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HPA’s NBA Power Rankings: Warriors and Rockets Battle For Top Spot

HPA’s NBA Power Rankings: Warriors and Rockets Battle For Top Spot

Good morning, afternoon, evening, late-night Waffle House visit, whatever time of the day it is.

We all love list, right? Of course we do. Well how about we take a look at my NBA Power Rankings through the first 10 weeks of the season. Just looking is not enough for me though, let’s spice it up with some fun comparisons!

‘Tis the season, yes.

So whether you are the type of person that barrels into the Holidays like Russell Westbrook driving the lane or you like to have more of a Kyrie-esque flair to the Holidays, they are here.

30. Image result for atlanta hawks logo Atlanta Hawks: 7-24

The Hawks are most definitely in a transition period as they move on from the Al Horford/Paul Millsap years to a team that is not very talented and not very young either. With an average age of 26, which is 13th oldest in the league, Atlanta is in an odd limbo stage. Dennis Schroder continues to prove how good of an NBA player he is though. On another positive note(there aren’t many) Head Coach Mike Budenholzer has the Hawks moving the ball, 6th in assist per game this season.

This Week: @OKC, DAL, WAS

Holiday movie comparison – Christmas Caper, 2007

 

29. Image result for memphis grizzlies logo Memphis Grizzlies: 9-22

For starters, if you fire your coach in the first two months, your season is a disaster. That is exactly what Memphis did when they fired David Fizdale. An organization that has an image of success and worthy of up and coming teams modeling themselves after, despite major failures. Six coaches in the “Gasol-Conley” era, the worst free-agent contract of the last 10 years in Chandler Parsons, and only one WCF appearance(they were swept by the way). Memphis is 2-9 since J.B. Bickerstaff took over the coaching duties for the aforementioned Fizdale, so things have not improved. They probably wont either as Marc Gasol has begun showing signs of slowing down and Conley has dealt with an Achilles injury.

This Week: @PHX, LAC, @PHX, @LAL

Holiday movie comparison – Santa’s Slay, 2005

 

28. Image result for mavericks logo Dallas Mavericks: 9-23

Dirk Nowitzki is in the midst of his 20th season. Yes, his 20th season, oh he’s leaning towards a 21st season by the way. Unfortunately for Dallas, Nowitzki is having his worst statistical season since his rookie campaign, averaging just 11.6ppg and 5.6reb. Watching Dallas fall in to a pit in the final years of Dirk’s career has been tough to watch. Whether it has been Mark Cuban’s inability to land big free-agents or just natural selection, success is just not in the cards for the Mavs right now or in the near future. Speaking of future, boy-howdy has Dennis Smith Jr. been exciting? The guy can absolutely score and is an athletic beast. Oh, he also got a big endorsement from “The King” earlier this season. The issue though? He is sporting a PER of 11.6, which is about what a non-rotation player would have. He is playing 28mpg and continues to face a steep learning curve on defense.

This Week: @MIA, @ATL, TOR, @IND

Holiday movie comparison – Surviving Christmas, 2004

 

27. Image result for phoenix suns logo Phoenix Suns: 11-22

Reference the Memphis Grizzles to understand why this team is not having a good 2017-2018 thus far. Earl Watson was fired just 3 games into the season, yikes. That’s socks on Christmas awful. Wait, it is worse. It’s sporting event proposal bad. You know what else has been bad for the Suns? Players not wanting to be there, err…I mean at the hair salon, per Eric Bledsoe’s twitter.  Not only has the off-court been bad, so has the on-court, as the Suns are allowing 114.2ppg. ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN POINTS! It’s not as bad as some of those putrid Denver Nuggets’ teams from the 80’s and 90’s but it is still really bad. It’s been a really tough transition for rookie Josh Jackson too. I don’t have this Suns team lower however because I love the young talent they have. Booker, Len, and Warren? Sign me up!

