There wasn’t much change at the bottom of the NBA hierarchical ladder as bad teams stay bad and are bad for a reason. Or reasons. There are two teams that are head and shoulders above the rest of the league: the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. They are the only teams with at least 40 wins and both squads rank in the top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency. Right below them is the Memphis Grizzlies, who have 38 wins and also rank in the top 10 in both of the efficiency metrics. Good teams win and Memphis has done plenty of that. Great teams cover, though, and the Grizzlies are Tony the Tiger Grrrreeeeeeeeaaaattt!!!!!, as their 37-19 record ATS is tops in the league.
The biggest riser over the past week was the Boston Celtics. They went 5-0 and have gone 8-2 over their last 10 games. They posted a blistering +23.4 net rating over the past week, fueled by the league-best 94.3 defensive rating. Granted, they beat up on the Nets, Magic, Pistons and Hornets but they did blow out the Heat by 30 points. Regardless of their opponents, the Celtics took care of business in dominating fashion, so respect must be given.
The Nets are falling like the NASDAQ. Is it a coincidence that both start with N? I think not. Brooklyn has lost nine in a row. While the Celtics had the best net rating over the last five games, the Nets have had the worst at -20.1. Their offense has been terrible as Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving missed games but it’s been the porous defense that has been the main culprit. The defensive rating has been 124.8. Yuck.
The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to climb up the charts. I just noticed the alliteration. The universe is speaking to us! The Cavs are fourth in defensive efficiency so they have a solid foundation. They are 18th in offensive efficiency but just traded for Caris LeVert so that weakness has been addressed. Cleveland has raced out to a 34-21 record, so they are a good team. Like the Grizzlies, though, the Cavs are a great team because they are 33-19-3 ATS, three percentage points behind Memphis.
Let’s take a look at Stan Son’s power rankings for Week 17 of the NBA season.
NBA Power Rankings: Week 24
|13||Golden State Warriors||12|
|17||Los Angeles Clippers||18|
|19||San Antonio Spurs||19|
|20||New Orleans Pelicans||21|
|22||New York Knicks||20|
|27||Los Angeles Lakers||24|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder||29|
|30||Portland Trail Blazers||30|
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