no call) and to DEN. I can't wait to see who this young Thunder team will play in the first round of the playoffs. Kevin Durant has surpassed Tim Duncan and Dirk as the best player in the Southwest Division.

8. ATL (49-29)-So quietly consistent. They just win. They are fighting with Boston for the #3 seed in the East. They've lost 3 of 4 though, which includes a loss Wednesday night to Detroit. Final 4 games are TOR, @WAS, @MIL, and CLV. It's time for the Hawks to lock it up.

9. DAL (51-27)-Oh wow, how a blowout home loss to the New York Knicks can change a season. A month ago the Mavs were the hottest team in the league riding a 13 game winning streak. Then they lose tot he lowly Knicks and now they've lost 5 of 10. From easily being the #2 seed in the West, to fighting for the division title. Dallas is looking like the Villanova of the NBA.

10. BOS (49-29)-They almost blew a must win game against Cleveland on Sunday. They are tied with Atlanta for the #3 seed in the East with 4 games to go. The Celtics just look out of sync at times. They play Milwaukee twice before the season ends and then they might play them again in the first round of the playoffs.

11. MIA (44-34)-They are the hottest team in the East having won 9 straight and 12 of 14. DWade is playing at his usual superstar level. The Heat have a playoff spot locked up and will play either the Hawks or Celtics in the first round. Both teams would rather see the Bucks than DWade and company.

12. SA (47-30)-4 straight wins including wins over the Lakers and Magic followed by a loss Wednesday night at Phoenix. George Hill has played great in the absence of Tony Parker and Manu and Timmy are playing like they are 8 years younger. Look out West, the Spurs might have one more run at the title in them.

13. POR (48-30)-With all of the injuries and lineup changes, Nate McMillen has to get Coach of the Year for having a team that could end up with 50 wins. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the healthiest player in Portland (74 games) and his 17.6 points and 8 boards have gone a long way.

14. MIL (44-34)-The Bucks have a candidate for Rookie of the Year (Brandon Jennings), Coach of the Year (Scott Skiles) and Most Improved Player (Andrew Bogut), if their was an award for mid-season acquisition of the year John Salmons would easily win that.

15. CHR (42-36)-They Bobcats clinched their first playoff berth in franchise history. Who deserves more thanks, Larry Brown or Stephen Jackson?

16. CHI (37-40)-The Bulls are so so close to that 8th and final spot in the East. Showdown in Toronto Sunday against Bosh-less Raptors could put Bulls back in the playoffs. The final stretch is tough 3 of 5 final opponents are playoff bound (CLV, BOS and @CHR).

17. HOU (40-38)-The Rockets beat the Grizz on Tuesday night in the "Battle of the Best Teams NOT going to the 2010 playoffs." They followed that up with a win over the Jazz. If I had a vote for the Most Improved Player I would give it to Aaron Brooks. Brooks and Kevin Martin are starting to click together.

18. MEM (39-39)-Geographically the city of Memphis is almost as far east as Chicago and Milwaukee. If the Memphis Grizzlies were in the Eastern Conference, they'd probably be in the playoffs this year. Zach Randolph deserves Comeback Player of the Year.

19. TOR (38-40)-Conspiracy theory anyone. It's like the Raptors are going out of their way to NOT make the playoffs right now. It's like they realize that Chris Bosh is likely leaving this off-season and if they do make the playoffs the Heat will have their first round pick. The Heat already got the better end of the Jermaine O'Neal-Shawn Marion trade and there's a chance Chris Bosh could end up in Miami this summer. So I think the Raptors are losing on purpose just to prevent the Heat from getting their first round draft pick this year. Then Bosh gets hit in the face against Cleveland and is now going to miss the rest of the season. Conspiracy I tell you.

20. NO (35-44)-Why did CP3 even bother coming back. He is clearly not the same player. In the 7 games since his return he's averaging 9.4ppg and exactly 8apg in 34 minutes a night. Even more the Hornets are 2-5 since his return. He needs to rehab this off-season and return to his old form next year.

21. IND (30-48)-They can build around Granger and Brandon Rush but they need a center and a point guard.

22. NY (28-50)-Danilo Gallinari is playing great. He's scored over 20 in 5 of the past 9 games. David Lee is still their best player, but is he in their long-term plans? We'll find out this summer.

23. LAC (27-51)-The Clippers starting line-up on Wednesday night was Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Rasual Butler, Drew Gooden, and Chris Kaman. The line-up next year should include Blake Griffin, a top 10 draft pick (hopefully a SF like Al-Farouq Aminu or Wesley Johnson) and maybe a top free agent. The Clipps need change. Davis' time in LA is running out quick.

24. PHL (26-52)-It seems like only yesterday the 76ers were in the NBA Finals and AI was the best player in the NBA. That was almost 10 years ago. It seems like only last week Donovan McNabb was the Eagles starting QB. Oh wait that was last week. All the City of Brotherly Love has now is the hopes that the Phillies can win the NL again.

25. GS (24-54)-Congrats to Don Nelson on becoming the NBA's all-time wins leader as a coach. Now all he has to do is turn the Warriors around. They need to build around Stephen Curry and get rid of Monta Ellis.

26. SAC (24-54)
-Tyreke Evans is the man. Tyreke Evans needs the Kings to get some talent on demand. Tyreke Evans will bring the Rookie of the Year home. But Tyreke Evans is all alone. Get Tyreke some help Sacramento!

27. WAS (24-54)
-The Widards stink. On a positive note JaVale McGee is starting to play like a first round pick should and the Redskins got McNabb.

28. DET (25-53)-Detroit What? The lowly Pistons have won 2 games in a row! All joking aside, Jonas Jerebko has been a very pleasant surprise as a rookie.

29. MIN (15-63)
-They NEED Evan Turner in the worst way. Corey Brewer's improvement this year has been about the only good thing in Minnesota.

30. NJ (11-67)-This past season was beyond dismal. 2011 can be a very good season if they:
A) Get a good coach
B) Draft John Wall or Evan Turner
C) Sign a top free agent
D) All of the above
D could be the right answer with a cool Russian billionaire owner and around 30 million and cap space. The Draft will depend on if the Nets win the lottery. Their due to win something.

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