This Week: MEM, MIN, MEM

Holiday movie comparison – I’ll Be Home For Christmas, 1998

 

26. Image result for sacramento kings logo Sacramento Kings: 11-20

Serious question, what is there to do in Sacramento other than going to a Kings game? Apparently not much as Kings’ fans have packed the Golden1 Center this season. Maybe to watch formerly great players like Vince Carter and Zach Randolph before they walk off into the sunset. Hold on, did I say “formerly great”? How about currently pretty-freakin good? Randolph has looked incredible in the month of December, averaging 20.1ppg and 10reb. The old guys aren’t all of the excitement either, Buddy Hield can shoot the lights out, De’Aaron Fox might be the fastest player in the NBA, and Jack Cooley is a person that exists. The downside? They’re horribly inefficient. Like really, really, REALLY bad. They are 29th in both defensive and offensive efficiency.

This Week: SA, @LAC, CLE

Holiday movie comparison – The Nutcracker in 3D, 2009

 

25. Related image Chicago Bulls: 10-20

If you asked me in October which team had the worst roster, I would have said the Chicago Bulls. I would have not hesitated or stuttered.  You can ask me that right now, in December and I would probably still say Chicago. For whatever reason though, the Bulls have been winning games this in December, which moves them up in my Power Rankings. Wins against Boston, Philadelphia and Milwaukee are part of a six game winning streak that the Bulls are currently riding. Yes, this team was 3-20 at one point. Nikola Mirotic has averaged 20ppg and 6.2reb since returning from a broken jaw he suffered in, um… a “work place accident”. Okay, Bobby Portis noticed Mirotic’s jaw was crooked and attempted to fix it. Crooked or not, Mirotic has a .670TS% in those five games since returning. Kris Dunn is finally starting to show that talent that scouts saw when he was a top-5 pick in 2016, so that’s neat for the Bulls.

This Week: @CLE, @BOS, @MIL, NYK

Holiday movie comparison – Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, 2000

 

24. Image result for orlando magic logo Orlando Magic: 11-21

There are two things that I want to acknowledge right away: Where in the hell did this Jonathon Simmons come from and Aaron Gordon looks like a future star in the NBA. The Magic were quick to realize the Serge Ibaka experiment was not working last year and traded him, this allowed Aaron Gordon to move back to his natural position at the 4. It has payed off big time for Gordon and the Magic. He is averaging 18ppg, 8reb, is shooting .490 from the field and 40% from 3. Those numbers are good enough to support a 19.9PER. That production has just not been enough to carry an average team however. The Magic were one of the surprises early in the season, winning 8 of their first 12 games. That means my math indicates they have lost 16 of their last 19. I can confirm that is not good.

This Week: NOLA, @WAS, @MIA

Holiday movie comparison – Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas, 1999

 

23. Image result for brooklyn nets logo Brooklyn Nets: 11-19

The Nets have taken that Brooklyn toughness and incorporated it into their game in 2017-’18. Should they be as good as they’ve been? Probably not. Do they have any stand-out players? No, not really. Brooklyn hopes that Jahlil Okafor can be that great player for them, that just has not worked out since the trade on December 7th. The Nets front office is even going as far as refusing to play Okafor until he is in better shape. This team does have an identity though. Shoot. A. Lot. Of. Threes. Not Houston quantity, but enough to have the 2nd highest 3-point rate in the league. If Brooklyn can get Okafor in shape and incorporate an inside-out attack similar to the Dwight Howard years in Orlando, they will continue to be a tough game for most teams. It is just too bad they’re still paying for Mikhail Prokhorov’s awful trade four years ago.

This Week: WAS, @IND, @SA, @NOLA

Holiday movie comparison – It Happened On 5th Avenue, 1947

 

22.Image result for charlotte hornets logo Charlotte Hornets: 11-20

Can we be honest for a minute? Yeah? Cool. I thought this Hornets team would be better than they have been through the first two months of the season. I liked the addition of Malik Monk’s outside shooting and Dwight Howard’s presence in the paint(even at his older age). It just hasn’t clicked for the teal and purple so far. Well, offensively at least. Charlotte is in the top half in defensive efficiency and are holding opponents to 51.3EFG%, good for 10th in the NBA. In my personal opinion, the biggest travesty in Charlotte is Kemba Walker having to play in that organization. No knock on the Jordan-led franchise, Walker just deserves so much more love on a national level and I’d love to see what he could do on a good team.

This Week: @MIL, MIL, BOS

Holiday movie comparison – Fred Claus, 2007

 

21. Image result for los angeles clippers logo Los Angeles Clippers: 12-18

How about those Los Angeles Clippers, err… I mean Los Angeles Rockets. No, wait. I was right the first time. After trading Chris Paul to Houston for essentially half of the team in Houston, the Clippers still had high hopes for ’17-’18. Blake Griffin stays in LA, you still have Deandre Jordan, then you add a bunch of good quality NBA players. It is tough to win when you can’t keep those players off the injury report though. Twelve different players have started a game this season for the Clip’ Show. Yugoslavian import Milos Teodosic has only played in six games, Griffin suffered a sprained MCL that has kept him out for the last three weeks, Patrick Beverly and Danilo Gallinari have only played in 11 games. You get the idea, they’re beat up. Those injuries have put quite the damper on what was an early 5-2 start to the season. It may be time to blow things up in LA before the move to Inglewood.

This Week: @HOU, @MEM, SAC

Holiday movie comparison – Jingle All The Way, 1996

 

20. Image result for los angeles lakers logo Los Angeles Lakers: 11-18

How gross is Lonzo Ball’s jumpshot? I mean it is pretty bad but the kid is good at this basketball thing. He is absolutely going through some growing pains in his rookie season but his court-vision and decision making has really impressed me. The first thing that comes to mind is the 107-104 win against Philadelphia in early December. Lonzo attacked the basket, the defense collapses and Ball passes to a wide open Brandon Ingram for the game winning three. The Lakers are the third youngest team in the NBA and incredibly athletic. They have the ability to score in bunches, ranking 11th in points per game at 106. They just aren’t very efficient in scoring, with a 50.4EFG% and rank in the bottom-three in offensive efficiency. I am thoroughly entertained by this team with Ball, Clarkson, Randle and of course that OTHER rookie doing things like this…

This Week: @GS, POR, MIN, MEM

Holiday movie comparison – Unaccompanied Minors 2006

 

19. Image result for utah jazz alternate logo Utah Jazz: 14-18

The Jazz are probably one of the bigger surprises this season. The losses of Gordon Hayward and George Hill seemed like they would plummet this team in to a tailspin, just one year after they finally put together a good regular season and made the playoffs. This team however has managed to stay relevant in the West through 10 weeks, thanks to the current(in my opinion) leader for Rookie of the Year, Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell is playing 30.1mpg and is scoring nearly 18 points per contest. Not to mention, he has some of the best handles in the league. Players guarding him need to be sure to double tape their ankles. Rudy Gobert has had injury issues this year and is currently on the shelf for at least three weeks with a PCL sprain. Coincidentally, Utah has actually been better with Gobert off the floor than when he is playing. Going 7-5 without him and 7-11 with him.

This Week: SA, OKC, @DEN, @GS

Holiday movie comparison – Rare Exports, 2010

 

18. Image result for miami heat logo Miami Heat: 15-15

A .500 team in the Eastern Conference is well in contention for a playoff spot up until the playoffs start and they aren’t invited. That’s exactly where Miami is at through 30 games, just outside of the playoffs. Currently sitting in the 9th seed, Miami is one of the teams that will shock me if they aren’t somewhere in those top-8 seeds come April. The key for this team is keeping Hassan Whiteside healthy, in the 15 games he has played this season Whiteside has a PER of 26.0. That puts him in elite company this season, ranking 9th best of all players. That’s better than guys like Porzingis, Embiid and Kyrie. The Heat just are not getting much from the other players on the roster. Dion Waiters is a fun player but his advanced metrics will show that he is a big detriment to the success of this team. “AND-1!”

This Week: DAL, NOLA, ORL

Holiday movie comparison – Trapped In Paradise, 1994

 

17. Image result for philadelphia 76ers logo Philadelphia 76ers: 14-16

Do you trust the process? You certainly should. Sam Hinkie is sitting somewhere on a beach drinking a Mai Tai, telling a local resident “hey, I’m the guy that laid the foundation for the future of the NBA”. I dare you to watch the duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and not get chills thinking about what they can do once they figure out NBA basketball. Embiid has continued to get better this season, showing flashes of MVP caliber talent. Simmons, jumpshot or not, is an elite athlete with Magic Johnson ability at 6’10”. Shipping a disgruntled Jahlil Okafor to Brooklyn has taken stress off of Head Coach Brett Brown. Trevor Booker’s production through 4 games with Philly is just an added bonus. The 76ers have hit a slide in December however, losing 7 of 9. They are middle of the pack in offense and defense, ranking 17th and 14th respectively. This is a team that should only continue to trend upwards, if they can stay healthy.

This Week: TOR, @TOR, @NYK

Holiday movie comparison – The Polar Express, 2004

 

16. Image result for new orleans pelicans logo New Orleans Pelicans: 15-16

Two and a Half Men: The Story of the 2017 New Orleans Pelicans. DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis have been incredible this season with PERs of 28.1(Davis) and 23.3(Cousins). The starting five are playing a lot of minutes through 31 games for NOLA and it may be effecting their defense. Four of the five starters are playing 32 or more minutes per game. Whether that is a direct coloration to the failures on defense or it’s just a lack of talent, the Pelicans are allowing 111.7ppg. Cousins and Davis can carry this team to a playoff appearance but it won’t go much further than that. Owner Tom Benson needs to make a move to bring in some quality talent this season to win consistently and more importantly to convince Boogie to stay in The Big Easy.

This Week: @ORL, @MIA, BKN

Holiday movie comparison – A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, 2011

 

15. Image result for denver nuggets logo Denver Nuggets: 16-15

A squad of quality NBA players but no great players, that’s been the Denver M.O. over the past few years. Some seasons it works out and others it just is not enough, this season has fallen… somewhere in between. They have basically alternated wins and losses through 30 games. Never winning more than three games in a row and yet to lose more than two in a row in 2017. Nikola Jokic has flashed great potential, one could make a solid argument that he is the best passer at the Center position. Jokic’s stat-line of 15.3ppg, 10.6reb and 4.4apg should have people talking about his talents more but he plays in a small-market and has missed a few games thus far. Speaking of injuries, the Nuggets will improve when Paul Millsap returns from a wrist injury sometime after the all-star break. Hopefully for Nuggets’ fans, Will Barton, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray will be enough help to keep Denver in the playoff race until the break.

This Week: @POR, @GS, UTAH, @MIN

Holiday movie comparison – Gremlins, 1984

 

14. Image result for detroit pistons logo Detroit Pistons: 17-14

I know what you’re wondering. Why is a team that is sitting in 4th place in the East ranked so low in The HPA PR? Simply put they just don’t excel on either side of the ball. Obviously Stan Van Gundy has this team playing hard every night and the effort is there and that has helped them to some wins. We are getting in to the territory in this list where each team ranks in the top-10 in either offensive or defensive efficiency. Detroit is 11th in defense and 15th offensively, thus they fall down a few spots for me. Much like Denver, Detroit does not have any flashy players, just a bunch of guys that play good basketball. Andre Drummond is still a beast on the boards with a rebound rate of 25.4 and 14.9 rebounds per game. Avery Bradley is doing Avery Bradley things in his first season as a Piston. You know, playing great defense and pretty good offense. His percentages are not great right now but Bradley is one of those players that has value you can’t measure with a box score.

This Week: NYK, IND

Holiday movie comparison – The Santa Clause, 1994

 

13. Image result for new york knicks logo New York Knicks: 16-14

Image result for unicorn emoji . Get it? What more do i need to say? The “Unicorn” Kristaps Porzingis has taken the departure of Carmelo Anthony and used it as motivation to take NYC and the NBA by storm. The “Latvian Hitman” is showing why New York took him 4th overall in 2015. With a stat-line of 25.5ppg, a .571TS% and 33.9% usage rate, Porzingis is making a case for dark-horse MVP. Porzingis has missed 6 games this season, New York is 1-5 in those games. Outside of Kristaps, Tim Hardaway Jr. is earning that big paycheck and Enes Kanter seems fueled by everything that happened to him during the summer. Hell, Jarrett Jack and Michael Beasley are even playing well this season. This Knicks team probably won’t get much better than where they are currently but they have Madison Square Garden electrified every night.

This Week: BOS, @DET, PHI, @CHI

Holiday movie comparison – Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, 1992

 

12. Image result for indiana pacers alternate logo Indiana Pacers: 18-14

Remember that time that OKC General Manager Sam Presti pulled a fast one on the Pacers? To quote Lee Corso, “NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!”. Victor Oladipo has played at an all-star level so far this season. He is scoring nearly 25ppg and shooting 48% from the field, his previous high from the field was .442 and he was taking 5 fewer shots a game. Domas Sabonis(the other player in the PG13 trade) is proving that he doesn’t believe in sophomore slumps. The former Gonzaga Bulldog is averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds a night in just 24.2mpg. Indiana has six players averaging 10 or more points per game, they are 2nd in the league in 3pt percentage and rank 6th in EFG% with a 53.6% mark. Outside of Myles Turner, who leads the NBA in blocks per game, the defense of Indiana leaves a something to be desired. They rank 18th in defensive efficiency.

This Week: BKN, @DET, DAL

Holiday movie comparison – Arthur Christmas, 2011

 

11. Washington Wizards: 17-14

John Wall has missed 11 games this season yet the Wizards managed to salvage a 5-6 record in those games. The biggest reason Washington was able to stay in the top-8 in the East was thanks to the play of Bradley Beal. Beal has continued the success he had in 2016-’17 into this season. His 29.4% usage rate is a career high, he is averaging 23.8ppg and a PER of 19.8 which is right on par with his season last year. The Wizards rank in the top 11 in offensive and defensive efficiency, so it’s not a lack of talent with this team. They have just not been able to win close games so far. Washington has a .333 win percentage in close games, that’s 26th worst in the league. As the season continues this team will separate themselves form the lesser teams in the East like Detroit and Miami.

This Week: @BKN, ORL, @BOS, @ATL

Holiday movie comparison – Trading Places, 1983

 

10.  Portland Trail Blazers: 16-15

“Double your pleasure. Double your fun. It’s the right one” The Doublemint double-trouble duo of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard have Portland right back playing competitive basketball in 2017. Both are averaging 20-plus points a game for the third consecutive season. The issue here is that it can be tough to win when your two best players have the same exact play style as one another. The Trail Blazers have not won more than 44 games since LaMarcus Aldridge left for San Antonio. Portland has the piece in the front-court with Jusuf Nurkic, who in his 47 games since joining Portland last season is averaging 15.1ppg and 8.8rpg. Portland should make the tough decision and ship McCollum or Lillard out sooner than later.

This Week: DEN, @LAL,

Holiday movie comparison – The Holly and The Ivy, 1952

 

09.  Oklahoma City Thunder: 16-15

When I started typing out these rankings I never expected Oklahoma City to make it into the top 10. They have been confusing to watch and the epitome of disappointment this season but here they are. A top 10 team despite being just one game over .500. If I would have done this list two or three weeks ago, OKC would have been in the bottom 10 or 12 teams. An 8-3 mark in December and a defense that is statistically elite has launched them up the rankings. Let me just throw some defensive numbers at you: 2nd in defensive efficiency, opponents are shooting 45.2%, and Roberson, Westbrook, George and Adams all rank in top 20 of NBA.com’s defensive win shares. The obvious key to OKC being a legit contender moving forward is the OK3 figuring out how to play together on offense.

This Week: ATL, @UTAH, HOU, TOR

Holiday movie comparison – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989

 

08. Image result for timberwolves logo Minnesota Timberwolves: 19-13

2017-’18 seems like it is going to be the year that the T’Wolves finally get back into the playoffs. It has been 13 seasons since Minnesota has played playoff basketball. Just imagine having a baby and being forced to wait until he/she hit puberty to watch a playoff basketball game. The success so far is due after acquiring Jimmy Butler over the summer and pairing him with Towns and Wiggins. Offensively they are a force to be reckoned with scoring 107.6ppg. The irony is they are horrible at defense. One would expect a Tom Thibodeau led team to play solid D but Minn. ranks in the bottom 10 of essentially every defensive statistical category. This could be a result of Thibs playing the starters so many minutes per night(all starters average 30+min). At this pace the Timberwolves will make the playoffs but Thibodeau may not be the coach in ’18-’19.

This Week: @PHX, @LAL, DEN

Holiday movie comparison – Remember The Night, 1940

 

07.  Milwaukee Bucks: 16-13

God bless. Have you seen the “Greek Freak”? If you haven’t it is much watch TV. Giannis Antetokounmpo (yes I ctrl+V’ed that) is putting up well… freak numbers through 10 weeks. 29.7ppg, 10.6reb, 4.6ast and 1.9stl per game are numbers that will win you the MVP most seasons, unfortunately there are a couple of guys playing historical seasons elsewhere. I am going to gush over Giannis for a just a few more moments: 31.2PER, 61.3TS% and has 15 double doubles. Adding Eric Bledsoe has provided Giannis with an athletic partner that can run the floor and attack defenses. This team will only get better once they get Jabari Parker back from a torn ACL that has kept him out since last season.

This Week: CHA, @CHA, CHI

Holiday movie comparison – Elf, 2003

 

06.  Cleveland Cavaliers: 23-9

LeBron James just doesn’t stop. He will turn 33 years old on December 30th and if you watch him play he looks like he is still in his prime. That is because he IS still in his prime. Just compare him to the other stars drafted in the same class as him: Wade and Melo are shells of their former selves(neither can jump over a phone book) and Bosh can’t even play for free(medical problems, I know). Despite his peers nearing the end of their careers, James is having the best season he’s had in a few years. His true shooting percentage is an unbelievable .658, he’s posting his highest plus/minus since 2012-2013 and he’s doing things like this! *see below* The only thing keeping this Cleveland team from being higher is their 6-7 start to the season. This post is ranking teams through the first 10 weeks and they were not good for 3 of those weeks. Isiah Thomas is shooting for a January return and it will be interesting to see the dynamic between LeBron and I.T.

This Week: CHI, @GS, @SAC

Holiday movie comparison – A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965

 

05.  San Antonio Spurs: 22-10

I promise that I’m not lying when I tell you the Spurs are 21-10 and Kawhi Leonard has only played in 3 games this season. To add to how impressive San Antonio has been this season, they are 1-2 since Leonard returned to action. The Spurs playing good basketball is one of the biggest cliches in sports, right up there with the Browns getting a new QB. In typical Spurs’ fashion Gregg Popovich has everybody on the roster playing well and each player knows their roles. LaMarcus Aldridge is playing like he’s back in Portland, he has looked healthy and dominant on the block. He is deserving of an all-star nod for carrying the load while Kawhi was out and he has the numbers to back it up. Here’s to watching Manu left-handed layups until he is deep in to his sixties!

This Week: @Utah, @SAC, BKN

Holiday movie comparison – A Christmas Story, 1983

 

04.  Boston Celtics: 26-8

Five minutes. That’s how many minutes Gordon Hayward has played as a Boston Celtic. After a very active summer the Celtics seemed poised to overtake an aging Cavs team. Adding Kyrie Irving, Hayward and drafting Jason Taytum put this team in the same league as Golden State and Cleveland, it’s just too bad all they got were those five minutes. Kyrie wanted to be first fiddle on a team, tired of being the second option. Well he has proven that he is more than capable of being the man. He is shooting a career high .493 from the field and averaging 24.4ppg. Boston is also in the elite category on defense, ranking 1st in defensive efficiency and 2nd in points allowed per game and opponent fg%. If by some miracle Hayward is able to return by the playoffs, Boston could return to The Finals for the first time since 2010.

This Week: @NYK, CHI, WAS, @CHA

Holiday movie comparison – It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946

 

03.  Toronto Raptors: 21-8

In a league where the term “mid range” causes analytical nerds(that includes me) to grimace with disdain, the Raptors thrive on the mid range. DeMar DeRozan is taking 32% of his shots from the 10-16ft range and is converting on 50.3% of those attempts. The average distance of his shots are about 12.3ft. Compare that to teammate Kyle Lowry who takes a three 63.1% of the time he shoots. My point here is that DeRozan is an elite scorer that is playing in the wrong era if he wants real recognition. Yet, this Raptors team is very good again, something that has become expected in Toronto. They are the only Eastern Conference team to rank in the top 5 in offensive and defensive efficiency. They have a 54.6EFG%, 5th best in the league, and a +8.5 point differential this season. The next closest team to that point differential in the East is Boston with a +5.3. Also, can we petition to have Drake be the full time sideline reporter?
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK6eEPQMOEs]

This Week: @PHI, PHI, @DAL, @OKC

Holiday movie comparison – How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 2000

 

02.  Golden State Warriors: 25-6

At any point in the last three years have the Warriors not been number one in a power rankings poll? Having them at number two isn’t to say they aren’t the best team in the NBA on December 21st, they are just 1B. Twelve different players have started a game for the Warriors this season. Twelve. This team is just so deep that they can get production from guys like Jordan Bell, JaVale McGee and a 37 year old David West. Speaking of David West, he is posting a career high in PER at 25.1, his total rebound percentage is the best it’s been since his rookie season and he’s averaging 25.8 points and shooting 64.7% per 100 possessions. The fact that I don’t even need to mention Curry, Durant, Thompson or Green should tell you how good this Warriors team is.

This Week: LAL, DEN, CLE, UTAH

Holiday movie comparison – The Muppet Christmas Carol, 1992

 

01.  Houston Rockets: 25-5

The knock on Houston for the last three or four years was their inability to play defense. Well they addressed that issue this off season when they brought in PJ Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. The Rockets have rocketed(get it?) to 7th in defensive efficiency in 2017. The last time they were top 10 in defensive efficiency was the 2008-2009 season. The difference between that ’08 Rockets team and the ’17 team is the elite offense that Mike D’Antoni puts out every game. Houston has a +11.3 point differential per game, which would put them in elite company if they manage to keep the pace up. Speaking of elite company, James Harden through 30 games is making a major statement for finally winning the MVP. An incredible 30.2PER would put him in a category with only 10 other players that posted a PER of 30.0 or higher. Then add in Chris Paul who has fit in perfectly with Houston and Clint Capela who only continues to improve as a player and thrive in the D’Antoni system. Has this team through 10 weeks proven they can beat Golden State in a 7 game series? No. They have proven they can play with anybody and are a fun team to watch though. Cheers to more power rankings and more crossovers!

This Week: LAC, @OKC

Holiday movie comparison – Miracle on 34th Street, 1947

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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